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Our favourite oils for glowy skin all winter long

Our favourite oils for glowy skin all winter long

By Elisheba Akalawu

Although we’re approaching the peak of winter and our skin may be going through some seasonal changes e.g. drier, tighter and flakier, dewy skin no longer needs to be reserved for summer. One thing that I’ve found a haven in are skin oils. Even for those that suffer from oily, or acne-prone skin, there is a natural oil out there that is perfect to balance your skin through these colder months. Oils are a great way to heal, cleanse and tone the skin without stripping away any of the good natural stuff that keeps it looking great and healthy. It’s an aid to help regenerate and boost the skin’s natural elasticity – I’m talking baby butt supple and smooth people! 

Skin health and overall glow start from the inside. If you’re experiencing tougher and flakier skin than normal, keep an eye on your water intake as that might just be the boost you need to regulate the condition of your skin. The next step is getting to know your skin type so you can choose the oil that is right for you. As with anything you put in or on your body, please check with a dermatologist or registered healthcare provider before you take our advice, as what may work for one person may not work for all.

Know Your Skin Type

Your skin type is based on the balance of water and sebum in your skin tissue. Each skin type is usually due to a state of imbalance which can be caused by genetics but also varying internal and external factors such as water intake and environmental conditions. There are four main skin types:

Normal: So this is actually kind of rare unless you’re like a baby or a pre-pubescent teen. However, if you are lucky enough to fit this category you’ll find that your skin is soft, supple, finely-textured and perfectly balanced in oil and moisture content. It’s usually blemish-free and not prone to sensitivity. 

Dry: Drier skin is a lot more delicate, fine-textured with no obvious pores. However, it is pre-disposed to facial lines and wrinkles, caused by a lack of sebum production, the inability to trap moisture on the surface and a deficiency in epidermal lipids such as ceramide and fatty acids. This may leave the skin feeling tight, parched and flaky.

Oily: People experiencing oily skin have what is called ‘seborrhea’ – an overproduction of sebum. The texture of the skin is thicker (usually with no sign of blood vessels), prone to acne and blackheads with obvious, enlarged pores. There are a number of factors that can trigger oily skin such as genetics, hormonal changes and imbalances, medication, stress and harsh skincare practices that strip away the natural skin oils.

Combination: As the name would imply this skin type is a mixture of two or more skin types. People often experience dry patches on their cheeks with an oily T-zone (forehead, nose and chin) where the sebaceous glands are most prevalent. Each area is best treated according to its needs.

Time to DIY – Dewy It Yourself 

Now we’ve got the basics covered here is a list of our top oil picks. It’s best to use these oils intermittently until your problem becomes less intense or you notice some improvement. Some oils are best used at night after your regular cleansing and toning routine (because at this point you should really have one!), others you can use in the morning before you put on your moisturiser. Enjoy and have fun with it! 

Safflower Oil: 

  • Contains a very high linoleic acid (an Omega-6 essential fatty acid) content – 78% which makes it great for the oiliest of skins.
  • Is of a thin and light consistency which absorbs very well in the skin. 
  • Is a drying oil that locks in moisture without leaving your skin looking or feeling oily.

Usage: an oil cleanser, moisturiser for oily, acne-prone skin (a thin layer of moisturiser can be used on top)

Argan Oil: 

  • Is high in Vitamin E and fatty acid content.
  • Smoothes out the skin –  seriously you get baby soft skin and it’s noticeable after one use. 
  • Is a good source of oleic acid that won’t clog your pores. 

Usage: moisturiser for dehydrated skin, as well as dry skin which is also acne-prone, also good for combo skin as a moisturiser, a light under-eye moisturiser.

Rosehip Oil: 

  • Absorbs quickly.
  • Brightens and evens out skin tone over time. 
  • Can help to heal acne scars and post-inflammatory pigmentation (PIH). 
  • Is a source of trans-retinoic acid and Vitamin A.

Usage: fading under-eye circles, fading acne scars, brightening the skin, evening out skin tone, moisturising, fading the appearance of stretch marks. Suitable for all skin types.

Perilla Oil: 

  • Contains very high levels of n-3 linolenic acid (over 50%) – an essential fatty acid that plays a major role in regulating inflammation in the body as well as the skin
  • Has high amounts of omega-3 essential fatty acid and alpha-linolenic acid which are considered an antioxidant.
  • Is great for acne-prone skin, as it’s a drying oil. (you will need another moisturising layer on top to prevent dryness)

Usage: a moisturiser for acne-prone skin and an oil cleanser

Evening Primrose Oil: 

  • Is rich in omega-6 which helps produce anti-inflammatory prostaglandins (fatty acid compounds that have hormone-like effects). 
  • When used topically can relieve cystic hormonal acne. Most people see immediate results. 
  • EPO supplements are used to treat the cause of hormonal acne and PMS.

Usage: cystic acne treatment, PMS relief, oil cleanser.

Hempseed Oil: 

  • It’s high in linoleic acid, which means it absorbs quickly and hydrates the skin well
  • The linoleic acid percentage content makes it suitable for oily skin which lacks in linoleic acids. 

Usage: Moisturiser for oily/combo and acne-prone skin. Seriously this is the best oil for oily skin, you can even apply multiple layers!

Emu Oil: 

  • Is very thick and high in oleic acids
  • Does not absorb fully and is not suitable for acne-prone skin. 
  • Is used to treat scabby, very dry, inflamed skin. 
  • Reduces the appearance of fine lines. 

Usage: Undereye moisturiser, moisturiser for very dry skin, on dry patches

Neem Oil: 

  • Helps reduce redness and inflammation.
  • Has anti-bacterial properties. 
  • Has a high fatty acid content which is said to prevent and treat scars.
  • Is high in Vitamin E which improves the elasticity of the skin. 
  • Has a very strong smell that may be unpleasant to some.

Usage: spot treatment for acne and reducing the look of dark marks.

Cover Image via Glossier
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