Let’s talk oils. Facial oils have taken off in popularity in the last 3 years and many people have their opinions on them. I’ve heard “Oh, I love them”, “No way would I put oil on my skin”, and even “Doesn’t the ingredients in skin oils give you cancer”. But I’m here to give you all the details and the things you need to know before including one or more in your skincare routine.
First off, lets start with the science behind oils. The skin is broken down into 3 main layers and facial oils focus on the middle layer, the dermis, which includes nerve endings, hair follicles, sweat glands, and sebum and sebaceous glands. Dry skin doesn’t produce enough sebum and oily skin produces too much. When you put facial oil onto dry skin it replaces the natural sebum that your skin doesn’t produce resulting in plump, hydrated skin. When you include facial oil into a skincare routine for oily skin, your sebaceous glads are “tricked” into thinking they have already produced enough sebum and oil resulting in less oily skin.
Facial oils do more than condition sebum glands though. When we turn 30 our wrinkles appear deeper and skin feels dryer and that is because our skin has started turning old, dead skin cells into free radicals and accepting free radicals from the air and pollution. These free radicals dry out our skin and take the oxygen away from our skin. Facial oils have a base of whole nut, berry, or seed oils which are rich in fatty acids. These fatty acids contain antioxidants which protect against and help heal free radicals and the oxygenation process. Aka they are a great anti-aging agent.
Lastly, these oils are lipophilic, or fat loving for those of us that don’t speak scientific terms, and also non polar. Water and moisturizers, are polar. So what does this mean? Water and oil don’t mix because science tells us like attracts like and these are not. In skincare this means water and moisturizers won’t break the sebum layer of the dermis and instead sit on top of your skin. A facial oil actually penetrates the sebaceous layer of your skin since it it made up of non polar molecules just like the dermis layer. When you include facial oils in your routine, products that you use before and after such as Vitamin A, retinoids, AHAs and BHAs penetrate deeper, quicker, and give better results.
Now that we know how face oils work, how do we use them? First off remember facial oils are not a replacement for moisturizers because they give two different results to your skin. During your routine, apply an oil after your serums and acids and before your moisturizer and SPFs. Just like any skincare product allow around 28 days to see a full result since that is about the time it takes normal skin to shed and produce fresh cells. Since oils can be expensive, I suggest going to Sephora or stop into Salt and get a sample to see if you like a specific oil before splurging on it. My favorites are Mad Hippie and Sunday Riley but everyone’s skin is so different so play around and create a cocktail that works for you!