Monthly Archives: September 2013

Using Olive Oil For Healthy Skin

Oh yes. You WILL be hooked. Image: 96dpi

You will be hooked. Oh yes. You WILL be hooked. Image: 96dpi

I first came across the idea of olive oil for the skin when I was pregnant with my eldest (now age four). I had been buying Vitamin E (ever notice how the simplest oils are ten times more expensive when a new use is invented for them?) — and yes, I liked it. Nice and smooth, good absorption.

However, I ran out of my beloved Vitamin E oil at one point and discovered that Walgreen’s (love love love Walgreen’s!) was out, too. Oh noes, crisis. (Give me a break, I was hormonal and emotional.)

I”m sure I could have gone a week without oiling my tummy (and my breasts…and where else? Oh, yeah, the backs of my calves…boy did I streeeeeeeeeeeetch during pregnancy), but, well, I didn’t want to. Period. Being Ms. Au Naturel, of course I Googled my fingers off to find a home-available substitute, and I came across olive oil.

“Eew,” I said to myself (and I believe I actually did say “ew,” no literary license there), “that greasy stuff?”

But desperate times call for desperate measures, and adding the laziness factor of not wanting to haul my gigantic 32-weeks preggo self to Rite Aid or Wally World, I grabbed my bottle and dabbed it on. And…WOW. I was, and am, a convert.

So. What can olive oil do for the skin? Let’s talk a little about that today.

How Olive Oil is Extracted

Image: Ride to Dine

Isn’t this cool? Olive press. Image: Ride to Dine

There are several different methods manufacturers use to produce olive oil. What you want is the cold-pressed variety.

I don’t find that I necessarily need “extra-extra virgin” (sorry, Rachael Ray); plain old virgin will do.

Olive oil is produced by literally squeezing (pressing) the olives in an (you guessed it) olive press. Non-heated olive oil gives you the freshest oil with the most vitamins left in. What you’re looking for is minimal processing here.

Virgin olive oil can be found at any grocery store. Don’t go crazy on the cost, often you’re just paying for a fancy label or a smaller manufacturer.

What Olive Oil Does For Your Skin

So why use it? Well, first and formost it is, of course, moisturizing. It tends to absorb quickly if you only use a LITTLE. A little. (Did I mention “a little?”) More on application below.

Olive oil is also said to help prevent the development of tumors following the exposure of the skin to UV rays: see this interesting study.

Olive oil tends to have a healing effect on the skin, going beyond simple moisturization to the repair of skin cells. That means skin looks and acts healthier. In addition, it is hypoallergenic to most users; an external olive oil allergy is virtually unheart of, according to experts.

Yup. It’s a wonder oil.

How to Use It

Okay. Remember when I said “a little” above? Go very light on this oil. A little goes a long way. And too much will have a greasy effect (ask me how I know this…never mind, don’t ask me, it’s too embarrassing a story).

Ahem. Aaaaaaaanyway. Here are your olive oil application tips:

  • Use one drop at a time. Place the drop in the palm of your hand and rub your hands together. You should just barely feel and see a sheen on both palms.

    Olive oil can help prevent stretch marks. Image: ChristineTM

    Olive oil can help prevent stretch marks. Image: ChristineTM

  • For the face, wash thoroughly first. Exfoliate if you wish. Then apply the oil from your palms per above, onto your face, gently patting. Using the tips of your fingers, dab lightly all over the skin.
  • For makeup removal, pour a teaspoon of olive oil into a small dish. Dab a cotton ball into the oil. Wipe eyes gently, then rinse. Olive oil will remove most types of eye makeup, including waterproof mascara.
  • Use olive oil to soften your cuticles before a manicure. Dip fingertips into a small bowl of olive oil for 5 minutes. Remove, wipe dry with a towel and proceed with your manicurel.
  • To prevent stretch marks, pour one drop at a time directly onto the area. Massage in gently. Add more drops as needed. Olive oil may work on stretch marks that are already present due to its healing properties, but since all skin acts differently and some stretch marks can be very deep and/or dark, prevention is always better.

Trust me, you’re going to be hooked.

