Hi! My name is Hiwot, I am a pharmacist, cosmetics formulator and world traveler. If you are leading a conscious, clean lifestyle but too busy to sieve through contradictory "advices" around skincare, welcome! I explain the science of skincare so you can pick products that fit into your lifestyle. My goal is to "teach you how to fish" not go over individual brands.
Also, my company-Askalite Formula-offers a range of products that are made from meticulously selected clean ingredients that fit right into a clean lifestyle! You can find them right here: www.askaliteformula.com.
As promised I am here with all the information you need about natural oils, how they are extracted, what you should be looking for to achieve your goals.
So the first confusion I wanted to address is the words “essential” and “natural” oil which a lot of the times gets mixed up. Natural oils, of most accurately called fixed oils, are oils often cold-pressed using mechanical force only. That also includes oils extracted using solvents. The main thing about fixed or natural oils is that they are not volatile at room temperature. When buying for high quality fixed oils, you want to make sure they are indeed cold-pressed. That way, they retain the highest phytochemicals-the goodness we all want out of them. As you can imagine, cold pressed oils don’t give high yield which means the prices of the oil tend to be higher than a non-cold pressed oil even if they come from the same source. As an example, lets take rosehip oil, an oil most of us love. So if you want the highest quality of this oil, you should go for the oil that is cold-pressed from the seeds of the berry like fruit of rosehip. There are alternatives that are called rosehip oil but don’t retain the phytochemicals you would want to get that we mentioned earlier.
Essential oils on the other hand are oils that are steam distilled from the leaves, flower petals and other parts of plants. Like rosehip is never distilled so it can’t be called essential oil. Distillation is a process that vaporizes a plant’s volatile compounds, condense and collect. When you collect the final condensed part of the distillate, you have two layers: oil and water at the bottom. We call the top part essential oil and the bottom is what we call hydrosol. Also essential oils are volatile aromatic compounds at room temperature. Hope that makes sense.
Natural and essential oils are commonly extracted from parts of the plant such as leaves, seeds, nuts, and flowers. Rice bran, on the other hand, is extracted from the by-product of rice grain, the bran called chaff. So here and there, you run into exceptions.
Now that the extraction methods are clear, lets see how to pick a good oil based on your skin type. Generally speaking, fatty acid we find could be short-chain (six or fewer carbons in its backbone (C6:0)), medium-chain (B12 carbons (C12:0)), and long-chain (12–22 carbons). Different oils also contain varying levels of the good stuff we want: omega-3-6-and-9 PUFAs. Plant oils provide fatty acids composed of 18 carbon atoms (C18), whereas animal fats such as beeswax contain fatty acids with 20 carbon atoms (C20) or more.
If you are asking why on earth we need to indulge our skin in lipids, I encourage you to watch my other video that goes over why fat is so important to the skin’s health. You can find more information on that video but essentially, the ceramides, cholesterol and fatty acids are what the skin is embedded in to maintain the barrier function. Think of the skin layer like the way we make lasagna. That’s as good as I can simplify it without going off track. The way you have your cheese and sauce over ever layer, there are these good lipids that the skin is embedded in to keep it intact. Ceramides are complex lipids and fatty acids are simple lipids. Too often, the disruption of these lipids is correlated with chronic skin conditions such as eczema. So, fat is good for the skin. But we need to know what kind of fat.
The fatty acids found naturally in/on/around the skin are long-chain are saturated with 14-28 carbons in length. So, we can deduce that giving the skin oils that are similar to what is present naturally is the way to go.
Now, we all are unique but to simplify, we will go by the dry, combination and oily skin. How can you tell an oil is good for you before spending the bucks? So I will tell you a little trick that no one will tell you: Use HLB system.
What is HLB? You may ask. Well, HLB is what we use to pick emulsifiers-you know molecules that help oil and water mix. HLB stands for hydrophilic-lipophilic balance. Without getting technical, every oil has its own HLB requirements. HLB scale ranges from 0-20. While it’s meant to pick emulsifiers, what I am sharing with you helps you gauge the comedogenicity of an oil. So for example, HLB required to mix shea butter with water is around 4-5 on that scale. Most natural oils like rosehip, pomegranate oil etc are around 7. If you take oils like squalene which oily and acne prone individuals swear by, it has HLB value of 11. So, the higher the HLB value, the lighter the oil. You can easily google the HLB of the oil you’re interested in and you should be able to get results from credible sites. Hope this helps. Let me know what you find using this trick. My hope is to always empower you with information that you can go out fishing with not hold hands. With the geographical differences and everyone’s unique needs, I don’t intend to review every brand out there. Unfortunately, I have a very busy lifestyle to do videos more often than once a week. I mean, I am struggling to keep up with that.
In the next video, we will look at specific oils using the method I told you about and see they are for you.
Hope you learned a few things from this video. If you like contents like this, don’t forget to subscribe.
I will catch you next time. Take care!