Myths & More: A Guide To Everything You Need To Know About Facial Oils

Facial oils have exploded on the market in the past couple years, and for good reason –the right high-quality facial oil used correctly can vastly improve just about every skin type. Since there are a lot of myths and misuses of oils and given we just launched our premium Precious Oils line, we thought this would be a good time to cover the topic of facial oils and how to use them.

There is a lot of misinformation surrounding oils in skincare so we want to touch on these subjects to help you get the best out of facial oils. The right products used correctly can do wonders for your skin; used incorrectly they wreak havoc. Like ANY product, misuse or overuse can potentially cause irritation and breakouts. Since each individual has different reactions to different products there is no single product miracle cure out there and any beauty company that tells you otherwise is not being honest.

Especially when it comes to breakouts and acne. Usually, it will take a combination of the right products to clear acne and in the case of severe acne possibly antibiotics and prescription treatments. While for some people facial oils can clear acne alone, they’re best used in conjunction with other traditional acne fighting treatments such as alpha and beta hydroxy acids and 2.5-5% benzoyl peroxide. The reason for this is that these traditional acne treatments are effective, but used alone they can destroy the ph balance and strip the lipid layer of the skin causing more acne and irritation. However, used with the right moisturizer and facial oil, it’s a winning combination.

Any dermatologist will tell you that keeping skin moisturized is key to keeping your skin clear, yet so many of us think if we have breakouts and oily skin we need to strip the oil. This couldn’t be more wrong. Stripping your skin will only make breakouts worse and cause your acne and sebum to go into overdrive. Which is why (especially if you’re using acne treatments) you need a moisturizer and/or facial oil.

So, let’s discuss the do’s and don’ts of facial oils, what to look for depending on your skin type, and the myths and hype surrounding them.

How To Use

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When using a facial oil alone, it should be applied as the last step in your skincare routine. Because they provide a moisture sealant and repel water, applying them BEFORE treatments or other products will prevent your other products from penetrating your skin. That’s why it’s important to apply your facial oil last so that your other products can penetrate.

Don’t overdo it! Like any other skincare product, less is more. Too much of any product can clog and irritate your skin, so only use 2-3 drops at a time. If you have sensitive or reactive skin we also recommend doing a patch test first.

For acne-prone skin: As we said before, facial oils are best used in conjunction with other acne treatments such as alpha and beta hydroxy acids and 2.5-5% benzoyl peroxide. Some oils such as our Precious Oils Super Green Clarifying Skin Booster have built-in acne fighting ingredients, but we still recommend a traditional acne treatment, specifically 2.5% benzoyl peroxide to spot treat active acne breakouts. A facial oil’s primary function is to work on the outer layer to help with healing and protecting your skin from the harsh or drying effects of acne treatments. Facial oils are not for going deep into the pores to fight off bacteria because most oil molecules are too large to penetrate deep into the epidermal layer. You will need a micronized exfoliator or benzoyl peroxide to do that. So, think of your facial oil as a necessary healing aid rather than a one-stop treatment. Of course, for some people, facial oils alone do completely clear their skin, but we just want you to know that’s not the case for everyone.

In the case of clearing acne, you need 3 things to happen externally in order to clear it: exfoliation, antibacterial action, and moisture/lipid layer protection. We recommend using a gentle, non-detergent based BHA or AHA exfoliating cleanser, followed by a water-based moisturizer, then apply your acne treatment, and lastly apply your facial oil. This is where facial oils come in and can really work their magic. 2-3 drops of a cold-pressed, high oleic acid, non-pore clogging oil such as hemp seed, rose hip, grape seed or jojoba applied after your regular acne treatment can help heal your skin, decongest pores, fade acne scars, and provide essential moisture that will help counter the drying and irritating effects of acne treatment.

We also recommend using an exfoliant and/or facial brush such as a Clarisonic daily. This combination of acne treatment, exfoliation, and facial oils can really help heal and clear your skin.

