Luxe Botanics

A botanic skincare line scientifically formulated to allow nature to nurture your skin.


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What You Need to Know About the Most Popular Skincare Oils

Once upon a time, we’d shrink in terror by the mere thought of drenching our skin in oils. Nowadays we use oils as freely as ever like nobody’s business because science (and the radiant complexions among us) have demonstrated the undeniable benefits that botanical oils bestow upon our largest organ.

Derived from various parts of plants, including the seeds and nuts, botanical oils practically do everything: they moisturize, prevent water loss, decrease or prevent blemishes, protect against sun damage, stimulate skin renewal and minimize the appearance of wrinkles. Some oils even go so far as to control natural oil production on the skin by mimicking it.

Of the multitude of oils out there for skin transformation, there are a handful commonly used as “base” oils, which are often found in the highest percentages, as they act as the foundation in which to concoct the entire formula. Check out our breakdown of some of the most popular below.

 

Marula OilMarula

Marula oil is born from the kernels of the fruit that sprout on the Marula tree. It’s been used for years by the Tsonga people of South Africa and Mozambique as both a moisturizing and a massage oil. (Fun fact: these populations, despite spending hours under the sun, have remarkably luminous and healthy-looking skin well into old age.)

Marula is high in oleic acid, or omega-9, rendering it a thicker, richer oil. But despite its relatively heavier texture, it absorbs rapidly into the skin and is non-comedogenic, meaning it won’t clog pores. In addition to its incredible moisturizing powers, Marula oil bursts with antioxidants that effectively fight free radical damage; these two qualities render Marula the perfect elixir to prevent and alleviate the visible signs of ageing, such as wrinkles and the loss of elasticity and firmness. That’s not all though: Marula oil also has antimicrobial properties, which means you can hydrate your skin to plumpness without causing breakouts. This oil can be used on both dry and acne-prone skin with exceptional results.

If you want to deep dive into the world of Marula (including why it’s so good for our Earth), read more about it here.

Argan OilARGAN

Derived from the fruit of the Argan tree native to Morocco, argan oil is one of the most popular facial oils on the market. Chances are you’ve seen it inside a huge variety of skincare products, either as part of a formula or as a standalone.

Argan oil is composed almost equally of oleic (46-48%) and linoleic acid (31-35%). This particular composition makes argan oil moisturizing and absorbent without leaving a greasy residue. Argan oil is rich in vitamin E, making it a great ally for ageing skin, as it fights free radicals in the body. Vitamin E is also known to encourage new skin cell growth and boost cell regeneration.

 

Avocado OilAVO

Like Marula and Argan oils, Avocado oil is also particularly great for mature skin, as it contains antioxidants and vitamin E. Those with acne-prone skin, however, may want to proceed with caution because it is a thicker oil more likely to clog pores. Yet when it comes to extremely dry and chapped skin, Avocado oil is a godsend. It’s known for being especially soothing with protective elements, with research indicating that it can also prevent sun damage.[1] Avocado oil is also high in beta-carotene, which the body converts into vitamin A. Vitamin A is known for encouraging cell production and stimulating the growth of fibroblasts, which are the cells that keep skin taut and prevent sagging.

 

Jojoba OilJOJOBA

Native to southern Arizona, southern California and northwestern Mexico, Jojoba oil comes from the seed of the Jojoba plant, a desert shrub. Jojoba oil is light and absorbs quickly and easily into the skin. It has also been shown to be effective as an acne treatment.[2] This may be due to the fact that jojoba oil has anti-inflammatory properties (ultimately, while oil and bacteria are also involved, inflammation is the root cause of acne).[3] Jojoba oil is also one of the oils closest in composition to the natural sebum produced by the skin which, in short, means it’s highly welcome by the epidermis. When it comes to acne, in fact, jojoba oil “tricks” the skin into thinking it’s already produced enough sebum, which in turn prevents it from producing any more. Thus, skin remains hydrated and perfectly balanced without getting too oily, keeping those pesky breakouts at bay. Jojoba oil is best for naturally oily and acne-prone skin, but can be used to hydrate dry skin as well.

