Oil & Biocompatibility
I love oil on my skin, but there was a time I hated it. Ok, so that is quite a strong word and perhaps it isn’t the right one. Looking back now, I find it difficult to understand my aversion to it, but when it was first suggested I dump all my beauty products and just use oil, I was speechless. Yuck, I’ll be a greaseball. I’ll be shiny, it will clog my skin and I’ll break out. These were all the objections I came up with and these are also the objections I hear from others right now.
The thing is, ten years later, I now understand that my belief was not founded on science, but on clever marketing. Because it turns out that using oil didn’t make me look shiny and nor did it block my skin.
Quite the opposite.
Oil doesn’t have to make your skin feel greasy if it is the right oil for your skin, and why? Because not all oils are created equally. Each one has its own fatty acid profile giving it a unique texture, viscosity, smell, and absorption rate. Some will glide on and sink in without effort, and others are so thick, you can barely spread them and they linger for hours. Since there are hundreds of different oils available, finding the right one for your skin gets a bit tricky. Which is why I did it for you!
So over a period of 2 years, as I noticed my skin become dryer heading into my 40s I decided to shake up my oil world – remember I was using Apricot oil from my mid-30s. If you don’t know about that read this post here.
Since I already had a pretty good knowledge base of oil profiling from making cold process soap, I drew on this experience to delve deeper into skin serums and balms. The fatty acids in oils are where it’s at for understanding what works and what doesn’t. There are so many considerations when pulling a formula together – which ones are the drier oils that sink in, which oils have the correct omega profile for dry skin, which ones don’t stink to high heaven (some are horrendous!) and the list goes on and on.
I started analyzing the oils with the right profile for drier skins and then set about testing each one individually on my own face for a period of 2 weeks at a time. Some of them I loved instantly, some of them I loved the results of but not the feel and some I just binned after one use because they smelt horrendous and I couldn’t stand it. About a year into my experiment, I finally landed on a list that seemed to produce the results I wanted and so the alchemy began!
In the beginning, I wasn’t really going about this formally, because I was making it for myself. I started making up formulas with different percentages and testing out different essential oils and extracts. I never believed anyone would be interested. So I just went on about my day with my own private serum. The pivot point that shocked me, and I mean genuinely shocked me, was when I gave it to a friend for her birthday. She had been using a water-based serum with a very thick dry-skin cream for years but wasn’t overly impressed with it.
Two weeks later she runs up to me at the school gate, and says “WHAT IS THAT?! Look at my skin it is incredible!!!!! I need more! Are you selling it, what’s in it, how does it work so well – all my expensive products are rubbish?!?! “
I was lost for words! So I explained why it works better than her current serum/lotion combo, and that was it. She was hooked and the Glow journey started.
So Why Does Oil Work on Dry Skin?
Once I got to grips with how skin actually works, it was clear to me why oil is better for your skin. It’s the same logic that made me unpopular at school because I didn’t try smoking behind the bike shed – lungs are for breathing air so why would I put that stuff in them?! And it’s that logic that kicked in again when I started asking this question: ‘I’ve grown up being told that I must use these products to either dry up my breakouts, these products to scrub out my blackheads or this cream to moisturize my dehydrated skin. So, why is it that a simple bottle of oil, was unable to fix what £££££ of top-line products couldn’t?”
After a long time doing my own research and testing different oils, I finally came to the conclusion that it all boils down to one word. Biocompatibility.
the capability of coexistence with living tissues or organisms without causing harm.
It was only until I truly understood this concept that I realized the cause of my bad skin was my skincare choices. It is fast becoming mainstream knowledge that there are a lot of skincare & cosmetic ingredients that are not good for us. These include groups of allergens in fragrances including essential oils, synthetic preservatives and emulsifiers some of which are furthermore being classified as a skin sensitizer and/or skin irritants.
A sensitizer is something that causes chronic irritation as a result of repeated exposure and is the first stage of skin disease. Irritation is an acute and instant reaction that calms down once the thing that caused it is removed.
And to set the record here, the old wives tales of "more exposure will build immunity" does not ring true. In some cases, the more you expose yourself to certain synthetics and chemicals and this includes your cleaning products too, the less immune you become. This is when our skin starts to freak out a bit. If you are lucky you have a visible reaction that causes irritation, which then goes away and you don’t use the product again. But because certain synthetic irritation is undetectable to the human eye, you continue using it then after some time you become sensitized and suddenly your skin is dry, itchy or red. Few of us understand this, and so have no clue that the seemingly innocent lotions n potions you’ve been a slave to all these years are a probable cause. I say probable because not everyone will have the same reaction. Some people can go through life unaffected. I applaud that and say – keep using what works for you.
For those of us who struggle to find the results we are after, consider this.
The human body has around 37.5 trillion cells (it's an estimate calc. Read more here, it could be lots more!). Around 50 - 70 billion cells die each day which means they have to be replaced. According to the American Associate of Dermatology, it's estimated we have 19 million skin cells per square inch and we turnover 30,000 - 40,000 per day. For the body to replace this loss each day and maintain a constant balance in the existing skin layers, it looks for certain things to help it do a great job. And by those things I'm talking about vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, fats and protein which it either manufactures itself, takes from your diet or absorbs in from your skincare. Now that's a pretty simplified view and as always I've added my references below, but what I can tell you is that I'm yet to find a study that proves our skin looks for phenoxyethanol or methylparaben to make and maintain healthy skin!
This is the reason why oil is a far superior product to use on our skin. Oil is made up of fatty acids – both essential and non-essential. It has vitamins like A, E, D and K (vitamin c is water soluble so not present). It has polyphenols and anti-oxidant compounds and these are all things which our little cells luurrrve.
But as I said earlier, not all oils are created equal. It’s a complicated marriage between your skin and an oil profile which is really the crux of my obsession, and so complicated it’s a whole other post! But I’ve found that if you have dry skin, and it’s starting to look a little worse for wear, suffers unexplainable breakouts or minor blackheads then my Marine Extracts Daily Serum could be the game-changer you’ve been looking for!
Oh, and did I mention the power of the marine extracts? This will be coming up in another Skin School post very soon and I encourage you to read this one because the research blew my mind and I’m a complete convert!
What Oils Are In Our Marine Extracts Daily Serum?
As you’ve just read, I spent a fair bit of time choosing these oils and testing blends for different results so I know they are right on the money for women with dry, crepey or sensitive skin.
At the base of this serum, you will find castor oil, avocado oil, barberry fig, chia seed oil and mural oil along with vitamin e. These have been chosen because they all have hydrating, anti-inflammatory and barrier repairing actions on dry skin. But most importantly, they don’t block your pores.
Which for me is a huge advantage and the main reason why I will never use another emulsified cream on my face ever again.
If you want to know a bit more about what’s in the serum, take a look at the ingredients list on our website but for now, I wish you love, light & glow. Xx
Nadeen & the Glow Team.