By now, you are probably aware that we have beneficial bacteria that live in our digestive tract. These friendly little guys keep us healthy by fighting off food borne illness and other foreign invaders. They assist in assimilating and absorbing the nutrients we get from the food we eat and play a larger, than previously thought, role in our innate and acquired immunity. The gut microbiome is being studied extensively and the findings have been a game changer in understanding the connection between the immune system and the digestive tract and our overall health.
So, what's next on the horizon in the world beneficial microflora? All things point to the skin microbiome. Just like in the gut, loads of beneficial bacteria live on our skin, about 1 trillion to be exact. These bacteria do all sorts of wonderful things to for us like controlling dead skin cell build-up inside our pores and keeping levels of potentially problematic microbes like yeast, parasites and other bacteria in check. The types of beneficial bacteria that are found on the skin are not the same strains that thrive in the gut. The skin microbiome is being studied currently and we can expect to hear more about this research over the next 10 years. What we know now is that these bacteria thrive when the skin is able to maintain a slightly acidic pH of 4.0-4.5. Unfortunately, most conventional and even some natural skin care products contain harsh surfactants, synthetic fragrances and other irritants that strip the skin of its natural oils causing dryness, flaking, tightness and irritation. In some cases, the sebaceous glands will try to help the situation by over producing oil, creating a greasy film over the skin. Yuck! More drying products are then sought out to remedy this and the cycle goes on and on. In addition to their over drying effect, many conventional skin care products, like facial cleansers, contain foaming surfactants that alter the skin's pH making it too alkaline which upsets the delicate balance of the skin microbiome. The effect is similar to taking antibiotics. All the bacteria in the digestive tract are wiped out with no distinction between good or bad. Sometimes we really need to take antibiotics to prevent illness but we don't need to use surfactant based cleansers on our skin. There's just no benefit in the long run.
So now you're thinking: "If I can't use a foaming face wash then what am I supposed to use?"
The Oil Cleansing Method has become popular in the last several years amongst the natural consumer set. There really is nothing new about using oil to cleanse dirt and debris from the skin and flush build-up out of the pores. Many ancient cultures, including the Romans and Egyptians, cleansed their skin with oil for thousands of years before soap became a thing. So what kind of oil should you use? It really depends on your skin. Many wonderful skin soothing natural oils are unfortunately comedogenic so acne prone folks need to be very careful about which oils they use on their skin. My personal favorite is safflower oil. It is completely non-comedogenic, according to the research of Dr. James Fulton, and it's a wonderful oil that is very well tolerated by every skin type.
The ODARA Clarifying Oil Cleanse can be used as an effective daily cleanser to remove make-up, dirt, and debris without striping the skin of its protective barrier. In addition to safflower oil, it contains rose hydrosol and aloe vera for extra hydrating and skin soothing and botanical anti-oxidant effects.
How to use the Clarifying Oil Cleanse:
To use, shake the bottle first to help emulsify the oil and water components, then apply a dime to quarter sized amount to dry skin. Massage for 1-2 minutes, and cleanse off using a damp microfiber washcloth, like this one, to wipe the oil, make-up, etc off the skin.
Need a little exfoliation boost with your oil cleanser? We have the perfect thing, the ODARA Herbal Clay Facial Scrub & Mask It's a super gentle scrub containing skin cleansing herbs and hydrating milk. This is a dry powder that can be mixed with a little water, ODARA toner, honey, or yogurt. It will leave your skin super smooth and soft to the touch.
How to use the Herbal Clay Facial Scrub & Mask:
Just mix a dime-sized amount of Herbal Clay Facial Scrub & Mask in the palm of your hand with a few drops of liquid then gently work the paste into your skin for about a minute then rinse off with tepid water. Gently scrubbing the skin in this way activates the lymphatic system stimulating white blood cell activity and movement of wastes away from and nutrients to the deeper levels of the dermis.
Additional regimen steps:
The ODARA Balancing Toner has a pH of 4.0 which creates the perfect environment for the skin microbiome to flourish and thrive. The Balancing Toner contains several hydrosols. These are potent but gentle water extracts that contain all the water-soluble bioactive components found inside the plant's cell wall.
How to use the Skin Balancing Toner:
It can be sprayed directly onto the skin after cleansing and patted gently into the skin with your hands. It can also be wiped onto the skin using a clean cosmetic pad. If you still insist on using a foaming cleanser because you are addicted to that squeaky clean feeling, first try your best to break the habit and second find a good toner that will bring the skin back to its natural pH as soon as possible.
The ODARA Nourishing Moisturizer contains a balance of nourishing EFA rich oils that moisturize the skin and plant based water components that hydrate the skin. These work together to prevent dryness (lack of oil) and dehydration (lack of water).
How to use the Nourishing Moisturizer:
Immediately following the toner step, apply a pea-sized amount of the Nourishing Moisturizer to the fingertips and gently massage into the skin using upward movements. Make sure that you do your regimen steps one right after the next. If you wait too long the water components (from the toner especially) will evaporate off your skin taking your skin's natural moisture with it. This can cause dryness and dehydration over time.
Whatever skin care products you decide to use, keep in mind the skin microbiome. We are just beginning to understand it's role in skin health. Avoiding harsh products that strip the skin and instead choosing products that feed the skin with oils, hydrosols and herbs will help you achieve and maintain healthy, glowing and gorgeous skin for life!