by Megan Gustashaw
From argan to coconut, natural oils are totally having a moment. So which trendy, all-powerful oil is right for your skin type? We spoke with Dr. Joshua Zeichner, director of cosmetic and clinical research in the Department of Dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical Center, to come up with this handy-dandy guide.
Illustrations: Austen Clements; Graphic Design: Sherelle Ledue
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Here's a bit more info about the natural oils in each category, from Dr. Zeichner:
"Oils used to prevent skin aging are rich in fatty acids and antioxidants. Omega-3 fatty acids are used by skin cells to make healthy membranes, reduce inflammation, and promote healthy collagen. Antioxidants such as vitamin E prevent free-radical damage from UV light exposure and help maintain healthy collagen and elastin."
On adding moisture:
"Healthy fats are not only good to eat but also to help hydrate your skin. When applied to dry skin, oils such as olive oil can soothe without causing irritation or allergies. Avocado oil is rich in vitamins, fatty acids, and antioxidants, especially vitamin E. It can help repair the skin barrier and act as a natural skin emollient. Avocados have high levels of sterols, which are natural fats in plants, which can soothe irritated skin. While coconut and avocado oil can soothe irritated skin, they can cause breakouts and should be avoided in acne-prone patients. Both olive oil and coconut oil can soothe and hydrate eczema, but coconut oil has the added benefit of helping to reduce bacteria on the skin."
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"While using an oil on already oily, acne-prone skin seems counterintuitive, many of the cosmetic-grade oils are quite light and do not clog pores. Tea tree oil and grapeseed extract have antiseptic properties, explaining their help in treating acne. Peppermint oil has been shown to help treat digestive issues, but is used on the skin because of its anti-inflammatory, helping to reduce redness. Rose hip oil is rich in essential fatty acids and vitamin A, which can help explain its effect on scars."
On calming the skin:
"Natural oils are a perfect match for sensitive or irritated skin because they rarely cause allergic reactions. Without chemical ingredients that many sensitive patients cannot tolerate, these oils can calm and repair the skin. Chamomile oil possesses anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties, which can calm the skin and fight off infection. Carrot seed oil is rich in vitamin A and beta carotene and emollients, which help normalize skin cell turnover and soothe the skin. Evening primrose oil has long been used to treat eczema, especially in folk and alternative medicine. It contains high levels of essential fatty acids that soothe the skin."
Do you use natural oils in your skin care routine? Which ones?
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by Megan Gustashaw