As one who has struggled with finicky skin since I was a pre-teen, I have run the gamut with mainstream skincare products. By finicky, I mean I had AWFUL acne (enough to warrant several oral pharmaceuticals, including Acutane), dry, peely patches, and ultra sensitivity (I can’t even touch something as benign as a dandelion without developing a welt-like rash). I was not short on education and resources as my own regimented mother was insistent about washing twice a day with the right stuff (mineral oil-free, non-comedogenic), keeping my make-up applicators bacteria-free, and especially, “STOP TOUCHING YOUR FACE.”
One of the best steps in skincare that I learned from her was to use toner or astringent after a routine wash. I typically used Clinique’s “Clarifying Lotion,” or occasionally whatever was available at the drug store (Clean + Clear or Neutrogena), and man were they effective. If you haven’t ever used toner, you will be surprised by how much is actually left behind after you wash your face! It easily removes excess make-up, dead skin, bacteria, and oils. Oils. A primary ingredient in these astringents is alcohol so oils stand little chance. Your face feels awesome for a minute- refreshed and tight- (or “toned,” essentially). But alcohol isn’t really a long-term solution. The dryness encourages more oil production and flakiness in the meantime, so it never quite evens out.
Enter the recently revisited plant-oil trend in toiletries. Martha Stewart (along with several other wellness-conscious periodicals) has featured the benefits of using oils on one’s skin, even on oily skin, as counterintuitive as it sounds. Not all oils are created equal and they claim a myriad of uses. You can find countless articles and recommendations for which oils are best for each type of skin. We use lavender oil (anti-inflammatory, nourishing, with a slightly basic pH) and tea tree oil (anti-bacterial and stimulating) with 100% natural witch hazel as a base. It is gentle, effective, and balancing, no matter what your skin type. Look into more natural skin care and give it a try. I promise that you will be impressed and wonder why in the world more of our mainstream products are not using what people have used successfully for centuries.