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There's a face oil for every skin type, almost

From naturally derived to made-in-lab, facial oils have increasingly become a must-have in the skincare regime

Introduce facial oils slowly into your routine to see how your skin reacts, say experts.
Introduce facial oils slowly into your routine to see how your skin reacts, say experts. (iStockphoto)

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Be it to cleanse skin, hydrate it or prime it, there is a facial oil for every need. Clean oil formulations and oils created in the lab are being promoted as benefiting all types of skin, even the oily one. It’s important, though, to choose a formulation after consulting a dermatologist, for some oils can be comedogenic and may aggravate skin conditions.

While formulated facials oils are more stable, choosing the right oil becomes even more crucial when it comes to commonly used heavy oils like coconut oil and pure essential oils, which can lead to aller- gic reactions on non-sensitive skin as well.

Clean facial oils made from flowers, leaves, roots and seeds have many uses and that’s what makes them popular, says Bengaluru-based cosmetic dermatologist Chytra V. Anand, founder of Kosmoderma Clinics and SkinQ. Remember, though, that essential oils are potent, best mixed with carrier oils to avoid allergic reactions. This is also one of the reasons that has led to the popularity of lab-formulated clean skincare oils that are easier to adapt to, explains Dr Anand.

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Introduce them slowly to see how your skin reacts; they need to be used sparinglingly for maximum effect, she cautions. Use it at most twice a week to test it out. Patch-test new products on the jawline and consult a dermatologist first.

Much like fashion, beauty trends are also cyclic. Earlier, moisturisers were hot and oils were a no-no. Now, facial oils are super hot, with brands from actor Deepika Padukone’s 82e to Kama Ayurveda bringing out different kinds of face oil to cater to the spoilt beauty customer.

“Face oils have become more popular now because they are made with natural ingredients, appealing to people who are looking for products that are less harsh on the skin,” says Dr Anand. “They help moisturise the skin, can be used as moisturisers, makeup primers, cleansers or facial massage oils”— a versatile addition to any skincare routine.

Depending on the consistency and purpose, the oil can be used at the beginning or end of your routine. It can be used as a spot treatment for skin issues such as dark spots and dryness, suggests Mumbai’s Niketa Sonavane, celebrity dermatologist and founder of the Ambrosia Aesthetics clinic. You can even add a few drops to your facial moisturiser or serum. Alternatively, apply it after your serum to lock in the serum, she says.

Facial oils can have anti-ageing, skin barrier-rebuilding and antibacterial and healing properties too. “Oils derived from antioxidant-rich sources such as rasp- berry seed oil or pomegranate seed oil are packed with polyphenols. These are potent antioxidants that reduce visible signs of ageing. UV exposure generates free radicals that lead to the deterioration of healthy cells, affecting the appearance of skin in the same way as an overly exposed car begins to rust,” explains Dr Sonavane. “Antioxidants (and oils that have them) halt this process while reducing inflammation.”

If you have acne, choose wisely, for some oils can clog the pores, suggest both doctors. The right non-comedogenic oil can be used for double-cleansing oily skin. It takes off dust, grime, sunscreen and makeup that sticks to the excess sebum.

For dry skin, using a priming oil before foundation will give a smooth canvas. “Check your label and avoid mineral oil which clogs pores and exacerbates acne breakouts. Check for synthetic fragrances in your oils as they can irritate the skin and cause allergic reactions in some people,” says Dr Sonavane.

Buy natural oils, for synthetic oils are often derived from petrochemicals. Some oils, such as coconut oil or cocoa butter, can be too heavy for certain skin types and lead to breakouts or irritation. Watch out for other fillers, such as preservatives, and synthetic ingredients such as silicone, which can irritate the skin and cause acne.

A guide to help you pick a face oil


Sesame seed oil or camellia oil


Argan oil or rosehip oil


Grapeseed oil, tamanu oil or marula oil


Tea tree oil or safflower oil


Grapeseed oil, tea tree oil or hemp seed

By Dr Niketa Sonavane. 

Consult a dermatologist before using any facial oil

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