Oil Cleansing Method (courtesy of Wellness Mama)

by kimberly borchardt

Oil Cleansing for Naturally Perfect Skin

I’ve posted many natural living and natural beauty ideas before, and this is one of the most simple and effective natural beauty tips I’ve ever found.

I admit, I was skeptical before I first tried this, since my skin is naturally oily and I wasn’t sure it would work for me. I had also had very acne prone skin when I was younger, and was afraid that a method like this would bring back the acne… I was wrong!

What is Oil Cleansing?

Though it sounds somewhat crazy at first, the idea of using natural oils to cleanse the skin gently actually makes a lot of sense. The basic idea of oil cleansing is to use natural oils in specific combination to cleanse the skin and naturally balance the skin’s natural oils. This produces much more nourished and moisturized skin that traditional soap and detergent based facial cleaners. As the website dedicated to the oil cleansing method explains:

“The basic concept of this skin care and cleansing method is that the oil used to massage your skin will dissolve the oil that has hardened with impurities and found itself stuck in your pores. The steam will open your pores, allowing the oil to be easily removed. Should you need it, the smallest drop of the same oil formula patted over damp skin will provide the necessary lubrication to keep your skin from over-compensating in oil production.”

Even Acne.org explains the benefits of oil cleansing:

“Fact: Oil dissolves oil. One of the most basic principals of chemistry is that “like dissolves like.” The best way to desolve a non-polar solvent like sebum/oil, is by using another non-polar solvent similar in composition: Other oils. By using the right oils, you can cleanse your pores of dirt and bacteria naturally, gently and effectively, while replacing the dirty oil with beneficial ones extracted from natural botanicals, vegetables and fruit that heal, protect and nourish your skin. When done properly and consistently, the OCM can clear the skin from issues like oily skin, dry skin, sensitive skin, blackheads, whiteheads and other problems caused by mild to moderate acne–while leaving your skin healthy, balanced and properly moisturized.”

But Does It Work?

This is the part I’m most excited to share! Even in third trimester of pregnancy, when my skin usually goes a little hormone-crazy, I have ZERO breakouts, red pots, or splotches! For the past two months, I’ve been using only oil cleansing (and occasionally, a plain antibacterial microfiber cloth to remove makeup if I don’t need to completely cleanse skin again).

When I first started using Oil Cleansing, I had an adjustment period where my skin got worse for about a week. Most resources I’ve seen suggest that this is a detox reaction as impurities are pulled from the skin, and this is definitely what it seemed to be for me. After that, my skin gradually improved and by 3-4 weeks of using only oil cleansing, I had no excess oil, no dry skin, and no blackheads…

I cringe when I think of the dozens of chemical laden products I used, especially in high school, to try to keep my acne under control! The skin care industry is a multi-billion dollar industry, and it seems that the best solution is one of the most simple, inexpensive, and easy!

I asked several friends and family members who now use the oil cleansing method how it has worked for them, and they seemed to have the same results. Some even noted that the combination of  oil cleansing and taking Gelatin daily has been the best anti-aging treatment they’ve discovered!

What You Need:

Want to try Oil Cleansing and see the results for yourself? All you need are a couple of natural oils and a clean wash cloth!

The most common oils used are Castor Oil and Olive Oil, though any natural oil can be used. Castor Oil is naturally astringent, so it helps pull impurities from the skin, making it ideal for oily or combination skin (and even dry skin in lesser amounts). Castor oil should never be used undiluted on the skin, and I always add at least twice the amount of other oil as Castor Oil when making an oil blend.

There is some controversy over the growing practices for Castor Oil (the harvesting and manufacturing exposes workers to a compound that can be toxic, but it is removed in processing), so many people choose to avoid this oil. The finished castor oil is not toxic, so there is no concern there, but for those who don’t want to use it due to its un-sustainable growing practices, hazelnut oil works wonderfully in its place.

My favorite other oil to use is Olive Oil, though sunflower, safflower, or even coconut oils work great.

I get all of the oils I use for oil cleansing from Mountain Rose Herbs, though many local stores might carry them as well. Just look for oils that are cold pressed, organic and pure.

What to Do:

If you are new to oil cleansing, it may take a couple of tries to figure out what blend of oils works best for you. Personally, I use a mix that is 3/4 olive oil and 1/4 castor or hazelnut oil and it is perfect for my skin. Other articles I’ve seen and friends who also use the method recommend these ratios:

To find out the best blend for you, I recommend starting with the suggested amounts above for your skin type and adjusting if needed. When I started, I mixed up very small batches (1 teaspoon castor oil to 2 teaspoons olive oil, etc) until I figured out the right blend for me.

