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Soft to the Touch

Treat your skin to the nourishment it needs to stay smooth and dewy.

By Elizabeth Shimer Bowers

oil massage

As winter looms and harsh weather and indoor heat sets in, your skin may begin to feel parched. Natural oil-based treatments can nourish your skin and help it stay hydrated, says Kristen Ma, aesthetician, Ayurvedic practitioner, and author of Beauty Pure and Simple. "The oil in our skin, sebum, is a natural mechanism for protecting the skin," she says. "Natural oils mimic sebum, helping seal in moisture."

Massaging your face with oil stimulates blood flow, which supports collagen production. (Ample collagen, a fibrous protein, is key to the skin's elasticity.) Even people with oily skin can benefit. "In good-quality vegetable oil, the molecules are small enough to penetrate your skin without clogging pores," Ma says. Cleansers can strip the sebum from your skin, causing your skin to produce more oil. So, applying oil can keep your oil production in balance.

A Revitalizing At-Home Facial

1. Wash your face and hands with warm water.

2. Dip your fingertips in a dime-sized amount of oil and place fingers in a row at your hairline.

3. Gently press and release the fingertips, moving down the face in rows from hairline to jawline. Repeat several times.

4. Leave the oil on your face to be absorbed overnight. Or, if you're starting your day, blot excess oil with a tissue or towel and apply makeup as usual.

February 2012

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