Face oils are said to be the ultimate weapon against parched skin. Some also claim that a face oil is really all you need.
Is it really? And if so, how exactly does oil moisturise our skin?
2 ways of increasing skin moisture
Skin moisture is technically referring to its water content. It can be increased by 2 ways.
1. Directly by attracting water to the skin.
A group of ingredients called humectants (e.g. glycerin, hyaluronic acid) attract water to the skin by attracting water to itself.
2. Indirectly by preventing water loss.
Oils/butters/waxes occlude (or block) the skin in varying degrees, thus limiting evaporation or water loss from the skin.
Oils also have the ability to instantly improve the appearance of flaky dry skin. They do so by ‘gluing down’ bits of dry protruding skin. This is how lip balms get rid of the appearance of chapped lips immediately.
Dehydrated vs Dry
So how does oil help dehydrated or dry skin?
Dehydration is not actually a skin type but a condition that can occur with any skin type. If you are dehydrated, your skin lacks water. Applying oil will slow down your skin’s evaporation but not directly drawing water to your skin.
If you are dry (dry is a skin type), your skin lacks lipids/oils. Applying oil compensates for its lack of natural oils. However, very often, dry skins also suffer from dehydration. This is because with a lack of lipids, the rate of evaporation from your skin also increases, resulting in both dryness and dehydration.
The Oil-Water Balance
By now you’d have realised that our skin needs BOTH oil and water (or more accurately, humectants). It is not quite enough for your perfect moisturiser to just have these two components. It should also have the right balance of oils and humectants for your specific skin type and condition.
This balance is different for every individual. Are you extremely oily? You are most likely to do well with humectants and low (or no) oils. What if you are very dry yet breakout-prone? You’d need a moisturiser loaded with humectants and carefully selected oils with minimal occlusivity.
Want your perfectly balanced moisturiser? Just take the skin test to help us understand your skin and we’ll do the rest!