The buzz word? Facial oils. These potent blends are becoming more and more popular these days, with just about every celebrity out there touting their effectiveness. All brands, be it well-established or up-and-coming ones, all seem to have a facial oil formulation of their own. What gives?
Skin oils 101
It seems a little silly to add oil back onto your face, especially for those with oily or combination type skin. Especially in Singapore, where it’s awfully humid! Your skin does indeed produce oil, also known as sebum. This is the main culprit behind the midday oily sheen that most of us would be all too familiar with. However, that’s not the only oil your skin produces. Along with sebum, there are other lipids produced by the cells in the epidermis. This serve to protect your skin from moisture loss.
All oils are hydrophobic, including those on your face. This means that they prevent water from escaping, keeping your skin hydrated and protected. It also keeps chemicals and irritants away from the skin. When your skin can’t produce sufficient oils, water will escape from the skin, leaving it dry and flakey. This is what those with dry skin face — their skin is unable to keep in the moisture due to the lack of skin oils.
How do facial oils help?
There are 3 types of moisturisers out there — humectants, emollients and occlusives. Humectants are conventional moisturisers, which help by drawing moisture into the skin. On the contrary, facial oils fall in between the lines of an emollient and occlusive, depending on exactly which type of facial oil you are using. If the molecule size is small enough to pass through the skin barrier, it can penetrate into the skin, filling in the spaces between skin cells. If not, it will act as a sealant, keeping water in. Either way, facials oils can help supplement the natural oils produced by your skin, and indirectly increase moisture levels.
Choosing the right oil for your skin type
Facial oils can be a treat if your skin can handle it. Those with dry skin, especially, would find oils beneficial to their skincare routine. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t use it if you don’t fall into this category. Those with oily or combination skin can also benefit from a good facial oil, and when used properly, it may even reduce sebum production. Of course, with the weather in Singapore, you may want to save it for night-time use! Look for tea tree oil, or those with antioxidant properties, for an added boost. If you have sensitive skin, avoid specific ingredients that are irritating, such as tea tree oil. Try a patch test before you proceed to use it on your face.
Also, on an ending note, please avoid using regular cooking oils on your face. Stick to oils that have been formulated for use on the face, otherwise these may clog pores and cause breakouts!
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