Natural Skin Care 101

Natural Skin Care 101

There are two major facts you should have at the back of your mind before starting your natural skin care journey. The first is that natural skin care can be super frustrating. The second is that not everything “natural” is safe for your skin.

Now that that’s out of the way, let me give a little personal history. I had never had good facial skin (pimples and I had been best buds since my 8th year of school). About two years ago, I decided to try something new: Natural Skin Care Products. I was tired of spending sizeable chunks of my monthly allowance on trying different drug store brands on my face. I had tried everything from face washes, to scrubs to face masks to moisturisers, but none of them had any noticeable positive effects. Some even worsened the look of my skin!

Lesson 1: Try out different soaps, oils, scrubs and masks for yourself. And if you can’t risk that (or don’t have the time), read a lot of reviews on the product you plan to use, paying close attention to reviews given by people with your skin type. For example, while almost every natural skin care blog will tout Shea Butter as the holy grail of moisturisers, they are not completely right. The first step I took was to replace my body lotions with Shea Butter. You see, I had really dry skin on my body and extremely oily facial skin. I made the mistake of trying to use Shea butter on my face and I broke out horribly. It works great on the body (my skin is no longer dry and it got rid of some stretch marks) but it’s really a bad idea to put it on your face if you have oily facial skin with open pores. Trust me on this!

Lesson 2: Be patient. As with all things skin care (natural or not), results rarely ever show in a day. It takes weeks, most times months before any visible positive effects start to show up. Don’t over-analyse your skin every hour of the day. If you do this, even when it starts to get better, you won’t really notice. Also don’t switch products too fast, give them time to work. As long as you aren’t having break outs or some other negative thing, give each product a 2-3 month trial period. I made this mistake several times into my journey. I would stop using a type of soap or oil after a week once I felt like it wasn’t making much of a difference. Now I know better.

Lesson 3: Natural skin care can be expensive too. I’ve noticed that once most people hear “natural” they immediately think “cheap”. Just because you’ve decided to stop buying drug-store or designer skin care brands doesn’t mean your $$$ gets a breather. Great quality soaps and pure oils can be quite costly because sometimes the companies marketing them to you spend a lot on procuring them in the first place. Extra Virgin Olive Oil doesn’t just start dripping from a tree at the back of your house. It takes some steps to get it to that state.

Lastly, skin care goes beyond what you put on your skin. Eat healthy, drink lots of water and exercise!

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The Health, Skin And Hair Benefits Of Almond Oil

You see it in the food section of almost any grocery store,  but you’re not aware of just how amazing almond oil is. It’s gotten from either sweet or bitter almonds, and has a slight odour and a nutty taste. Due to the cyanide found in bitter almonds, only sweet almond oils are considered safe for human consumption.

Here are the numerous benefits almond oil has for our skin, hair and health.

Skin Benefits

Because almond oil is not greasy and does not have a strong fragrance, it is suitable for use by those with extra sensitive skin.

Almond oil acts as a natural moisturizer: Wary of putting chemically laden drug-store moisturizers on your skin? Almond oil is a great substitute. Without clogging the pores, almond oil is quickly absorbed into the skin and it helps in making the skin smoother and softer. As it also contains zinc properties, it heals dry skin too!

It protects the health of your skin: When applied topically, almond oil will help protect your skin from the harmful effects of UV rays (such as certain types of skin cancer). A study of this published in the ‘Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology” in 2007, concluded that applying it to your skin can prevent structural damage caused by UV rays. And not to worry, Almond oils contain a lot of Vitamin E and thus will not result in you tanning.

Warning: While allergic reactions to this oil are rare. You should perform a patch test before applying it all over your body!

Hair Benefits

Almond oil has many important nutrients such as poly saturated and mono fatty acids, vitamins A, E, D , B1, B2 and B6. All these are extremely helpful in growing healthy strands of hair. It also contains a high amount of magnesium, lack of which cosmeticians cite as the main reason for hair loss.

Removal of Dandruff: Almond oil helps the scalp by removing dead cells from it. A simple method of getting this done is by massaging the oil into your scalp for 15-20 minutes, letting it sit for at least 45 minutes and then rinsing it away with your regular shampoo.

Hair growth: Almond oil, when combined with other hair favourable oils like castor oil, will help you get the long, soft and luscious hair you have dreamed of. Mix three tablespoons each of almond oil and castor oil together. Warm up the mixture slightly by using indirect heat. Apply and massage into your hair and scalp. Wrap your hair up in a towel for about an hour and afterwards wash off with your shampoo. Repeat this twice a month and in a couple of months you will start to see great changes to the look and health of your hair.

Health benefits

Almond oil has tons of benefits for our health when ingested (by using it to cook or simply taking a tablespoon a day). Almond oil is one of the few complete sources of energy and nutrients. Its high potassium content and low sodium content helps in maintaining healthy cholesterol levels and regulating blood pressure. It’s also rich in folic acids and protein which are great for your cardiac health.

Here are a couple of easy ways you can incorporate almond oil in your dishes!

– Baking: You can use sweet almond oil (refined) in baking cakes. Simply substitute it in place of any other oil or butter called for in your cake recipe. Measure the same amount of almond oil as the oil or melted butter called for in the recipe. It works particularly well in cakes that contain chocolate, toffee or caramel.

-Almond oil can be used in place of olive oil in making salad, fish or vegetable dishes.

-Sweet Almond oil is also a great and tasty substitute for vegetable oil in Indian duck and curry dishes.