Thursday, July 13, 2006

Natural Skin Care Routine/Dehydrated Skin/MIY Scrub and Mask (Natural Skin Care)

**Although this entry is primarily for dehydrated skin, I briefly mention what products to use on other skin types too.

A few years ago, after my skin became sensitive to synthetic chemicals, I switched to an all natural routine. At first that seemed to make my skin worse; my skin had always been on the sensitive side, sometimes normal and other times slightly oily, but the natural skin care routines that I read about and tried to follow didn’t seem to help. Using natural recommendations for sensitive skin (which are often designed for dry skin) were too rich for my skin and clogged my pores, which caused blemishes. When I tried suggestions for oily skin that made the problem worse because my skin seemed to become even oilier, leading to blemishes. Normal or combination skin products were not either moisturizing enough or dried me out more. At the same time, my skin seemed to become flaky. I read tons of natural skin care and aromatherapy books (somewhere around 40 now), but their skin type profiles didn’t seem to make sense. Oily skin is often characterized as large pores, thick texture, and dry skin is often distinguished as the lack of sebum (the skin’s natural oil/lubrication substance), small pore size, and delicately textured skin. My skin didn’t even fit into the combination skin type since that is characterized as certain sections of the skin (T-zone) being oily and the cheeks being dry or normal. My skin is fine textured with small pore size, and was dry and flaky, but at the same time, the flaky skin was very oily too. I also had more blemishes. Some books did mention sensitive skin could be in any skin type category, but nearly all the recommendations were for the dry skin type. It was with sheer luck, that I was re-reading a couple of books and I found one line (in each book) that there was a kind of dry skin that could produce enough oil. This skin type is called water dry or dehydrated skin. Now these two books did not have suggestions on how to treat dehydrated skin, but through trial and error, and making my own cosmetics (catered to my own needs) I finally figured out what my skin needs. Now my skin has become balanced and I hardly ever get blemishes anymore.

I realized that using the right natural ingredients, and also applying natural cosmetics in a certain way (different than conventional products) is the key to great skin. Just because it is natural does not mean it will work for your skin; certain ingredients are better for dry skin and others are good for normal skin, etc. Also natural products are highly concentrated substances—they contain no fillers—so it is not necessary to apply a lot (in fact that was one of the reasons using natural oils clogged my pores at first. I was applying just as much product as I used to use for conventional products). Since dehydrated skin is a little discussed skin type (at least in the resources I’ve come across), I’ve decided to post my skin care routine here. Hopefully it will point people with the same skin type in the right direction on what to use on their skin; but every person’s skin is different (even with the same skin type), so don’t be afraid to experiment to find out what’s right for you! You may have to try a lot of things before it works, since finding products that work for dehydrated skin is tricky, since most people don't even make products specifically for dehydrated skin (which is different than regular dry skin).

For dehydrated skin, the most important things to remember are to provide your skin with plenty of water and use nothing too drying or too rich, but use enough natural oils to provide a moisture loss barrier and to also lubricate the skin. And to switch products if you need to; if your skin is a more little dry one day, use something more hydrating. If it is a little more oily, use sometime that will gently remove the oil (like a clay) but be sure to use a richer moisturizer later. Note: for the first few weeks of using ANY new skin care routine, your skin may break out more as the toxins rise to the surface.

I found the best thing to cleanse my skin is all natural soap. Some natural skin care users may disagree with me on that point, but other cleansers don’t seem to clean my pores as well (which tend to get clogged). Usually for the regular dry skin type, either a cleansing oil or cold cream is recommended, but I found that using them (and then following with toner and then another oil or cream as suggested) was too rich for my skin (this dry skin routine clogs my pores!). Though people with normal or oily skin like to use clay based cleansers/scrubs, using them every day seems to strip too much oil from my skin (making dehydration worse, which causes my skin to produce more oil in order to correct the problem). Though I do love clay masks!