Facial Oils and Oil Cleansers Are Not The Same

And regular non-cosmetic oils (such as that olive oil sitting in your cabinet) are NOT ideal cleansing oils and can break out your skin. This is where we’ll talk about the DIY OCM (oil cleansing method) trend and why it’s been disastrous for some people. The problem is the quality and variation of oils out there and not understanding which oils are pore clogging. Also, using low quality, non-cold pressed, non-cosmetic grade oils can really mess up your skin. Not to mention regular raw oils have no rinsing agent, and that amount of heavy oil can and will clog your skin. If you want to do an oil cleanse, we recommend a professional cleansing oil that has a rinsing agent, such as DHC Deep Cleansing Oil, which I personally use and love. Last but not least, don’t use facial cleansing oils as moisturizers or facial oils as cleansers. These are two different types of products meant for their specific use: either as a cleanser or a moisturizer. Which brings us to…

Not All Oils Are Created Equal

This is a huge problem because most people don’t understand the difference between oils or what to look for when they’re looking at a cosmetic label. Never purchase an oil without first researching the ingredients.

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What to look for: Quality, high in oleic acid and linoleic acid oils are what you want and should be the first 2-3 ingredients on the product label. (All STYLEFOX Beauty Precious Oils are made with 100% premium oils.) These quality oils include hemp, argan, rosehip seed, grapeseed, jojoba, milk thistle, black cumin seed, clary sage, and safflower oil. Also, be sure that they’re cold-pressed. Heating and processing oils which is often the case with kitchen-grade oils destroys the beneficial aspects of oils.

What to avoid: mineral oil, palm oil, caprylic/capric triglycerides (processed, fractionated coconut oil) and soybean oil. If these oils are listed as the first ingredients, pass. These oils are low quality, cheap “filler” oils that cosmetic companies use to increase their profit margins but they provide few skin benefits and in worst case scenarios they can cause acne. Specifically, palm and soybean oil are high on the comedogenic scale and these oils have been linked to causing breakouts.

They’re Not For Everyone

Skincare oils have been historically vilified (mostly because they’re often misused and low-quality oils are rampant), but like any other skincare product on the market, facial oils are not going to be beneficial for everyone. Some people’s skin is so reactive they can only use water for cleansing or they’re allergic to certain ingredients, so you need to understand your complexion and note what does and doesn’t work for you. We all have different skin and reactions, so some people may not like facial oils or it may not work for their skin, and that is perfectly fine. Don’t force the issue and keep using a product that doesn’t work for you.

In Summation

We hope this article helped you understand facial oils and how to use them. We’ll close with a do’s and don’ts cheat sheet as well as a complete guide to all the different types of oils and their comedogenic scale and skin benefits which you can see below or download here.

Do

  • read the label and look for high oleic acid oils
  • apply oils AFTER your regular acne treatments
  • use an exfoliating cleanser
  • follow instructions on the label
  • avoid filler oils that may clog your pores
  • apply AFTER all other moisturizers and treatments
  • keep your oil in a dark, dry, cool place
  • only use cosmetic grade oils meant for your face
  • stop use if an oil irritates or clogs your skin

Don’t

  • apply more than recommended
  • use kitchen-grade oils
  • rely on oils as your only form of treatment if you have acne
  • buy products that have low quality oils such as mineral, palm or soybean.

COMEDOGENIC SCALE OF OILS

(click here to download)

Name

Comedogenic Rating

Skin Type(s)

Composition

Abyssinian Seed Oil

0

Most Skin Types

High in Erucic Acid and Moderate in Oleic Acid

Acai Berry Oil

2

Dry, Mature, Irritated

High in Oleic Acid and Moderate in LinoleicSTYLEFOX BEAUTY COMEDOGENIC SCALE OF OILS Acid

