For most of us with oily, sensitive or acne-prone skin, oil has long been a no-no in our skin care regimens. Turns out that school of thought may have been wrong. Natural oils can actually help maintain our skin's all-important moisture balance, and keep us from drying out or feeling too oily.
"Your skin's natural moisture factor is water and oil," says Leticia Domingo, esthetician at our Los Gatos store. "If either is lacking, the skin becomes imbalanced." Leticia says that imbalance can be especially problematic for people prone to acne, because too little moisture can make breakouts worse and impede the healing process. She adds that oil is an important vehicle for our skin to absorb water, and can be essential for boosting the efficacy of common water-based moisturizers.
Several Pharmaca products are geared specifically for aiding in this process. Jurlique's Skin Balancing Face Oil, for instance, is filled with rich botanicals that not only feel good, but smell good. Primavera also carries a number of oil-based serums and capsules that can boost hydration levels.
Here's how to use them: After cleansing, Leticia recommends warming a small amount (the size of a dime or nickel, depending on how much your skin can handle) in your palm, then patting on to the face. But, she says, don't go overboard. "Less is more! Don't slather it on."
If you have too much oil, simply pat onto your neck or décolleté, where it can also be very beneficial. "The oil is basically going to assist your moisturizer in nourishing the skin," says Leticia, so you really want to use both.
Start using the oil in the evening, to judge how your skin will react. In extremely dry situations, go ahead and use it in the morning, too. Once your skin's oil is back in balance, even acneic skin will begin to heal, and your skin will be softer and more radiant. This balance is also vital in an anti-aging regimen, where, as Leticia says, "the most important step is preventing dehydration."
For extra-dry skin, look for rich oils from nut sources such as almond. For oilier skin, try a lighter version such as grapeseed or apricot kernel oil. Leticia also likes squalane, a plant-based oil that is engineered to mimic our skin's natural oil content. "In serums, squalane restores hydration and penetrates fast so it doesn't sit on the surface of the skin and oxidize," says Leticia. "Then the other active ingredients are pulled into the skin more quickly and deeply." Find squalane in Sanitas' Vita C Serum, and other treatment serums.
Speak with a Pharmaca esthetician about how natural oils can help get your skin back in balance.