If the thought of putting oils on your face brings really bad breakouts to mind, think again. Ancient Egyptians kept their skin vibrant and flawless with Moringa Oil. And this (very) old-school beauty secret is making a pretty big comeback right now. In fact, according to top dermatologists, facial oils may be that missing step in your beauty routine.
The key is to recognize that not all facial oils are the same, says Dr. Rebecca Tung, chair of the Division of Dermatology at Loyola University of Chicago. She adds, "Some can nourish the skin, while others can be potential irritants — so choose wisely." And before you start a regimen, you should always check with your dermatologist. Keep reading to see why oils should be the next page in your beauty playbook — and which ones could work best for you.
1. They can reduce your wrinkles.
Too much unprotected ultraviolet light is a set-up for free radical damage — and that means wrinkles and sunspots galore. Some facial oils are packed with antioxidants, which prevent further aging, says Dr. Tung, so if you're affected by sun damage and dryness, she recommends looking for products containing primrose oil or those with a vitamin E base, such as Argan oil.
If your skin tends to be on the shiny side and you're nervous about trying oils, Dr. Allison Hanlon, dermatologist in Nashville, Tennessee, prefers a dab of grape seed oil because it's anti-aging, light, non-greasy, and beautifully fragranced. After washing your face at night, dabbing a tiny bit of your preferred oil to the forehead, each cheek, nose, and chin can be beneficial.
2. They're good for dry skin.
Plummeting temps and cranked-up heaters suck moisture straight from the skin. Oils are the ideal antidote to dry, flaky skin and rough, rosy cheeks — and they can be much more effective at moisturizing than your standard over-the-counter lotions and creams. For softer skin and hair, Dr. Hanlon recommends applying a pea-sized amount of coconut oil to your driest areas. Almond oil is packed with hydrating omega-3 fatty acids, making it is a good choice for sensitive skin.
3. They really protect your skin.
Because oils are lipophilic, they can penetrate deep into the skin, trapping water and other moisturizing goodness in, while keeping toxins and other bad stuff out. Some oils also help to fortify and strengthen our own natural skin barrier. This is especially important for big city dwellers who need extra protection against pollutants and smog, a known source of unwanted wrinkles. On a cold winter day, using a product with rosehip seed oil, which is highly concentrated with antioxidant ingredients, would be a definite win-win.
4. They're the perfect primer for makeup.
Oils like mandarin and pumpkin seed zip through the top of skin at lightening quick speed, quickly settling comfortably into the areas that need hydrating the most. This gives an immediate plumping effect and creates the perfect canvas for your makeup — and the smoother your skin, the better your whole face will look.
5. They can shrink enlarged pores.
Higher-end oils such as macadamia, jojoba, and camellia actually pull out grime and fats from pores, making them appear smaller and less noticeable. But be warned: The proof is in the formula. Unfortunately, oils readily available at the grocery store can give you clogged, puffed-out pores, so consult with your dermatologist before trying just any old oil.
6. They can calm down rashes.
Many oils have anti-inflammatory properties as well, helping to quell irritated skin. Argan and yangu oils are ideal for irritations that follow use of popular anti-aging products such as retinol or alpha hydroxy acids. Geranium oil is also fabulous at reducing redness from rosacea, as well.
7. They're great for banishing zits.
Believe it or not, tea tree oil is a pretty darn good zit zapper. And no, you won't get more pimples if you use oils. We aren't talking about slathering Crisco on your face, after all.
"Using jojoba in moderation can actually reduce oil production, making a great addition to your topical acne regimens, which can be drying," says Dr. Tung. Facial oils are now made in very cosmetically elegant, light formulations that are excellent for layering and everyday use. Just keep in mind that a small amount of the right product goes a long way. Too much of anything is never a good idea.