Summer is almost upon us. As the warming temperatures beckon us outside, it’s a good idea to put a bit more effort into nourishing your body’s largest organ, your skin. Plant oils provide an easy, and natural way to improve your skin’s health As a triathlete and avid gardener, I’ve had success in maintaining my own skin’s quality by using these inexpensive products.
Skin has many functions. It helps regulate your body temperature, it is crucial to Vitamin D synthesis, and it acts as a physical barrier to prevent invasion by pathogens. Because of these, it’s important to protect yours from the environment.
A simple, cost-effective way to do so is by applying natural plant oil directly on to it. A common example of plant oil that’s likely to be in your house is olive oil.
Olive oil has been used to keep skin healthy since the time of the Egyptian pharaohs. It is used for everything from acne treatment, to reducing stretch marks from pregnancy, to anti-aging therapy.
Exfoliating skin helps eliminate clogged pores and remove dead skin cells. Olive oil does not clog pores. It also improves and softens skin texture due to its anti-oxidant properties.
Coconut oil is also a popular choice of plant oils. Commercial moisturizers contain water, which evaporates, leaving your skin as dry as before its use. Coconut oil is an oil, and provides real moisture.
It helps strengthen underlying tissues and helps remove excessive dead cell on the skin’s surface. These dead cells make your skin rough and flaky in texture. It is also good for adding shine to and as a natural moisturizer for your hair.
To get maximum effect, use extra virgin coconut oil, since it has not been bleached, deodorized, or refined.
Note: coconut oil does not have to be refrigerated, and has a long shelf life. It may also act as an anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-viral agent.
It’s great for cooking too!
Another plant oil that is gaining in popularity is sweet almond oil. It has multiple uses for skin and hair. It is produced by cold-pressing the kernels of an almond tree. It contains high levels of Vitamins A, B1, B2, B6 and E.
These vitamins make sweet almond oil an effective moisturizer that is known to help with sunburn, skin irritations or rashes, skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema, as well as inflammation. Some of my patients state it has helped reduced the ‘raccoon ‘ appearance of dark circles under their eyes.
Be careful! An open container of sweet almond oil has a shelf life of three to six months, so refrigeration is key.
A note of caution: if you are allergic to nuts, don’t use this! Choose another plant based oil such as jojoba, tea tree, avocado, or sesame. Each has its own benefits.