Get Slick – Oil Your Partner – Skin Care Without Pocket Pain

Got your attention? Good. Body oiling may only be practiced today in the West in certain, umm, intimate situations. But, worldwide and throughout history,  it’s the commonest way to keep skin healthy. And it’s a lot cheaper than those creams and lotions from the pharmacy or supermarket.

So I’m recommending that you oil your skin for good health. If that makes you squirm, you’ve been taken in by some very subtle and pricy marketing, which has tried for decades to make you buy expensive skin products and regard the simple stuff of folk remedy as somehow rather icky. Did it take you in, too?

What’s Good for Skin — What’s Bad?

Your skin is essentially made from proteins. All of the outer part is dead cells, strongly bonded together to form a tough, germ-proof barrier and take all the knocks and abrasion. So your outer skin cells can’t look after themselves. Your skin gets hard use, yet it must stay supple or it will crack, exposing the live lower layers. Result? Pain and bleeding. 

There’s just one way to keep that elasticity: oil. Your skin relies on natural oils from your sebaceous glands to stay supple and healthy. How much you produce, and how much you choose to apply, and how much you remove with detergents, decide your skin’s health more than anything else.

You can get your oil in an emulsion with water — a lotion or cream. It works fine and it’s easy to spread, but a mix like this can go rancid quickly. The big name cosmetics makers love lotions and creams. This way they can sell you a lot of water at a high price. They get round the rancidity problem by using mineral or refined oils and artificial preservatives. They also add a variety of other compounds, which may or may not have been shown to be useful but are certainly not vital. They all help to jack up the price.

Unfortunately, there are two problems with these additives. First, there are an awful lot of them, with no clear way to know how the combinations will react on your skin. Even eight additives will have hundreds of possible combinations of chemical reaction. How can the cosmetic chemists possibly test all of these? 

Second, some of the chemicals, especially preservatives, are definitely poisonous. The cosmetic chemists rely on there being too little of any one chemical in the lotion or cream to damage you noticeably, but enough to keep the stuff safe in the pack till you’ve used it all. This may make your skin supple, but it’s bad news for long-term health. Remember, your skin is your body’s biggest organ, and it’s good at absorbing stuff for you to use. So what you put on your skin can get inside pretty quickly — including any poisons you slather on your skin.

There’s a better way to keep your skin supple. Just use oil.

Deep Down Skin Food

That’s right, get some ordinary vegetable oil, not that chemical stuff, called ‘mineral oil’, that’s often sold as baby oil. You could use cooking oil, for example. Just spread it thinly on your skin once a day and every time after using any detergent like soap, shampoo or shower gel. Spread it as thin as you can. If you need to, wipe excess away with towel or tissue. Enjoy soft, supple-feeling skin. Simple — and it feeds your skin perfectly. If you need it perfumed, add one or two drops of your favorite aromatic essential oil to each ounce/25g of oil.

The cosmetics makers don’t like you to do this. There’s no profit in it for them — oil is cheap. So they promote their expensive products with hype like ‘Hate that greasy feeling? Get Scaley Top lotion for soft skin’ — and try to get you to think that oil is ‘greasy’, which you’ve been taught by their other ads is like ‘dirty’. It’s not either. It’s healthy, though you may want to remove excess skin oils if you’re one of the minority who produce too much. Greasy skin is often a sign of bad diet, but never of being dirty.

 They also like to sell you ‘anti-ageing’ stuff which will pull in wrinkles and make you look younger. These things usually work by including with the oil some chemicals that tighten up skin which has lost its elasticity (we all get this as we age). 

Just plain oil gives good results, though, as frequent tests by independent researchers shows. But which oil?

The Good Oils

Traditionally, people have used the cheapest plain oil available in their area — because all food oils are Good Oils for your skin. For example, in the Mediterranean, they have used olive oil for millennia (think Roman Baths) and in the tropics it’s coconut oil. One African farm I know of produces avocados. Guess what the locals rub on their skin for good health? 

You can do as they do — just pick the vegetable oil of your choice, as long as there are no ‘long life’ or ‘anti-foam’ additives in it. (Oh, and don’t eat that stuff, either! Chemicals!) I use rapeseed oil — it’s the cheapest unrefined oil in my supermarket. My wife uses almond oil at eight times the cost: she likes the scent and can’t bring herself to believe that something so cheap as plain cooking oil is so good. But it is.

The Best Oils

You can go further. 

First, I recommend that you use raw oil by choice, rather than refined oil. It’s not cooked and it’s had no chemical processing. It will be called ‘cold-pressed’ and ‘virgin’ and — good idea — it might be ‘organic’, too. 

Second, the finest oil for skin health is flax oil, often called linseed oil. This MUST be cold-pressed and kept in the fridge, too. It goes rancid very quickly — a week or two in the warm — but it’s the harder to get of the two essential fatty acids your body needs for health. If you wash at least once every two days, (surely…) there’ll be no rancid smell, and your body will thank you for it. Flax oil is mostly alpha-linolenic acid, an essential component of all your body’s cells, and it quickly absorbs into the deepest layers of your skin — it’s the ideal skin food. You can get it from health stores and some supermarkets. It’s pricey, but a lot cheaper to use than those commercial creams, if you remember that the cream is only about a third oil at the most.

But the best way to oil your skin is from the inside. Eat a tablespoonful of flax oil a day for a few weeks and you’ll be amazed by the change in your skin health. See my earlier article on Good Oils for details.

David

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