Once you have your basic daily skincare regime sorted, you may want to supplement the skin with different rituals for younger, healthier looking skin. Whether you have oily, normal or dry skin you can still suffer from dehydration (a lack of moisture) causing little fine lines and tightness on the surface of your skin. This is common with people who travel a lot or who work in air-conditioning, and there are times when all skin types get sluggish and need a good exfoliating treatment and massage.
Every skin type can also become irritated at times and you may need some calming and soothing. The following treatments – exfoliating, steaming, massage and masks – all help maintain and support your skin to regain its balance.
Your skin renews itself approximately every 28 days. Yet with added stresses like make-up, environmental pollution, air conditioners and heaters, the skin can sometimes just get a little sluggish and need a little help. A scrub or exfoliating peel uses friction to help slough off the build-up of dead skin cells. Only use products that have a fine texture and are gentle, not too gritty. The rule is if it feels scratchy on your hand don’t put it on your face! You can also use natural plant or fruit acids known as Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs). AHAs have been promoted to keep skin young and vibrant and are used in a lot of skincare products today. However the skin builds its own protective layer, which holds the moisture in the surface of your skin. If you are using products everyday that contain AHAs, you are not allowing your skin to build up that protective mechanism it naturally has. You are also further exposing it to the possibility of extra UV damage.
So while plant and fruit acids and our favourite L-Lactic acid from manuka honey are beneficial and make your skin feel truly alive, they should only be used at the most once a week (like in a mask), and they should be used in the evening so you are not exposing the skin to sunlight immediately after use. AHAs also improve the skin’s ability to absorb ingredients, so make sure you are using the most natural and best quality pure products you can buy. You don’t want it to be absorbing anything else!
Sea salt or rapdura sugar is an effective natural exfoliant. Once again you can add your chosen essential oils and a little coconut oil to enhance this full body treatment. Wet the entire body then stand (if in the bath) or move out of the falling water (if in the shower) and rub the body with the exfoliant blend. Your skin feels so clean and soft after this treatment, ready to accept your massage blend for the daily body boost!
Steaming the skin is another great ritual to use about once a week. It makes the skin perspire, which helps to loosen grime, dead skin cells and hardened sebum. The heat also increases the blood supply, bringing more oxygen and nutrients to the skin, and the steam helps to hydrate and relax the pores. Overall, skin steaming can help your skin to feel more radiant, to have a softer skin tone and a clearer, more vital colour. Avoid steaming if you have broken capillaries in your face – compress instead.
Have your chosen essential oils and towel ready and tie up long hair or use a headband or shower cap to hold your hair back. After a gentle cleansing, place a couple of litres of hot water in a bowl on a non-slip surface or in the basin. Place 3-4 drops of your essential oils in the water. Quickly place a towel over your head and bowl or basin so that the vapours do not escape.
Keep enough distance from the water, about 20 cm, close your eyes and breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. After a few minutes you may like to change the breathing to breathe in through your mouth and out through your nose. Enjoy for anywhere between 5 to 15 minutes.
Essential oils for steaming
To deeply cleanse: 1 drop eucalyptus, 2 drops lemon, 1 drop frankincense
To hydrate: 2 drops sandalwood, 1 drop lavender, 1 drop palmarosa
To soften: 2 drops lavender, 1 drop frankincense, 1 drop orange
To calm and soothe: (acne, eczema, dermatitis): 2 drops tea tree, 1 drop cedarwood, 1 drop lavender
Massage stimulates the blood flow to rejuvenate your skin, it stimulates the lymph fluid to clear wastes away, and it improves your skin’s tone and texture. Once a week give your face and its skin a massage treat. We pre-mix a small amount of a facial massage blend and have it ready on hand for use.
Take 10mls of a massage base oil (see below), and blend with 5 drops of your chosen essential oils in a dark glass bottle (these can be purchased through Twenty8). Shake before use. Keep the bottle in a cool place away from sunlight. This facial blend will last you for about five massages. You can then assess your skin and its needs and make up your new 10ml blend. Use the recommendations above in Steam to see what oils to use, and add an extra drop of your favourite one to make 5 drops.
Your massage base oil needs to be cold pressed. Good massage base oils for the face are: peach kernel oil (good for normal skin), jojoba oil (a very fine oil, good for all skin types), rosehip oil (another fine oil, rich in essential fatty acids, good for all skin types), avocado oil (a fine and rich oil suited for dryer skin types) and calendula oil (a healing oil good for sensitive and irritated skin).
Putting a mask on once a week is like taking your face on a mini health retreat. It loves it and will feel refreshed and energized from it. There are basically two types of masks: drawing masks which are normally clay based and will draw impurities and excess oil out of the skin as well as lifting off dead skin cells; and hydrating masks which saturate the surface of the skin with moisture and nutrients.
Your skin types and needs will determine which one you choose. Often a cleansing mask is needed around the centre of the face where oil persists, with a hydrating mask on the remainder. Don’t think you have to lie down with cucumbers on your eyes, which would be great of course, but a mask can be applied while you are working at home, on the computer, cooking dinner or cleaning the house.
Eye & Face Refreshers
- Placing soaked chamomile tea bags on your eyes when feeling fatigued or when you have a tension headache can do wonders.
- Make a spritzer by filling a 100ml bottle with water and adding six drops total of your essential oils and use as a facial spray to refresh, hydrate and tone the skin. Favourite essential oils for the face are rose, lavender, eucalyptus, lime, palmarosa, rosewood or geranium. Or the beautiful Twenty8 Toner Concentrate works wonders too!
Goodies in your kitchen!
Don’t think you have to spend a fortune on skincare either. More often than not you will find amazing goodies in your kitchen that will have an incredibly powerful and positive effect on your skin!
- A mashed avocado soothes and nourishes the skin
- An egg white tightens and firms the skin.
- Yoghurt makes a great cleanser.
- A mashed banana with a little lemon juice hydrates and soothes the skin.
- Mashed strawberries help balance an oily skin.
- Manuka honey as a mask is an excellent exfoliator and hydrator.
- Potato is anti-inflammatory and calms puffy eyes beautifully.
- Almond meal makes a great gentle exfoliator.
- Sea salt and rapadura sugar are excellent skin exfoliators.
- Cucumber slices are cooling and soothing and mildly anti-inflammatory.
- Coconut oil is a wonderful skin softener and smoother.
As a side note, men do have the advantage when it comes to skin, and it’s all about hormones. Testosterone gives men a thicker skin, in fact about 25 per cent thicker than women. Their skin is generally oilier and tougher, with more collagen and elastin support. However, men are often more reckless and careless when it comes to skincare and this lack of care often negates all of these advantages. So pass on the advice from this blog to the men in your life! As they become aware of how powerful a little skin loving can be they love these kinds of rituals as much as we do!