Truth is, I usually hate most natural bar soaps because every bar soap I've ever tried has left my facial skin feeling 'tight' and dry (I won’t bother discussing conventional soaps which are made of mostly synthetic detergents, cock full of chemicals, and aren’t really ‘real’ soap). But I’ve found some that my skin really loves. I like the soaps made by Karla Moore of Heart of Iowa Soapworks, which are also sold at a few places: Heart of Iowa Soapworks, Jlynne Cosmetics, and Prairieland Herbs. They are the best natural soaps I've ever used; her soaps leave my skin soft, smooth, without any tightness or dryness. They are all natural, and her shampoo bars are pretty terrific too! (Note: some do contain synthetic fragrances, which I personally avoid). My favorite is the shea butter soap, which is great for both dryness and blemishes. I also like the carrot soap, when my skin is less dry and leaning more towards normal. I've also been using the Dead Sea mud soap (which also has shea in it), which is wonderful to deep cleanse when I do get blemishes, but since it has shea in it, it isn't drying at all! I think the secret (to why these soaps work for me when others haven’t) is the castor oil in them. I recently tried the lavender soap by Monave, which also contains castor oil, and it wasn’t drying either!

Sometimes when my skin is very dry, or if I am wearing a lot of makeup, I will use cleansing oil (simply one or a mix of light carrier oils), but I’ll follow it with soap. I also sometimes use liquid castille soap, which removes dirt but has a higher concentration of water in it so it doesn't strip my face as much. I usually add a bit of carrier oil to it (super fattening it like the shea butter soap), so that it doesn’t strip my face. I also found that the (rose mosqueta and green tea) cleansers from Aubrey Organics are pretty good, though I much prefer using his shampoos (rose mosqueta or blue chamomile) as a face cleanser! (I ordinarily wouldn’t recommend using a shampoo as a face cleanser, since most are made with synthetic detergents, but these are one of the only truly all natural shampoos out there on the market that are made only with liquid soap and herbs). I also sometimes cleanse my skin with aloe during the morning (no makeup). I also use to occasionally use Dr. Hauschka’s cleansing milk (a light textured cold cream) and cleansing cream (gentle almond meal in a cream base), which was a cream base but contained a small amount of alcohol, so wasn’t too rich nor over dried my skin, but that was before they started using components of essential oils (versus the whole essential oils) for scent. Using components of essential oils (single isolated natural chemicals) doesn’t sound ‘holistic’ to me! And (once you get to used to real natural scents) they just don’t smell right to me.


For toner I usually make it myself or use some ingredients ‘straight’. A lot of natural toners for oily skin, combination skin, and sometimes normal skin use alcohol, witch hazel (the extract NOT the hydrosol), or apple cider vinegar, but I’ve found that using these ingredients daily was too drying for my skin. Be careful of hidden sources of alcohol in toner—like herbal extracts, which are usually extracted with alcohol.
I usually like using hydrosols or aloe, either as is or mixed together. Sometimes I’ll use an aromatherapy spray or herbal infusion. Rose hydrosol is wonderful for dry skin, and is my favorite hydrosol. During those times of the month when I have a couple of blemishes, I use lavender hydrosol or pure aloe vera gel. Rose and lavender hydrosols are good at balancing the skin's sebum production (rose is more hydrating), and lavender hydrosol and aloe are good for acne. I also like the cucumber toner from Garden of Wisdom which contains rose hydrosol, cucumber distillate (which is great for dry and sensitive skin), and witch hazel hydrosol (which does not contain alcohol so isn’t drying like the extract).

Other hydrosols for skin care:

chamomile (good for irritated, sensitive skin. It is mildly astringent)
rose (dry and dehydrated skin, some authors debate it is good for sensitive, some disagree)
helichrysum (dry and inflamed skin)
neroli (dry, mature sensitive. Can be a tad drying for some people)
lavender--all skin types, balancing

Natural oils are very good for balancing the skin. Skin is naturally moisturized by sebum, a natural oily secretion, and the addition of natural oils can help regulate your skin's natural moisturizing system. The type of oil to use for your skin really depends upon your skin type. Certain oils are better for specific skin types. It took me a long time to figure out which oils to use on my facial skin. The skin on my body can tolerate pretty much any kind of oil, but the skin on my face is a lot pickier. After months of using different oils and breaking out, I finally figured out that if I apply too much oil/moisturizer I get clogged pores, and if I apply too little, my skin gets really dry, and then my pores will ironically pump out more oil, and I get blemishes. I really needed oils that was light (not heavy) and easily absorbed, but that prevented moisture loss and that weren’t astringent. After trying over a dozen oils and butters, I finally found four that really work well for my skin: kukui nut oil, kukui nut butter, shea butter, and camellia oil. All have really balanced my skin.

