Saving Face: Say Goodbye to Dry Skin, Naturally
Winter in Wisconsin. There’s so much to love! But let’s face it — cold temperatures, brisk winds and dry inside air all reek havoc on our skin. You can easily come in from a day of snowshoeing or shoveling only to look in the mirror and find a face that’s red, chapped and cracked.
Our skin’s natural protection is its acid mantle, a thin layer of oil and perspiration produced by the skin’s sweat and sebaceous glands. When this layer becomes unbalanced, the skin is weakened. Enter one of our very favorite ways to restore supple skin, mimicking nature’s own perfect method:
organic plant hydrosol + organic plant oil
What are hydrosols?
Hydrosols are plant-infused waters that remain following the steam distillation of a plant’s essential oils. Rich in antioxidants, hydrosols are excellent facial tonics, playing an important role in protecting the skin from free radicals and pollution. They hydrate the skin and help restore a healthy pH, all while smelling divine! Each plant hydrosol has its own aroma and therapeutic characteristics. For example, lavender is calming and soothing; rose otto restores emotional balance and calms redness, while lemon balm dissipates stress, lifts the spirits and softens the complexion. At Community Pharmacy and Community Wellness Shop, we carry a large assortment of organic hydrosols from Pranarom and Evan Healy.
Use: Spritz your gently cleaned face a few times with the hydrosol of your choice. Then, combine a few pumps of oil (see below) and a few sprays of hydrosol in the palm of your hand; blend together. Massage face and neck gently with the mixture. Any remaining product can be worked into your hands or into the ends of your hair (winter hats give our hair quite a beating!). Hydrosols can also be used on their own throughout the day, offering their healing benefits to skin, hair and spirit.
What are organic plant oils, and how do I use them?
For millennia, oils have been the secret to healthy and beautiful skin for people throughout the world. Not all oils are produced equally, though. It’s essential that, when selecting oils to put on your skin (your body’s largest organ), you look for certified organic oils (cold pressed or CO2 extracted) from reputable companies. Many botanical oils are particularly suited for our skin and it’s different needs. They can be used “straight,” infused with other plant matter (such as antioxidant-rich carrot root or healing calendula), or blended with essential oils.
Essential oils are different from pressed plant oils. Rather than pressing, essential oils are obtained from steam distillation, which extracts and concentrates the volatile oils of an aromatic plant. Though molecularly distinct from pressed oils, essential oils are lipophiles and mix easily with pressed oils (called carrier oils when mixed). Often, essential oils of various plants are combined with a carrier plant oil (as they are in many of our products) to offer a more complex healing profile .
Here are a few popular plant oils and their uses:
Argan Oil — Widely used by Berber women to protect and revitalize hair, skin and nails. Rich in antioxidants, Omega 6 and 9 fatty acids, and vitamin E. Absorbs quickly. Known for its ability to soften fine lines, promote elasticity and moisturize. Excellent for dry, chapped or mature skin.
Rosehip Seed Oil — Used for centuries to treat scarred and burned skin. Rich in vitamin A and essential fatty acids. Regenerates and strengthens cell membranes, fades hyper-pigmentation, minimizes and softens scars, smooths fine lines and wrinkles. Soothes dry skin.
Jojoba Oil — Also known as “Inka Gold,” jojoba is actually a liquid plant wax. Absorbs easily. Softens and moisturizes dry, dehydrated and sensitive skin. Rich in iodine, it fights harmful bacteria, accelerates healing, and is frequently used for acne and razor burn.
Some of our favorite face oils products:
Rosehip Facial Treatment Serum — Blue formula contains blue chamomile, lavender and immortel to sooth sensitive, irritated, oily or delicate skin. Use Rose formula with rose geranium and carrot seed to regenerate dry, devitalized skin.
Argan Intensive Facial Serum — Features sandalwood, jasmine and frankincense, this argan oil is produced by a small, self-governed Berber Women’s Co-Operatives of Morocco.
Pomegranate Repair Serum — A combination of sea buckthorn, pomegranate and rosehip seed oil deeply nourish and restore damaged, delicate or dehydrated skin.
Rosehip Seed Oil – Nourishing, restorative, clarifying and brightening. The astringent quality of rosehip oil enables it to deeply penetrate the skin, carrying along with it vitamins, essential fatty acids and antioxidants.
Argan Oil – Deeply moisturizing and quickly absorbed. Excellent for face, hair and body, this larger bottle is reasonably priced and suitable to use as-is or to mix with essential oils that suit your needs.
We’re fans of Acure’s single-ingredient oils, and we love their sweet packaging … white, glass pump bottles. Try their Argan Oil, Rosehip Oil and Marula Oil (cold-pressed from the seed of the African marula fruit, it is lightweight, easy to absorb, and rich in antioxidants and omega fats).
All Badger Face oils contain jojoba oil and complex combinations of fruit, seed and essential oils. Look for Damascus Rose (for dry/delicate skin), Seabuckthorn (for normal/dry skin), Argan (for all skin types), and Unscented (for sensitive skin).
Living Earth Herbs
Beautiful Skin Oil — An excellent, affordable blend of calendula-infused jojoba oil and oils of carrot seed, lavender, helichrysum, rose, sandalwood and rose geranium. A staff favorite.
Need a visual? Here’s a great video by Evan Healy on how to use hydrosols and facial oils to heal and nourish your skin!
Amy Baker is a gardener, teacher, wildcrafter, herb enthusiast and an award-winning writer. She has studied herbal medicine with various teachers in Chicago and Madison, and earned her certification as a Culinary Nutrition Expert and Instructor through the Academy of Culinary Nutrition. Amy has enjoyed creating plant medicines, natural beauty and cleaning products, and all manner of tasty, nutritious, healing recipes for decades.