The purpose of this page is to give you the information you need to have comfortable and Healthy Skin – with the help of Necessity.
The Human Skin The human skin is the outer covering of the body. It is the largest organ of the protective system, and guards the underlying muscles, bones, ligaments and internal organs. Because it interfaces with the environment, skin plays a key role in protecting the body against pathogens and excessive water loss. Its other functions are insulation, temperature regulation, sensation, synthesis of vitamin D, and the protection of vitamin B folates. Most of us are concerned with what our skin looks like, and the cosmetics industry focuses on making the skin look beautiful.
Unfortunately, many cosmetic manufacturers include harmful and dangerous ingredients in their products because they think most people do not realize the dangers of using these substances.
However, keeping the skin healthy is really more important than keeping it beautiful, and fortunately we can achieve both health and beauty when we use the best ingredients in both cosmetic and therapeutic skin products. It is the policy of Necessity to use only ingredients that promote the health and wellbeing of the body, including the skin, so you can use Necessity products with confidence, knowing that you are using only safe and effective plant oils, with some beeswax in “stick” products to give the needed texture.
Image via Wikimedia Commons
While the skin is a protective covering for the body, it is very absorbent, and whatever you put on the skin may end up in the bloodstream, to be carried throughout the body. The skin also breathes, so oxygen can be taken into the body through the skin. This ability of the skin to absorb what is put on it makes it possible to use many substances to treat various skin and body conditions by simply rubbing the substance on the skin. However, it is also the case that some substances are not absorbed into the skin through the pores, but instead they block the pores and stop the skin from breathing and absorbing moisture and other substances.
Thus, if mineral oils or Vaseline are put on the skin, moisture or therapeutic substances cannot be absorbed, making effective treatment impossible. For this reason, at Necessity we never use petroleum-based products, and we recommend that before applying Necessity products you thoroughly cleanse the skin from all mineral oil or petroleum-based products so the plant oils can be quickly absorbed into the skin to effectively deal with the problems they are designed to treat.
How to Gain the Greatest Advantage from the use of Plant Oils
Essential oils are extremely concentrated, and are normally too expensive or too irritating to be used on the skin without dilution. The usual practice is to blend essential oils with cold-pressed plant oils to produce products which provide all the benefits of the essential oils without being too expensive or causing the irritation associated with some undiluted essential oils. Many makers of plant-oil-based skin products choose one particular oil, or one essential oil blended with a carrier oil. Products designed in this way can be quite effective for specific purposes, but as each oil has its own characteristics, the application of such products tends to be limited to the specific condition the oil is suited for.
“…by combining a number of essential and other plant oils it appeared that the oils interacted synergistically to enhance the effects they were designed to have.”
As you will see below in our description of the characteristics of the various oils, each oil is particularly suited to the treatment of one or more conditions. Peter Bamford noticed that by combining a number of essential and other plant oils it appeared that the oils interacted synergistically to enhance the effects they were designed to have. The result was that one product could be made to treat a wide variety of skin conditions, and to do it more effectively that could be done by using only one or two oils. This observation led to the development of a range of products that have proved to be very effective and can be applied to a wide range of skin conditions. This ‘therapeutic multi-tasking’ has become the underlying principle on which Necessity products have been designed.
Some makers of skin products use plant extracts. These extracts are made from various parts of the plant and do not involve separating the oils from the other parts of the plant. They may involve fermentation to activate substances within the plant. Plant extracts have been found to be quite effective in dealing with some skin conditions. Probably the most commonly known extracts are pawpaw and aloe vera extracts. One disadvantage of these preparations is that they normally require a range of chemical additives to stabilize and preserve the products.
“Plant extracts have been found to be quite effective in dealing with some skin conditions.”
Necessity does not use plant extracts because we prefer to use oils that require no chemical additives and can be completely absorbed into the skin, with no residue remaining on the surface.
Plant oils are of two main categories. There are oils that are cold-pressed directly from the plant, such as palm oil, coconut oil, almond oil, olive oil, camellia oil, sunflower oil, jojoba oil, grape-seed oil, soya oil, peanut oil and many other such oils which can be obtained in reasonably large quantities. These are oily to the touch, and are commonly used for food and products such as soap and cosmetics. They are usually relatively inexpensive and freely available. The various oils have differing characteristics. Some are more viscous (thicker) than others, some are more quickly absorbed into the skin, while others are more emolient than most. These varied characteristics make it possible to make oil blends that can be specifically tailored to meet particular needs. These oils are normally used as ‘carrier’ oils, or ‘excipient’ oils (The Therapeutic Goods Administration uses the term excipient to denote an oil that is not an active ingredient).
“These varied characteristics make it possible to make oil blends that can be specifically tailored to meet particular needs.”
The second category is the essential oils. These are the “essence” of the plant, and are normally steam-extracted by a process that involves chopping, grinding, or crushing the plant parts (leaves, stems, petals, twigs or roots) into small particles which are heated in a pressure-boiler to steam off the essential oil which is then distilled and recovered for use.
The process is relatively expensive, and the amount of oils recovered can be quite small, resulting in high prices for essential oils. While cold-pressed oils contain many valuable components, it is the essential oils which are extremely useful in aromatherapy (the science of using essential oils for therapeutic purposes).
Plants live in a wide range of environmental conditions, and may be attacked by many and varied organisms such as the many kinds of bacteria, fungi, and viruses as well as larger organisms that may want to eat the plants. Plants that thrive in places where these organisms abound have substances in their essential oils that can protect the plants from these organisms and the toxins which they produce. It is these substances that are of interest to scientists who are looking for ways to treat the many ailments that afflict humans, and it is amazing what results have been achieved by using these essential oils in products designed to treat a wide range of human ailments.
Necessity has specialized in products that can be used topically (on the skin, as opposed to products designed to be taken internally), because our product designer, naturopath Peter Bamford, has spent decades specializing in aromatherapy, the study of the use of essential oils to make skin healthy and free from discomfort (itching, pain, and burning sensations).