It’s likely that you’ve seen an influx of face oils being sold by skin care brands — I’ll admit that it has been interesting to see everyone’s reaction to this growing skin care trend. Some have embraced face oil with open arms, while others have been a bit skeptical. Whether you’re someone who’s reluctant to try face oil or are interested, but have yet to take the plunge, or even if you have given face oil a try and had a bad experience, read on for the 7 things you should know before switching to face oil.
I am writing this because we know that face oil as a moisturizer (or just putting oil on your face in general) is still so new to a lot of people in the United States, but hopefully, this clarifies a lot of misconceptions and confusion and makes the transition seamless. First, I’d love to delve into why face oil is a great moisturizer:
- Oils are a natural substance and more easily recognized by our skin.
- It’s going to work with your skin’s natural processes, rather than replace them, improving your skin for the better.
- The right face oil or oil blend is pure and when stored properly, it doesn’t need preservatives. This is a win for your skin because you’re avoiding extra ingredients.
To be completely transparent though, not all oils are created equal. Different oils are going to be better for different skin types. In fact, there are so many elements that go into what will make your face oil experience successful.
7 things you should know before switching to face oil:
- What you were using as a moisturizer before the switch to face oil will impact how your skin transitions.
- Your old and current skin care routine can also impact your success with face oil.
- Not all oils are created equal.
- Your lifestyle affects your skin health and will affect your success with face oil.
- Your environment has an effect on your skin too.
- Pay attention to genetics.
- Be patient.
What you were using as a moisturizer before the switch to face oil will impact how your skin transitions.
This one is super important and relates to what I previously mentioned about how face oil is going to work with your skin’s natural processes rather than replace them. To understand this further, we need to break down face lotion/creams. Lotions and creams, generally speaking, are made up of a blend of ingredients (water, lipid, and sometimes proteins) that are meant to mimic the skin’s natural moisturizing abilities. When applied regularly, this signals to your skin that it is hydrated enough and ultimately suppresses our skin’s ability to moisturize itself. As a result, you become dependent on your face cream or lotion. Not being able to produce its own moisture also weakens the skin’s defense mechanism which works to keep dirt and bacteria out and seal in nutrients and moisture. This leaves your skin sensitive and vulnerable to the outside world.
When we then stop using traditional moisturizers and switch to face oil, the skin doesn’t immediately “wake up” as it takes time for the skin to relearn how to hydrate and balance itself in harmony with the topical face oil. During that transition, one can experience dryness and flaking. This can leave an unsuspecting new face oil user confused and feeling like their new oil is bad and won’t work for them.
Your old and current skin care routine can also impact your success with face oil.
Any skin care you were using before you switched to face oil — and anything you continue to use after the switch plays a role in how your skin adjusts to the face oil. Ingredients like sulfates, DEA, MEA, TEA, DMDM hydantoin/urea, propylene glycol, polyethylene glycol (PEG), isopropyl/ethyl alcohol can cause irritation, rashes, and chronic dry skin. To have a successful transition to face oil, you’ll want to make sure all of your other skin care products (i.e. face wash, masks, and other treatments) are only made of ingredients that are pure, gentle, and appropriate for your skin type. Continuing to use skin-damaging products or products not suited for your skin, while also using your new face oil is not going to have a good end result. Let’s say you have super dry skin and are trying a new face oil, but at the same time, you’re still using the same face wash you’ve used for years. The only problem is, that particular face wash contains chemicals that zap your skin’s moisture. No amount of face oil can fix that.
Not all oils are created equal.
There are so many types of oils that serve different purposes, so be sure to choose one that is meant for faces. You’ll want to avoid comedogenic (pore-clogging) oils and super heavy oils that are going to sit on your skin and leave you shiny all day. Opt for oils that are non-comedogenic, gentle, lightweight, and absorbs quickly into the skin. The right face oil or face oil blend is not going to clog your pores or contribute to your acne. If you have dry skin, it’s going to add protection and seal in moisture. If you have oily skin it’s going to help balance sebum production. The right face oil is going to work with your skin to support and balance its natural moisture barrier, without disrupting your skins inherent and essential functions.
Your lifestyle affects your skin health and will affect your success with face oil.
At the risk of sounding too philosophical, nothing in life is black and white. Healthy skin goes far beyond just what we put on it, but how we live our lives. What are we fueling our bodies with? People often shoot themselves in the foot by caring for their skin externally but aren’t caring for it internally.
To ensure a smoother transition to face oil, be sure you’re drinking enough water and are limiting excess sugar and alcohol. You’ll also want to avoid washing your face or showering with super hot water which can be drying to the skin.
Of course, there’s also the age-old recommendation make sure you’re getting enough sleep. It may sound played-out, but it’s true. I’m a huger stickler for getting adequate sleep. I aim for about 8-9 hours a night and try to never get less than 7. I look terrible and 100% cannot function on anything less than that. When we sleep, our skin gets to work repairing itself. Plus, a good night’s sleep is essential to proper circulation. When we aren’t getting enough rest, we aren’t allowing our skin the time it needs to rejuvenate. The blood flow to our skin also becomes compromised, which is why we often look pale or washed out when sleep deprived. Diminished circulation affects the flow of oxygen and nutrients to our skin and lowers our skin’s defenses. For this same reason, exercising is essential to skin health. A good workout session increases circulation (and nutrients) to the skin and causes sweating, which is how the skin rids itself of dirt and bacteria.
Your environment has an effect on your skin too.
The climate you live in, whether it’s cold and dry, hot and humid, or even hot and dry, is going to have an impact on your skin. I visited Las Vegas a few years ago and let’s just say my skin was not happy. The transition from Boston to the dry heat of Nevada took its toll and left my skin dry and flakey. Know your external environment and adjust where you can. If you know you live somewhere dry, don’ be shy with your face oil. Lather up to seal in moisture and be sure you’re drinking a ton of water to protect yourself. If you know you live somewhere humid, you may not need to apply a face oil as often. Perhaps only once per day as opposed to morning and night would be sufficient for you.
Your environment indoors matters too. Does your home have forced air for heat or air conditioning? Both can be really drying to the environment and your skin and are something to take into consideration when deciding how to best care for your skin.
Pay attention to genetics.
Everyone is different, has different skin types, conditions, and needs. A face oil that works for one person, may or may not be the best thing for someone else. You have to choose what works best for you and your needs. Some oils are great for people prone to acne, others good for those who are prone to dry skin. There are also oils that work well for anyone looking to combat signs of aging, and so on. If you have oily skin, for example, choose a lightweight, fast-absorbing oil and considering using a small amount, and/or applying it only once per day instead of two. Listen to your skin and what it needs and be sure to choose the right oil for you.
Your skin is not going to change overnight and I’d be wary of anything that promised as much. Give it time. Your skin can take several weeks, even up to several months to heal, depending on both the condition of your skin before switching to face oil and the various other factors discussed above. If you experience dryness and flaking, think about other steps you can take to help your skin.
A few other last minute tips I’d like to leave you with:
- Try exfoliating 1-2 times per week to aid cellular turnover.
- Apply face oil to a clean, damp (not dry) face to seal in moisture.
- Be sure to patch test to ensure your skin agrees with the oil and there are no allergies
- Customize your routine. Apply oily once per day, twice, or as-needed. Use a lot of oil, a little oil, or somewhere in between depending on what your skin likes.