My top 10 picks for your skin’s winter survival kit

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         So we’ve survived the first month of winter. Barely. Between the snowstorms, weather extremes, and indoor heating, are you finding that your skin is now dry no matter what you do?

Want to know an effective way to keep your skin well hydrated during our harsh Canadian winters?

Oil. Yep, oil.

A few years ago, while working for a few weeks in Banff, I experienced some of the harshest and driest climate I’ve ever been exposed to. No matter how much water I drank and organic creams & lotions I used, my skin was still dry.

Thankfully I brought my favorite oils with me (along with my parka!) in case my skin needed extra help against the -40°C temperatures and the extreme dryness the region is well known for. I mixed some of the carrier oils with a blend of essential oils and lavished this on my face and body as often as I could. And it worked!

Using oils on your skin, especially on your face may seem like a recipe for breakouts, particularly for those with oily or mixed skins, but if you use the right oil combinations and blends, you can survive winter with beautiful, glowing skin.

 

Here are my picks of the top 10 oils for skin hydration: 5 carrier oils & 5 essential oils.

For easy do-it-yourself home remedies, use any of the oils on the following list in combination, by mixing the carrier oils with your choice of essential oils.

Use a ratio of 10 drops of essential oils for every 50 ml of the carrier oils.

 

CARRIER OILS:

  1. Jojoba carrier oil:

Jojoba oil is a liquid wax, extracted from the beans of the jojoba plant. It mimics and dissolves sebum, the fatty substance produced by the body to protect the skin.

This is important because acne is caused by the over production of sebum. Adding Jojoba to the mix will not only hydrate the skin, but also help prevent breakouts. It is very stable, which is ideal if you want your mix to have a longer shelf life.

Can be used at a 100% ratio in your mix.

 

  1. Apricot Kernel carrier oil:

If you are looking for a silky-smooth carrier oil that is easily absorbed by the skin without leaving it feeling oily, look no further.

Apricot oil has a lovely light texture and is wonderful for mature skin, prematurely aging skin, and dry or sensitive skin. I find it leaves my skin feeling silky and well hydrated. It is mostly used as a facial oil and has a long shelf life.

Can be used at a 100% ratio in your mix.

 

  1. Sweet Almond carrier oil:

Sweet almond is a lovely oil to work with. It penetrates well into the skin while softening, soothing, and re-conditioning. It contains mono & polyunsaturated fatty acids and vitamins A, B1, B2 & B6, as well as a small amount of vitamin E, which will help it from going rancid too quickly.

Sweet almond oil is a wonderful choice for dry and itchy skin.

Can be used at a 100% ratio in your mix.

 

  1. Macadamia Nut carrier oil:

Macadamia nut oil is one of my favorite anti-aging oils. It is to be used as an addition only, but well worth adding it to the mix because it contains palmitoleic acid, an essential fatty acid found in sebum (the fatty substance produced by the body to protect the skin), especially the sebum of infants, children and teenagers. Because its presence diminishes as we age, adding macadamia nut oil becomes very beneficial for mature skins. It doesn’t clog the pores while also providing a barrier against moisture loss.

Can be used at a 5-10% ratio in your mix.

 

  1. Calendula carrier oil:

Calendula oil is known as “pot of marigold”, and is extracted from the flower heads of the plant. It has a reputation as a wonderful skin-healing oil, and has been used in ointments and tinctures for centuries. It is well known for its ability to protect against dry, chapped and cracked skin. It is to be used as an addition only.

Can be used at a 25% ratio in your mix.

 

ESSENTIAL OILS:

(Important note: Please consult a health care professional if pregnant, breastfeeding, on medications or homeopathic remedies before using any essential oils).

 

  1. Rose Otto essential oil (For the face – high-end):

Known as the queen of essential oils, Rose Otto is soothing to all skin types. It is highly regarded as being especially effective with acne, dry sensitive skin, mature skin, wrinkles, and broken capillaries. Its toning and soothing effects make this essential oil a wonderful skin healer as Rose Otto is regarded as a powerful skin rejuvenator.

Because it is so expensive, it is often sold at a 10% dilution (10% Rose Otto, 90% Jojoba). This is a good option and can be used in your oils at the same ratio even if you buy it diluted

 

  1. Neroli essential oil (For the face – high-end):

Neroli is renowned for its cytophylactic (cell-regenerative) properties. It is excellent for stimulating cell growth and cellular activity, and is therefore very helpful in rejuvenating and regenerating the skin. Neroli is also considered to be wonderful for treating acne, dry, devitalized, oily, and mature skins. It is also highly sought-after for improving elasticity, fighting broken capillaries on the skin and preventing permanent scarring, making this essential oil ideal for both young and mature skins alike. If you’ve never heard of Neroli, it is produced from the blossom of the bitter orange tree.

