by Bethany Porter
I am always on the hunt for beauty secrets. I especially love learning about the beauty-enhancing rituals women use in countries other than the United States. Last year I started seeing a lot of articles in magazines and online touting the benefits of using oils on skin.
Now, I know what you're thinking because I thought it, too. How can adding oil to my already oily skin—especially my T-zone (the T-shaped area including your chin, nose and areas above your eyebrows)—make it healthier? Won't I break out? The answer is no.
Many of the cleansers we use on our faces contain harsh chemicals that wash away our skin's natural oils. This in itself can cause breakouts; it's basically over-cleaning your face, which we've all been guilty of. Using oil as a moisturizer replaces those oils we’ve scrubbed away resulting in beautiful, glowing and blemish-free skin.
Women in several regions, including Southeast Asia and France, use oils to moisturize instead of lotions. Coconut oil, specifically, is used in several Asian and Pacific countries. I’ve always marveled over the supple, impossibly young-looking complexions of many women from those regions, so I made a trip to my local health food store to find out if coconut oil really was the magic elixir it seemed to be. My results were fantastic, and coconut oil has taken up permanent residence in my medicine cabinet.
Here are few ways to use it:
1. Replace your daily lotion: Slathering a light layer of coconut oil on your skin after your daily shower infuses natural, antioxidant-filled moisture into your skin. Most lotions are water-based and evaporate throughout the day leaving your skin dry again. It’s a vicious cycle! The moisture your skin gets from coconut oil lasts all day.
2. Try it as eye cream: Coconut oil softens and brightens the delicate skin around your eyes for a healthy look.
3. Use it as an after-shave treatment: Since coconut oil is naturally antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral, it makes a wonderful soothing, softening treatment for delicate, just-shaved skin. Plus, it will protect nicks and cuts and help them heal faster.
4. Fight chapped skin: Cracked, dry lips and cuticles are instantly softened when treated with coconut oil.
5. Do a deep conditioning: If you have dry, frizzy strands, try a using coconut oil as a conditioner. It softens and moisturizes naturally, unlike chemical-filled commercial conditioners.
6. Calm crazy skin: Coconut oil is a natural anti-inflammatory. So, if your face is already in full-on freak-out mode, try an at-home facial. Bring some water to a boil on the stove. Once it's hot, carefully pour it into a large heat-resistant glass bowl. Add some coconut oil, a few drops of tea tree oil and a peppermint tea bag to the water. Grab a towel and make a small tent with it over your head and the bowl. Be careful not to get so close you burn your skin. Let the steam work on your face for about 5 to 10 minutes.
Do some research of your own, and you’ll soon be a coconut oil convert.
You may also want to visit HealthyWomen's Skin Health Center or read:
Healthy Skin Dos and Don’ts
Bethany Porter is a blogger and beauty junkie. She believes in healthy living and that women have powerful potential for beauty both inside and out. You can find more from Bethany at her blog: http://lucky-fifth.blogspot.com/