Balancing Oil: What Does It Do and How to Apply It
Balancing oil can be an excellent tool for people with overly dry or oily skin, but far too few people take advantage of its benefits. That's because it sounds a bit counterintuitive – if you already have oily skin, how does adding more oil make things better?
Let's take a look at what balancing oil does and how you can properly apply it to your skin. Using face oil correctly can result in radiant, well-balanced skin that looks and feels divine.
Your Face’s Natural Oil/Water Balance
Far from being a perfectly dry stretch of skin, your face is actually mildly moist and oily practically all day long (except for maybe immediately after you use a toner and you wash/dry your face).
That’s right; your face needs both water and oil to function properly and feel good.
In fact, it needs both of these elements in balance instead of only one or the other. If your face was only moist or only oily, it would either feel odd or produce a number of negative effects. Combined, the right balance of oil and water can help your face look great, reduce appearances of aging like fine lines, and promote overall skin health to improve acne outbreaks or dry skin.
Why Does Your Face Need Water?
Your face needs water because, simply put, it becomes dehydrated without it. But, that’s a bit circular, so let’s explain in more detail.
In a nutshell, skin doesn’t produce moisture on its own. Instead, it draws moisture passively from the water we carry in our bloodstreams. This moisture is then used to protect your skin cells from drying out too quickly and also for normal cell function. Dry skin cells fall away and make room for new, younger skin cells underneath.
This is a good thing in balance and in the right proportion, but if your skin becomes too dry, it becomes itchy, cracked, and dead skin cells flake away too quickly. Not to mention that it doesn’t look great and dry skin feels rough to the touch.
It’s a lot easier for people’s facial skin to hold onto moisture when they're younger. As you age, your skin naturally becomes less adept at retaining moisture and producing collagen, ultimately making your skin drier overall. That's why using a good moisturizer is critical to hydrate the skin, and developing the habit while you're young will make it easier to maintain excellent looking skin over the long-term.
It’s all too easy to accidentally dehydrate your skin. Exfoliating the skin on your face too much or spending too much time outdoors during the winter months when the surrounding air is cold and dry can cause skin dehydration.
When your skin becomes dehydrated, your skin tries to compensate by creating the other type of moist element: oil. As anyone with overly oily skin already knows, too much facial oil can cause acne buildup and can also make your face a shiny, overly smooth place that just looks awful in photos.
Too much face oil results in acne-prone skin by clogging pores with dirt, debris, and dead skin cells. Even worse, sometimes people with overly oily skin wash their faces too much, making their skin dry again, and restarting the cycle all over.
What About Oil? Isn’t That a Bad Thing?
Let’s break down oil as well to get a full picture of things. Your face does naturally produce a little bit of oil called sebum. This is a special type of oil that provides a number of benefits:
- It keeps your skin elastic
- It prevents your skin’s moisture from evaporating
- It protects your skin from some types of mild damage
In short, oil acts as a kind of lubricant for the skin on your face, and is even part of what helps young skin look and feel soft and radiant. The key part, of course, is that you only need a small amount of oil – too much oil and you end up looking like a teenager about to have a break out.
Did you know that dry skin doesn’t actually draw less water from the bloodstream compared to other skin types? Instead, dry skin is any skin that doesn’t naturally produce enough oil compared to the average amount. Similarly, oily skin produces way too much, and combination skin has a little bit of both problems.
As with water, it’s easy to accidentally strip your face of helpful facial oil and make things worse.
Over exfoliating or using a particularly harsh face wash or scrub can easily get rid of too much oil and make your skin produce extra to compensate. But your face isn’t a fine-tuned computer or oil-machine: it just cranks that stuff out until it’s sure you’ll never run out of oil again!
This, in turn, can produce acne that doesn't quit, or it makes your skin look excessively shiny.
Furthermore, if your skin lacks enough oil, you might experience skin blotchiness, skin irritation, or general itchiness more regularly.
A face without enough oil to protect the skin is also a lot more vulnerable to dehydration – the oil normally provides a barrier against evaporation since oil and water repel one another.
What Does Face Oil Do?
A face oil like Suki Skincare’s Balancing Face Oil is a specific type of product designed to balance the oil production on your face. Products like this use essential oils like flower oils and fruit oils to provide numerous benefits such as:
- Reducing the appearance of blemishes
- Calming and soothing the skin
- Clearing up pores and promoting clarity
- Balancing sebum and bacteria production
Some additional beneficial ingredients commonly found in high-quality face oils include:
- safflower seed oil
- tocopherol (vitamin E)
- simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) seed oil
- lavandula angustifolia (lavender) oil extract
- chamomile oil
- helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil
- calendula officinalis flower extract
- chamomilla recutita (matricaria) flower extract
- geranium extract
- vitis vinifera (grape) seed oil
- oryza sativa (rice bran) oil
But wait, how does applying oil to an already oily face make things better? Face oil like this one stops your face from producing too much sebum while clearing away a little excess oil at the same time.
Think of it as a type of reset button for oil production on your face. You only need to use a few drops of the solution to balance the amount of oil and water on your face for day-long results (meaning 0.5 fl oz actually lasts a pretty long time!).
Does this mean face oil is a one-size-fits-all solution for oily skin or dehydrated skin? Not at all. Instead, face oil is best thought of as a secondary product to be used in conjunction with a good skin hygiene routine and an excellent moisturizer.
How to Apply Face Oil
The ideal time to apply face oil is when your pores are open and clear to readily accept the oil. This means, of course, that you need to cleanse your pores thoroughly before applying face oil. A great time to do this is after you've used a deep cleansing toner or an exfoliating product. After either of these, your pores will be much cleaner than they normally are, even after using a regular facial wash.
When it’s time to apply the face oil, only use one or two drops per session. Rub the drops into your face until they’re completely absorbed, and move your fingers in small concentric circles to ensure you spread the solution around correctly.
You can use face oil every day, but as with all new skincare products, it’s a good idea to see how your face reacts to the solution before making it a staple in your routine.
If your face oil does work out, remember that you can always use it as a makeup remover as well as long as the makeup itself is oil-based. Face oil can deconstruct the makeup and make it a lot easier to scrub away than if you’d use regular water or even soap and water.
Remember, face oil shouldn't be applied on its own, but should be thought of as a part of a holistic skincare routine.
In fact, an example skincare routine should go something like this:
- Start with a dedicated face wash
- Use a toner or cleanser if necessary, or even an exfoliator
- Add a hydrating serum of moisturizer to counteract the drying effect of an exfoliating product
- Then use a few drops of face oil. This resets oil production on your face, which is now thoroughly cleaned, moisturized, and ready for the day
Throughout the rest of the day, you can use balancing day lotions or similar skincare products that can extend the effects of the face oil you apply in the morning or in the evening. For instance, Suki Skincare’s Balancing Day Lotion may be able to help with any blemishes while soothing and calming your complexion.
It’s a good way to keep the benefits of a face oil routine if you have to go outside into a dry climate for multiple hours before returning home for the day.
All in all, facial balancing oil can be a valuable part of your skincare routine, especially if you’re concerned about the level of oil on your skin or if your skin is naturally a bit dry. It’s the closest you can come to an actual solution for overly dry or oily skin without constantly cleansing your pores and just hoping for the best. Just remember not to use too much face oil and you should have great results!