Natural Oils and the Myth of Clogged Pores
Many “moisturizing” products are water-based. Water = moisture, right? Well, yeah, that’s why you drink it. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s always the best choice as a base for a lotion or moisturizing crème. Not the worst, either (there’s some pretty awful stuff masquerading as body lotion out there!), but we can do better. Way better.
The Good Stuff
So let’s talk about oil based butters and lotions. I’ve been playing around with body butter recipes the past few weeks, trying to find the perfect mix of non-greasy yet über moisturizing (not as easy as one might think!).
When you leave out all the emulsifiers, synthetic preservatives, and other gunk that does more harm than good in our cosmetics, you’re left with a lot of oils. Generally, people associate oil-based moisturizers with greasiness, zits, clogged pores, etc. Oil-based cosmetics get a bad rep, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Here’s why they don’t clog pores or make your skin greasy, and why oil-based moisturizers are down-right delightful.
Oils usually absorb right into the skin, and rarely clog pores (but beware, non-oil products like petroleum jelly and wax emulsifiers do clog pores!). Oils like jojoba oil are actually similar to the oils produced naturally in our own skin. Coconut oil (a common and awesome ingredient in our natural cosmetics) also absorbs well and locks in moisture – without clogging pores. Our skin actually needs a lipid layer to protect it from aging, exposure to the elements, and to stay vibrant. Water-based moisturizers usually contain various types of emulsifying wax –something that can result in clogged pores so that your skin can’t release sweat. That’s pretty gross.
Some of you reading this have oily skin, and are probably thinking “No way, crazy lady! I already have enough oil to go around!” But I would encourage you to switch to oil-based products and see the results for yourself. Often, oily skin is a result of over-washing or skin that has been stripped of its natural oils and has to work overtime to compensate. Giving your skin the essential fatty acids found in oils can actually balance your skin out. If you’re still too oily, try dabbing on a witch hazel toner after washing your face. The Tasty Alternative has some great homemade toner recipes: http://thetastyalternative.com/2013/08/all-natural-homemade-facial-toner-recipes/.
Side note about oils: we are NOT talking about mineral oil. That’s a cheap filler that is basically processed petroleum. We’re not talking parabens either. Clogging your pores or giving you cancer isn’t our goal -surprise! More to come in the future on mineral oil – that’s a topic that deserves its own post.
Check out Organic Gardening’s post on oil versus lotion for more: http://www.organicgardening.com/living/lotion-or-oil. And this article from the Huffington post on why many celebs are starting to use oil-based skincare products: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/hillary-peterson/face-oils_b_1747283.html.
If you want to up your skincare game, just remember that oil provides the moisturizing benefits of many water-based skincare products without clogged pores, weird additives, or disrupting your skin’s natural balance. Look for ingredients like almond oil, jojoba oil, shea butter, coconut oil, vitamin E, and other essential oils for vibrant, balanced skin.