Choosing The Right Facial Oils For Your Skin

Facial oils are all the rage right now in the beauty industry, with people regularly raving about a new oil they’ve discovered and how it's transformed their skin. You probably already know that what works for one person, might not work for everyone else. We are all different and our skin is no exception.  Everyone presents a unique set of concerns with their skin, and understanding what YOUR skin needs and what each oil offers is the key to choosing oils that will actually nourish your skin without causing you to breakout. In this post, I am going to discuss a little oil chemistry and how it relates to your skin type.

You already know that using unrefined, cold pressed oils are the best choice to actually gain the nutrients from a previous post on our blog. If not, go read that now - then come back here. When people talk about all the benefits an oil provides, that is assuming the best case scenario where the oil is fresh, organic, unrefined, and cold-pressed. But before we talk about which oils are good for acne vs dry skin, you need to understand why certain oils are beneficial for specific skin types.

Oils contain essential fatty acids, and the 2 most important ones to note are linoleic and oleic. Linoleic acid is a polyunsaturated fatty acid, omega-6, and oleic acid is a monounsaturated fatty acid, omega-9. Studies have shown that people with lower levels of linoleic and high levels of oleic acid in their skin surface tend to have oily and acne prone skin. Likewise, people with dry skin types tend to have higher levels of linoleic acid and lower levels of oleic acid in their skin. Thus, facial oils that are higher in linoleic acid are better suited towards those with oily, acne prone, and sensitive skin types, and facial oils with higher levels of oleic acid are best for those with dry and mature skin types. Those with aging skin should also look for facial oils that are high in antioxidants, which help prevent sun damage-the leading cause of aging skin. When buying facial oil blends, look for the oils best for your skin type to be closer to the beginning of the ingredients list, or make up more than half the contents, as this means that the blend contains higher amounts of those oils. Also, this does not mean that if you have oily skin you should completely avoid high oleic acid oils. You can use both in blends, just be sure to use more of the type you need. This is the case as well for dry, mature skin. However, if you do have severe acne, then it might be a good idea to completely avoid higher oleic acid oils to resolve the issue.


Here is a breakdown of popular facial oils by their linoleic and oleic content:


Facial oils for acne prone, oily, and sensitive skin – high linoleic acid oils

  • Maracuja (passionfruit) – 77% linoleic, 12% oleic

This fruity smelling oil is easily absorbed, non-greasy, very soothing, and is high in antioxidants. It is a light oil and is good to use in anti-aging blends and sensitive skin blends, due to its anti-inflammatory properties.

  • Evening primrose – 72% linoleic, 8.4% oleic

This delicate oil helps balance sebum and absorbs quickly. It helps skin heal faster, soothes itching, and can help dermatitis. It also softens wrinkles.

  • Safflower – 68-85% linoleic, 8-30% oleic

This is a light but hydrating oil that helps improve skin tone and is slightly regenerative. It’s easily absorbed and non-greasy.

  • Grapeseed – 60-75% linoleic, 15-20% oleic

This oil is quickly absorbed, non-greasy, high in antioxidants, and is very soothing. It is slightly astringent, helps even skin tone, and is also good for aging skin. It’s great for those with psoriasis, eczema, and dermatitis.

  • Hemp seed – 52% linoleic, 10% oleic

This green thick oil is non-greasy, quickly absorbed, and is a very healing oil. It is regenerative and anti-inflammatory and helps treat redness and itching.

  • Rosehip – 44% linoleic, 13.9% oleic

This light oil is quickly absorbed and is high in antioxidants. It helps fade darks pots, reduces scars and fine lines, and hydrates dry, itchy skin.

  • Prickly pear – 55-65% linoleic, 20-30% oleic

This oil has a more balanced linoleic to oleic acid ratio, but is still higher in linoleic acids. It is very high in antioxidants, stimulates collagen production, has natural vitamin k which brightens skin, and improves elasticity. This is a wonderful oil for anti-aging, but it is very expensive.

  • Watermelon (aka kalahari and ootanga) – 55-65% linoleic, 21-32% oleic

This light, quick absorbing oil is non greasy, restores elasticity, and is high in antioxidants.



Facial oils for dry and mature skin types - high oleic acid oils

  • Sunflower - 70-88%, 3-20% linoleic

This light oil is anti-inflammatory and is high in vitmain e and other antioxidants. This is an affordable oil with a decent shelf life.

  • Sweet almond - 66% oleic, 25% linoleic

This odorless light oil is very moisturizing, absorbs easily, and is high in vitamin e.

  • Avocado - 63% oleic, 9.8% linoleic

This silky feeling oil smooths skin, is a natural humectant, and is anti-inflammatory. It's rich in healing vitamins and boosts collagen production.

  • Olive - 55% oleic, 17% linoleic

This thick green oil is very moisturizing, and is also packed with anti-oxidants and squalene.

  • Argan - 43-49% oleic, 29-36% linoleic

This is a popular antiaging oil that absorbs easily and is non greasy. It is high in vitamin e and other antioxidants. It's great for smoothing wrinkles and plumping skin.

  • Sea buckthorn - 28.4%oleic, 17.84% linoleic

This orange oil is high in antioxidants, and has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. It is a healing and rejuvenating oil, and is one of the most potent anti-aging oils you can use. It's excellent for mature skin types, though it is expensive.


Other oils to note:

  • Castor oil - 4.3% linoleic, 3.9% oleic

This oil is different from all the above as it's extremely drying and a purging oil, often used in cleansing oils. It also promotes hair growth. Use this oil with caution.

  • Jojoba oil - 5-15% oleic, 5% linoleic

Though this oil is often recommended for everyone because it is similar to our sebum, it does not work for everyone because it has more even levels of both acids. It works well for those closer to normal skin types.

  • Coconut - 5-10% oleic, 1-2.5% linoleic

This is another very popular oil but many people react to it, especially those with acne prone and sensitive skin types. It's very thick and greasy, and absorbs slowly. It is antibacterial and anti fungal, and very moisturizing.


Hopefully now that you've read this you can see why popular miracle oils like argan and coconut do not work on everyone. And, most importantly, you can now choose the correct facial oils for yourself. In the shop we have an antioxidant serum that is made with a good balance of these oils that should work well for all skin types, except for those with severe acne and some with extremely sensitive skin.


Delilah Orpi