Almond Oil, Sweet

2

Dry, Sensitive, Acne-Prone

High in Oleic Acid

Andiroba Seed Oil

2

Dry, Acne-Prone

High in Oleic Acid, Moderate in Linoleic Acid

Apricot Kernel Oil

2

Combination, Dry

High in Oleic Acid

Argan Oil

0

Most Skin Types

High in Oleic Acid, Linoleic Acid

Avocado Oil

3

Dry, Acne-Prone

High in Oleic Acid

Babassu Oil

1-2

Most Skin Types

High in Lauric, Myristic and Oleic Acid

Baobob Seed Oil

2

Most Skin Types

High in Oleic Acid, Moderate Linoleic

Black Currant Seed Oil

0-1

Dry, Sensitive

High in Linoleic Acid + GLA and ALA

Blackberry Seed Oil

0-1

Oily

High in Linoleic, Moderate Linolenic Acid

Black Cumin Seed Oil

2

Combination

High in Linoleic Acid, Moderate Oleic

Black Raspberry Seed Oil

1-2

Dry, Combination, Acne-Prone

High in Linoleic Acid, Moderate Linolenic

Blueberry Seed Oil

0-1

Most Skin Types, especially Oily/Acne-Prone

High in Linoleic Acid, Moderate Linolenic & Oleic

Borage Oil

2

Combination, Oily, Sensitive

High in Linoleic Acid and GLA

Brazil Nut Oil

2

Dry, Mature

High in Oleic Acid, Moderate Linoleic

Broccoli Seed Oil

1

Dry, Best for Night/Hair

High in Erucic Acid and Oleic Acid

Buriti Oil

2

Dry, Mature

High in Oleic Acid

Camellia Seed Oil

1

Most Skin Types

High in Oleic Acid

Carrot Seed Oil

3-4

Dry, Mature

High in Oleic Acid

Castor Oil

1

Most Skin Types, including Oily/Acne-Prone

High in Ricinoleic Acid

Cherry Kernel Oil

2

Most Skin Types, especially Dry/Irritated

High in Oleic and Linoleic Acid

Chia Seed Oil

3

Best for Body Use

High in Linolenic

Cloudberry Seed Oil

1

Oily, Acne-Prone

High in Linoleic and Linolenic Acid

Cocoa Butter

4

Ideal for Body/Eye Area, not for Oily/Acne-Prone

High in Oleic and Stearic Acid

Coconut Butter

4

Very Dry, Best for Body Use

High in Oleic, Stearic and Palmitic Acid

Coconut Oil

4

Very Dry, Best for Body Use

High in Lauric Acid

Coconut Oil, Fractionated

2-3

Most Skin Types

High in Caprylic and Capric Acid

Cottonseed Oil

3

Best for Hair or Body

High in Linoleic Acid

Cranberry Seed Oil

2

Dry, Acne-Prone

High in Linoleic Acid, Moderate in Oleic and Linolenic Acid

Cucumber Seed Oil

1

Most Skin Types

High in Linoleic Acid

Date Seed Oil

3

Dry

High in Oleic Acid

Elderberry Seed Oil

1-2

Most Skin Types

High in Linoelic and Linolenic Acid

Emu Oil

1

Most Skin Types

High in Oleic Acid, Moderate in Palmitic Acid

Evening Primrose Oil

2-3

Oily, Acne-Prone, Combination

High in Linoleic Acid, Moderate in GLA

Flax Seed Oil (Linseed)

