Liquid Gold: the truth about oil and your skin
Much like the fusion of oils that we are highly respected for, or the unmistakeable and iconic essential oil scent that epitomises our brand experience; the name Olverum is an amalgamation, a blend, a hybrid of two words that bring together the origins and intention of the brand, a portmanteau. Derived from Latin, oleum (oil) and verum (true), we have, since conception in 1931, celebrated the passion for the multiplicity of benefits that true oil brings to wellbeing.
(to read more about our heritage – please follow this link)
We know that oils have been part of skin health rituals since ancient times. Their use has become increasingly popular in recent years as we research more deeply and travel more widely, bringing the extraordinary benefits of more far-flung ingredients, the impact of their diverse habitats and the unique benefits that creates, into our armoury of health and wellbeing. Yet these versatile, nectarous elixirs are often met with fear or misunderstanding.
Appreciating the true benefits and functionality of products means we spend more wisely, optimising benefit to our skin’s health by layering the products for their most effective impact. Sadly, as consumers we are surrounded by misuse of terminology that perpetuates misunderstanding of the function of oils, we need to take a moment to understand and celebrate oils for their diversity.
Face the fear:
It may seem, perhaps, a little counterintuitive that oils can be so broadly beneficial to so many skin types. But it is true that all skins will benefit from adding the appropriate oil to naturally balance, soothe, nourish, protect and strengthen.
Often there is a concern that oils will feel heavy, sticky or greasy on the skin, or that they may cause congestion, leading to breakouts and a more problematic relationship with harmonising the skin.
Skin, like life, is about balance. Healthy skin needs ideally 20-35% water in the outer layers1 to remain soft, supple and glowing. Our skin doesn’t naturally produce water, but draws hydration passively through biological moisture magnets. Naturally produced oils (sebum) help form a protective seal to lock in hydration. The optimised hydrolipidic balance is called homeostasis, the impeccable stability of skin health.
The reality is, maintaining the equilibrium is a constant challenge. The wrong products, lifestyle choices, environmental and emotional stress, UV exposure etc; can destabilise and strip the skin, causing dehydration, reactivity and signs of damage.
Naturally, not all oils are the same and indeed suitable for all universally. Some are lighter with a smaller molecular size (e.g. squalane / jojoba / marula) meaning they are more readily absorbed, avoiding congestion so excellent for more oil-prone complexions. Heavier or richer oils, such as coconut and argan have a larger molecular size and would be less suitable for over-active skins, making them more suited to dry or mature skin types.
So, oils hydrate?
No. Simply put, it’s impossible for them to hydrate as they are hydrophobic meaning they literally repel water.
But that doesn’t mean they don’t form part of the moisturising process, but it is important to make the distinction between hydration and moisturisation.
Hydration: humectants attract and bind water to the skin.
Moisturisation: lubricates the skin, strengthens the protective skin barrier and locks in hydration.
We need both.
Without adequate lipids, the skin barrier becomes impaired causing dehydration through TEWL (trans epidermal water loss), this loss of vital hydration needs replenishing and protecting.
Oils perform differently to a moisturiser or lotion. Most moisturisers are an emulsion, a blend of oil and water, meaning they penetrate through the skin layers and form a seal on the skin. An oil – applied as the last step in your skin regime, will seal in hydration, actives and form a more occlusive layer of protection.
So it’s just about dry skin then?
Oils provide a myriad of benefits for the maintenance of skin, hair and nail health.
Mature skin – help nourish skin as it suffers from the decline of natural oils that comes with the passing of time. This helps plump the skin and give a more luminous, even and supple skin tone but supressing the formation of hyperpigmentation.
Dry / sensitive skin – rich oils such as argan, sea buckthorn, rosehip; help restore strength, neutralise discomfort, flakiness and redness, fortifying the natural skin barrier to maintain the lipid balance of the skin.
Dehydrated skin – helps lock in natural oils through a strengthened barrier function.
Oily skin – helps rebalance natural oils that have been destabilised through overstimulation, helps soothe reactivity and redness.
What are you looking to achieve?
Getting connected to your skin from top to toe is essential to identify what you need to augment your regular self-care. Get to know your reflection, the bits you want to preserve…correct….enhance.
Soothe – help suppress the negative effects of reactivity in the skin. Alleviating redness and irritation.
Strengthen – full of omega oils rich in essential fatty acids that help to strengthen the lipid barrier, these EFAs cannot be produced naturally, so we need to supplement them topically and from our diet. Omega oils help fortify the skin structure with the building blocks to retain protection, elasticity and neutralise sensitivity.
Rebalance – often unsettled, over-productive skin is exacerbated by over-stimulation from exfoliation whether physical or through excessive AHA use, in an attempt to alleviate the effects of an over-active complexion. The skin overcompensates through producing more sebum to lubricate the skin. A vicious circle is established.
Protect – oils are rich in antioxidants to help protect the structural integrity of the skin from the damage of environmental skin stressors that threaten to break down collagen and elastin, trigger hyperpigmentation and cause more pronounced fine lines and wrinkles.
Condition – natural oils such as coconut, crambe abyssinica seed and jojoba for example, are wonderfully nourishing ingredients that help strengthen the hair and nourish the scalp to avoid breakage, add lustre and improve manageability.
The last word:
Establishing a ritual of self-care with nourishing, restorative oils feels both luxurious and uplifting. Regular application delivers instant skin improvement, with massage proving a sensorial gratification of longer term benefit through enhanced absorption and stimulation of cellular health, transforming skin health, vitality and resilience.
Dry Skin https://www.health.harvard.edu/a_to_z/dry-skin-a-to-z