Kukui nut oil is the lightest weight oil for the skin out there. Though it is light, it is highly nourishing since it is a nut oil. It is good for all skin types, especially dry and dehydrated skin with blemishes. When my skin feels really dry, I like using kukui nut butter. Though it is a butter it absorbs instantly into the skin. Shea butter is also great for both dry skin and acne too. It can be used on most skin types, except perhaps the extremely oily. It is the heaviest out of the four oils/butters, but it absorbs quickly and forms a non-greasy barrier on the skin. My favorite though is camellia oil. It isn’t as light as kukui nut, but it is one of the lightest oils out there. It is good for all skin types, and helps retain moisture and is also good for blemishes.

I usually make my own lotions/creams with these four or use them straight or mixed with essential oils (serums), but sometimes I buy a few natural brands too. When using natural lotions and oils, be sure to apply only a small amount to your face, and apply to really damp skin (best to spray the skin with aloe, toner, herbal infusion, hydrosol, or spring/distilled water). Use only 3-5 drops of oil or a very, very small amount of cream or butter (1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon). If you are using shea butter, let it melt in the palm of your hand before putting it on, or use whipped shea. I usually spray a bit of hydrosol (like rose water), aloe, or water onto my face, apply the oils and massage gently in, spray with more liquid and then gently massage again. Let the oils penetrate for a few minutes before makeup application.

Be sure to try to buy oils that are cold pressed, unrefined, and organic if you can (which retain more of the active constitutes than refined, solvent extracted oils). These oils may have a richer smell than you are not used to (some people hate the smells but I love them!), and may be a little more expensive, but they are worth it!

A store/already made cream that I love is from Monave. Their rose cream contains camellia, shea, jojoba, and rose and lavender hydrosols. I also love Aubrey Organics' rose mosqueta night cream, which contains vitamins and shea butter, as well as rose mosqueta (aka rosehip seed). Miessence also makes a nice cream; their cream for dry skin is actually more like a lotion, and since it contains a lot of water, it is very hydrating. I prefer to buy them from Cosmetics Without Synthetic’s website since they have samples of this brand and many other natural brands
There are several other good natural brands but these are my favorite for my skin (but I prefer using my own creams and serums of course!)


For my eye area I either use kukui nut butter, shea butter, or I use Aubrey Organics’ eye crème (I LOVE this stuff). I also sometime use helichrysum/rose hip seed serum. I can’t seem to use rose hip seed oil straight all over my face but in small amounts around certain areas of my face, or mixed with another oil, my face can tolerate it.


I exfoliate or use a mask at least once a week. I love rhassoul clay masks, and I also use a store brought natural scrub (Aubrey Organics’ rose mosqueta scrub or Paul Penders walnut scrub) on my face or I make my own (with various ingredients depending on if it feels drier or oilier). Brown sugar scrub is my favorite, but so is the scrub below, at the end of this long entry.

And once or twice a month I give myself a natural facial with an exfoliating cleansing scrub, either a flower/herb or essential oil steam, oil massage, herbal or clay mask, toner, face cream or serum. A monthly facial really improves the texture of my skin, not to mention it keeps my pores clear. I found that for the oil massage, I can use any oil (like argan or jojoba or olive) with no problem (as long as I remove most of it later, and moisturize with my favorite oils).

If I do get a blemish I apply my pimple remedy directly to the spot. Burt’s Bees and Desert Essence also make a blemish stick. If I make it with alcohol or witch hazel, I apply this on top of a moisturizer to prevent it from drying my skin out too much. Otherwise I make it with aloe.


After applying mineral makeup, I like to spray my skin with hydrosol or distilled water. Sometimes I'll mix my mineral in a natural cream or aloe and apply them that way, to prevent dryness.


Easy scrub:
Oatmeal and/or finely ground almonds mixed with honey. Oatmeal and almonds gently exfoliate and can be used on all skin types, including sensitive. I like using equal amounts of the ingredients. Store in fridge.

Easy mask and cleanser:

Organic yogurt with/without honey and 1-2 drops of essential oil. Yogurt is a great cleanser for all skin types and will make your skin soft. Honey removes toxics and is also a good cleanser by itself. You can also choose essential oils specific for your skin type. Lavender is good for all skin types. Store in fridge.

Vegans can replace the honey in the scrub with aloe, and use clay to remove toxins.


