What should you look for in a face oil?
When choosing a face oil for yourself, or someone you love, you first have to ask what kind of skin you’re dealing with. Is it oily, combination skin? Is it skin that is prone to breakouts but still dry? I tend to be more on the dry & dehydrated side.
During my pregnancy and after the birth of my son, my skin went through so many changes. I started breaking out in parts of my face that had never seen a blemish. I noticed that it was drier and I started having hyper pigmentation. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, due to the surge and change in hormones during pregnancy a lot of women experience melasma which causes hyper pigmentation. This happens so often that it is often referred to as the “ pregnancy mask".
I was blindly buying skincare to treat my issues without understanding what the ingredients were inside of them. Later, after reading through some of the ingredient lists I was a little surprised. I spent a ton of money on skin care that had a lot of fillers, silicone, mineral oils and synthetic fragrances in them. But that’s really another story for another day. Back to face oils…
Being that anti-aging, hydration and hyper pigmentation are my main skin concerns, here are the following ingredients I look for in a face oil.
We are told time and time again to include super foods into our diet. These include green leafy vegetables, bright colorful berries, green tea and fish that is high in omega-3 fatty acids.
Well, not only can we ingest the antioxidants, we can use them topically to protect our skin from free radical damage. Free radical damage on the skin and in the body is caused by a number of factors. Stress, environmental pollution, lifestyle choices, UV penetration and what is applied to our skin are some of them.
Topical antioxidants such as blueberry or carrot seed oil are perfect examples. Blueberry seed oil is extremely high in Vitamin E and Omega-3 levels. It provides a strong defense against premature aging. Carrot seed oil is an antioxidant that boosts the body’s immune response to UV rays. It detoxifies and stimulates the rejuvenation of cells with high levels of Vitamin A. It slows the aging process and is helpful for calming irritated or sensitive skin.
Someone who is prone to break outs would not want to use too much of carrot seed oil. It is high in oleic acid which can make it unsuitable for acne prone skin....more on that below.
Another antioxidant I look for in a face oil or skincare item is Sea Buckthorne, also known as Sea Berry oil. It is skin softening and slows trans-epidermal water loss. Thanks to its long chain fatty acid structure it delivers a good skin barrier to lock in moisture. Another fantastic benefit is that it breaks down black heads and detoxifies the skin. The only thing that might concern you is its sharp scent. Once absorbed into the skin though the smell does dissipate.
Fillers or Synthetic Fragrances
When choosing a face oil, turn the bottle or box around and read the ingredient list. I try to only use face oils that have a list of good natural ingredients. Check if it’s labeled extra virgin, cold pressed or organic. While this will make the face oil more expensive in my experience the added nutrients from these oils makes it worth it.
Some companies add in synthetic fragrances to their face oils to either mask the scent, make the item smell more desirable or in some cases mask the scent if the item expires. One thing I try to remember about synthetic fragrance is that no matter how good it smells, it is irritating my skin and over continued use will slowly break down its collagen. These days I need as much collagen as I can get!
Rosehip Seed Oil
One ingredient I particularly love seeing in a face oil is rosehip seed oil. It comes from a wild plant that grows in predominantly in Chile.
It’s extremely high in essential fatty acids. Rich in vitamins C, A and antioxidants. It helps reverse dark spots or sun damage and stimulates collagen production. It can help improve skin tone, texture and treats fine lines and wrinkles.
Not only is rosehip seed oil a skin saving superstar it is also a skin healer. It is highly anti-inflammatory and can help treat frustrating skin issues such as eczema or psoriasis.
Comedogenic Rating & Linoleic Acid
Now for those of you with oily or acne prone skin, you would want to look for two things in a face oil.
First, you would want to check the comedogenic rating of each oil in the ingredients list. Most people with acne or oily skin would want to avoid a face oil altogether. Most would run in the opposite direction fearing a nasty breakout.
Using the right oils can actually be beneficial for acne skin care. An oil’s comedogenic rating basically rates how likely an oil will clog pores or cause a breakout. For example, everyone knows the benefits of coconut oil. Not only it’s health benefits but it’s beautifying qualities as well. For people prone to breakouts, they should avoid using coconut oil on their face. It has a comedogenic rating of 4. (0-1 meaning it’s least likely to cause a breakout or clog pores. 4-5 meaning fairly likely or very likely to cause a breakout or clog pores).
Download the list of oils and their comedogenic rating.
The second thing you would want to look for are oils high in linoleic acid. According to the US National Library of Medicine, people who are prone to breakouts or acne are deficient in linoleic acid on their skin surface lipids.
These oils are very beneficial for you and your fight against acne, cystic acne and blemished skin.
When applying topical application of oils that are high in linoleic acid it can help the pores from remaining clogged, hard and sticky which then leads to acne and pimples.
Oils high in linoleic acid with low comedogenic ratings that I love are:
Rosehip Seed Oil
44% Linoleic Acid
Comedogenic Rating 1
Prickly Pear Seed Oil
60% Linoleic Acid
Comedogenic Rating 0
Evening Primrose Oil
73% Linoleic Acid
Comedogenic Rating 1-2
70% Linoleic Acid
Comedogenic Rating 1
Black Cumin Seed Oil
55% Linoleic Acid
Comedogenic Rating 2
(Note: While this oil does have a lower percentage of linoleic acid than the others and a slightly higher comedogenic rating, it is one of the few oils that can kill acne causing bacteria)
Watermelon Seed Oil
63% Linoleic Acid
Comedogenic Rating 0-1
This was some of the main factors we considered when creating our face oil. Everyone's skin in unique, as is their preferences.
Good luck finding the face oil that’s right for you!