Sometimes the things that seem uber obvious are as obvious as they seem. Other-times they’re not. Oil free skincare is a bit like box 2.
Have you had this perfectly logical thought?
My skin is oily, spot prone and I just want to dry it the heck up… I’ll ban all oil from my skincare, go oil free and that should do the trick.
It seems logical ‘eh… it’ll probably work too, although follow oil free for too long and your skin may develop a kinship with the Sahara desert.
The trick most aren’t aware of – oil can actually re-balance your skin downslope from oily.
Whozer – that seems counter-intuitive ‘eh.
This next bit will seem even crazier…
Oil can help treat and prevent acne and spots.
My friend, it’s all about choosing the right oils… and by the end of this, you’ll know exactly why oils are good for your oily skin and exactly how to choose oils that work.
Promise made, now let’s do this…
Oil Free – What It Means for Your Skin
We start with the science. As a combination or oily skin type you’ve probably definitely noticed your skin loves to make oil.
This special stuff goes by the name of sebum.
What’s less obvious – all skin types have sebum, even if you can’t see it’s shininess.
Normal skin types have a perfectly balanced amount.
Dry skin types have too little.
It’s the top layers of your skin that are mostly oil based, there’s only a tiny, tiny bit of water raining about town.
Once you go deeper into your skin, its water content goes way up.
Top layers – oils high.
Bottom layers – water high.
This balance makes your skin the queen of health, it means;
- Your skin is able to lock in hydration – that water ain’t sneaking past your waterproof oil based layers.
- Skin is protected against infections, bacteria and viruses.
- Wrinkles are warded away.
Now, imagine if you’d had too much to eat and your tummy looked ready to birth – been there! If we used our oil free principle, we’d have to go food-free until the food baby had been birthed.
This is yo-yo dieting at its best my friend.
Option 1: You rebalance your diet to healthy.
Option 2: You go cold turkey and stave yourself.
The tricky part – both of these work… one gradually and sustainably, the other quickly, with side effects that might make the craving for a new food baby too much to handle.
This is what oil free means for your skin. Yes you’ll get results. Yes your skin will have side-effects. Yes, it’s not sustainable.
Oil free means you’re fighting against your skins oil based biology.
What to do Instead of Going Oil Free
In one sentence – throw out the cold turkey and invite re-balance to your skincare routine.
Going oil free is like saying all vegetables taste the same, so I’m going on vegetable strike.
Thing is, vegetables have one over on oils. Vegetables are like a rainbow – there’s no mistaking carrot for parsnip.
Oils all look pretty darn similar.
It’s easy to assume they all taste the same.
In reality, some oils are super-stars for dry skin and others are super-stars for oily skin.
It’s all about choosing the right oils.
— Cheryl Woodman (@HonestyForSkin) 30 November 2016
I bet you’ve heard the phrases omega 3’s or omega 6’s? Those 2 kinds of ingredients you’ll find mixed into natural oils in different proportions.
Just like salmon is high in omega 3, so too is flaxseed oil.
The key to choosing the right oils for your oily, combination spot prone skin, is knowing which ingredients are proven to treat them.
How the right Oils re-balance Your Oily Skin
All oils are oils, but only some oils are oily and only some oils are drying… aka re-balancing to oily skin.
The fact is, most skin types that are oily to combination and prone to spots or acne have a state of fatty-acid deficiency.
Fatty acid is another way of saying oils. Fatty acids are the ingredients that make up oils. Omega 3 is a fatty acid ‘n you can also call it an oil.
Potatoe, potato ‘eh!
It’s a bit like your skin knows it needs oils but it’s gotten stuck making the wrong kind. The more it becomes deficient, the more it makes and the oilier your skin becomes.
Going oil free doesn’t confront your fatty acid deficiency.
That’d be kinda like only eating fast-food, having vitamin deficiency and choosing to go food free.
Your solution – use the right oils.
Oily and combination skin types prone to spots are often deficient in linoleic fatty acids, a type of omega-6.
Guess what – linoleic fatty acid high oils are also known to absorb into your skin as quickly as a key into a lock. They’re known as dry, dryer or drying oils and they’re the perfect non oil-free option for oily, spot prone skin.
Which oils am I talking about?
Dear friend, it’s oils like rosehip and grapeseed that are fabulously high in linoleic acid. When choosing, you also have to make sure they’re low in another fatty acid called oleic acid.
To save you from the research, I’ve pulled together this handy free list of 9 skincare oils perfect for oily, combination and spot prone skin. Just click here to download and keep handy forever more.
How the right Oils treat & Prevent Spots
Interestingly linoleic high oils are also fabulous for reducing your incidence and size of spots and acne. Raise your hand if you have an oily or combination skin type prone to spots or acne. I’m taking a guess that if you do have an oily or combination skin type you mentally have that hand raised right now.
Oily and combination skin types are known to be prone to spots and acne.
Let’s take that down a level…
Oily and combination skin types are known to be deficient in linoleic fatty acid.
…and another notch.
Linoleic fatty acid deficiency does strange things to your skin cells. It puts them into a state of hyperkeratosis which means your skin starts making more of itself without exfoliating off properly.
I bet you can guess what that might cause you…?…Spots!
Skin that isn’t able to exfoliate away normally, naturally and in a timely way is doomed to become trapped within your pores, causing blockages and promoting itself as food to spot causing bacteria.
The moral of the story in a less sciency way – oily and combination skin types make too much of the wrong kind of moisturising oils. Those oils prevent your skin from exfoliating naturally. Dead skin becomes trapped, causing spots and acne to bloom.
Switch Oil Free for Oleic low & Linoleic high
Wondering how to switch oil free for healthy linoleic high? First up, make sure to grab your free copy of my linoleic high oils… p.s. these are also carefully chosen to be oleic low. Click here or below to take away your free copy.
Find skincare with any one of those oils high on the ingredients list and you could be onto a linoleic high winner.
There is one loop hole to watch for.
You might find a moisturiser or facial oil that says rosehip on the front label, but actually has it low, low down the list on the ingredients.
Stay savvy and know that the top few oils in a formula should all be linoleic high winners, oh and they might also be called by something called INCI names – don’t worry about that, my free list of linoleic high oils has you sorted on those.
If you’re worried about selecting the right ones, I also have you covered, here’s some I’ve already pre-selected and know to be linoleic high lovers;
- The Ordinary 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil, £9/30ml
- trilogy Certified Organic Rosehip Oil Antioxidant+, £30/30ml
- Honesty Revive Omega Facial Oil, £22/30ml
- trilogy Vital Moisturiser Pump, £25/50 ml – a moisturiser option if you’re not ready to commit to a facial oil
When I find more, I’ll be sure to add to this list, so keep me bookmarked.
There you have it lovely lady. Why oil free is like a yo-yo diet and what you should replace it with instead.
Tell me your experiences… had you heard about the skincare benefits of linoleic acid before? Wondering if your facial oil is linoleic high? Tell me more in the comments below…
Cheryl Woodman is a scientist & award winning skincare formulator who’s more friend next door than bow tie wearing professor. As creator of Honesty For Your Skin her aim is to help you care for your skin in the best ways possible. She’s founder of the natural & fragrance free skincare brand Honesty while also hosting 1 to 1 skincare coaching to help you get your best skin yet. Find out more here.