Contrary to what you might think, oils can be the perfect addition to anyone’s skin-care routine. Still not sure? You’re in luck! We tell you how to choose a face oil that’ll benefit your skin the most.
Oil for All
To maintain its protective barrier function, the skin needs a combination of both water and oil. Although your skin makes sebum—a naturally produced oil, which gives additional protection—it loses lipids with age or as it resists external aggressors like wind, sun and pollution. Younger skin has greater resiliency but as we age, the skin becomes less elastic and loses precious moisture. Emollient properties of oil to the rescue! Oil helps to fill in the skin’s membrane and effectively seal in hydration. Oils themselves do not provide hydration to the skin but rather they trap hydration provided by humectants in serums.
Choosing the Right Oil
Applying an oil can help restore balance to sebum production, so it’s important to work with the skin’s natural state. Oils with large molecules (like olive or coconut) are excellent for dry skin. However, they risk clogging pores when blended with the already abundant sebum production of oily skin types. Smaller molecules that penetrate the skin more easily are ideal for balancing oily skin and relieving the dryness of combination skin without creating a shiny T-zone effect. And that’s not all: Oils contain a ton of active ingredients that can treat different skin conditions. Vitamin A in rosehip oil helps fight the signs of aging, vitamin E from sunflower oil can accelerate tissue repair, and vitamin C in marula oil aids in reducing hyperpigmentation by neutralizing free radicals.
For dry skin, the richest and most occlusive oils are best. They help to keep skin hydrated by acting as a sealant and reducing water loss. Avocado, sesame, macadamia, walnut and coconut oils are filled with oleic acids and omega fatty acids, as well as good fats that help revitalize the skin. By losing less of its natural hydration, your skin will be plump, supple and less irritated.
TRY: SAHAJAN The Beauty Oil, $64, thedetoxmarket.ca.
The secret for combo skin is to find an oil low in saturated fat to avoid highlighting the T-zone, but rich enough in omega fatty acids to soften the dry areas. For oilier skin, look for a light texture that penetrates the dermis quickly, and ingredients with antibacterial properties to prevent breakouts. Some good options include sea buckthorn, chia seed, sunflower and marula oils.
TRY: DRUNK ELEPHANT Virgin Marula Luxury Facial Oil, $95, sephora.ca.
If you have a reactive skin type it’s best to opt for the purest oil possible, since every ingredient added carries the risk of a reaction. Try to avoid essential oils and artificial fragrances, which are known irritants. Your best bets are argan, sweet almond and borage oils that contain the fatty acids necessary to strengthen the skin’s moisture barrier, as well as antioxidants that can help reduce any inflammation.
TRY: JOHN MASTERS ORGANICS 100% Argan Oil, $55, well.ca.
Even balanced skin can benefit from using oil—this skin type can profit from any oil, without the risk of clogged pores or irritation. The active ingredients in oils can multiply the benefits of your other skin-care products, too. Simply add two or three drops of apricot kernel, argan, prickly pear or camellia oil to your night moisturizer and apply.
TRY: YOUTH TO THE PEOPLE Superberry Hydrate + Glow Oil, $58, sephora.ca.
Dry or dehydrated skin will sometimes try to protect itself by overproducing sebum, leading to blockages and inflammation. If you’re dealing with breakouts, try an oil with anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties to slow down sebum production while also promoting healing and reducing blemishes. Pumpkin seed, orange, myrrh and squalane oils are filled with antioxidants and vitamins that help prevent and repair skin lesions.
TRY: GUERLAIN Abeille Royale Youth Watery Oil, $129/30 ml, thebay.com.
Oil... on oil? It might seem counterintuitive, but applying an oil to oily skin can actually help balance natural oil production. Jojoba oil molecules are structurally similar to that of sebum, making the skin believe that it has enough, which then limits natural oil production. Other oils, such as grapeseed, have a natural astringent effect that mattifies the skin. Opt for light-textured oils like hemp or safflower that absorb quickly.
TRY: PIXI Overnight Retinol Oil, $34, shoppersdrugmart.ca.