If I’m being completely honest, I’ve always been fairly lucky with my skin. I’ve never had issues with acne (other than the odd breakout) and I was fortunate enough to inherit my father’s olive skin tone. I grew up in an age where oily skin was “controllable” with the so-called right products. I was definitely one who believed in the “I can’t use oil-based products because my skin is already oily” myth and tried every pore-filling product on the market.
Around the age of 27, I was introduced to Grounded Sage through my place of work at that time. For those of you who didn’t know, I use to work in the print shop that produced our labels. It was my first, real introduction to natural skincare, and by this point in my life, the congestion in my skin was really taking a toll. I basically figured that I had nothing to lose.
Fast forward 4 years and I can honestly say I will never turn back. My skin has never been as healthy, vibrant and balanced as it is today. Sure, I can still battle oil and congested from time to time, but that really only happens when I’ve gotten a little lazy with my routine. The biggest hurdle in my battle was getting over my fear of moisturizers and rebuilding that relationship. Trust me when I say this wasn’t easy.
Since joining the Grounded Sage crew, my knowledge in regards to how our skin operates has gone through the roof. Everything I thought I knew (thanks to mass media) was essentially thrown out the window. I basically had to start from ground zero to learn what really happens (and not what they want you to think happens in order to sell the latest trend).
That’s why I’m writing this to you, my oily skin friend. I want to share some of the knowledge that has helped me in my journey to see real and lasting results. I’ll keep them short, but I hope there is at least one take away for you from this in terms of how you view your relationship with your moisturizer moving forward.
Let’s dive in!
- “Oil-Free” is a load of bull. When this trend first hit the market, what they failed to tell me was that the oil they were referring to was actually mineral oil. Sounds healthy, right? (P.S. This is the perfect example of how knowledge is power). Mineral oil is actually a petroleum byproduct that is totally unnatural and damaging to our skin. Now, while we should all be thankful that many companies have removed this from their products, the negligence of not better informing the consumer of what this actually meant, caused a frantic scare in many people who instantly believe all oils were bad for the skin. This fact could not be further from the truth.
- You need to fight oil with oil! Sounds totally counterproductive, I know. Just hear me out for a second though. The issue with oily/congested skin is our body naturally produces too much oil, to begin with, but why is that? The sebaceous glands (the part of our system that produces sebum <— the technical term for skin oil) goes into overdrive because it’s already LACKING oils, is dehydrated in the deeper layers of the skin, or our lipid barrier is compromised. Our skin needs oils to repair itself (sometimes all 3 of these scenarios are happening at the same time). Yup! We don’t just produce it for the sake of it; there is a reason/purpose behind everything our body does. This is also what many people with naturally oily skin also suffer from dry patches at the same time. Your body is attempting to ‘help’ protect you, even if it doesn’t feel like it. The only way to safely (and I stress safely) balance this process is by providing your skin with natural, rich oils that it recognizes. Once your glands have calmed down enough to recognize the healthy, molecular structure of these oils, they’ll begin to slow down their production.
- There’s no such thing as an overnight fix. I’m sorry to break it to you but it’s just not going to happen and there’s even a chance that you’ll go through what I called my ‘grease factory stage’. It takes our skin a minimum of 28 days to recognize and adjust to a new skincare product. For us oily girls, I would say you can almost double that when it comes to moisturizers. It takes time, consistency and a whole lot of patience for our oil production to slow down. At the start of this process for me, the mix of my natural oils and the moisturizer created some not-so-flattering days for my skin, but I discovered a few products that helped me to minimize the damage throughout the day while my skin adjusted. On the other hand, my congestion took closer to 6 months for me to get a handle on due to the build-up of silicone primers and other junk I had been filling my pores with to make them less visible. The truth is, those instant-fix products are likely stripping your skin, which if we’ve learned anything here, is going to kick those sebaceous glands into high gear each and every time.
- Listen to your skin. Unlike people with acne or other skin conditions, my experience is that oil is just something you were taught to deal with. Acne sufferers, on the other hand, tend to learn and accept the whole “everything happens for a reason” bit easier than us oily folks. I bet you if you took the time to really get to know your skin, you’d recognize the factors for which increases or triggers your oil production. Diet, smoking, medications, poor skincare, hormone fluctuations, dietary deficiencies, pollution and more, all play a role. For me, I notice a big difference in seasonal changes. My skin is much oilier in summer than it is in the winter. After a little research, I realized this was because the environment I live in (hot and humid summers) creates an ideal environment for the sebaceous glands. This type of setting is what those glands live for and feel most productive in. So how does this change my approach
- During the summer, I use a lighter moisturizer. My moisturizer of choice is the Raw Radiance Moisturizer for hot and humid months. My skin is going to produce more oils no matter what I do, so I let up on the richer butter, like coconut oil (Raw Radiance is coconut oil-free) to balance the scales. This way, I’m still ensuring that I’m providing my skin with those healthy oils that it loves, while not causing an oil slick because my skin is in its ‘Imma do me’” summer state of mind.
- During the winter, I use a richer moisturizer that contains oil balancing properties. For the dry and cold months of the year, my ideal moisturizer is the Daily Detox Moisturizer. My oil production slows down but congestion can easily ramp up if I’m not watching things. This moisturizer helps maintain the balance with richer, heavier oils while providing my skin with natural clays that help to continually detox my skin and draw out those oils that would otherwise harden and clog my pores. I also want to preface that rich and heavier oils don’t feel that way on your skin. When you’re using natural, organic skincare, these plant-based oils are easily absorbed by the skin and don’t sit on top where they can look ‘greasy.’
- Finally, Embrace your natural oil! I’m dead serious. I want you to find harmony and balance in your skin, but STOP using stripping agents to deal with your oil. Our body produces it for a multitude of reasons, but here are two that can help you appreciate it a little more.
- Your sebum plays a major role in the building and maintaining of your lipid barrier. This is your skin’s natural wall of defence. It protects you from the outside world, and without it, your skin is vulnerable to a whole slew of other challenges.
- If your body is good at producing oil, you’re less likely to notice signs of ageing as fast as your dry-skinned friends. Oils, both produced by the body and provided topically, contain high levels of antioxidants. For example, sebum has a lot of vitamin E – a powerful antioxidant. Natural plant-based ingredients are jammed packed with antioxidants of all strengths and abilities. These magic little vitamins are the key to a youthful complexion.
I think that about does it for now. I really hope you’ve managed to have an ‘ah-ha’ moment with me, as this is THE most common conversation/reality check I have to have with people who suffer from oily skin. While the concept and science are there, it’s really common for this to be a hard piece of knowledge for oily skin folks to accept. I can, without a doubt, say that the proof is in the pudding, and my skin would not be where it is today if I hadn’t admitted to myself that there was truth in this and put my trust in nature.
With love and radiance,
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