All about face oils – Benefits, Myths, Facts, Skin Types, How to use

The cooler months have arrived and it’s time to amp up on moisturisers. What better way to seal in hydration than through a nourishing face oil? A face oil is exactly what it sounds like: a potent plant-derived oil for your face.  In terms of reputation, face oils have a controversial one. Some find it difficult to unlearn the faulty notion that applying oil to your skin only flares up your acne. The truth is, when you use the right oil regularly, a host of skin benefits are seen, including acne control.  Here are some of the benefits.

Benefits of face oils

  • Deeply hydrate the skin: Oils are lipophilic which means they dissolve into your skin’s natural lipid barrier and give them a boost of plumpness. This process also helps with trapping moisture in the skin, which is ideal for those with dehydrated skin. By trapping moisture, face oils also create a protective layer on the surface of the skin, which can repel pollutants.
  • Nourish the skin: Face oils are abundant in tonnes of nutrients your skin will love. Oftentimes, these ingredients are extracted from oils and used in other products. The most common benefit of face oils is the antioxidants they deliver to the skin. Antioxidants are well-loved in the skincare community since they fight free radical damage and reduce signs of ageing. There are also crucial vitamins like A, B, C, E that can be found in everyday face oils. 
  • Target skin concerns: Skin concerns like dry patches, eczema, sensitive skin, and even acne-prone skin can improve from using face oils. Oils can soothe skin irritation, balance sebum production, offer antibacterial and antimicrobial effects and help fade hyperpigmentation. 

Myths and Facts about face oils

  • Only people with dry skin benefit from face oils: False. Perhaps the biggest myth about using face oils is that they are only for people with dry skin. Most people assume acne-prone skin should avoid clogging their pores by using a face oil. However, there are ample lightweight face oils with antibacterial properties that can nourish this skin type. In fact, it has been found that oily skinned individuals can replenish their barrier high linoleic rich face oils (jojoba, rosehip) to balance sebum production. 
  • Skip moisturiser if you are using face oil: False. Face oils do the job of locking in moisture. Without any moisture to lock in, they will sit on your skin. While oils do have some moisturising properties of their own, you want to add a hydrating moisturiser underneath a face oil so it can do a better job of locking in that water and moisture into your skin. 
  • Face oils can irritate your skin: Somewhat true. This depends on your allergies to plant-derived ingredients. The most common triggers for skin allergies are fragrant compounds. To avoid having an inflammatory reaction to face oil, opt for a non-fragrant face oil. Alternatively, you can patch test the oil on your skin for a few days before committing to it. 
  • Face oils only moisturise the skin: False. Face oils, especially unprocessed, cold-pressed formulas are rich in nutrients that help the skin. For an added effect, face oils can also be enriched with anti-inflammatory ingredients like turmeric, and saffron.

Oils for your skin type

Oily acne-prone skin:

Face oils like jojoba, neem, and tea tree oil are recommended. The first two oils are rich in linoleic acid. Oily skin tends to be rich in oleic acid. When you add linoleic acid through repeated use of face oil, this has been shown to balance sebum production over time. Neem and tea tree oil are anti-bacterial and can help reduce the frequency and intensity of breakouts. They also soothe and calm redness and irritation. 

Combination skin:

Combination skin has oily areas with dry patches, meaning that products for combination skin need to target two seemingly opposite concerns. One of the best oils for combination or dry skin is Kumkumadi oil. This potent ayurvedic formulation contains skin illuminating herbs, while the base oil itself replenishes the skin with moisture, banishing those dry and itchy patches. Kumkumadi oil also has antibacterial properties that can control breakouts.

Mature/ Dry skin:

Mature skin is skin with fine lines, that lacks moisture, and has a more permeable skin barrier. Face oils are incredibly effective for maintaining mature skin. Avocado oil, grapeseed oil, and clary sage oil have anti-aging properties that can help fade age spots, deeply moisturise the skin, and reduce the appearance of fine lines over time. Dry skin also loses moisture quickly so it can benefit from such thicker oils.

How to use face oils

Face oils are used at the tail end of a skincare routine since they are heavy and used to lock in the ingredients, hydration, and moisture from other products layered underneath. A typical skin care routine with a face oil would look like this: cleanser, toner, moisturiser, face oil. It is recommended to use face oils at nighttime so you can keep your skin moisturised while you sleep. 

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