The tradition of categorizing skin care products by skin types (the designation of dry, oily, mature or sensitive skin) is a generally accepted practice and for the most part, helps individuals choose products that might be best for their complexion. Grateful Body also uses this convention for it is helpful and convenient to group our products in this way.
In this tutorial, I wish to discuss some of the ways that we design products for each of the skin types and then, nutty as it might sound, turn right around and admit that we don't even believe so much in the fixed concept called 'skin type'.
There are several ways to formulate products that are truly useful for each of the skin types. In my opinion, the most effective method is to choose botanicals that have specific therapeutic strengths and influences for the conditions of skin tissue in question. These are then prepared (via various extraction methods) in a way that can a) readily be absorbed, b) be accepted by the body as biologically appropriate, and c) be used in a restorative way by the skin. These are a few of the formulating directions I consider for each of the skin types:
Notes: The essential oils and hydrosols used in almost every formula are of the highest therapeutic quality; the small size and atomic weight of the aromatic molecule allows easy entry into the receptor sites of the skin cells. For this reason, these ingredients are some of the most important in the formula.
Notes: The trickiest part of creating helpful products for oily skin is not the formulating but combating the prevalent attitude that products for oily skin should be oil-free. Most commercial oils in skin care have been refined to the point that their nutritional content is lost and they are now just a devitalized form of grease. Given this situation, it's no wonder that people who have oily or combination skin or are blemish-prone shy away from oil. But real, vital botanical oil can really help skin that has symptoms of excess shine and blemishes.
Notes: What is normal skin? Is it skin that has no obvious troubles? Is it skin that has a good balance of moisture? Grateful Body's view of normal skin is that when challenged by stressors, it doesn't exhibit symptoms that are in the dry or the oily, blemish-prone direction. Instead, it may exhibit problems of premature aging, a rough texture or poor tone. Given this, here is my approach:
So there you are; a basic primer on how Grateful Body formulates products for different skin types. But even so, I will try to make the argument that dry and sensitive aren't really skin types. In the case of dry skin, in most situations it takes years for the effects of certain influences to gradually accumulate and manifest as skin that is actually dry. It's the same with sensitive skin, there might be a propensity for system sensitivity but the condition of having sensitive skin is most often caused by direct environmental pressures and the diminishing of the immune response. Oily skin I do consider a type for it often enters early, even at adolescence, and might not let up till menopause. But still, with the right support, oily skin symptoms do not have to be a constant.
It's very true that people have strong hereditary tendencies toward all these skin conditions. There are hormonal influences, dietary and environmental pressures and we should never forget the emotional circumstances of the familial constellation. These influences accumulate gradually (or suddenly) and then manifest as skin that is actually dry, oily or sensitive. But regardless of these influences and their persistent impact on our skin, it is my wish, through this tutorial, that we learn not to identify with the current state of our skin as our 'type'.
We feel that there is a positive effect in understanding that the current condition of my skin is not my 'type' and is not set-in-stone. It's a big relief that one doesn't have a t-zone, dry patches, an oily forehead or various inflammations as a fixed trait. At Grateful Body, our aim is to turn all these supposed skin types back to the natural condition of your skin when it is healthy and balanced. For example, when we sell 'sensitive skin' products, it is with the explicit understanding that using these products will so nurture and strengthen the skin that eventually a stage is reached when that skin is NOT sensitive anymore. When people don't identify with the current state of their skin as their established skin type, they will instead develop a reasonable expectation that skin care products actually help their skin return to a natural, healthy state.
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