Many women the world over have very simple facial skin care programs: wash, rinse, tone, moisturize, repeat twice per day.
In this article I want to talk about a pretty important, yet critically missing step in a women’s facial skin cleansing routine:
Now maybe you are one of the lucky few whose mother was a great beauty and had secrets handed down to her by her mother and grandmother…
But that doesn’t happen for many of women struggling to keep up with the latest in facial skin care.
Facial compressing is an old secret and important step in any women’s natural facial skin care program. Few of today’s modern women have actually heard of pre-cleansing, much less compressing. Compressing is the critical pre-cleansing step to your daily natural skin care ritual.
Compressing is also known as hydrotherapy, and is very beneficial to the overall health of your skin. You can add an herbal infusion to the sink basin water for your compress to additionally nourish and condition your skin. and help alleviate and heal skin problems.
Compressing reduces the amount of facial cleanser you need to wash your face. It’s often an overlooked part of your program.
Compressing has a unique side benefit.
Compresses give your skin needed moisture and help you combat the aging process naturally. How?
Compressing starts the facial cleansing process by softening and loosening soil, dirt, sebum, and impurities that have built up throughout the day alleviating the need to treat your facial skin roughly during your cleansing routine. This makes the cleansing process easier and far less abrasive and harsh. Instead of scrubbing or rubbing, you can then just gently pat or press your cleanser into your facial skin and rinse gently, with great results and without stripping your skin of its natural oils.
The temperature of your water is the critical element for successful compressing.
Warm water (not hot) compresses relax your facial muscles, easing tensions, and encourages glandular activity, which helps your skin purge toxins from your body. Beyond that, warm water compresses increase circulation while hydrating your skin.
Tepid (or lukewarm) water will help you avoid aggravating sensitive or hyperactive skin (too extreme water temperatures will aggravate certain skin conditions, so tepid – lukewarm water is usually the best way to go for daily cleansing of hyperactive skin).
Cool water is refreshing, revitalizing and have a toning effect on your skin. Cool water compresses will calm inflammation and also hydrate your skin.
Carefully select water temperature based on your skin’s propensity and current condition.
- sensitive – tepid to warm
- oily – cool to tepid
- dry or mature – warm
- blemished – cool to tepid
NEVER USE EXTREME WATER TEMPERATURES!
If you are using hot water to wash your face or skin… this will dry because it strips away your natural oils and prompt your capillaries to swell and break. Cold water will harm your tiny capillaries as well can suppress glandular functions in your skin. Extreme water temperatures are shocking to your facial nerves and over time can cause them to desensitize.
Steps to using facial compressing as part of your pre-cleansing skin routine
You’ll want to keep a stack of clean organic cloths for your compresses next to your sink basin. You’ll be using a clean cloth every time your compress. The reason why: damp cloths are a breeding ground for bacteria and you don’t want to press a bacteria-filled cloth to your face every day. I like terry cloths or cloths made of bamboo, they are typically not as harsh on your skin. If you can find them, brand new cloth baby diapers are an excellent way to clean your face. The cloth is super soft and the napping won’t scratch delicate skin.
Close your eyes for just a moment, take a few slow deep breaths, as oxygen is very important to your skin’s health. As you start to relax away the day’s stresses, follow the next few steps.
- Thoroughly rinse a clean organic washcloth to remove all detergent residue.
- Fill your sink basin with the correct water temperature for your skin type. We talked about water temperatures in our first segment of compressing.
- Lean over the sink basin, dip the clean cloth in the water and hold the washcloth to your face and neck for 5 to 10 seconds. Repeat for at least 10 compresses (if you were wearing heavy makeup, I suggest doing this for at least 15 compresses to give your skin a chance to relax).
- Cleanse as usual.
Compressing is three simple steps that takes about two minutes to accomplish. After about a week of doing this daily, you’ll start to notice a fresher, glowing appearance to your skin.
Essential oils are added to your water, but because oils do not mix with water, you should ad the essential oil to a dispersing agent to evenly distribute it throughout the water. This prevents hot spots of the oils that could irritate your skin.
If you are new to essential oils, try using one of the three best essential oils for absolutely any skin type:
- Lavender – soothing to dry and inflamed skin, it is uplifting, balancing, and clarifying. Lavender can promote calmness, ease tension and depression; relax and balance the mind, body and skin; soothe tired muscles and benefits the immune system by encouraging stillness and tranquility. A side benefit: Lavender also aids in PMS symptoms.
- Neroli calms anxiety, and relieves depression, and balances both oily and dry skin, since it has an sebum balancing effect on the skin’s glands. Neroli is also known to enhance skin tone and support the body when under stress.
- Rose has cooling and astringent benefits, useful in cooling and soothing pimples, rashes, and other skin irritants. It is outstanding for all skin types, but especially refreshing for dry, sensitive or aging skins. Rose oil can help diminish redness caused by enlarged capillaries.
Directions for adding essential oils to your compressing or cleansing water
- 2 – 5 drops of essential oil
- 1 teaspoon of vinegar (you can use apple cider vinegar if you prefer over white vinegar)
- swirl together in a small dish. Add this combination to your water. Stir well with your hand and immerse your compressing cloth. Wring and apply to your skin.