Oils have been used by indigenous people all over the world in various forms for thousands of years. In fact, ancient Egyptians have reportedly used oils in cosmetics as early as 4500 B.C.E. Nothing lasts that long unless it works right? Typically, when you hear the words “oil” and “skin” in the same sentence, it’s a recipe for disaster. It seems counterintuitive to put oil on your face when most of us don’t want to look oily—especially if we already happen to have oily, acne-prone, or combination skin, but the simple truth is, oil plays a very important role in our skin and overall body health.
Our skin already naturally produces oily substances specifically, sebum and other lipids (fats and oils). These oils are produced by the stratum corneum which is our skin’s protective outer layer whose primary function is protection against water loss. Oils are hydrophobic, which means that they’ll keep water from escaping or will seal water in. Without these oils, water could escape from our skin (a process referred to as transepidermal water loss) which would cause a lot of havoc for our bodies. Together, the oils produced by your skin keep the layers of our skin soft, seal hydration in, and protect against allergens and pathogens by keeping the stratum corneum intact.
Moisture is a function of hydration which stems from water balance, so although oils themselves are not moisturizers, they play a very important role in keeping you hydrated because they keep moisture locked in. And this is where adding in oils into your beauty regimen comes in. The basic idea is that putting an oil on your skin will help supplement the natural oils your skin is (or isn’t) producing in an effort to add moisture to your skin and help repair the barrier that keeps that moisture in. Depending on the type of oil, the oil may naturally have other purported benefits, like anti-inflammatory or antioxidant properties, but those are bonuses. The biggest benefit that comes with oil is the moisturizing benefit.
There are three ways a moisturizer can increase the water level in your skin. First humectants, such as glycerin, are often found in moisturizers and actually add water back to the skin by drawing water molecules to your skin. The second category of moisturizers is emollients, (which are used to soften and strengthen the outer layer of skin by filling in the spaces between skin cells) and occlusive (which act like sealants to keep water in). In general, oils fall into the occlusive and emollient categories.
Most oils that are applied to the skin end up forming more of a protective barrier on its surface, rather than actually penetrating the skin so, although oils are moisturizing and may indirectly increase the amount of hydration in the skin, they are not technically hydrating. The crucial factor here is the size of the fatty acid molecules that make up the oil. Oils with larger molecules such as coconut oil are too big to get through the skin barrier and sit on top and act as occlusive. Whilst oils with smaller molecules like jojoba oil are small enough to get through, they may be able to penetrate to deeper layers and strengthen the stratum corneum.
Nami Naturale Skincare products are made of certified organic botanical oils and butter that have been carefully curated and formulated with low molecule size to allow the products to penetrate the skin. We combined this with active ingredients that enable the nutrients for deeper absorption. Our proprietary formula delivers the exact amount of nourishing vitamins to hydrate, soothe and nourish the skin resulting in a healthy, resilient and glowing complexion.
The key is to appreciate that natural organic oils are the skin’s best friend. As a first measure, stay away from harsh skin care products that will strip away the natural oils your skin produces. And should you choose to supplement those oils, make sure you carry out your own research to ensure the oils and natural skin care product you are supplementing into your beauty regimen are effective and safe to use for your specific skin type?