One of the most vital organs in the body is the skin. It's in charge of keeping the body hydrated, preventing bacteria from entering, controlling body temperature, and storing fat and water.
Often, the skin works in perfect harmony and performs both of these functions at the same time. It may also require aid to replenish what has been lost. This is when skin care enters the picture. While some people think of cosmetics as solely a way to improve their appearance, they also have a practical use.
Natural oils have gained in popularity as people move away from processed skin care products with dozens of additives in favour of natural skin care products. We'll go over some of the greatest natural oils for your skin, as well as what to look for and how to avoid negative or allergic reactions.
Which layer of skin is responsible for water retention?
Your skin is made up of three layers: a thin top layer (epidermis), a thick middle layer (dermis), and a bottom layer (dermis) (subcutaneous fat). Each layer has a certain purpose. Hair follicles, sweat glands, and blood vessels are all found in the middle layer of the skin. Sebaceous glands, which produce oil and keep your skin smooth, moisturised, and waterproof, are also found here.
Sebum is an oily material that lubricates the skin and helps it retain moisture. It is made up of triglycerides, fatty acids, waxes, and other ingredients. Too much water can evaporate from your skin, causing dry skin, whether due to environmental factors, behavioural issues, or certain medical problems.
When you apply oils to your skin, you're adding a layer of protection that keeps moisture in. Furthermore, some natural oils are high in antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects.
Which oils are good for your skin?
Not all oils are created equal. We examine over a dozen various types of natural oils that may be beneficial to your skin in the sections below. Before using any of these items as part of your skin care routine, see your doctor or dermatologist, as natural products might still trigger allergic reactions.
Many of the oils on the list are the same ones you'll find in your kitchen cupboard. If you want to apply oils on your skin, go for cold-pressed or unrefined oils instead of processed cooking oils. This guarantees that you get the most out of your membership.
When looking at these different oils, you'll come across terms like linoleic acid and oleic acid. These are the two most common fatty acids found in oils. Linoleic acid-rich oils are less comedogenic, which means they're less likely to clog pores. Oils high in oleic acid are more comedogenic, meaning they clog pores more easily, especially in persons with oily skin.
Because coconut oil is heavy in saturated fat, it remains solid at room temperature. Its high fat content, along with antibacterial and anti-inflammatory characteristics, makes it great for reducing moisture loss. Coconut oil is a comedogenic substance, which means it can trigger skin outbreaks. Cold-pressed, unrefined coconut oil, on the other hand, is safe to use on various regions of the body.
Rich in vitamins A, D, E and K, olive oil also acts as a moisturizer and can help keep your skin hydrated. Many types of olive oil are refined or a blend of several types of oils. You’ll receive the most benefits from extra virgin olive oil that is unrefined and cold pressed.
Avocados are high in dietary fibre, vitamin C, vitamin K, and folate, among other nutrients. Avocados have more fat than most fruits, but it's the beneficial kind: they're high in linoleic acid and oleic acid. These nutrients are present in the oils derived from this fruit, making it a great skin care solution for dry skin.
If you check at the ingredient list on your sunscreen bottle the next time you use it, you'll most likely notice jojoba oil. This oil aids in the absorption of other substances when mixed with them. Jojoba oil contains a lot of wax esters, which aid to keep water from evaporating. It contains anti-inflammatory qualities and can be used to treat a variety of dermatitis.
The nuts of the shea tree, which is native to West Africa, are used to make shea butter. The finished product behaves similarly to cocoa butter in that it is solid at room temperature before melting when it comes into contact with warm skin. Shea butter contains phenols and plant sterols, both of which are anti-inflammatory and antioxidant.
Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil, unlike many other natural oils, does not aggravate acne. Tea tree oil's antibacterial qualities aid in pore disinfection while also lowering edoema and irritation. However, a little goes a long way. Using a cotton swab dipped in tea tree oil, dab any problem areas.
This herb is a hybrid of spearmint and watermint. The oils extracted from peppermint leaves have anti-inflammatory and antifungal qualities, making it a useful topical oil for irritating skin disorders.
