Oils 101 with Lucy Macdougald of Biologi
In a world where there’s often 10 – sometimes more – steps to a skincare regime, you can easily be overwhelmed buy the what, when, where and why. Sure, a cleanser and moisturiser are straightforward, but when introducing a serum and an oil, things can get complicated. Oils, in particular, can be incredibly confusing, especially knowing when (or what order to apply), for what skin conditions, along with which oil is best for your skin type.
The truth is, it’s oil good (see what we did there), if you’re not completely clued up on using an oil in your skincare regime. We talked to Lucy Macdougald, dermal specialist at Biologi, to get her intel on getting oiled up this season.
Can you give us the what, where, when, and why lowdown on oils?
Lucy: What oil really depends on what skin type you have and what skin concern you’re hoping to alleviate. There are so many different skincare oils on the market so if you’re feeling overwhelmed, try to go back to basics. At our last count, there were over 50 or more skincare oils that in combination or individually are sold as products for dry skin. So how can you know which one to choose? Unfortunately, being able to cut through all that marketing hype and understand what is really best for your skin can be incredibly difficult. However, I’m here to tell you that the best type of oils typically contain the two major fatty acids that our skin has (Linoleic acid and Alpha Linoleic acid) at high percentages with low fat content. A Rosehip Oil, such as Biologi’s Br Organic Rosehip Oil, is an excellent option for many skin conditions because it contains these fatty acids and will absorb quickly into the skin. Or, an oil like Biologi’s By Blackberry Seed Oil, that also contains these fatty acids, along with Vitamin K, which provides anti-ageing benefits, protects collagen and can help minimise dark circles around the eye area. What’s more it can assist with redness, strengthen capillaries and is excellent for wound healing. In short, when choosing an oil, choose one that contains those fatty acids of Linoleic acid and Alpha Linoleic acid.
Where to apply an oil can also cause some confusion but ultimately an oil can be applied all over (face, body and sometimes even hair). Depending on the oil, you may need to avoid the delicate eye area and lashes, but other than that, you can use on most places of your body.
When is entirely up to you, but most people prefer to use an oil at night time. The reason being that it can sometimes feel heavier on the skin or create a glowy complexion (which works for most people, but others fear it looks a little too oily).
As for when in the routine – as a general rule, applying your oil should always be the almost last step. If using it at nighttime, it should be your very last step, but if using in the morning it’s the second last step before your sunscreen. The reason for this is because a skincare oil can put a light film over your skin, which means anything you apply after it can have trouble absorbing or penetrating into the skin. So, if you were to apply a water-soluble product after an oil, you’re essentially wasting your money because it’s not going to absorb very well. A step-by-step of products should look something like this: cleanser, exfoliant (once or twice a week), toner (if using), serum, moisturiser, oil, and sunscreen. I personally think skincare routines have become too complicated as most people really only need a cleanser, exfoliant, hardworking serum and an oil to provide everything your skin needs. All the rest of those products can be a nice to have, but not essential for great skin.
The why? Well, so many reasons! A great oil can promote the skins internal hydration and protective processes to support healthy cellular turnover. It can also help with redness, hydration, assist with anti-ageing, and help to improve the texture and appearance of scars (due to the role those fatty acids play in how skin cells rebuild post-injury).
Are there any misconceptions about oil you can debunk?
1. Oily skin can benefit from an oil! Most people don’t realise this, but the right skincare oil can help blemish-prone and oily skin. While the thought of applying oil to oily skin can seem counterintuitive, the key thing to note is that oily skin occurs when your skin is producing too much oil to regulate the skin (because the oil-water content is out of whack). So, in both cases (oily skin and breakouts) what is happening in the skin is an overproduction of oil. In response to this, most people will then use harsh stripping products to try and combat the oil production. However, then the skin starts trying to overcompensate for the reduction of oils and begins to over produce more oil (so you get in a vicious cycle). If you apply an oil, your sebaceous glands shouldn’t feel the need to kick into over production mode, and your skin will stay balanced.
2. Even sensitive skin can benefit from an oil. The right type of oil can contain anti-inflammatory fatty acids, such as linoleic acid, alpha-linoleic acid, and oleic acid. Because skin conditions like rosacea and atopic dermatitis are inflammatory disorders, a great oil may help to reduce the subsequent redness, resulting in a decrease in symptoms.
3. You really only need one oil in your regime. One great oil can do deliver many benefits, therefore it’s not necessary to apply more than one in your routine. However, you can alternate your oil if you’re looking for oils that suit different purposes, but I wouldn’t recommend applying too many at once. Most skin types benefit from using oil soluble products in addition to water soluble products in their routine. However, as with all products, there is such a thing as ‘too much of a good thing’! Just pick one or two of your favourites and alternate the days that you use them.
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