I’ve also found that even pure coconut oil works great once skin has adjusted, though it can be drying on some skin types. One friend uses a half and half mix ofcoconut and olive oil that she blends in a blender to create a cream, and this works perfectly for you.

To Wash Face With Oil Cleansing:

  1. In the shower or at the bathroom sink, pour about a quarter size amount of the oil blend into your hand and massage into the skin on your face (don’t wet skin first). Use smooth circular strokes and let this also be a gentle facial massage. Massage for at least a minute (two minutes is better) or until you are sure that the oil has saturated your skin. This will also remove make-up very effectively, so there is no need to remove make-up first. You can even leave the oil on the skin for up to 10 minutes to really deep clean pores. 
  2. Place a clean washcloth under very hot tap water (or shower water) until it is completely soaked and quickly wring it out. Open it and place over your face. This will create steam against the skin to remove the oils and any impurities in the skin. Leave the wash cloth on for about a minute, or until it cools. Repeat if needed with the other side of the washcloth and then use the corners of the washcloth to gently remove any remaining oil. There will still be a thin layer of oil on the skin and this is beneficial.
  3. Typically, no moisturizer is needed after the adjustment period, but if you still have dry skin, try reducing the amount of astringent oil and using a tiny bit ofhomemade organic lotion to moisturize skin.

Notes on Oil Cleansing:

  • It is normal for it to take a week or so for skin to adjust, and you may even see more oily skin or more breakouts during this time as impurities leave the skin. If you can, resist the urge to use harsh soaps or facial cleansers during this time, as it will make the adjustment period take longer.
  • You will likely have to experiment some to find your perfect ratio.
  • If you do this in the shower, make sure to clean your shower floor regularly so it doesn’t get slippery

5 Benefits of Massage (Courtesy of Daily Beast)

by kimberly borchardt

The newest cure-all may be an ancient one: simple touch. The Chinese have been using massage for all kinds of medical conditions for centuries. Now, Western research is confirming that massage isn't just for muscle pain. One of the most surprising findings: massage may help premature babies gain weight. When Tiffany Field, a professor of pediatrics, became a new mother, she massaged her premature infant daughter and was so impressed with the results she later founded the Touch Research Institute (TRI) at the University of Miami School of Medicine. Massage, it turns out, may boost immunity and help people with a range of conditions from premenstrual syndrome to high blood pressure. It also seems to help soothe pain from arthritis, burns and even surgery. Here are five surprising facts about massage from the research findings at TRI and elsewhere that you can put to use:

1. Pick Your Spot: You don't have to massage the part of the body that hurts most. If you're shy about letting a friend touch your aching lower back, for instance, she could help by massaging your shoulders instead. This is because massage creates chemical changes that reduce pain and stress throughout the body. One way it does this is by reducing a brain chemical called substance P that is related to pain. In a TRI study, for example, individuals with a form of muscle pain called fibromyalgia showed less substance P in their saliva (and they reported reduced pain) after a month of twice-weekly massages.

2. De-Stress, Stay Healthy. Massage may boost immunity. Several studies have measured the stress hormone called cortisol in subjects' saliva before and after massage sessions, and found dramatic decreases. Cortisol, which is produced when you are stressed, kills cells important for immunity, so when massage reduces your stress levels and hence the cortisol in your body, it may help you avoid getting a cold or another illness while under stress.

3. Blood Pressure Benefits: Massage reduces hypertension, suggests a good deal of research. This may be because it stimulates pressure receptors that prompt action from the vagus nerve, one of the nerves that emerges from the brain. The vagus nerve regulates blood pressure, as well as other functions. In a 2005 study at the University of South Florida, hypertension patients who received 10 massages of 10 minutes each over three weeks showed significant improvements in blood pressure compared to a control group who simply rested in the same environment without any massage.

4. Technique Tactics: There's little evidence to support one kind of massage over another, says Field, so don't worry about whether your therapist is schooled in Shiatsu, Swedish or some other technique. The key is pressure firm enough to make a temporary indentation in the skin. If you try massage with a partner, use massage oil, which you can find in a health-food store or pharmacist, but test a little on your skin first to make sure you are not allergic.

5. Self Help. You can massage yourself. Although you don't have to massage the part of the body that hurts to relieve pain, targeting that area does tend to help more. One example is massaging the arms. If you're in danger of developing inflamed nerves in your hands or arms from repetitive movements (like typing on a keyboard, or even gripping a steering wheel for hours at a time) try massaging your arms for 15 minutes a day. Stroke from the wrist to the elbow and back down on both sides of the forehand.

