For Extra Dry Skin, Try Oil Based Cleansers

I recommend oil based cleansers for anyone with extra dry skin.  In fact, I make a handmade soap from organic oils, specifically with dry skin in mind.  But oils have long been used as cleansers without the intermediate step of turning them into soap.

When a Roman citizen came home from a busy day building aqueducts and conquering barbarians, the evening started with a bath.  The Roman would cover him or herself with olive oil, which was then removed by a slave using a strigil, a blunt bladed knife.  He would then go into a steam room  to open up the pores, before finishing off the process by plunging into a pool of water.

The Romans obviously enjoyed the process immensely.  One Roman emperor was asked by a foreigner from one of the smellier ancient nations why he bathed once a day.  The reply was, he didn’t have time to bathe twice a day.  Soap was not used until much later in the history of the Empire when things were beginning to go badly for the Romans.

In the absence of slaves, modern bathers have switched to synthetic cleansers containing detergents and other scientific wonders. They wash off dirt and cut grease, with no muss or fuss, and they leave us squeaky-clean. Unfortunately, they can also leave our skin very dry.  Over-cleaning is not good.

I’m not saying this is why European happiness levels have been declining lately (as this article in Science Daily reports), but I know it can’t help.

That’s why oil-based cleansers are such a good idea, especially if you have extra dry skin. And be sure to avoid harsh detergents in your cleansers, especially sodium lauryl sulphate and sodium deodecylbenzene sulfanate.

You can learn more about oil based cleansers at Colin’s Beauty Pages, the source of the above quote. The site is informative (written by a cosmetic scientist) and a lot of fun (how can that be?).

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Simple Care, Luminous Skin