How I Use Oils In My Face Care Regimen

 
 essential oils, jojoba oil, avocado oil, face care, cleansing, washing, moisturize, moisturizer, oil cleansing, organic, all natural, non-comedogenic, acne

You may be thinking ... why would you use oils on your face? What if you have oily skin ... wouldn't topical oils make the condition worse? The short answer is  -- not if you select the right ones. In fact, applying certain oils can actually help to balance your skin and improve your complexion. 

Let's start by looking at the science behind face oils, then we'll get to my skincare regimen. 

Many oils contain vitamins like C and E which also are antioxidants. Oils also have essential fatty acids which can penetrate the skin, helping to build a resilient layer known as the lipid barrier.

Just as we know that healthy oils are good to include in our diets, the right natural oils can keep our skin moisturized, smooth, and glowing, and even fight breakouts. In fact, people with acne often have low levels of linoleic acid on their face (read the study here). And when acne-prone folks repeatedly scrub and strip their face of oils, they further perpetuate the condition. Adding healing oils to the routine may actually help combat pimples. 

Oil Cleansing

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You can use just about any oil to cleanse your face. Yes, you read that correctly ... you can actually wash your face with oils. Again, this is much more gentle than using harsh cleansers, and it doesn't strip away the natural oils that our skin needs. 

How to use the Oil Cleansing Method:

(Directions from Beauty Munsta.com)

  1. Splash your face with warm water to open up your pores.
  2. Next massage 1 tsp of a good skin care oil or an oil blend to your face in gentle circular motions for a minute. This helps dissolve the stale oils within your pores and drive out dirt, pollution, dead cells and germs.
  3. Run a microfiber washcloth under hot running water and wring it out. Start pressing or dabbing this washcloth all over your face to allow the nourishing oil(s) to penetrate deeper.
  4. After that, wring out the washcloth in hot water again and look up with your eyes closed and place the washcloth on your face. You’re gently steaming your face at this step.
  5. Finally, wipe off the excess oils from your face with the washcloth and splash your face with cold water to close pores. Don’t forget to throw the washcloth in the washer.
  6. You actually do not really need to moisturize your face any further at this point, but each personal must determine on their own whether additional moisturizers are needed depending on skin type.

I personally LOVE to use jojoba oil to clean my face. Sometimes, if I also want to gently exfoliate, I will add some honey and/or sugar to create a fine granular scrub. 

Many sites suggest using a carrier oil along with a thinner, more liquid oil to break it up. (Although, you'll notice I just use jojoba.) The website Beauty Munsta gives you ideas of oil combinations to try for normal, dry, oily, acne-prone, combination, and mature skin types. 

Some recommended carrier oils are: castor, olive, avocado, jojoba, sunflower, hazelnut, grapeseed, sweet almond (I also use this one!), sesame, apricot kernel, and hemp seed. You can also use each of these alone to oil cleanse as well if you're not up for creating combinations. 

Oils as Moisturizers

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 In the morning after oil cleansing, I really do not need a moisturizer. However, I do typically apply a sunscreen or moisturizer with sunscreen so as to protect my skin from UV damage. Depending on your skin type, you may need to or want to add additional moisturizers to your face after oil cleansing.

At night, I typically clean my face with a charcoal soap bar (Beauty Counter has a great one), or I exfoliate with the jojoba and honey/sugar combination I mentioned earlier. But I also like to moisturize with additional oils so that they can seep into my skin overnight. You may want to avoid moisturizing with some oils if you are going to apply make-up afterward. However, if you're just going to sleep, a little extra shine doesn't matter. I would recommend giving them some time to absorb a bit before hitting the hay, though, as you don't want them to rub off directly onto your pillow. 

Some people also like to add a few drops of essential oils to their moisturizing oil for extra benefits and for a nice scent. This website can help you figure out which essential oils work well with your skin type. 

My favorite moisturizing oil is avocado oil. I use this on my face at night. It only takes a few dabs ... less is typically best. A little goes a long way. (I've had the same bottle of avocado oil for more than six months!) One to three drops of your choice of oil is enough to cover your whole face and deliver the benefits your skin needs.  I wrote more about avocado oil's uses in skin and hair care in this blog post

When you use oils to moisturize, you DO have to be more diligent to use ones that are non-comedogenic. Cleansing with oils is different since you're washing them off. But when you're leaving them on your skin for extended periods of time, you'll want oils that don't clog pores. 

Non-Comedogenic Facial Oils

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Oils that are low on the comedogenic scale are less likely to clog pores. Whether you are acne-prone or not, the higher the comedogenic rating, the more likely the oil is to lead to break-outs. 

The following is a list of relatively non-comedogenic oils (information courtesy of The Best Organic Skin Care).

Rating 0 (least comedogenic)

  • Argan Oil
  • Hemp Seed Oil
  • Shea Butter
  • Sunflower Oil
  • Kukui Oil
  • Prickly Pear Seed Oil
  • Safflower Oil
  • Camellia Oil
  • Watermelon Seed Oil
  • Camelina Oil
  • Poppy Seed Oil 
  • Raspberry Seed Oil

Rating 1:

  • Calendula Oil
  • Castor Oil
  • Emu Oil
  • Neem Oil
  • Pomegranate Oil
  • Rosehip Seed Oil
  • Sea Buckthorn Oil
  • Black Cumin Seed Oil

Rating 2:

  • Almond Oil
  • Avocado Oil
  • Baobob Oil
  • Borage Oil
  • Camphor Oil
  • Evening Primrose Oil
  • Grape Seed Oil
  • Hazelnut Oil
  • Sandalwood Seed Oil
  • Jojoba Oil
  • Olive Oil
  • Papaya Seed Oil
  • Peach Kernel Oil
  • Peanut Oil
  • Pumpkin Seed Oil
  • Tamanu Oil
  • Sesame Oil

Highly-comedogenic oils (Rated 4 or 5 and more likely to cause breakouts) include: coconut, flaxseed, linseed, palm, wheat germ, cocoa butter, and coconut butter. 

You'll notice that both jojoba and avocado oils have a "2" rating. I've not had a problem with either of these causing breakouts for me, but every person is different. Experiment with different ones and see which work best for you!

I really enjoy using oils in my skin care routine. I've had great results. Plus, they are really easy, convenient, and cheap to use! 

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