You might not know this but your skin is starving for moisture. Considering those little puddles of shine as proof and it’s way of telling you, you missed a spot. Don’t freak out, but your skin is doing what it’s suppose to do. It’s using a special built in moisturizer, customized for you, named Sebum.
Ever notice how your hair becomes oily if you leave it unwashed for few days? That’s sebum. Sebum is an oily substance secreted by the sebaceous glands. Its main purpose is to make the skin and hair waterproof, protecting them from drying out. If you take sebum and mix it with sloughed skin cells, you’ll get the waxy vernix caseosa that covers and protects newborn babies. Without this coating, babies would come out of the womb (looking like Benjamin Button) very wrinkled from the water world environment in the womb.
Much to the dismay of many teenagers (myself included), sebaceous glands often go haywire during puberty, producing excess sebum causing oily skin, odors, and (ugh!) acne. As sebum drains out to the surface of our skin it can get blocked (the reason for this blockage is unknown). Backed up and with no place to go, it lingers in the pores, mingling with dead skin cells, allowing bacteria to grow. Before you know it, a shiny bright pimple is born.
It’s believed among some people, that drying excess sebum or using products designed to control oil production, such as Oil Free (insert product here), will reduce sebum production. This is simply not true. Drying excess oil and using oil control products (on a freshly cleansed face) will only cause your face to produce more sebum.
Jojoba Oil & Grapeseed Oil to the Rescue
So just how do we control our skin’s need for moisture while maintaining a clear complexion? We trick it and give our skin what it craves the most. Oil.
Jojoba Oil is an extract that comes from the seed of the jojoba tree. I guess the term “oil” markets better than “wax” because jojoba oil is actually a wax ester. Jojoba Oil is different from other oils because its consistency is similar to sebum. You can use jojoba oil to “trick” the skin into thinking it’s producing enough oil, thus balancing oil production. Unlike some other oils (mineral oil) jojoba oil is adsorbed by the skin and it doesn’t block pores. Feel free to use it without fear of breaks outs.
Jojoba Oil does have one negative; it’s greasy. If you apply too much your skin will look greasy until it’s adsorbed! To avoid this use 2-6 drops in the AM and a liberal amount before bed. Due to it’s greasy texture I recommended Jojoba Oil for dry skin.
Like Jojoba Oil, Grapeseed oil contains essential fatty acids similar to those that combine to create sebum. This non- greasy, anti-pore blocking, ultra light oil has a fine texture that’s virtually odorless and easily absorbed by the skin. Packed with very potent antioxidants, Grapeseed Oil is helpful for diminishing the sun’s damaging effects, assisting in tissue regeneration and lessening free radical damage to the skin. Regular application helps in preventing the pores from clogging, thus reducing the incidence of nasty breakouts. Grapeseed Oil is also known for its astringent properties helping to firm and tighten the skin. People with oily skin will benefit greatly from Grapeseed Oil and its ability to reign in oil production.
Cheaper than jojoba oil, I have absolutely nothing negative to say about Grapeseed Oil. It’s very light on the skin and works well as a moisturizer. Use it under make-up to protect the pores from clogging. Recommended for those with combination, oily and sensitive skin. If you have dry skin, Grapeseed Oil my not provide enough moisture for you so try Jojoba Oil first.
Do the sebum test!
I love doing this test cause it’s an easy way to see just where your skin thinks you need moisture most. It’s almost like you’re communicating with your skin and it will tell you how to take care of it if you only listen.
- Wash your face like you normally would with your preferred cleanser
- Pat your face dry with a clean towel
- DO NOT apply moisture and wait for 5-20 minutes
If you see beads of liquid dots on your face in the nose, cheek, chin or forehead region — say hello to your sebum. This will also give you an idea of where sebum is being created the most. Use the information to your advantage and apply an extra helping of oil (Jojoba or Grapeseed) to those areas.
Results vary depending on your skin type. This test is not scientific or fool proof and as always if anything above produces a rash, please discontinue using it.