Contributed by Dr. Amy Wolthoff, Board Certified Dermatologist
Our skin is the largest organ of our body. It functions to guard the underlying muscles, bones, and internal organs. It is also our first line of defense from environmental factors, including dehydration, infection, and disease. It also serves to insulate us, regulate our temperature, convey the sense of touch and help with the production of vitamin D. Taking care of your skin is one of the best investments someone can do to live a long and happy life. There are a few important steps to taking care of our skin on a daily basis: cleansing, moisturizing, and protecting from the sun.
Cleansing the skin is an important step and does not have to be complicated. I recommend cleansing the skin twice daily. In general, it is beneficial to avoid strongly fragranced cleansers or ones with alcohol. It is also wise to avoid washing with hot water, as this can strip the natural oils from the skin.
One of my favorite cleansers is Veráge® Cleanser by doTERRA. Some of the main ingredients include Wild Orange and Basil essential oils. Wild Orange has a great way of conditioning and cleaning the skin.1,2,4 Basil has the ability to soothe minor redness and irritation to promote a clear, healthy-looking complexion.5
As part of your cleansing routine, I also recommend exfoliating the skin at least once weekly. Exfoliants gently remove built-up dead skin for smoother and noticeably renewed skin. Environmental damage causes the surface of the skin to become dull, rough, and often uneven. Exfoliating eliminates this buildup, which may otherwise clog pores and worsen the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
The Invigorating Scrub from the doTERRA Essential Skin Care line includes some of these ingredients and works well to gently break up the dead skin cell adhesions and allow them to naturally detach themselves from the skin surface without any rough mechanical scrubbing. This prevents the clogging of pores, which helps reduce the appearance of blemishes.
I often get asked whether a toner is necessary in a good skin care routine. Toners (also known as astringents) can remove excess oils from the skin (for oily skin) and the right toner can help balance the pH of the skin. I do not feel it is a necessary step, but it can definitely add some benefit if used correctly. doTERRA’s Pore Reducing Toner takes advantage of the properties of Lavender, German Chamomile, and Ylang Ylang essential oils to calm, tone, and tighten the skin without the worry of being too harsh.
Moisturizing the skin is by far one of the best things you can do to preserve the elasticity of the skin and keep the barrier of the skin intact to allow the skin its ability to protect you. You may think you are too young to need moisturizer or that your skin is too oily, but all skin needs moisture. Even blemish-prone skin can benefit from moisturizing, as recently it has been found that blemishes may be due in part to skin barrier dysfunction that can lead to both inflammation and infection. It is important to note that moisturizers for patients with blemishes should be non-comedogenic (do not clog pores).
Three of the most common oils used for the moisturizing base of cosmetic products include sunflower seed oil, coconut oil, and olive oil. Sunflower seed oil has a high linoleic acid content, which has demonstrated effectiveness in improving the barrier of the skin and skin hydration. Coconut oil has been shown to improve the skin barrier and skin-soothing properties that may protect against environmental threats.6 Unfortunately, olive oil contains high oleic acid content, which has not shown to help with skin barrier function, does not improve hydration, and has shown to cause inflammation in patients with sensitive skin.
doTERRA’s Anti-Aging Moisturizer uses the amazing benefits of Lavender, Jasmine, Geranium, and Frankincense all in one step. The ingredients of this unique formula not only help with hydrating the skin, but have also demonstrated the ability to soothe, calm, and nourish the skin.11,12,13
Specifically, for blemish-prone skin, there are some essential oils that can help cleanse and purify the skin. doTERRA’s HD Clear® line utilizes the properties of Black Cumin seed oil, Melaleuca oil, and Eucalyptus oil (among many others), which have shown the ability to help reduce the appearance of blemishes and restore a healthy appearance of the skin.8,9,10
Protecting from the Sun
By far the most important element in decreasing damage to the skin that can lead to aging and skin cancer is sun protection. There are two main types of sunscreen: chemical (which absorbs the UV radiation) and physical (also known as mineral, which reflects the UV radiation). I highly recommend physical barriers, as these do not allow the sun to penetrate any of the skin barrier. It is important to wear sunscreen daily, even if just driving in the car, as UVA can penetrate the windows and cause long-term damage.
Overall, there are many different types of skin. The most common categories are dry skin, combination skin, oily skin, and then whether the skin is sensitive (easily irritated by topical product application) or not. When putting together a personal regimen for my patients, I always take these factors into consideration. For any specific questions or recommendations, I would advise speaking directly to your dermatologist or primary care physician.