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What Do Facial Oils Do for Skin?

What Do Facial Oils Really Do for your Skin?

We have seen a myriad of facial oils on the market touting skincare benefits. Consumers will often go out of their way and spend top dollar to obtain the highest quality oils for their skincare regimen. We have seen several oils show up in skincare: Argan, Jojoba and Rosehip Seed oil to name a few. But, do facial oils have a scientifically proven benefit for our skin?

The Science Behind Facial Oils 

It is a natural biological process for the skin to produce oil. Oil glands (called sebaceous glands) on the surface of the skin produce 90% of the oils on the skin surface. These glands are located on the second layer of your skin - known as the dermis and number in the thousands, with the highest concentration of glands being on your face and scalp [1,2]. Sebaceous glands aid in moisturizing the skin and maintaining homeostasis (correct pH levels), and protecting the skin against environmental irritants [1,3-4]. 

The sebaceous gland often gets a bad reputation, however, because it is a major player in some pathologies plaguing the skin - such as acne vulgaris. As we have touched on before in our acne article, acne can be caused by clogged sebaceous glands that develop bacterial overgrowth [5]. 

So, are facial oils beneficial to the skin or will the acne-prone experience flare ups?

Types of Facial Oils

It is not one size fits all when it comes to oils and your skin. Face oils should be used for long-lasting hydration that sinks deep into the skin. But, some oils don’t behave as others do. For example, although coconut oil has reported anti-inflammatory properties, it can easily clog pores and cause acne for some people - especially those with oiler skin types [6]. On the other hand, those with drier skin may prefer a thicker oil that has intense moisturizing properties and holds the product close to the skin for an extended period of time. 

It is also equally as important to recognize the quality of the oils you are buying - because not all oils are created equal. On the market, you will find one of three types of oils: single/pure oils, oil blends, and oil/non-oil hybrids [8]. Single oils will have one ingredient - Rosehip or Jojoba oil for example. Oil blends as the name implies can have several single oils incorporated and oil hybrids may have unauthorized or unwanted products mixed in -due to cheaper manufacturing/purification processes or fillers. 

So, what oils actually have benefits? We have compiled a list of non-comedogenic facial oils to consider in your daily routine. 

Skin oils that are safe to use on your face [7]:

  • Rosehip Seed oil
  • Hemp Seed oil
  • Jojoba oil
  • Grapeseed oil
  • Sunflower Seed oil
  • Sweet Almond oil
  • Argan oil

Oils could be great for your daily skincare routine - it is just important to know what oils will work best for your skin type and to choose high quality oils on the market - even if it means sacrificing your wallet.