Chamomile can help your body and mind relax when used in teas and herbal drinks. Chamomile oil has a similar effect on the skin and can be used to ease irritated, itchy skin.
This oil, which is high in antioxidants, comes from the marula tree native to Africa. Marula oil is considered a lighter oil, so you can use it on oily skin without running the risk of worsening acne. This is due to its non-comedogenic properties that won’t clog pores. Marula oil also helps retain moisture.
A popular addition to shampoos and other bath products, argan oil helps moisturize skin and also boasts antioxidant properties thanks to vitamin E and omega fatty acids.
Grapeseed oil is another popular cooking oil that also doubles as a product you can use for your skin. Rich in omega fatty acids, it has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. You can also use it as a moisturizer. When shopping, choose cold pressed or unrefined grapeseed oil.
Extracted from the seeds of wild rose bushes, rosehip oil can be used as a moisturizer due to its ability to hydrate the skin. It also contains beta carotene and vitamins C and E. Rosehip’s anti-inflammatory properties are beneficial for people with skin conditions such as eczema.
Another herb known more for its culinary uses, rosemary is used to treat acne and to promote healthy hair and skin.
This popular cooking herb contains oils that may be beneficial in healing wounds on your skin.
Best natural oils for dry skin
Most oils work well with dry skin, as their primary goal is to seal in moisture. There are a few that standout, though. In general, coconut, rosehip, olive and argan oils help treat dry skin. Extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil and marula can help treat extremely dry skin that is prone to cracking, bleeding and flaking.
Coconut oil, marula oil and avocado oil are especially useful since they contain high levels of oleic acid, which makes oils thicker and richer to trap moisture. Oleic acid, which is also found in argan oil, can help balance out sebum production to ensure moisture doesn’t leave the skin too quickly. Argan oil is also rich in vitamin E to repair any damage caused by dry skin.
If you have oily skin that becomes dry, you may want to shy away from a comedogenic oil such as coconut oil. These types of oil can clog pores, especially on the face, and cause acne breakouts. Instead, opt for lighter oils such as argan, jojoba or grapeseed oil. These oils absorb more quickly into the skin and can also help soothe dry areas zapped of moisture.
Can you put essential oils on your skin?
Between diffusers and placing drops in cleaning products, essential oils continue to be all the rage these days.
That’s just the beginning, though. These powerful extracts are also being used on body parts to help anything from scrapes and cuts to acne and sore muscles. But, are they safe to use?
Avoid using pure essential oils directly on your skin. Why? Essential oils are potent because it takes a large quantity of the plant they are derived from to produce a small amount of oil, making them highly-concentrated products. For example, it can take hundreds of lemongrass plants to make one pound of oil.
Instead of placing these oils directly on your skin and risking an adverse reaction, dilute the oils in a carrier oil or water so they aren't as potent. Carrier oils are usually neutral plant-based oils that act as a way to “carry” the essential oils to your skin cells. Examples include grapeseed oil, jojoba oil or avocado oil.
Essential oils can still cause an allergic reaction, regardless of how much you dilute them, if you have sensitive skin or a history of skin reactions (bad rash or hives). Oregano oil, lemongrass oil, chamomile oil and cinnamon bark oil tend to cause more allergic reactions than other essential oils.
While citrus oils are safe to use when diluted, they may cause a sunburn if applied before going outside. Use these oils either first thing in the morning or before bed to avoid sunburn.
Oils such as bitter almond, inhula, khella, pennyroyal, sage, sassafras, turmeric and wintergreen are potentially toxic and shouldn’t be used on your skin.
If you’re using essential oils — or any natural oil — for the first time, use a small amount on your arm as a trial run to check for adverse reactions. Consult an INTEGRIS Health dermatologist with any questions you have on natural oils or skin care in general.
Subscribe to the INTEGRIS Health On Your Health blog
Subscribe for regular emails full of useful and interesting Oklahoma-centric health and wellness info, from the doctors and health experts at INTEGRIS Health.