There is this very common misconception when it comes to facial oils, especially when using them in the warmer months of the year. You're assuming, "Why on earth would I use something that's oily when I'm already producing so much oil from the heat!?" I really can't blame that view, but I, and many skin and health experts all over the world know that understanding to be false.
The easiest way to break this down is to start by explaining the two things we're actually seeing. By understanding what's actually happening we can then move deeper into how facial oils can help.
When we become "shiny" in the summer, or any time of the year, we're seeing two things: sebum and sweat.
Sebum is produced by our sebaceous glands which are microscopic holocrine glands, a type of exocrine gland present in the epidermis. Sebum is important and crucial for our skin. Simply put, it helps produce our skin's needed lubrication and controls our body's temperature. It's also the reason our skin and hair is waterproof.
Sebum (oily and waxy) is made up of:
- wax esters
- fat producing metabolites
Sweat is produced by the apocrine gland, which is basically a type of exocrine gland. Unlike sebum, which is located all over the body, sweat's main task is to help maintain your body's temperature and also excrete your body's waste products. Thanks, sweat!
Sweat (watery) is made up of:
- waste material
- sodium chloride
An interesting thing about sweat is just like sebum, it's naturally odorless until it contacts bacteria.
It's intriguing to learn that things we try to avoid in our appearance, like sebum and sweat, are actually working to help us. But it would be misleading of me not to admit that *too* much sebum or sweat is not pretty, nor beneficial. After all, excess sebum clogs your skin and results in an oily complexion, often times with acne breakouts. This is where our facial oils come in and how they're there to help--
It's no secret that the more moisturized your skin is the less likely you're to develop wrinkles and fine lines. Although inevitable, how much or how fast we wrinkle can be avoided from certain environmental factors. Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light, for example. UV light breaks down the collagen and elastin fibers in the skin. These fibers form the skin's connective tissue. Elastin fibers are located under the surface of the skin, and they support our skin. Breaking down this layer causes the skin to become weaker and less flexible. The skin starts to droop, and wrinkles appear. Sad story, I know.
Facial oils rich in organic botanical (cold-pressed) oils, just like the ones we use, are composed of everything UV light is afraid of--vitamins (A,C,E), fatty acids, and antioxidants. The UV rays of the sun can damage the skin, resulting in age spots and hyperpigmentation on the face. The antioxidants found in our facial oils, especially the combination of Vitamin C and Vitamin E, can help to combat free radicals that cause sun damage. (YASSSS, there is hope yet!) Not only are you applying all these amazing, powerful ingredients onto your skin, you're moisturizing it as well. It's a win/win.
Now that we've covered that important aspect (moisturizing, even in heat,) I want to also dig deeper about the myth that using "oils only produces more oil." This is so wrong and it's time we put an end to that assumption!
The human body is a beautiful, mysterious, and misunderstood entity, or structure. Often times we forget just how in tune our bodies are. We forget that it's in constant communication--sending signals from every part of our system. The nervous system is responsible for sending, receiving, and interpreting information from all parts of the body. The nervous system monitors and coordinates internal organ function and responds to changes in the external environment. And if you're like "Wait, what?!" I'll put simply, this is how our brain tells our skin to either stop or continue producing oil (sebum) or sweat.
There's no denying that the warmer it is the heavier our sebum production is, BUT science is cool and reminds us that using a facial oil morning and night is an amazing strategy in reducing excess sebum production throughout. Our skin is able to signal to our body that "Hey, I'm hydrated and sufficiently lubricated. No need to send more sebum!"
After all, "like attracts like." Oil is a non-polar molecule. Water is a polar molecule. They don't mix. But, oil will mix with oil. And water will mix with water. Polar molecules, like water, are heavier on one side, so naturally it's going to attract other molecules that are like them. Water is also a positively charged molecule. Oil, the non-polar molecule often lacks no charge, so given their lack of positive or negative charge, they are not attracted to polar molecules like water.
So what does this mean for your skin? Oil is going to clump together with other oils. Your facial oil is going to latch onto your skin's existing sebum and penetrate into your skin. That's how it signals your body to stop producing more oil. This is also another reason oils are great because they're actually easier for your skin to absorb. Moisturizers and serums that are full of water or alcohol struggle to reach deep inside your skin because, again, "like attracts like."
Tip: Applying a facial oil while your skin is still damp also tricks your skin to soak up that hydration from the water while the oil is being absorbed.
This was a lot, but I hope I was able to simplify this for you. I truly just want the myth that facial oils are this scary thing in the warmer temperate to stop. It's a huge misunderstanding and mixed opportunity for the skin we've been dreaming about. Facial oils offer plenty of benefits 365 days of the year from keeping your skin hydrated, to reducing hyperpigmentation, preventing future acne, etc. We say try for yourself and if you don't see the results you're looking for within 30 days, we will offer you a full refund.
All my best,
Parisa | co-founder, owner
Photos by Ayaka Sano