The ”oil-free” movement has long been popular, especially for those of us scared of getting a breakout. Oils have long been feared as a comedogenic, pore-clogging enemy. But with Pinterest and DIY recipes on the rise, more and more people are talking about their love of oils – could it be that these liquids are simply misunderstood? I say YES! Here’s why…
Oils as a cosmetic have been used for thousands of years. There is evidence of oil use in skin care dating back to the 4th millenium BC in Ancient Egypt, and perhaps far long before then as well. Castor oil was used in this region as a protective balm and the Romans used skin creams comprised of olive oil, beeswax, and rosewater. For thousands of years, oils were used by many for purposes of healing and beautification. Oils have been loved by skin for a long time!!
Fall in Popularity
After a long history of oil use, the beauty industry began a strong ”anti-oil” campaign. The beginning of the ”oil-free” movement in skin care marketing is hard to track down. It is thought that it began when mineral oil (a petroleum derived ingredient) received a bad reputation after showing potential to clog pores, particularly in oily or acne prone skin types. Many companies began to remove this ingredient from their products in order to appeal to the public following this revelation, likely inspiring the ”oil-free” beauty industry movement. Mineral oil can be very troubling to those with acne-prone skin, however there are many plant-derived oils for acne that are non-comedogenic and highly beneficial.
There have been some studies to substantiate claims that oils are helpful for inflammatory skin conditions. A 2013 study noted that the abundance of a compound found in many plant-based oils, squalene, is promising for sufferers of seborrheic dermatitis, acne, psoriasis, and atopic dermatitis. Another study from 2005 reported that a mixture of honey, beeswax, and olive oil helps to alleviate dermatitis, psoriasis, and eczema (though I would not recommend this mixture for acne due to its thickness). There have also been many promising studies in relation to the use of potent essential oils in healing skin symptoms. Research backs up the goodness of using oils!
The Benefit of Using Oils
Once you get over the idea of using oils on your skin, you may be surprised to discover the incredible benefits they carry. If you have dry skin, flakiness, or irritation, using oils hydrates your skin and provides nourishment to dehydrated areas. If you have oily skin, using oils will ”trick” your body into producing less oil by sending a signal that is already well moisturized.
With regards to acne in particular, over-the-counter products tend to be VERY drying. Using a drying cleanser early in the day may result in a feeling of squeaky clean skin at first, how about when the afternoon rolls around your forehead ends up more shiny than the polish of a new car. Eek! Why is that? Your skin was stripped of its natural oils earlier in the day and is now making up for it. By using an oil-based cleanser and serum you can avoid the backlash of spikes in oil production and alleviate a good percentage of the skin’s need to produce it at all.
Shopping for Products
I have long played around with many different types of skin care products and can say that using oils is not a one-size fits all. I remember once trying an natural olive oil + honey moisturizer and I broke out like crazy! It wasn’t right for my oily skin. The best way to know is to get a quality recommendation and try them out yourself. Dry skin types can use thicker oils like coconut and shea butter while acne/oily skin types should stick to using lighter oils like jojoba and avocado. I love oil cleansers for everyone because it balances, hydrates, and heals every single skin type. I have seen some very watered down products promotes as being oil-based so read the ingredients! Here are some examples if you’re looking for options:
Oil-Based Serums for Anti-Aging
Tata Harper Rejuvenating Serum – $150
SKINutritious Antioxidant Superfood Serum – $32.95
Naturopathica Rosehip Seed Regenerating Facial Oil – $40
I usually use an oil cleanser followed by an oil-based serum morning and night. Top with your favorite moisturizer or just use the oil as your moisturizer! If the weather is not too cold and I’m not felling dehydrated, I usually slap some of my Clove Oil or Antioxidant serum on and fall asleep – my skin feels amazing in the morning! But it’s all up to you and what makes your skin feel its best
-Elise May, CN + LE
”The Skin Nutritionist”