I’ve grown up being told oil is the enemy—for my face and figure. No wonder I—and legions of women—am always looking for astringents, face washes, makeup (and food) that proudly claim to be ‘oil-free’. So, when facial oils became the skin-care trend du jour, I was confused. After a little digging I realized that face oils aren’t the enemy I thought they were. As Dermatologist Dr. Abhijit Desai says, “Face oil plays an important role in a complete skin-care routine. They are not thick and clogging like they used to be. Modern advances mean they are very emollient and blend into skin immediately.” For that matter, oil in food isn’t bad either, provided it isn’t the saturated variety. But more on that later.
Busting some of the more common myths about face oils.
Face Oils Will Clog Your Pores And Cause Breakouts
Not true! Naturally derived plant-based oils like Coconut, Grape-seed and Avocado don’t cause breakouts. The real culprits are comedogenic oils like mineral oils or synthetic oils that have a large molecular structure and can clog pores. In fact, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory oils like Green Tea or Sandalwood actually improve acne-prone skin. So, what’s a girl to do? “Read ingredient labels,” says Dr Desai. “Using a face oil that has an ingredient deck of plant-based oils that match the molecular size of your skin's natural sebum will never clog pores or cause breakouts.” Good choices are Olive, Rosehip, Argan, and Pomegranate.
Oily Skins Don’t Need To Use Face Oils
Shine attacks at midday? Been there but did ya know that using certain facial oils can actually regulate the problem and lessen oiliness? Jojoba oil for instance, mimics your skin's sebum production so your skin won’t feel the need to overproduce. “When you use excessively drying –read oil-free—products, your skin goes into overdrive to produce more sebum to compensate,” explains Dr Desai. Not only do these facial oils regulate your sebum production during oil attacks, they’ll also soothe inflammation during your drier hours. Other oil-stopping face oils to try include Rose and Apricot kernel.
Face Oils Should Only Be Used In Winter
Not true again! Just use a lighter formula in summer if you have combination or oily skin. “Oils are very emollient now, and don’t leave any residue on skin. They absorb instantly and give skin a beautiful glow,” says Dr Desai. All you need to do is find the right oil for your skin type and use it all year. If you have oily skin and are in your 20s, start by using a face oil in the evening for night-time repair. From your 30s onwards, you can use one in the morning and at night for daily hydration and night-time. Particularly dry skin? Use your face oil a makeup primer to keep your skin looking plump and flawless all day long. Sweet Almond, Argan, Frankincense, Rosehip and Myrrh are all good summer face oil options.
You Can’t Use A Face Oil AND Moisturizer Together
This is a myth…since both facial oils and moisturizers add hydration to skin, we often think if you use one you don’t need the other. Actually, they are completely different products with different functions, and can (and should) be combined for maximum benefits. Facial oils are concentrated products made entirely of plant derived lipids, while moisturizers combine plant oils with water and other active ingredients. Ideally, you should be applying the moisturizer first and topping that with a dab of facial oil to trap the skin benefitting ingredients in the cream on skin.
If You Use Moisturizer You Don’t Need Facial Oil
If you have dry skin, you’ve probably felt your skin go tight and itchy by midday. That’s why you need moisturizer AND facial oil. In fact, facial oil allows your moisturizer to do its job better. “Natural oils are humectants. This mean they stop water from evaporating from your skin, especially true if you’re using a water-based skin cream, and also help hydrate dry, cracked skin,” says Dr. Desai. Apply your facial oil of choice before or after your day or night cream. Or add two or three drops in your regular product. Sqalene, Jojoba, Grape seed, Pomegranate and Marula are light oils that work on all skin types.
Facial Oils Have No Anti-Aging Benefits
Lines and wrinkles primarily show up on dry and dehydrated skin. Conversely, plump, hydrated skins look young for longer. Facial oils are the best way to preserve your skin’s youthful look. Thanks to their high levels of antioxidants that repair skin from within, face oils slow down aging and neutralize free radicals. “Many face oils contain antioxidants that protein and collagen dissolving free radicals, keeping your skin firm and elastic.” Look for Grape Seed, Rose, Marula, Acai or Goji berry facial oils that have concentrated anti-aging benefits.
Oil-Free (Everything) Is Better For Your Skin
That’s actually a misnomer. “Oil-free products don’t exist. Even products that say they are non-comedogenic contain some type of oil,” says Dr. Desai. Non-comedogenic simply means the product is so well chemically blended that it doesn’t form semi-solids at body temperature. In any case, the whole point of this article was to convince you that oils aren’t bad for you. Just choose the ones that work best with your skin type!