There is so much misinformation out there, not only about what is good for skin, but how it should be used. One cannot fix skin problems that stem from ill health. It is that simple. The skin is a very large organ designed to protect the body. It has the most amazing chemical mechanisms to do that, but if the body is not well, the skin cannot do its job either.
So, first is the diet. The old adage, you are what you eat, remains true. Our North American diet is very bad, leaving the majority of us malnourished. We eat an abundance of refined carbohydrates, and a scanty amount of vitamin and mineral packed vegetables. Eighty percent of what we ingest should come from plant matter, and I am not meaning grains, but real green, yellow, red, purple and in between highly coloured vegetables, locally grown organically, hopefully in YOUR own garden. If you cannot have a garden due to limited space, at least grow potatoes in 5 gallon buckets and tomatoes, beans, peas, or whatever you can in containers, even on a balcony. Sprout organic seeds in the winter for fresh greens. But eat your veggies!
Lately, I have been on a special diet to kick start my thyroid. It is not working so well for the thyroid, because I don't know just how long that gland has not been at its optimal or how long it will take to repair, but the diet is amazing for inflammation reduction, which is the root of most illness. I suffer from arthritis and this diet has been amazing in alleviating the pain. It does help with my skin elasticity, because, really, when a body is fueled properly and running well, everything is at its optimal. I am so often told I have beautiful skin and look years younger.
So, once the diet is on track and the body is being nourished well (I like the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, check it out), what is best to put on the skin? Two oils that are easily obtainable, grow with minimum pesticide or chemical inputs and are very skin loving are safflower and sunflower. While I prefer to purchase everything organic that I do not grow, there are some commodities that are safer than others, and these two oils are amongst them. Safflower oil has been hybridized to be high oleic, that is more like olive oil in its fatty makeup, which has changed it. Do not buy the clear, refined safflower oil, nor the high oleic clear refined sunflower oils. What you want is cold pressed or expeller pressed unrefined safflower and sunflower oils that are not the high oleic. The reason high oleic was selected, is to increase the shelf life, because any oil with a high percentage of linoleic acid, does not have a long shelf life and will suffer rancidity within months. Oleic is shelf stable much longer. But it is not as good for your skin.
Flax seed oil, pumpkin seed oil, evening primrose seed oil, rosehip seed oil and borage seed oil, plus others like sea buckthorn and wheat germ, all high excellent skin loving properties due to a high percentage of good fatty acids. They are also good to eat! Remember, we are what we eat. If it is not food quality, you should not be putting it on your skin. My favourite skin oil that falls in the high percentage linoleic and linolenic category, meaning good for you inside and out, is hemp seed oil. Fresh raw pressed hemp seed oil has a nutty smell and taste and is a pleasant addition to salads and stir fries, but it is prone to rancidity and often is rancid right out of a fresh bottle due to improper storage. Fresh hemp seed oil is amazing for skin and hair, both if you eat it or apply it. But it is also not nearly as inexpensive as sunflower or safflower.
If you do not like to apply oil to your skin, you can make it into a salve by using 1 part of beeswax to 4 parts of oil. Beeswax is very wonderful for skin in that application as well. Raw, unrefined, natural sweet smelling wax, that is, not the refined whitish scent free wax. Always choose organic, sustainably harvested treatment free apiary products.
Skin loving oils are easy to use. Simply wash and then apply. Safflower is readily absorbed and does not leave a greasy feel to the skin. IF you can find organic, not refined safflower oil that is also not high oleic, please give it a try. Use it liberally on your foods, for baking and for your skin. Your body will love you for it! Oh, and for those who are in long season growing areas, bees absolutely thrive on safflowers and sunflowers! Grow some!