Anonymous said...

hi solarkat!
just came across this blog a few weeks ago...enjoying it very much.

another quick masking option that i love love love is 1 egg yolk + honey + oil (just enough to provide lubrication) beaten together. when i apply it i usually massage it in quite well, then let it sit on my skin for 10-15 minutes. i use whatever's left in the mixing bowl for a hand massage while my face soaks in the goodness.

Solarkat said...

Hi Anon!

Thanks; glad you like my blog! :)

What a great mask idea; I haven't used an egg mask in ages! Will try this out!

I love using my leftover masks on my hands; it really softens them up!

Thanks for posting :)


Anonymous said...

Hi Solarkat!
Enjoyed reading your blog very much. You clearly have done your homework, and I'm sure it shows on your skin!

I do have a question about mud masks. I have used a Moroccan mud mask a few times, and love the way my skin feels after, but I'm curious as to what is going on while the mask is drying, there is much more than the simply drying effect that I feel, kind of a tingling sensation. Then why would my skin be red immediately after, though it doesn't itch and the colour does subside? Is this because good things are happening? I know that my skin does feel wonderfully soft afterward.

Another egg mask is the good old homemade mayonnaise hair and face treatment. After a preliminary hair wash, I give it and my face a slathering of mayonnaise and leave it on for 15-20 minutes before washing off. Makes my skin and my hair happy!


Solarkat said...

Hi Jardinrouge,

I am glad you like my blog :)

Clays draw gently toxins from your skin, and different clays may feel differently on your skin; some have more drawing ability than others. Since my skin is dehydrated, some clays make my skin feel really tight, so I usually spray my skin with water or hydrosol to reduce this feeling after the mask has been on my face for a few minutes (then I let it dry again before removing).

If a clay mask is making your skin red, it could be one of several things; masks shouldn't make your face red, even slightly red. First, your skin could be really sensitive to the drying action; I'd suggest trying another clay (kaolin which is a white clay is pretty gentle) or using an herbal mask (see my herbal mask entry) which can be based on egg, honey, yogurt, fruit, etc instead. OR if it's a pre-made store-brought/commercial mask, it could have other ingredients in it that your skin is sensitive to. When I think "Morrocan" it brings up images of mint; peppermint essential oil can be irritating to some people, and also causes a tingling sensation to the skin. Or it could be certain added synthetic chemicals, synthetic preservatives, (many synthetics can cause skin irritation) or even other natural ingredients (some people are allergic to certain natural ingredients like strawberries, nut oils, certain essential oils, etc).

If your skin is getting red, I highly suggest trying another ingredient/product.


Anonymous said...

Hello Solarcat!
I have the oily but dehydrated skin you describe! I used liquid castille soap, ph balanced, and HA and emu oil. I find when i use clay masks i do get some pinkness. Where can i find the herbal mask you mentioned please?

Solarkat said...

Hi Honey,

My blog entry on how to make clay and herbal masks is here:

Basically you can use many of them same ingredients in a herbal mask as a clay mask, just a different base.

If you want to buy one, the Aubrey organics rosa mosqueta one does not contain clay, and it doubles as a scrub (it's very gentle, it uses jojoba meal and oatmeal to exfoliate)


Anonymous said...

Shea Butter Shampoo Lotion Conditioner

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the helpful info! I have another kind of problem skin: medium-large pores and dry. (I don't sweat much either.) The problem is that my face needs moisture, but when I put lotion, oil, etc. on it, it settles into the pores, stiffens, and clogs. When I attempt to unclog the pores, my skin becomes dry and peels. HELP! I'm probably not using the right moisturizer/oils/water solutions -- I've tried mostly organic and natural products such as Benedetta, Burt's Bees, etc. I like the hydrating sprays from Benedetta, but they don't supply enough moisture on their own.

Any suggestions?

Solarkat said...

Hi Anon

You're welcome :)

First when applying natural creams and serums/oils be sure to only apply a small amount (less than 1/8 teaspoon of cream and only 2 to 5 drops of oil or serum) to very damp skin. Dampen the skin with hydrosol, toner, aloe, or water, gently massage the cream or oil in, and then spray skin with more liquid and massage in again. This will help your skin better absorb the cream/oil, and provide moisture (oils by themselves do not moisturize; they only provide nutrients, hold moisture to the skin, and smooth the skin).

