The Good Oil
Part 1: Why should you incorporate oils into your lifestyle rituals?
The first time my face and body was slathered in oil was when I was a 6 week old baby. In later years, my mother narrated how my grandmother sat in the bath, put me on top of her stretched legs and gave me a relaxing head-to-toe warm oil massage. She did this regularly every week, cupped hands brimming with carom/caraway seed infused, wood-pressed sesame oil. Not only did the Carom/caraway seed infusions act as a warming stimulant to ward off cold or chest infections, it prevented colic. This was part of our traditional wisdom, handed down from grandmother to mother, mother to daughter.
Having benefited from these time tested practices, I was motivated to explore the science of using oils for the health of skin and body. Over the last few years, I completed a Diploma in Organic Skincare Formulation and an Advanced Diploma in Organic Cosmetic Science. I launched my own company, PetalDew (www.petaldew.com.au) where I use these learnings to formulate eco-conscious skincare. Now, I am researching Ayurveda, an ancient yet ageless healing system.
Ayurveda is one of the world's oldest holistic ("Mind-Body-Spirit") healing systems. It was developed more than 3,000 years ago in India. Ayurveda recommends Abhyanga - regular warm oil massage for good health and to delay age-associated pathological changes. Abhyanga can be incorporated as a daily routine as it restores the balance of the Doshas and enhances well-being and longevity. In addition, Abhyanga helps to reduce stress related hormones and relaxes our mind. Traditionally, herbs infused in wood pressed sesame oil or virgin coconut oil was used for Abhyanga, per the individual’s Dosha or body type.
In Southern India, Abhyanga is popularly referred to as an ‘Oil bath.’ Typically a weekly ritual on Sundays, Abhyanga is done in the early morning followed by gentle exfoliation of the face and body with Mungbean and turmeric powder paste. To cleanse the hair and scalp, Shikkakai (natural shampoo) paste was used. This stress-relieving ritual is followed by drinking a concoction called ‘Inji sorasam’ (ginger cumin seed drink) to detox and cleanse our digestive system. This is a completely detoxifying and stress-relieving process undertaken for the health of mind and body. After the oil massage ritual - it is recommended to stay at home that day, completely rest and eat a warm, cooked meal including ginger, cumin seeds and turmeric.
It is a popular misconception that any application of oils to our skin can cause breakouts, block the pores and leading to greasy looking skin. There is much misinformation being spread and a lack of awareness on the extensive benefits of plant oils for our skin and body.
In this 5-part article series of “The Good Oil”, I’d like to turn the spotlight on the benefits of oils and why I use particular oils in my products.
To begin with, a bit of terminology.
All oils - from botanical and animal sources are lipids. Lipids form the main component of any oil. Lipids consist of fatty acids and triglycerides. Lipids can take the form of phospholipids, for example: Lecithin and waxes. Lecithin helps to carry the nutrients deep into other layers of the skin. For example, Soya Bean Oil is naturally high in phospholipids. Fatty acids, an important constituent of lipids, protect the skin. In particular, essential fatty acids (EFA) play a key role for the health of our skin. The benefits of EFA can be acquired through our diet and also it can be obtained when applied externally, too. I’ll cover these in the next article. As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts.
For a relaxing weekly face and body massage you can check out our Skin Treat Oil –
Credit and source:
- Power of the Seed Your Guide to Oils for Health & Beauty By Susan M Parker
Please watch this space for Part 2. To be continued.
Part 2 of The Good Oil - Why Essential Fatty Acids are Essential for Your Health.
Bhuvi – Founder and Formulator @PetalDew Skincare.
Certified Organic Skincare Formulator (Advanced Diploma in Organic Cosmetic Science – Formula Botanica).