Neroli is also sold at a 10% dilution because of its high cost.

 

  1. Carrot seed essential oil (For the face & body – mid-range cost):

Carrot seed oil is one of my favorite oils for anti-aging and skin healing. It is known for reducing or preventing wrinkles and for its regenerative powers, particularly after severe burns. It is a good addition to a blend for treating and healing scars.

 

  1. Lavender essential oil (For the face & body – more affordable):

Lavender not only has a wonderfully soothing scent but it is also known as a remarkable healer & balancer. It is considered to be incredibly versatile & adaptable for all skin types and skin problems. It is highly regarded for possessing cell-regenerating properties and is well known for healing sunburns or burns of any kind. This is a wonderful oil to use for all ages and skin types.

 

  1. Sweet-Orange essential oil (For the face & body – most affordable):

Sweet-Orange essential oil is regarded as useful for dull and oily skin, while its renowned cell-regenerating and hydrating properties work well on wrinkles & dry skin. It is also considered helpful with puffiness, strengthening to the epidermis, stimulating to circulation and melanocyte development (the cells capable of producing melanin) and calming to skin gland function. This is another wonderful oil to use for all ages and skin types.

 

TIPS on how to oil the skin:

Face:  

Massage the oils gently, until they start to penetrate. Let this settle in the skin for 30 minutes before applying your favorite organic facial creams.

Body:

Dermatologists warn against the use of hot water because of its drying effect on the skin, but I’ve always failed miserably at my attempts to bathe or shower in lukewarm water. When I’m freezing, I want hot water. So while it is excellent advice, I can’t very well expect anyone to follow it if I can’t.

Here’s a compromise: take shorter showers and baths, and follow the methods listed below. They work!

(1) Baths:

In a bath, add 2 tablespoons of the oil mix to your bath water. A lovely residue will cover your skin and it will look radiant. If you find you need even more hydration, either add more oil next time, or apply the oil mix prior to entering the bath, massaging lightly to help its absorption. When toweling off, dab, don’t rub.

(2) Showers:

Try both of these methods to see which suits you best:

(a) Apply the oil mix before entering the shower, massaging lightly to help its absorption.

(b) Slather on the oil mix after washing, away from the water flow. Either stop the water or turn the showerhead away. Massage briefly and then rinse lightly. When toweling off, dab, don’t rub.

I highly recommend attaching a shower filter to the showerhead. There are quite a few affordable ones available now. The one I use is from Santevia.ca and was under $40.

 

Always choose organic oils and soaps. Harsh chemicals in soaps can strip the natural oils from the outer protective layer of your skin and dry it out more than any hot shower can.

Essential oils should be therapeutic grade. Make sure to look for the following on the labels: the Latin name, country of origin and whether it is classified as certified organic, organic, wildcrafted, or unsprayed, otherwise it is not therapeutic grade, and could be a false chemical replica.

A final note on skin hydration: when applying the oils, if they are absorbed too quickly, it’s your body’s way of telling you that you are dehydrated. Your body is literally drinking in the oils.

In the winter I find it difficult to drink water, so I hydrate with organic herbal teas or soups, juicing and smoothies. I dilute the juices & smoothies with water and that does the trick for me!

Wising everyone happy, well hydrated skin!

 

(NOTE: Essential oils are for external use only. Always consult your health care professional if pregnant, breastfeeding, on medications or homeopathic remedies before using any essential oil products. Keep out of reach of children and pets, especially cats and birds. NEVER use essential oils on cats or birds.)

Michèle

Michèle is a passionate advocate for healthy living and organics. A lifelong vegetarian, vegan for the last 3 years, organics enthusiast and environmentalist, she loves sharing with others her knowledge of all that is good for humans and the planet. Empowering people to make the best health choices for themselves is her passion.  She developed her own line of organic skincare and founded Michèle’s Organics, a company for those who, like her, needed more transparency, honesty and integrity when buying products. Michèle is a certified aromatologist, actor and a self-proclaimed ingredients list expert!
You can follow Michèle on twitter and facebook. Her products can be found  on michelesorganics.com.