Here’s what happens when our skin is stressed (aka, all the time)
Our skin is always fighting off some form of stress whether it’s environmental (arid winter weather and hot dry summer heat) or personal (work and life stress). Although skin is our largest organ, it’s the last one to receive blood flow when the body is stressed. Think about it, if you’re running away from a bear, your blood vessels are beelining blood to the heart, lungs and other organs to help you run away; the body isn’t worried about whether your arms and legs have a healthy effortless glow.
Body oils help relieve skin stress.
Lotions are humectants that attract moisture to the skin, but over time our bodies become less able to hold onto hydration. Enter, oils. As emollients and occlusive agents, oils excel at locking in moisture and preventing moisture loss (aka trans-epidermal water loss=TEWL); they teach skin how to maintain a healthy hydration level even during those times of skin stress.
Can I just use my face oil on my body?
Your booty isn’t your face, and the skin densities in each area of the body vary greatly (thank goodness). If our tushies were equipped with under-eye level thin skin, we’d be sitting on two deflated whoopy cushions. So, it stands to reason that skincare from the chest down has a different job to perform keeping our more cushioned areas pliable and smooth.
But how are body oils different from body lotions and creams?
The main difference is hydration, lotions are charged with delivering hydrating agents to skin, but an oil’s function is to lock in that moisture. Some would also argue that lotion’s benefits are more temporary relative to an oil, which immediately absorbs and becomes part of skin’s protective barrier helping to keep nutrients in and aggressors out.
What should I look for in a body oil?
Nothing chemical-ly, the more natural, the better. Look for oils that have ingredients most closely resembling our body’s natural sebaceous glands such as jojoba, almond and avocado. These are able to help regulate skin’s oil production, not just instantly, but long term. On top of that, look for ingredients specific to what you want to treat. Rosehip, for example, is a formulator favorite as it treats every concern from acne, pores and dull skin to uneven texture, fine lines and hyperpigmentation. Vitamin C is another big hitter as its unparalleled in its ability to brighten, even out skin tone and protect skin from free radicals.
When should I apply a body oil?
Maximizing the efficacy of your body oil largely depends on timing. You can get away with one coat of oil if it’s applied to wet clean skin directly out of the shower or bath for example and be on your way. If skin is already dry and suffering from dryness, do a cocktailed application of lotion plus oil to reap the hydration benefits and lock it in with the oil.