When I tell people I apply oil directly to my face, they often react by saying “doesn’t it make your skin looking shiny?!” or “doesn’t it clog your pores?”. The answer is, given the right oil, NO! Most people assume that lotions are a better moisturizer option, but the reality is that lotions are a blend of oil and water. If you are applying lotion to your skin, you are applying oil! (“oil-free” lotions are usually made with mineral oil, a by-product of the petroleum industry).
So is there a better option? Let’s first explore what a lotion is. Lotion is oil and water emulsified (think mayonnaise). The two are whipped together to create the creamy textured lotion. This is a wonderful thing, if you can get your hands on fresh lotion. But unfortunately oil and water don’t like each other, and water can introduce microbes that will make the lotion go rancid. To stop the oil and water from separating you need an emulsifier and to stop it from going bad, you need preservatives. Ever wonder what that 1% of 99% natural lotions is? It’s a chemical preservative. 1% doesn’t sound like a lot but it matters and it’s enough that I avoid it. Skin can absorb up to 100% of what you put on it. If a 1% concentration is enough to make salicylic acid clear your skin up, I consider a 1% concentration of parabens or other possibly carcinogenic preservatives to be something to stay clear of.
So if you do not want to worry about chemical preservatives or bacteria in your lotion, what is the alternative? Oils!! Most have a significantly long shelf life (sometimes up to 2 years) so there is no need for a preservative as long as you know the oil is fresh. Not every oil is suitable for the face, so choose carefully. Each oil has its own special characteristic and will treat your skin accordingly. Oils can moisturize, regenerate, soften, and even clarify your skin. I personally love jojoba oil, but there is a plethora of other options out there for each skin type. Stay tuned for my next post about how to choose a good facial oil.
About Dominique Caron
Dominique Caron is originally from Montreal, Quebec. She moved to Pennsylvania in her teen years and graduated from Temple University with an honors B.A. in Film and Television. From then on, she shot movies and docs, traveled the world (including Antarctica), and moved to NYC. Unsatisfied with her work, she decided to embark on a new, more nurturing journey. Now a graduate of the Herbal Bear School of Botanical Medicine, she considers herself a budding herbalist, skincare maker, and researcher. She now owns an organic handmade skincare line Caru Skincare Co and writes blog entries on research she does and DIY recipes she likes to share.