6 Myths To STOP Believing About Facial Oils

We're taught from our pimply adolescent years that oil is the enemy: We need to keep it in check with harsh astringents and scrubs, purge all oil-like products from our vanity, and never, ever look back. So, when facial oils became the skin-care trend du jour, it went against everything we knew and believed. But, here's the thing, the "evils of oil," turns out, are complete mythology.

Top dermatologists and skin-care brands say oil-based products aren't a passing trend — they're important staples in a complete skin-care routine. "Oil as we know it isn't the same as it used to be," says Dr. Jeannette Graf, renowned New York dermatologist and assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical Center. "Advances in the ability to refine oil have led to cosmetic-grade oils that are the consistency of water," she says. "They used to be thick and clogging, like mineral oil, but now they're very emollient and don't leave any residue on the skin."

But, don't oils still cause breakouts? How effective are they against anti-aging? And, are they meant for oily skin types? We hear your concerns loud and clear, which is why we teamed up with Olay Regenerist to investigate. Read on to separate myth from fact and get the truth about oils. That enemy may become your new best friend.
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Illustrated by Mary Galloway.
The whole premise behind wrinkles is that dry, dehydrated skin will crinkle up and show lines faster and deeper than hydrated skin, which will stay plump and taut, says Dr. Harold Lancer, board-certified dermatologist in Beverly Hills. (Think what dehydrated grapes — a.k.a. raisins — look like.) Oils, of course, stop dryness in its tracks and lock in moisture.

As an added bonus for a youthful look, facial oils offer antioxidants, which are repairing, says Graf. "They slow down aging and neutralize free radicals." To break it down, free radicals are ions that destroy proteins and collagen in the skin — two necessities to maintaining firmness and elasticity. Antioxidants, found in grape skins, rose oils, and acai or goji berries, help block those damaging molecules. Lancer also suggests looking for marula oil, a product often touted as the holy grail of anti-aging oils.
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Illustrated by Mary Galloway.
You know that pretty, summery glow Hollywood actresses always seem to have? Well, we tend to appear more "sweaty" than "glowy" during the dog days of summer. The answer: Lighten things up. If you have combination or oily skin, you can swap out heavy moisturizer for a facial oil that penetrates just as thoroughly. "Oils are very emollient now," says Graf. "They don't leave any residue on the skin, they absorb instantly, and they give skin a beautiful glow."

The new generation also caters to specific skin types, so whether you have combination, sensitive, or dry skin, you can easily find the just-right oil for yourself and use it year-round.
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Illustrated by Mary Galloway.
Naturally derived oils aren't responsible for breakouts, says Lancer. "Coconut, grape-seed, and avocado oils are healthy when they're applied to clean skin. It's comedogenic oils, like mineral oils or synthetic oils, that can cause breakouts." Antibacterial and anti-inflammatory oils are particularly good for skin prone to breakouts. Graf suggests tea-tree, East Indian, or sandalwood oils for the acne-prone.

Treat your skin-care shopping just as you would your grocery shopping. Read the labels and opt for products that have no added color, fragrances, or preservatives, such as Olay Regenerist Luminous Facial Oil.
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Illustrated by Mary Galloway.
It seems counterintuitive to spread more oil on your skin when you know your face gets nearly reflective midday. But, using certain types of facial oils can actually help regulate the problem. "Jojoba oil mimics your skin's sebum production," says Graf, so your skin won't feel the need to overproduce. Other oils to look for: rose, apricot kernel, or grape-seed.

And, as Lancer explains, skin varies throughout the day. Even if you wake up with oily skin, you may find your face dry and feeling chafed by the afternoon. Not only do facial oils regulate your sebum production during your oily times, they also soothe inflammation during your drier hours.
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Ever heard the phrase, "better together"? You may be diligent about moisturizing morning and night, but if you start feeling dry the second that spring wind acts up, your efforts seem moot. Instead, try using your moisturizer in conjunction with a facial oil, which will allow your products to do their job better. "Well-purified natural oils serve as humectants," says Lancer, meaning "they reduce water from evaporating from your skin [including your water-based beauty products] and also help hydrate dry, cracked skin."

Dermatologists say you can apply oil either before or after your daytime moisturizer, retinoids, or night cream. It all depends on what products you use — you want to put the product with the most active ingredients on first. Lancer even suggests mixing two or three drops directly in with your product.
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"Oil-free products don't exist," says Graf. "Look at the label, and you'll see some type of oil. Noncomedogenic isn't an FDA-regulated term."

Lancer agrees. "There is an outdated belief that in order for a product to be noncomedogenic, it must be oil-free. Noncomedogenic simply means the product is so well chemically blended, it won't form semi-solids at body temperature." What does this mean for you? Embrace the oil. Lancer says, "Even if you suffer from acne or breakouts, you need products with some oil in them to properly hydrate and protect the skin."
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