Skincare oils have become ubiquitous. These days it seems like you can’t read a skincare story or walk down an aisle in Sephora without being bombarded by a million varieties of slick, pleasant-smelling oils in tiny glass bottles. But what’s with all the hype? Skincare oils can be as intriguing as they are frightening for folks with certain skin types. But there can be an oil out there for everyone and, by and large, when used correctly they can be great for your skin.

To make skincare oils an effective part of your skincare regimen, you’ll need to suss out which oil is right for your complexion and how it can best be incorporated into the rest of your routine.

This Is Not The Time For DIY


There are a number of fun, potentially effective “do it yourself” skincare recipes out there, but finding the perfect face oil is not a good time to get creative with ideas you find on Pinterest. A homemade concoction of household oils seems like a cheap and easy way to get involved with oil-based cleansing, but it may come with a price tag of its own.

Cooking oils like those you might have in your kitchen can be damaging to your skin in the wrong amounts or combinations. Olive oil contains natural phenolic compounds, which are responsible for the oil’s antioxidant properties, according to a study from Medicinal Research Reviews. Those antioxidants can protect your skin against free radicals and minimize the appearance of aging, but with olive oil, it may not be worth its potential to trigger contact dermatitis.

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Castor oil, another household oil that finds its way into online skincare recipes, is also a double edged sword. Home remedies suggest using it to rid your skin of acne, but eczema and psoriasis studies have cited that it’s been linked to allergic reactions resulting in contact dermatitis and cheilitis.

Terpenes, found in common essential oils, have been shown to help other ingredients penetrate the skin’s natural barriers and are generally regarded as safe. But again, they come with a risk. Many essential oils are not approved for topical use, but rather as nice smelling aromatherapy oils. Unless you can be absolutely, 100 percent sure that the essential oils you’re working with are safe for skincare use, it’s best to avoid them. It may seem like you’re saving money by whipping up your own skin oils, but this is one area of skincare you should leave to the pros.

Dry Skin


The nice thing about forgoing the DIY route with skincare oils is that there’s no shortage of products on the market to try for yourself. The best way to start whittling them down is to know your skin and look at the best options for your particular skin type.

If you have dry skin, consider looking for a product that contains coconut oil. Coconut oil is having a moment right now. People are slathering it on as hair conditioner, lip balm, deodorant and more – not to mention cooking with it. The reason it’s so popular is because it’s effective. Virgin coconut oil has natural emollient and antibacterial properties and is so gentle it can be used on infant skin. Coconut oil is especially great for dry skin because of how well it retains skin moisture. One study compared its moisturizing effects to mineral oil and, while visual analysis showed that both oils worked, dry skin treatments with coconut oil seemed to show better improvement.

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Normal Skin

For normal skin, oil from the nut of the African marula tree would be a great ingredient to consider. In South Africa, marula oil has been used for years to treat dry skin and damaged hair. It’s not quite as rich as coconut oil, but normal skin will still feel the moisturizing benefits of is medium rich, silky texture. The oil has been shown to boost hydration and skin smoothness and reduce redness. It contains oleic acid, which has antioxidant properties that will serve to battle free radicals in the fight against the visible signs of aging.

Oily Skin


As expected, finding a skincare oil good for already oily skin can pose a challenge. Enter: tea tree oil. Tea tree oil is a natural antifungal and an effective acne fighter for those with oily, acne prone complexions too. A comparative study published in the Medical Journal of Australia found that, while it took a little longer to see the effects of tea tree oil on acne, it had the same effect on breakouts that a 5 percent benzoyl peroxide treatment did. On top of that, patients treated with tea tree oil showed fewer side effects.