4

Very Dry, Best for Body Use

High in Alpha Linolenic Acid

Guava Seed Oil

1-2

Most Skin Types

High in Linoleic Acid

Goji Berry Seed Oil

0-1

Oily

High in Linoleic Acid

Grapeseed Oil

1

Most Skin Types

High in Linoleic Acid

Hazelnut Oil

1

Most Skin Types, especially Sensitive, Acne-Prone

High in Oleic Acid

Hemp Seed Oil

0

Most Skin Types, including Oily/Acne-Prone

High in Linoleic Acid, Moderate in Linolenic Acid

Jojoba Oil

2

Most Skin Types, including Oily/Acne-Prone

High in Eicosenoic Acid

Karanja Oil

2

Dry, Hair Use

High in Oleic Acid

Kiwi Seed Oil

1

Dry, Flaky, Hair Use

High in Linolenic Acid

Kukui Nut Oil

2

Dry, Flaky, Hair Use

High in Linoleic Acid, Moderate in Oleic and Linolenic Acid

Lanolin Oil

2

Very Dry

NA

Macadamia Nut Oil

2-3

Dry

High in Oleic Acid, Moderate in Palmitoleic Acid

Mango Butter

2

Most Skin Types

High in Oleic Acid, Moderate in Stearic Acid

Mango Seed Oil

2

Most Skin Types, particularly Dry

High in Oleic and Stearic Acid

Marula Oil

3-4

Very Dry, Sensitive

High in Oleic Acid

Meadowfoam Seed Oil

1

Oily, Acne-Prone, Sensitive

High in Eicosenoic Acid

Milk Thistle Seed Oil

1

Most Skin Types

High in Linoleic Acid

Mineral Oil

0

Most Skin Types

NA

Mink Oil

3

Dry

High in Oleic Acid

Moringa Oil

3-4

Dry, Combination

High in Oleic Acid

Mowrah Butter

na

Most Skin Types, especially Dry/Damaged

High in Oleic and Palmitic Acid

Neem Oil

1-2

Dry, Acne-Prone

High in Oleic Acid

Olive Oil

2

Dry, Acne-Prone

High in Oleic Acid

Papaya Seed Oil

2-3

Dry, Acne-Prone, Sensitive

High in Oleic Acid

Palm Oil

4

Very Dry, Best for Body Use

High in Lauric Acid

Palm Oil, Red

4

Very Dry, Best for Body Use

High in Oleic Acid, Moderate in Palmitic Acid

Passionfruit (Maracuja) Seed Oil

1-2

Oily, Irritated, Acne-Prone

High in Linoleic Acid

Peach Kernel Oil

2

Dry, Sensitive

High in Oleic Acid

Peanut Oil

2

Most Skin Types

High in Oleic and Palmitic Acid

Pecan Oil

2

Dry, Combination

High in Oleic Acid, Moderate in Linoleic Acid

Perilla Oil

1-2

Most Skin Types, especially Dry

High in ALA

Pistachio Oil

na

Most Skin Types, especially Dry/Damaged

High in Oleic and Palmitic Acid

Plum Kernel Oil

1-2

Most Skin Types, especially Mature

High in Oleic Acid, Moderate in Linoleic Acid

Pomegranate Seed Oil

1

Most Skin Types, especially Mature

High in Punicic Acid

Prickly Pear Seed Oil

1-2

Most Skin Types, especially Oily/Combination

High in Linoleic Acid

Pumpkin Seed Oil

2

Most Skin Types

High in Linoleic Acid, Moderate in Oleic Acid

Red Raspberry Seed Oil

0-1

Most Skin Types

High in Linoleic Acid, Moderate in Linolenic Acid

Rice Bran Oil

2

Most Skin Types, especially Mature/Combination

High in Oleic and Linoleic Acid

Rosehip Seed Oil

1

Oily, Acne-Prone

High in Linoleic Acid, Moderate in Linolenic Acid

Safflower Oil (High Linoliec)

0

Most Skin Types

High in Linoleic Acid

Sal Seed Butter

Dry

High in Stearic and Oleic Acid

Sea Buckthorn Oil

1

Most Skin Types, especially Mature/Dry

High in Palmitic, Palmitoleic and Oleic Acid

Sesame Seed Oil

3

Dry, Irritated

High in Linoleic and Oleic Acid

Shea Butter

0-2

Normal, Dry

High in Oleic and Stearic Acid

Shea Oil

0-2

Very Dry

High in Oleic Acid, Moderate in Stearic Acid

Soybean Oil

4-5

Very Dry, Best for Body Use

High in Linoleic Acid

Squalane Oil

0-1

Most Skin Types

High in Omega-2

Strawberry Seed Oil

1

Most Skin Types, especially Oily/Acne-Prone

High in Linoleic and Linolenic Acid

Sunflower Seed Oil

0-2

Most Skin Types

High in Linoleic Acid

Tallow

2

Dry

High in Oleic Acid

Tamanu Oil

2

Most Skin Types, especially Scarred/Sensitive

High in Oleic and Linoleic Acid

Tomato Seed Oil

0-2

Most Skin Types

High in Linoleic Acid, Moderate in Oleic Acid

Walnut Seed Oil

1-2

Most Skin Types

High in Linoleic Acid, Moderate in Oleic Acid

Watermelon Seed OIl

0-1

Most Skin Types, especially Oily/Acne-Prone/Sensitive

High in Linoleic Acid

Wheat Germ Oil

5

Very Dry/Damaged, Spot Treatment

High in Linolenic Acid

 

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