Teen Skin Care

by kimberly borchardt

If you're in your teens, you are just at the right time to start taking care of your face properly. This will help avoid skin care problems caused by improper habits. It doesn't take a lot of time, and it doesn't have to cost a lot of money. Teen skin care differs from your mom's skin care, so don't rely on her facial cleansers and moisturizers which are most likely not meant for your skin type.

By following our skin care tips for teens, you'll see what you need to do, and what you need to know when it comes to proper skin care.

Healthy Teen Skin Care Habits

Protect your skin. If there is one thing that you take from this article, this is it: use sunscreen. We all know that sunscreen protects your skin from this sun, and this obviously reduces your chance of skin cancer. Did you also know that this reduces your chance of signs of early aging? (aka: wrinkles) 90% of premature aging is caused by the sun. Sure, it may not be something that you are thinking of when your in your teens, but you'll be glad you did in 15 years. Apply sunscreen with a minimum SPF 15 (I recommend higher) when you're out in the sun or driving around with your friends. Don't forget to reapply. And share this beauty tip with your friends. They will thank you in 15 years as well.

Ditch the bar soap you have in your shower. Find a facial cleanser that's best for your skin type. Do you have oily skin? (charactistics of oily skin) Many teens find that oily skin is their main concern, so look for a gel based cleanser if this is your problem. An affordable one that you can pick up at the drugstore would be Clean and Clear Acne Cleanser (compare prices) which includes Salicylic Acid which helps clear acne. Make sure you wash your face in the morning and at night. You never want to sleep in your makeup. It's important to strip your face clean before you put your head down.

Moisturize your face. The idea that those with oily skin don't need a moisturizer is just plain false. What you do need is a light oil-free moisturizer to put on after you cleanse. Clean & Clear Finishes Pore Perfecting Moisturizer SPF 15 (compare prices) is a good choice because of the sun protection. (It's not enough for all day; reapply as needed). Always moisturize after you wash and dry your face. If your skin is very oily, you may choose to just moisturize in the morning.

Use a weekly mask and a weekly exfoliator. A mask deep cleans your pores, while an exfoliator removes the top layer of dead skin cells. When choosing a mask, look for a clay mask like Aveda's Deep Cleansing Herbal Clay Masque (compare prices) which will open pores and clean deep down. A weekly to bi-weekly exfoliator will encourage new skin to come to the surface faster. Try Biore Pore Minimizing Refining Exfoliator (compare prices) for a great drugstore brand. Make sure you are gentle; if you over scrub, your skin may break out even further. Use once a week for polished skin.

Is Acne Your Teen Skin Care Problem?

If acne is a problem for you, just know that you are far from alone. I know at times it may seem like you are, but the best of us have had our fair share of pimples. (me!) I know acne is no fun at all. Here are some things that you may or may not have known about acne.

How bad is your acne? Take the The Acne Quiz to see where you fall in severity.

What causes acne? Do you think it's pizza, chocolate or stress? What do you believe is the reason you're breaking out? Chances are good you're stressing about the wrong things. See if you're right with our Top Acne Myths, and spread the word to your friends.

Treat acne with a spot-treatment. You never know where acne is going to pop up, so if you have oily or acne prone skin, a cleanser or moisturizer with Salicylic Acid helps keep acne at bay. But don't stress about the acne you already have; a spot treatment will help. Applied directly to the blemish, it helps dry out and clear up your blemish faster than it would on its own. Find a spot treatment right for you and your budget with my 8 Acne Treatments.

Help is Available for Teen Skin Care Problems

If your mom is anything like my mom, the idea of going to a dermatologist might have to come from you, but don't let that stop you. There are many medical skin care options for teens who are suffering from acne. Our own dermatologist Heather Brannon, MD fills us in on the medical side of acne and what you can do to cure it.

Final Thoughts on Teen Skin Care

While you can't change your genes, you can do your best to take care of your skin so your acne has a chance gets better. Don't buy every acne product on the market; sometimes they are too harsh for sensitive teenage skin. Look for cleansers and moisturizers that are oil-free, and make sure you use them. Stick with a tinted moisturizer with SPF to get your dose of moisture, protection and coverage with only one application. And lastly, don't feel funny about talking to your doctor to see if he or she can help. If you're like most people, acne will someday be a fleeting memory for you. Until then, there are many options available to help.

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