If you’re new to the idea of putting oil on your skin, the title of this blog post might just cause you to raise a brow and think, “no way!” But hear me out. For decades, the beauty and skincare industries have preached the concept of “oil free” and even me, a licensed holistic esthetician, has fallen into the trap of this misinformed marketing verbiage in the past. We’re led to believe that our acne or breakouts are best treated with harsh cleansers, drying astringents, and an oil-free moisturizer. Or, that facial oils are solely for folks with dry skin. We’ve been taught that oil is bad, even our naturally occurring oil. To demonize our naturally occurring sebum is to not fully understand the structure and function of the body’s largest organ. Once you have the fuller picture, using oil on your skin to help acne or dry skin, will feel less daunting.
With all of that in mind, it makes sense that many people are left with the wrong impression about facial oils and need help understanding just how transformative they can be for skin. Dive into some common questions and concerns below about using facial oils for all skin types! Let’s start with the fundamentals.
What role does sebum play in skin health and function?
According to a study - one of sebum’s (aka oil) main functions is to lubricate the skin, protecting against friction. Not only that, but our natural sebum helps skin prevent moisture loss while having the ability to transport antioxidants. It also has antibacterial properties and has pro and anti-inflammatory functions. Love your oil a little more?
Why shouldn’t I dry out my breakouts or rely on oil-free products?
Think about all of those beautiful functions above that natural oil provides for our skin. Why strip your body’s largest organ of this essential substance? Contrary to what you may have thought, supplementing your skin with the right types of oils won’t exactly make you break out. When you deny your skin of its natural oils, it works twice as hard to produce more - which can ultimately lead to a breakout or congested skin.
You can also think of acne as a cut. When you have a cut, would you dry it out with harsh ingredients to help it heal? Quite the opposite! You’d deliver antibacterial and soothing ingredients to aid in the healing process. Think of your acne or breakouts like those cuts - they need nourishment and hydration to heal. Healthy skin is hydrated and moisturized, and when skin is healthy, it can heal more efficiently.
I often experience acne, have oily skin and/or currently have a breakout. Won’t adding more oil cause me to break out more or make my skin worse?
Not always! If you have acne/oily-prone skin, your skin could be experiencing an inadequate amount of sebum if you’ve been over-cleansing or using harsh products that strip your skin of its oil. Your sebaceous glands may be in overdrive to produce what’s been stripped away - producing more than what’s actually needed. Hello breakouts.
Skin can actually benefit from gamma linolenic acid-rich oils like borage seed oil (find it in this facial oil). A few other oil-balancing ingredients worth noting to look for are green tea and squalane oil.
For skin currently experiencing a breakout, a combination of the above oil-balancing ingredients, anti-inflammatory superstars like Clary Sage and Immortelle essential oils, as well as antibacterial essential oils like chamomile and thyme can collectively support the skin’s natural function to heal breakouts.
I have dry skin. Will a facial oil be enough?
Start by applying 3-4 drops of facial oil to your skin twice daily, once in the morning and once in the evening. Take note of how your skin feels after; do you still feel dry? Is your skin tight? Do you still experience dry or flaking skin? If so, incorporate a facial moisturizer into your routine and try this: apply a pea-sized amount of moisturizer or cream to your fingertips, add 2-3 drops of serum, and mix. Apply thoroughly to your face and neck.
Pro tip: Commonly experience dry skin? Skip your morning cleanser and opt for just water and your moisturizer and serum. Save your cleanser for nighttime!
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