The use of natural oils for the skin dates back millennia and in various regions worldwide. Many of these oils are still widely used for skin care, whether applied alone or as an addition to moisturizers, creams, and lotions.
But if you're looking for all-natural moisturizers, anti-aging products, and products to fight acne, you actually have several great options for healthy oils for the skin.
While most oils have healthy skin benefits, not all skin is equal, and results can vary depending on your skin type.
Generally, people with oily and acne-prone skin are not advised to include direct applications of natural oils on their faces. But as much as every skin is different, every oil has different compositions.
And you may be surprised to know that there are oils for the skin that can also be suitable for oily and acne-prone skin types.
We'll make your search for the best natural oils for the face easier. Below, you'll find oils that are suitable for most, if not all, skin types.
1. Jojoba Oil
"Emollient" and "humectant" are some words you want to find when looking for oils that will help you manage skin prone to dryness. And both of those words apply to jojoba oil.
Humectants are water-loving ingredients, so they're commonly added to skincare products for dry skin. Jojoba oil is also one of the best oils for the skin to maintain hydration because of its emollient effect, which may help enhance your skin barrier to retain moisture.
But another great thing about jojoba oil is that it has natural antioxidants like vitamin E. And studies have found that it may effectively manage acne without adverse effects, such as skin irritation.
Jojoba oil is a non-comedogenic ingredient. So even if you have oily skin, you may still benefit more from using it without exacerbating your skin condition. And that makes it one of the best natural oils for the face.
2. Argan Oil
While more commonly used as a nutrient-rich ingredient for hair products, argan oil is also one of the best natural oils for the face.
Studies conducted on the effects of argan oil on the skin suggested that it may help with skin barrier repair. So it's a great additive in products meant to improve dry skin by helping retain hydration.
Argan oil was also found to have an anti-inflammatory effect and may help heal wounds. It showed a "softening and relaxing effect" that may improve the transdermal delivery of topical skin medications.
It's also one of the best face oils for anti-aging. A 2015 study found that dietary consumption and topical application of argan oil may improve skin elasticity in post-menopausal women.
3. Rosehip Seed Oil
If anti-aging benefits are what you're after, rosehip seed oil could be a great option.
One of the unique qualities of rosehip seed oil is its high concentration of vitamin C, reportedly even more than orange juice. And that contributes to a slew of skin benefits associated with rosehip oil.
And researchers suggest that the high level of vitamin C in rose hips may help reduce the damage caused by sun exposure. Some skin-damaging results of UV rays from sunlight include wrinkles, loss of skin elasticity, and dark spots.
So rosehip seed oil rightfully joins the list of the best face oils for anti-aging.
People with skin conditions may also benefit from rosehip oil. Researchers suggest that its anti-inflammatory properties are a factor in rosehip's anti-atopic dermatitis activity.
4. Baobab Seed Oil
You may have heard less about baobab seed oil than other oils on this list. But you'll be thankful for learning about it because it's hands down one of the best oils for the skin.
It stands out among other oils for the skin because of the presence of fatty acids, including linoleic (omega-6), oleic (omega-9), and palmitic (omega-7) acids. And in an animal clinical study, oleic and linoleic acids showed they might help wounds heal faster.
Baobab is also rich in vitamin C, and a study found that extracting oil from its seeds can enhance and stabilize its ascorbic acid content.
That allows baobab seed oil to provide antioxidant effects for the skin. It may help dry skin by introducing moisture and improving the skin barrier to avoid dryness.
The vitamin C and fatty acids content may help improve skin elasticity and soften the skin, making baobab seed the best face oil for glowing skin for many.
Best of all, studies on baobab seed oil found that it generally doesn't cause irritation, making its use suitable even on sensitive skin.
5. Grapeseed Oil
Grapeseed oil is excellent for the skin for several reasons. But one benefit worth highlighting is its effect on acne breakouts and blemishes.
