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The difference between oils, balms and creams

Rescue Salve

I am writing this as Summer beach weather settles over Cornwall and nature gives us an abundance of brilliance to delight our senses. A good time to think about extra moisturisation for the face and body as the sun and outdoors can be so drying.

So what are the basic differences between an oil, a balm or and a cream and which is best for your skin type?

A normal, young, healthy 20 year olds skin has a balance of 50% water and 50% fat. Thus, for skin to function in a healthy way, the best skin care requires a balance of oil and water. This is why most skin treatments are creams. Many traditional creams however are 70% to 80% water, which does not supply sufficient nutrition to the skin.

Oils and balms which are 100% fats with no water added can be helpful in the short term for oil deficient skin, but in the long term can end up drying the skin due to the lack of moisture.  They are good used under creams or lotions for extra ‘food’.  This ‘layering’ is becoming very popular. Oils, are of course wonderful for massage!

Beyond Organic creams are generally a mix of 50/50 oils and fats and so are much more nutritious for the skin and in balance with nature. If you add to this natural plant extracts, many of which have been used for centuries in skin care you will have a potent mix. The chemical constituents that are naturally in plants (referred to as phytochemicals) have been used since Egyptian times for healing, beauty and magic. Many plants act in synergy with each other, so that when mixed together they have a greater therapeutic effect than individually.

However, the story does not end there.  There are creams and lotions. There are ‘dry’ oils, high viscosity oils, fixed oils and essential oils and oils from solid fats. Omegas in oils are as important outside as they are internally.

Omegas used topically in skin care

Less well known is the importance of a correct balance of Omegas in skin care. For skin care you need a balance of the Omega 9 Oils (Oleic Acid) and Omega 3 & 6 oils (linoleic acid). 
Using natural, cold-pressed and organic oils containing natural lipids and high levels of key fatty acids helps to maintain healthy skin condition and combat inflammatory skin disorders. This balance also helps with firmness, elasticity, skin smoothness; reduction in wrinkle depth and UV irritated redness. Whilst these oils are essential for healthy skin, they need a balance of moisture as well as explained above.


As much as 60% of what you put onto your skin is absorbed into your body. With the advent of skin patches, this is easily understood, yet we tend to put things on our skin that we would not dream of eating or drinking. Beyond Organic Skincare put nothing in our ingredients that is not safe to eat or drink and indeed, many of our organic products are food grade.

Why Organic?

If you have changed to organic eating habits, you might be wondering about an organic solution for skin care. The cosmetics, perfumes and cleansers that many people use contain chemicals that are easily absorbed through skin, or through our lungs when we inhale the perfume. These chemicals then rapidly enter the bloodstream. Should this be a concern?

  We think so – if you wouldn’t eat it, don’t apply it to your skin.

Visitors to Infertility Clinics will see, in very prominent positions, signs banning the wearing of perfume or aftershave. The chemicals that they contain are harmful to embryos. What we put on our bodies ends up in our bodies!

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