Oil for Dry Face
If you're tired of looking in the mirror only to see patches of dry, flaky skin, you can do something about it without spending a fortune on department store moisturizers. Natural oils such as olive oil and jojoba oil replenish skin's moisture and banish dry skin. The trick is to use them sparingly, focusing on dry patches and avoiding acne-prone areas.
Oil as Moisturizer
Your skin produces a natural moisturizer called sebum. According to the New Zealand Dermatological Society, sebum protects your skin from infection and prevents moisture from escaping through your skin's surface. Once you're past puberty, your natural sebum production slowly tapers off. If your natural sebum production isn't enough to prevent the moisture loss that results in dry skin, you can use natural oils as a replacement or supplement.
Types of Oil
In "Cosmetic Dermatology," Leslie Baumann, MD, describes the three main types of oil you have to choose from when it comes to facial moisturizers. Natural oils such as olive oil, jojoba oil and coconut oil come from plant seeds. Manufacturers press the seeds and extract the oil inside. Essential oils also have a natural origin. Manufacturers steam the roots, stems or leaves of plants to extract the oil inside. Mineral oil is a purified petroleum byproduct. Baumann cites a 2004 double-blind randomized trial that discovered mineral oil and extra virgin coconut oil functioned equally well in improving dry skin.
Benefits of Oil
Baumann notes that oils function so well as moisturizers because they contain lipids, proteins your skin needs to help prevent moisture loss. Lipids act as barriers between your skin cells' membranes and the outside world. When those membranes aren't strong enough to prevent water loss, the resulting dry-out is called transepidermal water loss, or TEWL.
In "The Passionate Olive," author Carol Firenze offers suggestions for using oilve oil as a moisturizer; however, these tips apply to any type of oil. Firenze applies olive oil to her skin directly from the bottle. You can also create an emulsion containing 1 tsp. water and 1 tbsp. oil. Apply the mixture to clean skin, leave on for five minutes, then blot it off with a clean cloth.
According to Dr. Katie Rodan and Dr. Kathy Fields, co-creators of the Proactiv® skin care regimen and authors of "Unblemished," dry skin is also often acne-prone. If you're battling dry skin as well as acne, they suggest using a moisturizer that contains salicylic acid, retinol or alpha hydroxy acids to help keep your pores clear. If only certain parts of your face are acne-prone, you may want to use a separate oil-free moisturizer for these areas and dab non-acne-prone dry areas with oil.
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