5 Benefits of Body Oils Over Lotions
We know that botanical body oils are the oldest beauty regimen, dating back to 3500 B.C. With their luxurious feel, they are definitely a pleasure to apply! There are also some very good reasons to ditch your lotion for an oil.
Here are a few:
1. Oils are more economical
Lotions are more than 60% water, but they aren’t that much cheaper to buy than body oils. Given that lotions are *literally* watered down oils, you’re better off buying an oil. You can use half as much oil as lotion for the same (not not better) moisturizing effect.
2. Oils improve skin barrier function
Oils high in oleic acid (like grape seed oil and sweet almond oil), have been found to penetrate the skin barrier, locking moisture deeper into the skin and keeping it hydrated longer than water-based lotions.
3. Oils tend to be cleaner
Our body oils are a simple combination of plant oils and fragrance.
Lotions, on the other hand, tend to have a long list of ingredients, with the potential for some some questionable ingredients like these:
- Mineral oil. Mineral oil is derived from petroleum. For that reason alone, you probably wouldn’t want it on your skin.
- Emulsifiers. Oil and water don’t mix, so all lotions must contain emulsifiers to stabilize their formulas. Look out for emulsifiers called PEGs (polyethylene glycols) which can be harmful.
- Preservatives. Lotions must contain preservatives to keep out bacteria that is attracted to water. Watch out for harmful preservatives such as BHA and parabens.
4. Oils regulate sebum production
Those with oily skin may shy away from body oils, but fear not! Oils are actually just what oily skin needs. When you apply drying ingredients to the skin, it reacts by producing extra sebum.
Most plant-based oils mimic the natural lipids found in the skin. So when you apply plant oils to the skin, the skin’s barrier is able to balance and re-regulate its sebum production.
5. Oils are more glamorous
Ok, this benefit isn’t exactly scientific. But let’s give a nod to our ancestors who slathered scented oils on as a part of the ritual bathing experience.
Oils are luxurious. Their light silkiness glides on the skin, gently seeping it, leaving you with that gorgeous luster and lingering scent. Add one or many of these carefully crafted oils to your existing skin care regime and you will need little else to provide premium care to your skin.
Mack Correa, Mary Catherine, et al. “Molecular interactions of plant oil components with stratum corneum lipids correlate with clinical measures of skin barrier function” https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/exd.12296
Hyun-Jun Hang, et al. “Safety Evaluation of Polyethylene Glycol (PEG) Compounds for Cosmetic Use” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4505343/#B008
“EWG’s Dirty Dozen Guide to Food Additives.” https://www.ewg.org/consumer-guides/ewgs-dirty-dozen-guide-food-additives