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Great Facial Ingredients From Your Fridge – Our Most Delicious Picks

picOatmealBaby

Oatmeal: it isn’t just for massive cleanup projects anymore. Image: sdemory

And here I was thinking my son’s leftover oatmeal was only good for the garbage can. Think again! My latest “from home” beauty project has been facials, and I’ve found some cool ingredients and methods for applying them.

I loooove experimenting with home ingredients, so try these out with me. (And hey, if they don’t work out, at least you have lunch!)

From-Home Ingredients, What They Do, and How to Use Them

1. Sugar

I know, I didn’t think sugar was very “good for you” in any way either. I know some families that don’t even keep white sugar in the house. On my better days I pretend to be one of them but hey, anything for my beautiful moms out there — so in the name of transparency I’ll just say: pick up some sugar, and make yourself a great face scrub.

Sugar softens slightly but doesn’t lose its granular consistency when added to warm water. This means it gives just enough exfoliation to really clean out pores and remove older skin cells without tearing or irritating the skin (as some products, such as larger-kernel apricot scrubs, can do).

To make your scrub, simply add a couple tablespoons of warm water to one tablespoon of white sugar. Stir and wait five minutes, then apply to your face. Rub in gentle circles. Rinse with water. You don’t need to follow up with a cleanser, but if you do, make sure it’s very gentle and non-stripping, as the sugar scrub will have lifted most of the oils from the surface of your skin already.

2. Papaya

Image: Tuluum

Image: Tuluum

Yum! Papaya is one of my favorite fruits (luckily, it’s my middle son’s favorite too, which gives me an excuse to buy it without the guilt — yeah, I have issues). Amazingly, it is apparently also good as a skin cleanser and “brightener,” adding a glow to the face.

According to my research, papaya’s anti-sun damage and sun spot activity is due to the active enzymes in its peel (and to a lesser extent, throughout the fruit).

To get the full benefits of these actions, you’ll need to use a papaya face mask once to twice per week. Simply peel the papaya. Turn the peel inside-out and rub its inside over your entire face. You’ll feel some of the “stickiness” transferring onto your skin. Wait 15-20 minutes, just until you begin to feel a tightening effect (this means it has dried). Rinse. Add a gentle cleanser and do a second rinse.

3. Oatmeal

Image: desegura89

Image: desegura89

This one wasn’t as much a surprise to me. My mother recommended oatmeal scrubs when I was an oily teenager. Now that I’ve grown into an oily adult, I still use the occasional oatmeal mask to help combat blemishes and to tone my skin overall.

Oatmeal has slightly astringent, drying properties, so this ingredient isn’t recommended for dry skin. For oily or combination skin, it’s great. This one is an actual recipe, as follows:

1/4 c. steel-cut oats (uncooked)

2 tbsp. plain, full-fat yogurt

1 egg

Grind the oats in a grinder or food processor until fine. Mix it into the other two ingredients. Place on the skin of your face as a mask. Allow it to sit for 10 minutes. Rinse thoroughly.

4. Yogurt

Image: roboppy

Image: roboppy

I did just mention yogurt, so let me go into a little more detail about this wonder ingredient. Yogurt moisturizes the skin, yet it’s also anti-bacterial, which is why it’s so great for any type of skin (oily, dry, normal or combination). Its acids also help to fade sun spots, a really amazing feature out of a home product.

I have seen many yogurt home recipes that include lemon juice. I do not recommend this. Lemon can be overdrying even in combination with other ingredients. And if it’s used in too large a concentration, it can sting and even leave a chemical burn-like rash on the face (ask me how I know this).

Luckily, yogurt stands on its own as a great facial mask product. You can also use it as a spot treatment for acne; simply dab it on your breakouts. Do not wash off until your regular cleansing time (morning or evening).

5. Avocado

The oil of the avocado is remarkably like the natural oils your skin produces. This makes it an ideal moisturizer; it absorbs readily and does the job without clogging your pores.

Mash avocado well with a fork or in your food processor. While it’s processing, wet a washcloth with warm (not hot) water. When the avocado is ready, smear it on your face. Lie back and place the washcloth gently over your face. You only need to do this for 2-5 minutes. When you’re done, wipe off GENTLY (don’t rinse). Follow with your daily makeup routine.

Hope you found these ideas as delicious as I did, my beauties. If you try these ingredients, please let me know how you make out. I love to hear from you!

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