Oils are as trendy as shoes or handbags, and every season a new oil emerges as the next holy grail. I love oils, they feel great on the skin, provide a natural, dewy glow, and are packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. The problem is that not all oils are created equal. Just because Argan, olive, or coconut oil is the in vogue oil of the moment, doesn’t mean that it is healthy for your skin.
Putting the wrong oils on your face could cause breakouts because each oil is unique in its chemical composition. Oils that come from the seed or pulp are made up of fatty acids, and there are several fatty acids that make up an oil. Most oils have a combination of oleic, linoleic, linolenic, palmitic, and stearic acids. There are many more fatty acids, but the five I mentioned are the most common. Oleic acid in particular is one to watch out for if you have acne, or are prone to acne. Studies on human sebum, the natural oil your face produces, have found that oleic acid causes comedones (clogged pores). Additionally, studies have found that those with acne have too much oleic fatty acid in their sebum. Therefore, I advise to avoid putting pure oils on your face high in oleic acid. However, there are many oils out there high in oleic acid that are beneficial and should be incorporated into your skin care. For oils that are high in oleic acid, mix with oils high in linoleic acid.
Some Oils Clog Pores
Some Oils Are Irritating to Skin and Prevent Wounds From Healing Properly
Not all oils are soothing and healing, some can cause irritation and prevent wounds from healing properly. In a study on infants, pure olive oil was applied to wounds and it was found that olive oil irritated the skin and prolonged the healing time. The findings are even more alarming when you take into account that 52% of maternity and neonatal units in the UK recommend olive oil in skin care.
Another study on adults found that applying pure olive oil to wounds caused a “significant reduction in stratum corneum integrity and induced mild erythema in volunteers with and without a history of atopic dermatitis.” However, in the same study, subjects also applied sunflower seed oil and saw that the skin’s integrity remained intact. The study’s authors concluded that sunflower seed oil protects the skin, and olive oil “significantly damages the skin barrier, and therefore has the potential to promote the development of, and exacerbate existing, atopic dermatitis.” Therefore, we cannot blindly assume that all oils provide skin-healing benefits.
I have discussed in a previous article why essential oils should be avoided at all costs, so none of them have made the list.
And without further Ado:
1. Watermelon Seed Oil
Used since Egyptian times, this oil is referred to as a “dry oil” for its ability to seep into skin quickly and without leaving a greasy finish. Watermelon seed oil is high in linoleic acid and is great for those with acne, acne-prone skin, or sensitive skin.
2. Carrot Seed Oil
Carrot seed oil is the secret to a natural glow because it is rich in beta-Carotene, the red-orange pigment found in foods like carrots, peppers and other colorful vegetables. Carrot seed oil in its pure form is very potent, and therefore must be used in combination with other oils, preferably those high in linoleic acid.
3. Black Seed Oil
Black Seed Oil high in linoleic acid and has natural anti-bacterial properties, making it a perfect natural remedy for those with acne.
4. Prickly Pear Seed Oil
Prickly pear seed oil is one of the richest oils I have come across (and I have seen a lot!). The oil is thick like molasses, and deeply moisturizing. Prickly pear seed oil is perfect for those with dry, alipidic skin, and coupled with its rich antioxidant content makes it a powerful anti-aging ingredient.
5. Pomegranate Seed Oil
Pomegranate seed oil is abundant in antioxidants, and rich in Punicic Omega 5 fatty acids which have anti-cancer properties.
6. Camellia Japonica Seed Oil
Camellia Japonica is a potent anti-aging oil because it stimulates collagen production, while preventing the degradation collagen due to age and environmental exposure.
7. Green Coffee Oil
Green Coffee Oil has two-fold benefits: it awakens skin due to its natural source of caffeine, and is rich in antioxidants. This oil is perfect for tired eyes, and is a great natural ingredient to look for in eye creams. Studies have also found that green coffee oil has youth-reviving properties because it promotes the formation of new connective tissue.
8. Sunflower Seed Oil
Sunflower seed oil is moisturizing, is rich in vitamins and minerals, and has been found to promote wound healing.
9. Grape Seed Oil
Grape Seed oil balances skin’s natural oils due to its high in linoleic acid content. Additionally, studies have found that grape seed oil is a powerful anti-ager and youth-promoter because it is a natural source of collagen and skin cell promoters.
10. Avocado Oil
Avocado oil, in addition to being an antioxidant powerhouse, has UV-damage reversing properties and is a must-have for everyone who is susceptible to the damage caused by the sun’s rays.
Danby, S.G., AlEnezi, T., Sultan, A., Lavender, T., Chittock, J., Brown, K. and Cork, M.J., 2013. Effect of olive and sunflower seed oil on the adult skin barrier: implications for neonatal skin care. Pediatric dermatology, 30(1), pp.42-50.
Grossmann, M.E., Mizuno, N.K., Schuster, T. and Cleary, M.P., 2010. Punicic acid is an ω-5 fatty acid capable of inhibiting breast cancer proliferation. International journal of oncology, 36(2), p.421.