Oil has been an important ingredient in skincare since ancient civilizations started to pay attention to beauty. Egyptians in the age of pharaohs would rub natural oils on their skin to slow the process of aging.
So why has oil gotten such a bad rap in the 21st century? And why are people finally coming around to accept it as an essential part of any healthy skincare routine?
From a non-dermatologist’s perspective, it makes a certain kind of sense not to want to put oil on your face, especially if you are already prone to having oily skin. Your skin naturally produces its own oil, called sebum, and people with heavy sebum-producing skin tend to experience more breakouts. This oil can trap dirt and clog pores, leading to a build up of the bacteria that cause pimples to form.
That’s why there tends to be an entire aisle at the drugstore dedicated to oil-free products—but don’t be fooled! These products are so harsh that they completely strip your skin of its natural, moisturizing oils, leaving your face looking dull and chapped. Worse, this lack of oil on the surface sends a message to your skin cells that they need to produce more oil, only worsening the problem.
Recently, dermatologists have been increasingly recommending the use of natural oils, even for oily skin types. While it may be counterintuitive, these oils actually make your face less oily by tricking the skin into producing less sebum. Many natural oils also have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory compounds that help prevent breakouts.
Look for an oil that is non-comedogenic (doesn’t clog pores), light, and easily absorbed. If you have oily skin, apply the oil at night before going to bed, and rather than using alcohol pads or harsh cleansers throughout the day, simply rub an absorbent wipe over your T-zone now and then. Over time, the use of natural oils should regulate your internal oil production, giving your skin a healthy glow without looking greasy.