It's found to be rich in vitamin E antioxidants and plant sterols, which may improve skin plumpness and hydration. Grapeseed oil has high levels of linoleic acid as well, which has been linked to anti-inflammatory effects.
The combination of its moisture-locking and anti-inflammatory properties has led to suggestions that grapeseed oil may help fight acne breakouts.
There are no reported adverse effects in the topical application of grapeseed oil yet. So unless you're allergic to grapes, it's a beneficial natural oil for the skin.
Some oils are better than others, especially if it's meant to be used on the skin. It's worth noting that the oils listed here do have significant benefits for various skin concerns. However, because of their known side effects, they may be "bad" for specific skin types and conditions.
1. Lavender Oil
Essential oils, unlike carrier oils, are much more concentrated. So they're generally not recommended to be put directly on the skin. It's worth noting that they're not always bad for the skin, but they may not be suited to certain skin types and conditions.
Lavender oil was found to have anti-inflammatory effects, especially when extracted "at the beginning of the flowering period." This supports suggestions that this oil may help soothe the skin when it's dry or experiencing eczema flare-ups.
Experts have also noted that it contains compounds like linalool and linalyl acetate. So there's a high possibility that it can trigger allergic reactions.
Much of the negative effects of essential oils are due to them being highly concentrated than other types of oils. In the case of lavender oil, some applications may be safe if diluted in a carrier oil.
2. Citrus Oils
Citrus essential oils have a number of health benefits. A review of citrus essential oils' composition, usage, and effects suggests it may enhance certain healthy skin benefits.
Phototoxic components increase the skin's sensitivity to UV rays from sunlight, which can then lead to sunburns and more serious skin diseases.
3. Olive Oil
Olive oil has been one of the most recommended oils for cooking because of its wide-ranging health benefits. So you may have wondered if it has the same effect when applied directly on the skin.
Truth is, there's no straight answer to that. Olive oil is rich in vitamins E and K, which may help reduce oxidative stress and damage caused by free radicals on the skin.
But it's also a heavy oil, especially on the face, which may cause clogged pores where bacteria can be trapped and lead to acne breakouts.
So if you're still curious if your skin would react well to olive oil, it's recommended to use small amounts of cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil.
4. Tea Tree Oil
Here's another widely used ingredient in products for the skin and hair. But using it directly on the skin should be done with some caution.
The good thing about tea tree oil is that several studies found it to be an excellent acne-fighting agent, especially for mild to moderate conditions.
However, it's not free of side effects, unlike other oils for the skin. Reports show that, when applied topically, it can cause skin irritation and dermatitis. It's also not advisable to use for people with eczema.
5. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil may be one of the most widely used oils for the skin, but using it directly on the face is often contested due to its comedogenic nature.
It's been rated severely comedogenic, which means it tends to clog pores and cause blackheads.
That said, coconut oil has great benefits as well. It's suitable for most skin types, and it's known for its moisturizing effect. It can help retain moisture to achieve smoother skin.
But it can also be a great addition to your skincare routine because of its antibacterial properties. It's rich in lauric acid, which helps stop bacterial growth, so using it may help reduce skin inflammation.
A study published in 2019 found that virgin coconut oil can suppress inflammatory markers and improve the skin barrier, suggesting that it may have anti-inflammatory qualities as well.
Many skin enthusiasts also opt for coconut oil for removing makeup. Cosmetics experts suggest using this natural oil, especially for products that are formulated as water-resistant.
But due to its comedogenic characteristics, it's considered to be bad for people with oily and acne-prone skin.
Find the Best Oils for Your Skin
Natural oils for the skin are some of the best skincare products you can use because they are pure in form and lack chemicals that may cause adverse skin reactions. They're also typically cheaper than formulated moisturizers, lotions, and creams.
But it's important to remember that being all-natural doesn't always mean it's safe for your skin. When it comes to finding the right oil for your skin, it still begins with knowing what your skin type is and what it needs.