How Facial Oils Work

In this blog post, we deep-dive into the topic of Facial Oils to give you more information about the science behind oils, while explaining the basics of how a facial oil actually functions when it interacts with your skin- which may convince to invest in one of our customized formulations.

1. Why does our skin need Oils?

First, you're probably wondering WHY your skin even needs oils.

Putting oil on your face may seem counterintuitive (especially to those with oily skin), but as it turns out, oils aren’t there to make your face “oily”.

Oils enable your skin to maintain its water content, helping your face stay moisturized. This is because oils enable our skin to retain its natural moisture barrier! 

Your skin can dry out for a number of reasons: after using harsh products, using too many products, or just through environmental exposure (such as being outside on a windy and cold winter day). 

The process of your skin losing moisture throughout the day is called Trans Epidermal Water Loss (TEWL). (As you age, TEWL tends to happen quicker, meaning aging skin tends to be dry.)

In order for your skin to feel moisturized- to achieve that natural “glow”, preventing it from looking flakey, dull and dry- you need to maintain your skin's natural moisture barrier. Having a healthy skin barrier function means your skin is well equipped to fight Trans Epidermal Water Loss (TEWL).

So- how can you help your skin's barrier function, and ensure your skin RETAINS as much moisture as possible?

The short answer is, use OILS!

2. How does a Facial Oil work and what do they do?

From misinformation to greenwashing- both large conglomerates and small indie skincare brands have played a role in creating confusion around How Facial Oils Actually Work.

The best way to answer the question “How does a Facial Oil work?” is to compare them to a product you already have experience with: moisturizers!

Your skin needs to retain water in order to keep its natural “glow”. Both moisturizers and Facial Oils are formulated to help your skin gain and retain moisture. They just do this using slightly different mechanisms.

Moisturizers work to “add moisture” the skin by delivering two “missing” ingredients: water and oil.

Since "dry" or "dehydrated" skin is missing water- moisturizers are formulated to deliver BOTH hydration (water) and protection against water loss (oils).

BUT, as we all know from science class- oil and water don’t mix. This is why moisturizer formulations can be over complicated, as most of the ingredients on the label will be dedicated to ensuring a good emulsion is formed, a nice texture is created, and that the oil and water mix on a molecular level.

In other words, many of the ingredients in moisturizers have nothing to do with your skin, and more to do with achieving the perfect "cream" consistency.

This is where Facial Oils enter the picture. With so many consumers looking closely at labels now, and asking what each ingredient is doing for their skin- they are discovering that not all ingredients included in products are even beneficial for the skin.

So, facial oils do just ONE of the jobs that the moisturizer does. 

Facial Oils deliver missing lipids to the surface of your skin, in order to help your skin protect itself from moisture loss, without any extra ingredients!

Because Facial Oils have no water in the formulas (or are anhydrous), they generally don't contain non-beneficial ingredients that moisturizers are required to have to form a stable an emulsion.

3. What is the benefit of using a Facial Oil?

You may now be thinking- "okay, so why don't I just slap olive oil on my face and call it a day? Why do I need a blend of different oils to do a relatively simple job?"

Or you may be thinking: "I don't even have dry skin, I have oily skin- should I still use Facial Oils?"

This is where things get really interesting- and where custom formulations become important. 

While Facial Oils work to replace missing lipids on your face, they can also deliver key ingredients to your skin, that your skin can’t make itself

Think about why it's so important to eat a healthy meals, full of vitamins and minerals: it's because your body isn’t able to create those vitamins and minerals for itself that a healthy diet is so important. When you have a specific vitamin deficiency, it can show up in your health.

Although we firmly believe your skin can function without the use of products, we also acknowledge that many of us have skin goals that can be aided by cosmetics.

This is the where Facial Oils become so valuable: you can create targeted facial oil formulas by choosing oils that have natural constituents (such as Vitamin E, C, Beta-carotenes, certain fatty acids etc) which are super beneficial for your skin! By choosing to use specific oils, you can target the natural deficiencies in your specific skin.

So not only do oils help your skin maintain natural moisture levels, they also deliver key ingredients that can benefit your skin in other ways, without needing extra, emulsion-stabilizing ingredients found in moisturizers.

Each oil- in each of its forms whether refined or unrefined- have their own unique benefits. So, we won’t be able to cover the specific benefits of oils in this blog post. But- if you're curious about which oils to use for your specific skin type, read our latest blog post here!

We hope you have a better understanding of how facial oils actually work- and how they're different from moisturizers- now that you've browsed our blog!

If you're curious about trying a custom facial oil (without all the homework), feel free to take our quick Facial Oil Formula Finder, where we will summarize which oils work best for your skin type!

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