Natural oils have had a host of uses for centuries, and their benefits passed down from generation to generation.
The beauty industry has created a huge amount of commercially-made creams and lotions, and natural oils took a backseat for a long time. However, there is a growing awareness towards using natural products again, which are chemical-free, and also affordable.
Try to use organic, unrefined oils on your skin for best results, and be aware that tea tree, argan and lemon oil can cause allergic reactions. Always do a patch test first.
1. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is easily absorbed by the skin, and contains vitamins E and K. It also has antifungal and antibacterial properties, but if you are prone to acne, you should give it a miss.
Dr Rajana Katta, MD says that cocoa butter and coconut oil can cause skin breakouts on the face, but should be fine to use on the body. Look for cold-pressed, unrefined coconut oil for skin care.
2. