The Best Oils for Skin Care
Why is what we put on our skin so important? Well, you have probably heard that our skin is our body’s largest organ. But, that does not fully explain our skin’s role. Our skin is a physical barrier between our internal organs and our environment, but it goes farther than that. Our skin is an active immune organ. It contains cells and responses that are immune competent. It protects our body and helps our body to eliminate. Our skin has a microbiome (just like our gut), full of microorganisms to protect us from pathogens, bad bacteria, pollution and free radicals.
With these important roles, it naturally follows that we want our skin to perform optimally, and we do not want to impair its function. So, what we slather on our skin matters.
We want skin that has balanced oils and is moisturized and hydrated; so that it is healthy, it performs well and it does not age prematurely. As we make the change to simpler products that are healthier for our bodies, our options for skin care turn to basic oils and butters. Our best success in using them will come when we understand what different oils do and pick the right match for our skin. So, let’s dive in and categorize oils by whether they are better for oily skin or dry skin.
How to Use Oils for Skincare
Before we get in to choosing oils, let’s start with some basics on how to use them.
Oils as a Moisturizer
Oils are your moisturizer, so they should be used directly following anytime you wash your skin. After washing or showering, your skin will have soaked up the moisture, and the oil afterwards will help to lock it in. So, after washing, just take a few drops of oil and spread around your face. If the oil has not absorbed within 30 minutes, then you are using too much (or you may be using the wrong type for your skin).
I know it sounds scary to put oil on your face, but remember that you want to work with your skin’s naturally protectant oil layer, not against it. By keeping your face moisturized, you will actually decrease oil production and create balance.
Oils as a Cleanser
You can also use oils for cleansing. It is effective because when you are cleansing your face, you are cleansing the natural oils (sebum). Using oil directly on the sebum helps the two to combine and allows for a deeper cleansing without harsh stripping of the oils with soaps and detergents. Learn how to oil cleanse now.
If you do want to use a soap, then consider castile soap (an RVer’s BFF as we call it). It does not strip your skin of its natural oils. I use it sometimes to cleanse my face, and we use it as our body wash. My skin care routine is coming next week!
The Best Oils for Skin Care: Oily Skin
If you are not sure what type of skin you have, then jojoba oil is a good place to start. It most closely matches our skin’s sebum (natural oils). It is technically a liquid wax ester and has a light feel. It absorbs quickly, making it great for oily skin types, but can be used on any skin type. Also good for sensitive skin. It contains vitamins A and E. It has a decent shelf life.
A little bit heavier than jojoba, grapeseed oil is a good balancer on the skin. It has good levels of vitamin E, which is a natural antioxidant.
Hemp Seed Oil
This is another oil that absorbs well, making it great for oily skin. It is a very balanced oil and is high in protein and polyunsaturated fats (Omega-6 & Omega-3). Also contains vitamin E. Tends to reduce inflammation and may be good for anti-aging.
Rosehip Seed Oil
A wonderfully skin-enhancing oil, but it comes at a high price. It is nourishing and tends to smooth skin with anti-aging properties. Absorbs easily, making it good for oily skin. It is an unstable oil and refrigeration is recommended.
The Best Oils for Skin Care: Dry Skin
High oleic acid content makes it very moisturizing. It has a good shelf life, and contains some vitamin E. It is rich in antioxidants (anti-aging) and phenols (anti-inflammatory). It is great for the skin, but does have a heavier feel.
Sweet Almond Oil
This oil has a lighter feel than olive, but is heavier than jojoba and grapeseed. High in vitamins A, D and E. It has a shorter shelf life and is odorless.
This is a heavier oil, and it does tend to clog pores for some people. It is also antimicrobial, so it works well for some people. You will have to try it for yourself. I use it on my body without any problem, but I limit it on my face and only use it when very dry in the winter.
Rosehip Seed Oil
We already described this as a good oil for oily skin. But, it is also an emollient, making it great for dry skin as it penetrates deeply and hydrates.
Apricot Kernel Oil
Similar to sweet almond oil, but better for sensitive and mature skin.
Argan oil is known for its benefits in skincare. It has natural saponins which work to soften the skin and reduce fine lines and wrinkles. It has a distinct odor and is pricy.
Made from the nut of the tamanu tree, indigenous to tropical Southeast Asia. Has antimicrobial properties, soothes skin, anti-aging, and is even said to have wound healing properties. Tons of purported benefits, but pricy and hard to find.
This is a very heavy, thick oil and would only be needed very sparingly. Its main benefit is its cleansing properties. It is also used in castor oil packs for stimulating lymphatic function and supporting the health of my ovaries and uterus.
A Few Butters for Dry Skin
Butters are a great way to boost the staying power of the moisturizer on skin. They are typically blended with oils for skin care.
Contains vitamins A and E and has anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties. Traditionally used for skin that has endured extreme elements. A softer butter, but with a distinct smell. Offers approximately SPF-6.
Harder than shea, but melts at body temperature. Smells like chocolate. Very shelf stable.
The Best Essential Oils for Skin Care
Now, let’s take those single oils and add some real power to them. There are so many essential oils that are beneficial in skincare, but I want to focus on just a few of the best to help you get started. I am not going to list all of the properties of these oils, just one or two quick main reasons that they are used in skincare. Remember, you want to dilute these in the above oils or another carrier oil.
May contain healing properties. Great for maintaining a youthful appearance. Promotes oxygenation. Immune-supporting and “bad things” killing. The best essential oil you can put on your skin.
Probably the top skin oil, even surpassing Frankincense. But, very expensive, because it takes a lot of rose petals to make the oil. Try a blend that has a bit of rose in it, so that you can still get the benefits without buying a whole bottle – Gentle Baby is a great option for skincare that contains rose and jasmine among other oils.
Known for cleansing and healing. Powerful antioxidants. Great for sensitive skin.
Tea Tree aka Melaleuca
Cleansing. Powerful “bad thing” killer. Great for sensitive skin.
Great for dry skin.
May contain healing properties and promotes youthful appearance.
May help problematic skin.
Great for cleansing oily skin and revitalizing skin cells.
Menopause looking you in the eye? Check this one out (Geranium too). May help to balance oil production. Good for oily skin.
The citrus oils of orange and lemon are very beneficial to skin, but they are also photosensitive oils, so they must be used with caution if you will be in the sunlight.
There are also some non-oil options for you to consider. Witch hazel is a good option for oily skin and can be mixed with essential oils. Witch hazel is known for its astringent properties, but it can also help to remove excess oils from your skin while also sealing in moisture.
Aloe is a good option for dry skin and can also be mixed with essential oils. Aloe vera contains a ton of moisture that it pulls in to the skin. But, the debate with aloe is whether or not it can seal that moisture in on its own, or if it needs an additional moisturizing layer to seal it. You can judge on your own skin.
A final note on these oils, remember that quality counts. Look for extra virgin, minimal processing, cold pressed. Generally, you will pay more for higher quality oils.
All of this skin care talk gives you something to think about until next Self Care Sunday, when I give you a peak at my personal skin care routine. I will spill the beans on what I use for washing, exfoliating and moisturizing my skin, along with some other fun skincare tips. I have been experimenting with lotions and potions for over five years now – Chris calls the kitchen my “lab” when I am whipping up concoctions. I will be sharing some of my favorites with you in the coming posts as well. See you soon!
Sources and Further Research on Oils for Skin Care…
“The Skin as an Immune Organ” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1022320/
“Probiotics for Skin Health” https://www.worldhealth.net/news/probiotics-skin-health/