In this blog post, we deep-dive into the topic of Facial Oils to give you more information about how to choose the correct oils for your skin type and skin goals- how they actually work, and where to find important information like their unique fatty acid profiles!
1. How Do Facial Oil's Combat Issues Related to Specific Skin Types?
Firstly, let's go over how Facial Oils "work" to combat issues related to specific skin types.
Your “skin type” is a skin condition. Oiliness, dryness or dehydration are signs of your skin’s current condition. This condition can be augmented with the use of oils.
Your skin may be damaged. Harsh cleansers, hot showers, strong actives and over-exfoliation can all contribute to reinforcing your skin condition. By restoring your natural lipids with a facial oil, you can help your skin maintain its functionality – including healing itself, by enabling it to retain more moisture.
Damage can be healed with fatty acids. Dry, dehydrated, oily or combination skin is a sign that you’re missing certain beneficial fatty acids. Your skin naturally produces oils called epidermal lipids, which are made up of different fatty acids. Depending on your skin condition, you may benefit from re-introducing missing fatty acids with an oil.
Oils are made of fatty acids. Botanical oils are made of triglycerides, which are made of fatty acids. Each oil we use has a different percentage of each fatty acid, making certain oils more suitable for repairing your specific skin condition.
This is why Facial oils can be seen as "repairing" your specific skin condition!
Let’s take a look at one example to clarify exactly what the benefits of oils are, beyond simply acting as a moisture barrier.
First, we need to explain what an oil actually is. All oils are made of molecules called “ triglycerides”. Triglycerides are essentially three fatty acids bound to a glycerine atom.
There are MANY types of “fatty acids”, all of which create different environments on your skin (like how eating different vitamins and minerals can effect different parts of your health).
Different oils could have different FFA’s (free fatty acids) present within them. The “free fatty acids”- or fatty acid profile of each oil, is what gives the oil it’s unique benefits!
When picking the oils within your products, you want to choose oils that have specific beneficial FFA’s suited to your skin type.
Let's look at the Fatty Acid profile of a familiar "healing" oil, Rosehip Oil:
As you can see, Rosehip oil is very high in Linoleic and Linolenic Acid- both types of fatty acids.
Now, It has been shown that Linoleic acid is very effective at reducing sebum production (whereas oleic acid promotes sebum production)! It has also been shown that people with acne have a Linoleic Acid deficiency in their sebum. To quote our favorite skin scientist:
In one study, rubbing 2.5% linoleic acid on the faces of people with mild acne made their microcomedones (baby pimples) smaller – fantastic news for people looking for acne relief! - Lab Muffin Beauty Science
Thats why, in the case of acneic or oily skin, you’ll want to find oils (such as Rosehip) which are rich in Linoleic acid! Whereas for dry and aging skin, you’d want to find oils rich in Oleic Acid.
In summary: when you start to see your "skin condition" as an imbalance of the natural fatty acids found in your skins sebum, then facial oils start to make a whole lot more sense. Facial Oils are work to replace and augment the existing fatty acid profile found in your skins sebum! In other words, if you have acne, try using Rosehip oil (or any other oil high in Linoleic acid).
2. How To Find An Oils Fatty Acid Profile
To find an oils unique fatty acid profile, you can always visit your local cosmetic suppliers website, as many suppliers have fact sheets on each oil with the breakdown of the oils fatty acid profile. It’s then up to you to inform yourself of the known and assumed benefits of each particular fatty acid!
Here are some links to get you started:
More Info on Oils, including fatty acid profiles & rundown of benefits on Susan Parker Blog:
“Power of The Seed: Your Guide to Oils for Health And Beauty” by Susan Parker
How to find Fatty Acid Profiles of oils:
https://www.newdirectionsaromatics.ca/ (look at the “technical documents” tab of your chosen oil, and then click on “certificate of analysis” to see the percentage breakdown of composition of fatty acids)
Where to find bulk oils:
Of course, this is A LOT of work- to familiarize yourself with not only each oil, but also each oils fatty acid profile- and then the benefits of each fatty acid.
This is what inspired us to simplify the process for you- we have already done the hard work of understanding some of our favorite oils and their unique benefits- and then we have simplified it to a few, easy to understand benefits, which you can find on our Custom Facial Oil page.
With our unique customization process, we match the fatty acid profile of the oil to the fatty acid deficiency in your skin. This creates a product that delivers results tailored to you.
3. Further Reading
“The Science of Dry and Dehydrated Skin, by Dr. Anjali Mahto”
“A brief overview of skin biology related to cosmetics”
‘Skincare Oils and Free Fatty Acids: The Science | Lab Muffin Beauty Science
“WHY LINOLEIC ACID AND ROSEHIP OIL MIGHT FIX YOUR SKIN”
Anti-Oxidants Vs. Preservatives: