Is using oil on my skin a good idea?

A question that many of our clients at The Portland Girl ask us is whether “using oil on my skin a good idea?” People either think that oil is the BEST moisturizer (not always the case), or that oil is BAD for their skin and will cause them to breakout (also not always the case!)

The 411 on Oil

Everyone is different, we all have different skin types; normal, dry, oily, or combination. And within that breakdown, there are some that are more sensitive, some that are more environmentally stressed and some that are hormonally imbalanced.

Thus, there are certain oils that are likely to be better matched depending on your skin type. We will get into this more in a minute, for now, let’s talk for a moment about “sebum” since this is the oil that our very own skin produces.

Sebum is a wax like substance excreted through our sebaceous glands. Sebum helps to protect and hydrate the face as well as lubricate hair follicles. When we have an overproduction of sebum, acne or congestion (i.e. whiteheads and blackheads) are likely to make themselves friendly on our faces 😉 The increased production of sebum is followed by a blockage that causes a comedo or whitehead.

3 myths about oil:

  1.  Oils on the face cause breakouts.

Not all oils are bad. Oils can be comedogenic (meaning known to cause blackheads/whiteheads), like peanut oil for example. There are also non comedogenic oils like hemp seed which has a comedogenic rating of zero. Most skincare lines only use oils that are non-comedogenic, so check the labels on your products before you buy.

  1. Oil is bad for oily skin.

Actually, treating oil with oil can be helpful. A lot of people with acne will dry to fight the oil by stripping the skin of ANY oil, but this will actually lead the skin to fight to keep hydrated, thus causing more oil production to occur.

It then becomes a cycle of super dry to super oily and you never feel balanced. Keeping your skincare ritual simple and consistent is key. Take note of new products you introduce into your routine and keep track of what happens after a few days or a week. Using a light facial oil may help retain moisture and prevent over drying. Also Lipids, or fats, dissolve other fats. Fighting oil with oil can actually break up congestion at the source. Take that acne!

  1. Oils are superficial.

The skin is your largest organ and anything you put on your skin has the potential to absorb into the deeper layers of your skin and your blood stream. When oils are applied to the skin, they are absorbed directly into the top layers of the epidermis, your outermost layers of the skin. They instantly go to work to improve the lipid barrier function. Most oils are rich in antioxidants so applying to the skin also helps combat free radical damage.

However, because our skin is mostly make up of water, it is crucial that those who struggle with dryness, opt for a non-wax based moisture cream that uses an oil emulsion to deliver oil AND water deeper into the skin.

Love your oil!

For those of you “suffering” from oily skin, just know that in the long run, you win the race! Oily skin does not wrinkle as easily as other skin types. You will maintain a more youthful appearance, granted you continue to make healthy choices.

Where to go from here?

The key to using oils correctly is finding the right one for your skin type. Different oils have different finishes and functions. Check out this list of oils below to learn more about the oils that you will find in various products and facial services:

Tea Tree oil

Great for oily and sensitive skin. It has antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. For acne prone skin it is as effective as benzoyl peroxide but without the harsh side effects.

Rose Hip Seed Oil

Mother nature’s Retin A without irritating effects. Full of Beta Carotene, Retinoic acid and Omegas it works wonders for scars, sunburns, discoloration and eczema. It improves elasticity and has anti aging properties as it Increases collagen and elastin production.

Jojoba Oil

While technically a wax, it is strikingly similar to our bodies natural oils so it is easily absorbed. It contains Zinc, Copper Vitamin B and E to help strengthen skin.Great to use as a cleanser or lip conditioner, or carrier oil for essential oils.

Sweet Almond Oil

Rich in monounsaturated fats and super moisturizing for skin and hair. It is a natural way to clear dead skin cells. It evens out skin tone and dark spots. Be conscious of those with nut allergies!

Grape seed oil

Boasts antioxidants and fatty acids that can put acne to a halt. It has astringent properties that can tighten skin. It naturally contains linoleic acid, which has healing and anti-inflammatory properties.

Avocado Oil

This oil is ideal for dry, itchy or aging skin because it is so emollient. It is high in Vitamin E and Omega 3 Fatty Acids and which helps with proper cellular function and decreases inflammation.

Most of these oils are easily attainable at a health store, apothecary or online. Do your research to be sure there are no additives, fragrances and that your oil is organic. We purchase cold pressed oils for our treatments since these are not chemically extracted and they maintain their healthy benefits.

Hopefully this post has given you an idea of what direction to explore next time you are considering incorporating oils into your beauty regimen.

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