 

Grape Seed OilGRAPESEED

Pressed from the seeds of grapes, typically after they’ve been used for wine production, grape seed oil continues to grow in popularity thanks to its incredible one-two punch when it comes to skincare: it’s both a potent moisturizer and has the ability to assuage pimples.

Grape seed oil contains almost 70% linoleic acid, the type of fatty acid particularly helpful for acne-prone skin. Linoleic acid results in lighter oils that don’t sit heavily on the skin and clog pores, leading to blemishes. As a lighter oil, it also absorbs more easily into the skin, providing hydration and a softer, smoother feel and appearance. Grape seed oil is also high in phenolic compounds like flavonoids, giving it a high antioxidant capacity. Antioxidants help fight ageing of the skin by demolishing the very free radicals that would attempt to damage cells and speed up the ageing process. Overall, grape seed oil is a well-rounded oil, as it can be used on dry, mature and acne-prone skin with great results.

 

Olive Oil9a6b844fdf5ce5f11359122dc7a019a3

Olive oil has been associated with Italian feasts for so long you might be hesitant to slather it on your face, but it’s actually very common in skin care. It is a hydrating powerhouse with ageing well benefits containing high amounts of squalane, a terrific emollient that hydrates dry skin. Squalane is also a potent antioxidant that can potentially minimize signs of ageing.

 

So Which Oil Reigns Supreme?

Although all these oils help hydrate and protect skin, Marula is significantly higher in antioxidants, particularly because it contains the ultimate brightener, Vitamin C. (In fact, Marula contains about 15%-20% more antioxidants than the famed Argan oil!) On top of that, Marula’s high concentration of omega-9 acids helps the oil penetrate the skin more deeply—where it can do real transformative work—all while offering antimicrobial properties. For this extraordinary versatility and effectiveness, Marula is one of our Core Botanicals—yes, it’s that good!

Another important note to keep in mind is that these oils, like in Luxe Botanics formulations, are not used alone—they are key ingredients of a larger recipe created to synergize into a skin-transforming treatment. So even if you have oily skin, for example, you don’t necessarily need to avoid a richer oil like Marula, as it’s part of a carefully crafted elixir with overall intents to create healthy skin.

 

Try it for yourself.

Naturally yours,

The Luxe Botanics Team

 

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3263051/

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22585103

[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15629254

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How to Balance Blemish Prone, Sensitive Skin (Without Making It Worse)

For those with both sensitive and blemish-prone skin, trust us, we know how difficult it can be to successfully remedy this. The trouble, for the most part, lies in the fact that sensitive skin is innately more fragile and requires special care, but common methods to eradicate acne often lead to dryness, further sensitization and, ultimately, even more breakouts. It’s a vicious cycle that is hard to know how to break, annoyingly frustrating and quite frankly upsetting.

 

The Causes Of Sensitive, Blemish-Prone Skin

Sensitive skin is genetic and is characterized by a thin epidermis with generally lower amounts of pigment. (If we get technical, sensitive skin should not be confused with sensitized skin, which is caused by skincare habits and lifestyle. For the purposes of this article, we’ll reference both as sensitive skin.)

With sensitive skin, the protective lipid barrier (the outermost layer) experiences water loss and also allows more irritants, allergens and microbes to get through instead of shielding them out. When these penetrate into the skin, they can cause inflammation, flaking, itchiness and redness. The result is a more negative reaction to certain topical skincare treatments that are too aggressive, leading to even more redness and irritation.

Whether blemish-prone skin is caused by a multitude or combination of factors like excessive oiliness, hormones and stress. Diet can play a role, too: Some research shows that certain high-glycemic carbohydrates can be responsible for blemishes.[1] A pimple essentially forms when a pore becomes clogged with excess oil, or sebum, and dead skin cells. Then, bacteria comes in and inflames the clogged area, leading to a ripe, red pimple. Definitely not cool.

While they’re two separate conditions, sensitive skin and blemishes often come hand in hand. Because of its thinner lipid barrier, sensitive skin deals with more irritants passing through into skin, including bacteria, and the declining ability to heal itself. At the same time, conventional treatments, like chemical peels and harsh ingredients like benzoyl peroxide, typically require further sensitizing of skin to tackle blemishes, which ultimately wreaks more havoc on skin. And so begins the vicious cycle of irritation and breakouts.

