You hear ‘skin oils’ and you are probably going to think any of the following—that the idea of applying oil on your acne prone skin seems illogical (it actually isn’t) or that your skin is so sensitive that you cannot use oil (you can) or that the whole concept of including skin oil in your skincare routine is too confusing for your low maintenance needs (it most certainly is not).
What are skin oils and what do they do?
With many people staying away from the concept of skin oils, it is important to first understand what skin oils really are. Skin oils are designed as sealants, meaning they seal in hydration of the skin. They sit on the skin’s surface (the epidermis) and prevent the moisture from leaking out. They are typically formulated with a mixture of plant-based oils, which are essential to soften, nourish and balance skin texture for a healthy glow. They work in congruence with the oil naturally secreted by our skin, that is produced to prevent water loss. These skin oils play an important role in adding an extra layer of protection, thereby helping boost the natural glow. Since plant-based ingredients form the main components of these skin oils, their benefits are endless.
Understanding which oil suits your skin type
The popular notion is that if you have dry skin you will benefit the most from skin oils. Contrary to this popular belief, you can benefit from skin oil no matter the skin type – the key is simply to use one that is best suited for your skin type and to use it correctly as part of your skincare routine.
If you have acne-prone skin it is best to approach skin oils with caution but there is no need to discount it entirely. When oils are chosen with care, they can also help counter the drying effects of some acne medication. As a general rule, it is best to avoid mineral oils. Heaviness of the oil is another important aspect to be considered while choosing a skin oil. The molecular weight of an oil can determine how it will affect and work on the skin.
- For oily skin: If you have oily skin the best bet for you would be to invest in jojoba oil or grapeseed oil. The right oil can act as an astringent for your skin by getting rid of excess grease and also help stabilize and regulate the skin’s sebum production.
- Jojoba oil is relatively lightweight and is very breathable when compared to other skin oils. Jojoba is also known to break down and dissolve the sebum secreted by the skin, which also helps in controlling the shine.
- Grapeseed oil is known as a natural astringent, and dries more quickly than jojoba oil, which provides a greater mattifying effect. If you have incredibly oily skin, then make grapeseed oil your best friend.
- For dry skin: It’s erroneous to think that by default any oil would suit dry skin. Since some oils have more astringent properties that could further dry out the skin, so drier skin types need oils that are rich in oleic acid – a fatty acid that locks in moisture, conditions the skin and reduces irritation caused by dryness.
- Almond oil provides intense hydration. The high levels of vitamin A makes almond oil a magical potion that will help in reducing fine lines when used topically over a period of time.
- Marula oil is highly absorbent. Within minutes of massaging it into your skin, this is one oil that immediately seeps into the skin. With a heavy dose of fatty acids in its makeup, Marula oil can be applied just once during the day or at night
- For acne-prone skin: Many acne-treatment products are filled with ingredients that can cause excessive drying of the skin, by stripping it of natural oils. Dry and inflamed skin can lead to over-secretion of sebum, leading to further breakouts. Acne-safe oils work to provide nourishment to your skin so that your body can focus on healing the breakout, without causing more.
- Pomegranate oil is naturally anti-bacterial and helps in reducing inflammation. Hence, it will help fight bacteria that are trapped in the pores, while also providing nourishment to the inflamed skin. Its molecular weight makes this a lightweight oil that will not leave you feeling greasy.
- Rosehip oil deeply hydrates the skin. It is also known to fade scars and reduce redness with the help of its fatty acids.
- For normal skin: Normal skin is less dry, and secretes just the optimal level of sebum.
- Argan oil is rich in vitamin E and is easily absorbed. The Vitamin E present in this oil is an antioxidant that helps prevent skin damage and fine lines.
- Coconut oil has multiple benefits ranging from anti-ageing to hydrating properties. It also helps improve collagen production which further helps in retaining the elasticity of the skin.
Apply/use skin oils the right way
Skin oils are occlusive in nature and hence must be applied as the last step in your skin care routine. Using the oil first and then slathering moisturisers and serums will prove to be ineffective, as the oil will not allow any of these to penetrate the skin.
Here are a few steps on how to ensure you gain maximum benefit while using skin oils
- Use the skin oil as a last step of your skin care routine. Seal in your moisturiser with the help of a skin oil.
- If you are using essential oils, always ensure to mix it with a carrier oil. For instance, mix argan oil or jojoba oil with almond or coconut oil.
- For oily skin and acne prone skin, it is advisable to apply the skin oil at night. People with very dry skin can apply it both during the day and at night. For normal skin, the oil can be applied either during the day or night.
- In case of acne-prone skin, it is always advisable to conduct a patch test in case you are worried about how you skin will react. Conduct this patch test below your ear or jaw line 24 hours prior to your first application to check for any reaction.
Skin oils have been used for centuries and work to help improve your skin tone while maintaining the natural glow. In case you are unaware about your skin type, your dermatologist will help you identify your skin type and guide you on establishing a regular skin care routine.