There is often a misconception that skin oil is a bad thing, especially for oily skin types. The truth is that our skin needs a proper balance of oil in order to remain healthy, protected, and avoid premature aging.
Our skin oil glands are known as sebaceous glands, which are responsible for creating and spreading oil onto the surface of the skin. Some areas of our face have a higher concentration of sebaceous glands, such as the nose, chin, and forehead. This area is often called our ‘T-zone’ or oily zone.
The thing about oil is that we really need it. It helps to maintain the lipid barrier of our skin, which protects us from bacteria, pollution, and other affects of the environment. The more moisturized our skin is, the less likely we are to experience premature aging. I often tell my clients to think of their skin like leather. The less oil it has, the more likely it is to crack and weather. If leather is properly oiled, it has a smooth and supple appearance. Our skin is the same way: we need oil to maintain its softness and health.
Those of you that experience excessive skin oil may be disagreeing with me about the need for more moisture in your skin. What I often see happen with those having extra shine is that they try to over-dry the skin. The problem with doing that is that it makes the body think you are lacking oil, and it will over produce shine. You are better off seeking to balance oil production with the use of exfoliating products and a hydrating moisturizer.
A great way to give our skin a proper oil balance is through the use of our home care routine. Regardless of whether your skin is dry, oily, or combination, we all need a solid moisturizer. I often tell my clients that the job of their moisturizer is to act like a goalie: protect what is in and keep out what is bad. A good moisturizer will have both moisturizing and hydrating capabilities. Skin that is suffering from a lack of oil can also benefit from cleansing and leave-in skin oils. The oil in our skin is attracted to the oil molecules in cleansers, so they work great to remove makeup and excess oil. Skin that is extremely dry and irritated from conditions like eczema and psoriasis may also benefit from conditioning oils and balms.
Skin oil is our friend when it comes to keeping things healthy and youthful. Don’t shy away from a little bit of oil in your routine!