 

How To Treat Sensitive, Blemish-Prone Skin

Sensitive skin should be treated with kid gloves—but that doesn’t mean you’re only left with ineffective solutions.

Although this will be hard to do, prioritize the sensitivity first. Because zits are often considered more aesthetically unpleasing, people tend to focus on eliminating their bumps and breakouts without considering the compromised nature of skin. But here’s the thing: As long as your skin is frail and vulnerable, your pimples will likely return—with a vengeance. On the other hand, if your skin is strong, it’s able to get rid of and prevent the blemishes much more efficiently.

To relieve your sensitivity, first make sure your skincare techniques aren’t aggravating. Avoid over-cleansing (limit cleansing to once or twice a day) and use gentle chemical exfoliators instead of physical scrubs, which may have jagged granules that will cause small tears in your skin when rubbed all over.

Second, avoid harsh skincare products that include commonly irritating ingredients like preservatives and fragrances. Your best bet is to turn to natural ingredients while avoiding more traditional treatments like benzoyl peroxide or harsh acids which, as previously noted, can be very harsh and strip sensitive skin.

Plant sources, particularly nut oils like jojoba or marula oil, have been known to reduce skin’s natural oil production by promoting a healthier natural balance of oils, allowing for hydration without fear of blemishes springing up. Chamomile oil is another great one to help soothe and calm skin. The good news is that there are also natural treatments that are specifically effective against pimples without making the condition worse. Ingredients like tea tree oil, aloe vera and Kigelia africana are ideal because they get the job done without inflaming or otherwise irritating.

 

Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil is a tried-and-true method known for its ability to destroy pimple-causing bacteria.[2] Many people find success dabbing a small amount onto the affected area, leaving it on overnight. When using any type of skincare treatment, always do a patch test first to make sure you won’t develop any adverse reactions, especially if your skin is sensitive. Tea tree oil is much gentler than benzoyl peroxide but can still lead to dryness if used excessively, so use it cautiously.

Tea Tree

Aloe Vera

The ultra-gentle aloe vera helps reduce the manifestation of pimples thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties.[3] Moreover, it has moisturizing effects that are especially good for sensitive skin, which can lean toward dryness. Studies have even found that drinking aloe vera can lead to a decrease in the number of blemishes on the skin.[4]

Aloe Vera

Kigelia Africana

We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention our darling Kigelia africana extract. The plant has both antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, and has been shown to have a firming effect as well. Studies have found that both the root and fruit of the plant have antibacterial and antifungal compounds.[5] The antibacterial property is key, as it is what will help fight the bacteria that causes pimples, reducing the amount of it residing on the surface of your skin. Another study found that in addition to antibacterial properties, Kigelia africana also has wound-healing abilities.[6] This “wound-healing” quality can potentially help accelerate the reduction of blemishes in both size and intensity.

As a bonus, the flavonoids (substances in plants that protect from UV damage) in Kigelia africana provide antioxidant protection, fighting off free radicals, which are unstable atoms that damage skin cells and accelerate ageing. Furthermore, Kigelia africana is soothing and moisturizing, ideal for sensitive skin that is easily irritated and prone to redness and dryness. Kigelia africana is gentle but powerful and effective, reducing pimples while keeping skin soft, nourished and calm.

Kigelia africana

 

Coming to Terms With Sensitive, Blemish-Prone Skin

Sensitive, blemish-prone skin can sometimes feel like a scourge, but it need not be! Knowing the right products and ingredients to use can make all the difference. Sure, it may require some more diligence than treating normal skin, but it’s not impossible as long as you know which ingredients to avoid and which to embrace. Just remember to respect your skin, and it will reward you by glowing with clarified radiance.

 

Curious to find out more on Kigelia africana? Read about the unsung hero of perfect skin in our earlier blog.

Naturally yours,

The Luxe Botanics Team

 

[1] http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/86/1/107.full

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17314442

[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2763764/

[4] http://scialert.net/fulltext/?doi=ajcn.2014.29.34

[5] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8792668

[6] https://www.hindawi.com/journals/aps/2013/692613/