Oils for the face polarize - some consider them to be magical beauty products for daily skin care, while others warn of their drying properties. In this article, we'll start from scratch: when does oil alone make sense, what are its benefits compared to creams, and what's the role of lipids in the whole story? Plus: You will learn how to use facial oils correctly and which oil is best for your skin type.
Pure oil care vs. cream: What are the advantages of oils for the face?
Pure oil care has two very important advantages over creams.
- Few ingredients and no fillers , because it contains: pure oil . And if it's natural vegetable oils instead of mineral oil , your skin will also benefit from a whole range of antioxidants, vitamins and healthy fatty acids.
- Free from emulsifiers and preservatives . These are only necessary if a formulation contains water. A pure oil can safely do without it.
That sounds good, after all we're all into minimalistic skincare, right? The answer to that depends entirely on who you ask. Certain facial oils have a reputation for disrupting the barrier function and drying out the skin. This includes, for example, olive oil 1 . To understand what makes good facial oils , let's take a step back and look at the makeup of our skin.
Lipids, moisture and the skin's protective barrier - what you should know!
Our upper skin (the epidermis) consists of several superimposed layers, of which the horny layer (stratum corneum) as the outermost layer closes the skin to the outside. As the direct boundary to the environment, the stratum corneum fulfills an important barrier function, the importance of which we will now take a closer look at.
- Protective barrier : The stratum corneum contains horny fats (also called epidermal lipids) that hold the cells of the horny layer together. They play a key role in our skin health. Firstly they bind moisture, secondly they form a protective barrier against external influences.
- Bricks & Mortar : Think of this interplay as a wall made of bricks (the cells of the stratum corneum) and mortar (the epidermal lipids). If there are too few lipids, the wall becomes permeable: moisture can escape more easily and the skin reacts more sensitively to environmental influences. The result: dryness and feelings of tension.
- Hydrolipid film & NMFs : Our skin also has another line of defense: the so-called hydrolipid film. It covers the outermost layer of skin and acts as an additional barrier against harmful substances and invaders. It contains free fatty acids from the sebaceous glands, lactic acid and other secretions from sweat, as well as the NMFs - the skin's natural moisturizing factors.
Oils for the skin: why the fatty acid spectrum matters!
Unlike vitamin C, for example, which is a single substance, vegetable oils consist of a whole range of individual components. It is this cocktail that decides the suitability of a particular oil for skin care . Would you like a few examples?
Sea Buckthorn Pulp Oil:
is considered to be one of the most precious plant substances in the world 2 . It contains high levels of the rare palmitoleic acid , which is part of our skin's own lipids. Also known as omega-7, this fatty acid boosts skin regeneration, supports wound healing and reduces the appearance of scars and pigment spots.
And it gets even better: Palmitic acid also ensures soft, supple skin and prevents excessive water loss via the skin's surface 2 . Other beauty boosters contained in sea buckthorn pulp oil are vitamins C and E, as well as carotenoids (the antioxidant gives the oil its bright orange color) and phospholipids (important for cell renewal) 3 . We use the skin booster in the FIVE facial oil for dry skin .
Black Seed Oil:
is characterized by its high content of linoleic acid . Like palmitoleic acid, it occurs naturally in our skin – linoleic acid is the most abundant unsaturated fatty acid in our epidermal lipids 4 . As a component of ceramides (a special form of lipids) and the skin's natural moisturizing factors (the NMFs), linoleic acid supports the functions of the skin's protective barrier and is important for a radiant complexion. That is why the potent oil is the ideal supplement for the FIVE Facial Oil Balance .
Oils in facial care can still do that!
When optimally formulated and used correctly, facial oils increase skin's ability to retain moisture by preventing excessive transepidermal water loss. But beware: Oils do not moisturize themselves, they only help the skin to retain moisture . Incidentally, I will devote myself to this aspect in detail in a second article .
But here's so much: If you apply oil to the still slightly damp skin , this moisture is locked in, so to speak. The oil film thus protects against moisture loss by sealing the skin's surface. A principle that many cultures took advantage of thousands of years ago - skin care with oils is considered one of the oldest forms of body care.
☝️ The fact is: When used correctly, oils for the face are phenomenal beauty boosters with very individual care properties from which dry to impure skin can benefit. In the FIVE facial oil for dry skin, we use, among other things, sea buckthorn pulp oil, which has a regenerating effect and has antioxidant properties. The FIVE Face Oil Balance contains precious black cumin oil and essential grapefruit oil, which score with their antibacterial effect.
When are oils for the face useful as sole skin care?
Oils for the face are sufficient as sole skin care if your skin has enough emulsifiers from its own production . Do you see a big question mark appearing in front of your inner eye? Don't worry: we'll now break down what that means together.
In a balanced healthy skin, fatty acids, cholesterol and diglycerides fulfill the function of the skin's own emulsifiers. This means: They ensure that the water from sweat combines with lipids on the skin's surface to form a mixture . The resulting emulsion spreads seamlessly over the skin, binds the skin's own moisture and protects against excessive water loss.
Care that contains emulsifiers is then not necessary - a high-quality facial oil applied to damp skin is sufficient. The horny layer absorbs moisture and can keep it in the skin thanks to the sealing properties of the oil.
Thirsty skin: In which cases pure oil care is not enough!
