Facial oils moisturize your skin, provide essential nutrients and fatty acids where they are needed most, and trick the body into producing less sebum. The key with any facial oil, however, is choosing a non-comedogenic one.
Comedogenic is a fancy way to say ‘pore-clogging’ and obviously anyone who has ever had even one pimple knows that you don’t want to clog your pores. Contrary to popular belief though, there are many oils out there that are NON-comedogenic, meaning they don’t clog pores or cause breakouts. These oils are a lifesaver for your skin, especially if you are hard on your skin with other products. This is ideal for those of us who can’t get out of the cycle of stripping our skin dry, moisturizing it, and then not knowing what to do when it feels greasy, so we strip it again.
Most non-comedogenic oils are high in linoleic acid, a nutrient in which people with acne prone skin tend to be low in. Linoleic acid is an Omega-6 fatty acid that your body needs. It is one of the essential nutrients that helps your hair and nails grow, supports your brain functioning and bone growth, and regulates your metabolism. So basically, you need it. Non-comedogenic oils are also good sources of vitamins that absorb directly into your skin where they work to reduce scar appearance and lines, fight free radicals, and increase collagen and elasticity.
Oils can be used on your face in one of two ways: As a cleanser and as a moisturizer.
The basic principle of using a facial oil as a cleanser is ‘like dissolves like’. The gunk and dirt on your skin is already trapped in your body’s naturally produced oil, called sebum. Adding a clean oil to your face mixes with this oil, along with the dirt and grime that is trapped in it, diluting the bad stuff and making it easier to wash or wipe away. This is an effective way to clean your skin without drying it out so badly that your body will start to overproduce sebum in a bid to re-balance itself. Your body needs this self-produced oil to empty and moisturizer your pores and if you take it away completely, it will just work harder to produce more of it.
The second way to use oil on your face is as a moisturizer. Non-comedogenic oils absorb quickly so they never feel greasy or leave residue on your skin. They balance the skin’s natural pH and vitamin levels, and some of them even contain a natural SPF. These can be applied simply- a few drops at a time, and then rubbed into your face with your fingertips. They can be used in the morning or at night before you go to bed. The advantage to using them in the morning is that you get that natural SPF working for you. The advantage to using them in the evening is that facial oils are excellent at removing even the most stubborn traces of makeup. Overnight, they have plenty of time to absorb and refresh your skin. This gives you a clear and bright palette in the morning that will truly make you feel like you got your ‘beauty sleep’.
If you’re ready to try a facial oil, then it’s essential that you pick one that won’t clog your pores. Different oils are classified on the comedogenic scale of 0-5, with 0 being the least likely to clog your pores and 5 being the most likely. For those of you who are in love with coconut oil, I regret to tell you that it is classified as a 4 on the scale of comedogenicity. Although it may be great for everything else under the sun, it is probably not your best choice for a facial oil.
Instead, consider one of these oils to grace your face:
Argan oil has become popular in recent years as a hair cure-all, but many people don’t know that it also has a 0 rating on the comedogenic scale. This means that it is one of the best oils you can use on your skin. Simple, pure, it won’t clog your pores. This oil interacts with the skin very similarly to our body’s natural oil, so it helps regulate sebum production, and is loaded with Vitamin E to boost your skin health. Argan oil also has a natural SPF of 30! Forget the daily sunblock, use this oil in the morning and you’re good to go for several hours. Argan oil also contains a 37% concentration of linoleic acid, making it a great balancer for acne prone skin.
Jojoba oil has a comedogenic rating of 2, but it’s great appeal is that it’s a common carrier oil that you likely already have for something else. Jojoba oil is one of the most popular oils to use with essential oils and for this reason it’s becoming a common product to have on hand. It has a long shelf-life, so you can store it for a while, and it naturally has great anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that will keep your skin happy and under control. This oil has a mild SPF, so you would still need a daily sunblock, but it would be a great choice to mix a few drops of lavender oil in for a truly potent facial treat.
Sunflower seed oil has a comedogenic rating of 0, and it also has the highest concentration of linoleic acid on our list, at 65.7%. It’s loaded with Vitamins A, E, and D to keep your skin healthy and glowing. This is probably the best choice nutrient-wise for your face, but it does need to be stored in the fridge in order to last. It’s also important that you buy a pure, cold-pressed and unrefined oil, such as Dr Adorable’s Sunflower Oil. Because otherwise, the oil will contain preservatives to make it last longer at room temperature and you don’t want those on your face.