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Clearing up the oil myth: Why oil-based treatments are good for all of us

Our skin is a wonderful thing. From the softest caress to the toughest protection, it looks after us – and we need to look after it. Especially because everyone’s skin is different. Some are prone to dry skin, and need to moisturise regularly to look after it. For others, it’s the opposite end of the spectrum – oily skin that needs the care of astringents and cleansers to avoid clogging the pores.

Every age, every skin type – everyone’s different. So, when we’re talking about natural oils as remedies for all kinds of skin, why would they ever be good for those with oily skin? The answer is that these oils don’t act like you’d expect…

A sebaceous question

The oils within all-natural remedies are not the same as those within what we’d call ‘oily skin’. The latter is sebum: a waxy secretion of glands that could be rendered overactive for any number of reasons – most notably the fluctuation of hormones. It’s not without its uses – after all, it’s been evolved over millennia as part of our immune system, as something that helps us regulate temperature and withstand the elements. But that doesn’t mean it looks or feels good.

Sebum is the substance to blame for all those adolescent breakouts. It makes us feel slick and greasy – public enemy number one for the skin. So it’s natural for any of us to think that the oils within our skincare treatments would do nothing but exacerbate the woes of oily skin. But this is not necessarily so…

Restoring nature’s balance

A quick glance at our A-Z of ingredients reveals just how many essential oils go into our full range of treatments. Each of them is rich in all kinds of plant-derived nutrients: vitamins and antioxidants, fatty acids, antibacterial agents and compounds that smooth, soothe, tone and infuse skin. But many of them are also non-comedogenic – that is, they don’t clog pores. That’s the big myth about oil cleared up in one fell swoop: these essential oils won’t exacerbate skin oiliness, nor will they cause breakouts or irritation.

In fact, the pores that do get clogged by sebum – and we all get them – can be cleansed from deep within through the right use of essential oils, which cleanse the skin without stripping away its natural moisture or defences. It’s very much the case that nature has given us the means to go beyond the less-desirable ends of evolution.

The oils we can apply to our skin go further than simply coating and protecting the skin; they work deep within pores to promote healthier, clearer, cleaner-looking skin that’s naturally hydrated without excess sheen. Just with a natural lustre that’s more than skin deep – while excess oil is simply absorbed without residue.

The enduring beauty of oils

So, where’s the catch? It’s all too easy to see oils as a fad, or a fashionable trend for the ever-changing, ever-hungry, big-name beauty industry. But, being some of the best substances nature provides, they’re here to stay – not least because they’re invaluable ingredients for more mature skin.

As we age, our skin naturally dries out. Previously overactive sebaceous glands take early retirement. The right oils can stymy this progression – which highlights just how essential oils can bring balance to skin. Moisturising without clogging. Nourishing and conditioning without overcompensating. These oils are extracted from natural, organic sources precisely because we can now pinpoint the exact benefits they provide – and that many of them have provided for centuries.

Ironic, really, that a new age for the science of beauty means we’re looking to some of the oldest ingredients in nature – but it’s never too late to clear up a few myths about oil.

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