If your skin does not have enough of its own emulsifiers , care with oil alone cannot fully cover your skin's needs. And even for dehydrated skin, oils for the face as solo care are not enough.
The older we get, the more our skin needs not only moisturizing lipids, but above all moisture . The skin then needs care that supplies it with moisture and helps to bind it on and in the skin. Applying oils to damp skin is no longer sufficient in this case.
My tip : Mix a drop of your facial oil with the FIVE facial serum , which provides your skin with lasting moisture in the form of gently scented rose water and keeps it in the skin with moisture-binding ingredients such as hyaluronic acid and glycerin.
How to properly use face oils
We recapitulate: As a rule of thumb, facial oils should always be applied to slightly damp skin . The perfect time to do this is after the shower or after your daily facial cleansing ritual. In this way, the oil can optimally lock in the existing moisture in the skin - and you can look forward to a well-moisturized, silky-soft complexion.
However, there is one exception : facial oil can be used on dry skin for oil cleansing , e.g. with the FIVE make-up remover with mild jojoba oil.
From around the age of 25 (when the skin's ability to store moisture begins to decrease) and if you have dry skin, it is best to pamper your skin with a combination of facial serum and facial oil . In this way, you support your skin's ability to store water with sustainable moisture boosters such as hyaluronic acid and at the same time nourish it with valuable lipids.
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Which oil for which skin type?
Its soothing, anti-inflammatory and soothing effects make it a multi-talent for all skin types . Strictly speaking, jojoba oil is a liquid wax and is therefore similar to human skin sebum, which is also partly made up of wax esters 5 . Jojoba oil contains essential fatty acids and antioxidant vitamin E.
These skin types particularly benefit from jojoba oil:
- Dry and mature skin : The low viscosity (= good fluidity) and high molecular weight of jojoba oil are responsible for its softening and skin-friendly properties on dry skin. The contained antioxidant vitamin E protects against premature skin aging caused by oxidative stress.
- Flabby, sallow skin : jojoba oil has a stimulating effect on the skin's own collagen production and ensures elasticity and resilience
- Impure and oily skin : Its similarity to human skin sebum makes jojoba oil a particularly well-suited care oil against acne and impurities. It has a clarifying effect by dissolving and removing excess sebum in the pores.
Black cumin oil for blemished skin : The oil from the seeds of Nigella sativa is considered an insider tip against acne and blemishes. Its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties significantly reduced papules and pustules in acne patients in a scientific study 6 . We use it in the FIVE Facial Oil Balance .
Sea buckthorn pulp oil as a potent slow-aging oil: The oil from the pulp of sea buckthorn berries is contained in the FIVE facial oil for dry skin . With good reason: it is quite unique in that it contains particularly high levels of the omega-7 fatty acid palmitolein 7 . And it has a lot to offer our skin.
This is what sea buckthorn oil can do for your skin:
- even, brightened complexion. Palmitoleic acid can reduce the appearance of pigment spots 6 . It inhibits the enzyme tyrosinase, which is responsible for the formation of melanin (this is the pigment in our skin and hair) 8 .
- clear complexion: palmitoleic acid also has an antimicrobial effect, supports wound healing and thus ensures well-protected, flawless skin.
Squalane as the ultimate softener : Squalane is a natural component of our skin fat, which we extract from olives for FIVE Skincare. We use it in both FIVE facial oils because this silky-soft oil flatters every skin type.
Squalane 9 can :
- ensures a smooth feeling on the skin
- is highly compatible because it also occurs naturally in the skin
- penetrates deeply and helps the skin to retain moisture
Bottom Line: Use facial oils in combination with serum to unleash their full potential!
Even if care with oil alone has many advantages at first glance - from around the age of 25 it makes sense to supplement oil care with hydrating and moisture-binding ingredients such as hyaluronic acid and glycerin. If you combine facial oil and facial serum in one care step, you can ensure an all-round, healthy complexion in no time at all.
With FIVE you can do without synthetic preservatives, fillers and emulsifiers: The FIVE facial serum and the FIVE facial oils contain exactly 5 carefully selected and optimally coordinated ingredients that support your skin's health in the long term.
Wishing you all the best,
PS: In Part 2 of the Face Oils series, I go into detail about whether oils moisturize the skin .
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- Angelo, Giana. Ph.D “Essential Fatty Acids and Skin Health.” Linus Pauling Institute, Oregon State University, Feb 2012, https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/health-disease/skin-health/essential-fatty-acids
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- Salih HM Aljabre et al. Dermatological effects of Nigella sativa, Journal of Dermatology & Dermatologic Surgery, Volume 19, Issue 2, 2015, Pages 92-98, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jdds.2015.04.002.
- Solà Marsiñach, Marta, and Aleix Pellejero Cuenca. "The impact of sea buckthorn oil fatty acids on human health." Lipids in health and disease vol. 18.1 145. 22 Jun 2019, doi:10.1186/s12944-019-1065-9
- Yoon, Weon-Jong et al. "Effect of palmitoleic acid on melanogenic protein expression in murine b16 melanoma." Journal of oleoscience vol. 59.6 (2010): 315-9. doi:10.5650/jos.59.315
- Huang ZR, Lin YK, Fang JY. Biological and Pharmacological Activities of Squalene and Related Compounds: Potential Uses in Cosmetic Dermatology. Molecules. 2009; 14(1):540-554. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules14010540