Creams like Burts Bees are very heavy, so be sure to follow the instructions above when using them (when I didn't use the method above my pores clogged too; applying natural products in the above way really helps). I have not used Benedetta so can not comment on their products.

I would recommend finding products with oils that contain light but fast absorbing oils like camellia, kukui nut, watermelon seed, meadowfoam seed, squalene, and maybe some of the slightly heavier but still light oils like apricot and almond. You may also do well with jojoba oil (a liquid wax) and shea butter (both are heavier but absorb well. apply to very damp skin).

Companies that sell creams (links to the comoanies on right side of blog on mainpage)

Monave. If I didn't make my own I'd use the creams from here. The rose cream has apricot, shea, and jojoba.

Miessence makes some very nice organic creams that are light. You can get samples on the Cosmetics Without Synthetics website.

You may also like Aubrey Organics facial care which is very fast absorbing. I really love their night creams (day creams are okay for me but they actually absorb too fast for my skin!).

Check out the other links on my mainpage under natural/organic skin and hair care.

Also it may help if you exfoliate and used masks :) Exfoliation and masks helps with flaky skin and also clogged pores.



Anonymous said...

wow!! ur prob is exactly the same as mine.. :(
but unlike u, im depressed abt it...i hav tried lots of things..they dont work!!!Dehydration on the face sux big time!!! can i get ur email id?

Solarkat said...

Hi Water

Sorry it took me a long time to respond. The best way to contact me through email is through the delphi forums
My user id is snowcat27


Anonymous said...

i dont know what is the problem with my skin but on cheeks it always appears red may be rashes and now small pimples stared to develop on my skin. I have consulted a dermotologist but she said that is is Rocea, try to avoid hot things. Is ther any remedy for this. And I even find that my skin has lost its smoothness because of this and appears like wrinkled. help me

Solarkat said...

Hi sailaja

Sorry for the delay in posting and answering your comment. I am not that familiar with what herbs to use on rosacea (haven't researched it much yet), but you'll want to use gentle and scent free products (free of synthetic scents definitely, you may be able to tolerate certain natural essential oils like chamomile and lavender, which are anti-inflammatories). Garden of Wisdom (the company whose forum I help moderate) just came out with a serum for rosacea, you may want to check that out. See link on right side of main page.


Anonymous said...

Hi Solarkat!
Thanks for your information on natural skin care for dehydrated skin - I have a similar skin type and also a lot of sensitivities to chemicals. Just a quick question - can I use tea seed oil (which is the same as camellia oil, I think)? I found an organic tea seed oil but it is marketed for cooking and I am just wondering if I need a more refined/processed version of the oil. The cooking quality is a lot cheaper but not worth it if it ends up clogging my pores.

Solarkat said...

Hi Anon

I do not recommend using refined carrier oils, as refined oils do not have as much vitamins and nutrients as unrefined oils do. The cooking oil should be fine to use if it is a high quality organic one (which is higher in vitamins/nutrients than non-organic). Oftentimes food grade oils are higher quality than cosmetic grade oils (most of the oils I use are food grade). I use cold pressed unrefined food grade camellia myself, it does not clog pores. Wonderful stuff :)


Anonymous said...

Hi Solarkat!

Thank you so much for your blog! I've been looking for the right skinroutine for dehydrated skin for so long. I'm 17, and I don't want to try and try all the time and spend all that money to expensive products.
I just have a question about cleaning your face. I've noticed that if I use water to clean my face, it will flake terribly around my eye area's. But if I use my ceansing cream without getting it off without water, it will clog my pores and cause pimples. I really don't know what to do. I'm looking for a cleanser that I can use without water. Do you have any suggestions?

Thank you!

Solarkat said...

Hi Anisa

Thanks for posting and sorry for the late response (really better to email me)

If you are having problems with water, I highly suggest getting a water filter.

If you only need light cleaning, try using a plain oil (cleansing oil method). Different oils work for different people, so not all of them are greasy. You can also try things like aloe to cleanse with (I've posted a recipe for an aloe cleanser on this blog; see main page for link or you may want to do a search). Or try a hydrosol :) (Both aloe and hydrosols are water rich ingredients but I think the flakiness that you are experiencing with water is due to all the chemical additives of treated tap water; you shouldn't have a problem with aloe or hydrosols).

HTH :)