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Why Oils and Serums are Replacing Face Creams

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It’s no secret that more and more people are growing leery of the face creams and lotions found in drug and department stores — they often offer nothing more than a laundry list of risky, potentially skin-damaging ingredients, hefty price tags and questionable results. But when it comes to moisturizing the skin, many remain reluctant to reach for the trending skin care alternative – face oils.

Don’t get me wrong, skin creams have their place, but they can’t alone meet the needs of the delicate skin of the face. Moreover, most drug and department store face creams are a concoction of thickening agents, chemicals and waxes that together serve as a vehicle for the primary nutrient or ingredient in any given “miracle skin cream.”

While some of these ingredients do form “a barrier” over the skin that temporarily holds moisture in, they come with two downsides: They prevent the deep penetration of nutrients and, over time, leave your skin dehydrated and dull. Here’s why:

Nutrients like skin-plumping fatty acids and hyaluronic acid are larger in molecular size. When coupled with thick, waxy substances, it’s nearly impossible for them to penetrate delicate skin cells and be fully absorbed. This prevents these nutrients – the very ones you probably paid good money for – from being able to reach deep beneath the skin’s surface where they’re needed most to effectively support the skin’s structure and maintain the hydration that is the hallmark of healthy skin.

This is why so many creams seem to work well at first, but then disappoint a few weeks later. The new and unfamiliar waxy layer on your skin holds moisture at first, but over time your skin realizes it’s being “faked out,” and it begins to produce oils of its own that merely clash with your cream. It’s a vicious cycle.

The lack nutrient deposition catches up and the skin’s natural moisture retaining processes are in desperate need of a reset.

The Unlikely Solution: Oils

Contrary to what we’ve been told our whole lives, our skin favors oils, so long as they’re the right oils carrying the right nutrients.

Your skin is protected by a layer called the stratum corneum, also known as the lipid barrier, which shields skin from external threats such as bacteria and pathogens and helps prevent water loss. After the age of 40, though, this layer begins to breakdown, which is why it becomes harder for the skin to retain moisture.

It is because of the lipid barrier that nutrients need an oil-based carrier such as a cream or an oil, but it is imperative the carrier molecule be small enough to penetrate deep beneath the skin’s surface to effectively nourish and protect skin. Otherwise, you’re not only throwing your money away, your damaging the outer layer of the skin risking moisture loss.

And this is exactly why facial oils have been skyrocketing in popularity..

“Oils protect the skin’s lipid barrier and are great at preventing moisture from evaporating from the skin,” says aesthetician and owner of Mint + Berry, Charmaine Leah. And while most people shy away from oils, fearing their skin will feel greasy, Leah confirms this isn’t the case. “The truth is, most natural oils are easily absorbed, not greasy, and noncomedogenic; that is, they have a low potential to clog pores, which makes oils perfect for all skin types,” she says.

3 Reasons to Add a Face Oil to Your Routine

1. Oils Repair Skin on a Deeper Level: They deliver concentrated doses of the nutrients your skin craves to stay hydrated and healthy

2. Face Oils Lock in Moisture: Oils penetrate the lipid barrier, rather than form a layer on top of it. This traps moisture in a way that is more natural for the skin, which means your subcutaneous cells are never “faked out” and triggered into the vicious cycle of producing more oil.

3. Face Oils Skip the Risky Ingredients: Because they are a combination of mostly waxy substances and water, most creams and lotions use unnatural preservatives. Oils, on the other hand, do not need to employ preservatives to maintain potency or freshness.

While the waxes and fillers that often accompany “velvety creams” sit on the surface of your skin, preventing the full absorption of skin-plumping and protective nutrients, facial oils quench thirsty skin, delivering nourishment and moisture to skin and tissue more efficiently.

So which oils are best for your skin?

Several oils present benefits for your skin, but here are a few of my favorite:

1. Coconut Oil: Not only is coconut oil a fantastic, chemical-free way to remove your make up at night, it’s probably the best body moisturizer I’ve ever used. The one drawback: it smells a touch funny, so it helps to mix it with an essential oil of your choice.

2. Argan Oil: Argan oil is loaded with healthy omega fats that help support skin cells and promote healthy collegen.

3. Jojoba Oil: Pronounced ho-HO-ba, jojoba oil has been a favorite among dermatologists for years. Because the chemical structure of this oil is similar to that of the natural oils found in our skin, this oil delivers B vitamins and vitamin E in a form that your skin readily absorbs.


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