The best oils for skin: types, benefits and risks


Hydration is an important part of any skincare regimen, even for oily or combination skin. There is evidence that many natural oils, such as coconut oil, can hydrate dry skin and slow the appearance of certain signs of aging. Oils are slightly different from lotions, and some oils may improve the appearance of your skin and make it feel better.

Jessica Olah / Get Medication Information

Types of oils for the skin

Here are some natural oils that can benefit your skin.

Coconut oil

Research shows that coconut oil has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and healing properties. It can also help rebuild the skin barrier .

Almonds oil

Several studies have suggested a link between topical application of almond oil and anti-aging effects. Almond oil can also help rebuild the skin barrier .

Grape seed oil

Research shows that grapeseed oil has antibacterial, antioxidant, and healing properties. It can also have anti-inflammatory and anti-aging effects .

Olive oil

Based on animal and human studies, olive oil may have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and healing effects when applied topically. There is also a possible link between topical use of olive oil and anti-aging effects .

Sunflower oil

There is evidence that sunflower oil can help rebuild the skin barrier. Research also shows that it has anti-inflammatory effects and can promote wound healing .

Argan oil

Argan oil is a popular skin care oil that helps rebuild the skin barrier. Research shows that it has anti-inflammatory and healing properties. Topical application has also been shown to have an anti-aging effect on the skin, improving its elasticity .

Rosehip seed oil

Rosehip seed oil can help rebuild the skin barrier. There is also evidence that it helps fight the signs of aging and has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties .

Jojoba oil

There are promising studies on jojoba oil showing that it can help rebuild the skin barrier. It also has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and healing properties. Jojoba oil can also improve the absorption of topically applied medications. May have antibacterial effects .

Marula oil

Research shows that marula oil has a significant hydrating effect on the skin. It is also non-irritating and helps the skin retain moisture .

Tea tree oil

Tea tree oil is used to fight acne , as an antifungal, and to reduce inflammation.

Safflower seed oil

Safflower seed oil, which is sometimes used in cooking , is also applied directly to the skin to help treat the signs of eczema .

How to use oils for skin care

Cosmetic and skincare companies often use natural oils as ingredients in their products. Natural oils are popular because many are gentler on the skin than synthetic ingredients. You'll find natural oils in all kinds of products, including cleansers, moisturizers, masks, soaps, facial oils, serums, and more.

Many natural oils, like coconut oil, can be applied directly to the skin. However, you should be careful when applying the oils directly to your face, especially if you have oily or acne-prone skin.

Please note that natural oils are not the same as essential oils. Essential oils must be diluted with a carrier oil because they are very strong and can cause irritation. When using any product for the first time, do a skin patch test for possible allergic reactions.

The best way to apply oils

Most of the research has focused on the effects of topically applied oils. Topical application means that they are applied directly to the skin. However, soaps and moisturizers are still effective for natural oils, especially if applying unrefined oil to your skin is uncomfortable.


Why are natural oils so effective for the skin? This is because they contain many anti-inflammatory and antioxidant ingredients, including:


Natural oils have a number of research-backed benefits .

Many natural oils:

  • Moisturize (prevent the skin from losing moisture)
  • Calms the skin (has a smoothing effect)
  • Antioxidant (prevents free radical damage)
  • It has antibacterial properties.
  • It has anti-inflammatory effects.

Barrier repair

Evidence shows that many natural oils have a regenerative barrier effect. Oils with more linoleic acid than oleic acid may be better at rebuilding the skin barrier. Oils that are high in oleic acid can irritate the skin .

Reduces scars

Certain natural oils, such as rosehip oil, help with wound healing and can also reduce the appearance of scars .

Reduces UV damage

The sun's rays can seriously affect the appearance of your skin. Natural oils won't protect your skin from sun damage (you'll need sunscreen for that), but some can help reduce UV damage. A 2007 animal study found a link between topical application of almond oil and preventing structural damage due to ultraviolet radiation .

More research is required

There is a lot of research on natural oils for skin care. Many of them are promising. However, more research is needed to better understand the role of natural oils in aging and skin health. More research is also needed on possible side effects, such as irritation.


Natural oils are great because they often don't pose the same risk of irritation as the synthetic chemicals in cosmetics and other skin care products. However, this does not mean that the use of natural oils is not dangerous.

Because the skin on your face is more sensitive than other parts of your body, you may experience irritation when you apply the oils directly to your face and not to your arms and legs. Applying oils to your skin before sun exposure can also increase your risk of sunburn .

Allergy problems

There is always the possibility of allergic reactions. If you notice redness or irritation after topical application of natural oil, stop using it immediately. Seek emergency help if you experience swelling, hives, or trouble breathing. These symptoms are signs of a dangerous anaphylactic reaction . Immediate treatment with adrenaline is required. There is a risk of death, so call 911.

Get the word of drug information

There is a lot of promising research on the potential skin health benefits of natural oils. However, a skin care regimen that works for someone else may not work for you. If your skin is easily irritated or you have a skin condition like eczema, speak with your dermatologist before adding natural oils to your skincare regimen.

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