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Natural cosmetics, like kings and queens Part 79, the ancient Greeks and Romans and the oil cleansing technique

Natural cosmetics, like kings and queens Part 79, the ancient Greeks and Romans and the oil cleansing technique

October 09, 2022
Using vegetable oils to clean the skin allows you to gently remove, without irritating the skin, pollution, dirt and even the most resistant make-up. Not only that, the oil used to cleanse can reduce skin inflammation, counteract acne and greasy skin, moisturize the tissues and protect the skin from aging processes
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The ancient Greeks and Romans didn't know soap! However, they used to grease the skin with perfumed oils, preserved in terracotta amphorae, and then scrape off oil and dirt with special tools. And these treatments were not reserved only for the aristocrats. Even the soldiers always carried with them ampoules with perfumed oils to keep the skin clean and elastic but also to cover bad smells, so much so that due to the precarious hygienic conditions to which they were often subjected they ended up applying oil several times a day! In Homer's Odyssey, Ulysses is anointed with oil by nymphs and princesses on several occasions to be reinvigorated from fatigue and to cleanse the skin. Nowadays we are used to the idea that cleaning means using soaps that produce a lot of foam and we have lost the ancient art of using oil to remove impurities. In reality, this technique, which today takes the name of oil cleansing, or cleaning with oil, is being re-evaluated, especially for facial cleansing, as it is able to clean the skin without attacking it, as a very cleansing soap does. Well, it is precisely the case to be inspired by this ancient technique, but first let's see what science says about cleansing the face with oil.

Cleaning the skin of the face with oil, advantages

On our skin we apply creams, sunscreens and make up, but dirt, pollution and dust can also be deposited, which increase the degree of inflammation of the skin with a greater risk of developing acne and dermatitis and stimulating skin aging processes (Araviiskaia et al, J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol., 2019). Hence the importance of proper skin cleansing, especially that of the face, most exposed to these factors. Studies have observed that to cleanse the skin to remove creams and sunscreens, both water resistant and not, the best product is oil. Not only that, cleaning the skin with oils reduces irritation and the risk of dry skin that can instead be observed with normal facial cleansing products (Chen et al, J Cosmet Dermatol, 2020). Then another consideration must be made. Women know, sometimes make-up is particularly resistant to remove. As a result, we rub the skin in an attempt to remove any makeup residue. However, this increases skin irritation and itching and opens the door to dry skin and erythema. Instead, massaging an oil on the face has been shown to quickly dissolve makeup and to allow it to be removed in an easy way, by respecting the skin and also increasing the degree of tissue hydration (Hosokawa et al, J Cosmet Dermatol, 2021). And what about oily acne-prone skin? Is oil cleansing suitable in this case too? Of course it is! Studies have in fact observed that cleaning acne-prone skin with soaps, which may contain even perfumes, can irritate the skin more, dry it excessively and as a result make the sebaceous glands produce more sebum, worsening acne and the appearance of blackheads ( Draelos et al, Cutis, 2006). Using oil to cleanse the face, on the other hand, is a more skin-friendly technique and capable of preserving the skin barrier and hydration (Kottner et al, I nt J Nurs Stud, 2017).

Cleaning the skin of the face with oil, how to do it

Once you have chosen the oil, pour a tablespoon of product on your hand, then massage on your face for a minute. Then remove the excess oil with a cotton pad, rinse with water and continue with your normal facial treatment, applying the floral waters, serums and creams you usually use.

Cleaning the skin of the face with oil, which oils to choose

When it comes to cleansing the skin of impurities, removing make-up and sunscreens coconut oil is certainly the best product, also capable of removing the most resistant waterproof mascara on the market. In addition, coconut oil also deeply hydrates the skin, protects it from damage from UV rays, is anti-inflammatory and healing (Ng et al, Bioprocess Biosyst Eng., 2021 - Lin et al, Int J Mol Sci, 2018). However, coconut oil can be comedogenic in the case of acne-prone skin. In this case it is preferable to use other oils, such as jojoba oil. Jojoba oil, in fact, is also an excellent product for cleansing the face and removing make-up. Not only that, given its composition similar to human sebum it helps restore sebum production, fights acne, blackheads and oily skin (Lin et al, Int J Mol Sci, 2018 - Awad et al, Molecules, 2022). Another very interesting oil that has been shown to remove impurities and make-up and preserve skin hydration is pumpkin seed oil (Setsiripakdee et al, JSD, 2019). This oil is anti-inflammatory, useful in soothing irritated skin, and is found to be non-comedogenic.

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