Today is a wonderful guest post from Michelle from Wildly Natural Skin Care.
She’s going to tell us all about how to choose the right oils to use for your skin type and how to make oil blends that kick acne butt!
I am in love (madly?) with natural skin oils for most skin issues. Actually I have not come upon a skin issue in which I wouldn’t recommend an oil.
From oily to dry, acne to aging, as a daily self-massage (abyangha) or for the bath, oils hold the essence and medicinal properties of the plant seeds. Every oil has its own personality and properties, which are called the energetics. The energetics are super important as a guideline to choose the best oil, matching people with the best oil for their skin.
It is a big topic and I have gone into the energetics of some oils that are particularly suited for acne here. I hope that this serves you well when making your own skin oil blends.
Choosing the Base Oils
Though acne is considered a hot and damp condition in Traditional Chinese Medicine, it will be expressed differently in each person. Without getting too complicated, internally a person could be cold and deficient and yet have acne on the surface. This may be caused by slow digestion where the body is compensating by releasing too much from the skin. So, following are some general guidelines for choosing a base blend.
Use your intuition and also consider the following questions:
1) Underneath the acne, is your skin dry, or oily?
2) Are you more prone to being hot, or cold?
If more prone towards heat and oily skin:
Grapeseed oil is a dry, light and cool oil. It is a great, almost neutral base oil high in Vitamins C and E. I have used this with really good success for oily skin types that experience dry conditions like eczema. If the acne is crusty or flaky, this may be a good choice.
Jojoba oil is dry, light and cool and almost neutral oil with great absorptive properties. Jojoba also has qualities that help the skin retain moisture, preventing the skin from overcompensating with more oil production. It also has healing abilities for wounds caused by acne.
If more prone towards cold and dry skin:
Sesame oil is neutral-wet, light and warm. Sesame is one of the most balanced oils between oleic and linoleic acids. Oleic acids have a heavier quality while linoleic make an oil lighter, so the balance here shows us that this is a medium density oil.
Plum oil is wet, light and warm. Being a very sweet smelling oil with more moisturizing qualities, plum is best for people with dry underlying skin and used in small amounts. It has slightly astringent properties indicated by its perfume-like taste.
Apricot Kernel is a wet, light and warm oil. It is very soothing for inflamed, irritated skin and high in Vitamins C and E. Apricot kernel is a good general moisturizer for most skin types.
If more prone towards cold and oily skin:
Coconut is a dry, light and warm oil and is best for people more prone to being cold. It is not so good when the skin is hot and actively inflamed, as the warmth could make that worse. Coconut oil has additional antimicrobial properties and is easily absorbed when applied to damp skin.
Adding in Oils for Particular Medicinal Effects
There are also oils that are great for their medicinal qualities yet energetically not as fitting as the major part of the blend. These can be added in smaller amounts in the formula for particular purposes.
For example, in a blend for active acne, an oil that has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties will be really helpful. So for example, though castor oil is a moist and heavy oil, it is great to add in lesser amounts for its potent abilities as an anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, drawing and scar softening oil.
Neem oil is another antimicrobial oil that can be helpful in small amounts. It has a distinctive smell that borders on sulphur-y so consider that when making your blend.
Evening primrose oil is wonderful for helping to prevent and heal scarring. It is best when used at a minimum of 20% of a formula.
I find it best to formulate first by percentages and then break that down into an actual amount. This gives a great overall picture of the finished product and what you want to accomplish with it.
The base of the blend should be at least 50% or more depending upon how many oils you will be adding. I don’t go below 10% for any oil as the effects will not be noticeable at that dilution rate. One of the great parts of making your own skin oils is that you know you are using an effective amount of each active oil. Some expensive commercial brands may advertise the precious expensive oils but really they are using a tiny amount of it.
Essential oils can be added at a rate of 8-10 drops per ounce of oil for most essential oils. Take care when using really strong ones, like oregano or thyme and start out with a lesser amount (about 4 drops per ounce of carrier oil).
Moisturizing Blend for Acne
Here I give percentages as these blends can be made in any amount. Followed in parentheses is the amount for 4 ounces (120 mL) of finished oil.
- Grapeseed Oil 50% (2 ounces/60 mL)
- Sesame Seed Oil 25% (1 ounce/30 mL)
- Evening Primrose Oil 15% (0.6 ounce/18 mL)
- Neem Oil 10% (0.4 ounce/12 mL)
- Vitamin E 0.5% (10 drops)
- Lavender essential oil (optional) 20 drops
- Oregano essential oil (optional) 10 drops
- Jojoba 50% (2 ounces/60 mL)
- Apricot Kernel 20% (0.8 ounce/24 mL)
- Castor 15% (0.6 ounce/18 mL)
- Evening Primrose 15% (0.6 ounce/18 mL)
- Vitamin E 0.5% (10 drops)
To use simply pour a small amount into your hand and apply it to damp skin, gently massaging the skin. Excess oil can be rinsed off with a quick splash or patted off with a towel. I like to leave my skin somewhat wet and allow it to air dry.
I would love to hear your experiences with using these or any other skin oils! Also, what questions do you have about oils and using them for acne?
[UPDATE from Tracy] – I’d like to thank Michelle for being so wonderful with answering everyone’s skin care questions in the comments below. However, from now on if you would like Michelle to give you personal recommendations and one on one time to go over a skin care plan for you, please visit her services page. Thanks!
Bio: Michelle Czolba, M.Sc. is an herbalist and the owner and writer at Wildly Natural Skin Care, where she shares her knowledge of truly natural skin care.
She has crafted all sorts of natural skin care products, including for her work as an herbalist and previous hand-crafted skin care company, and is particularly intrigued by the power of skin care oils. Check out her e-course, Wildly Natural Skin Care Oils!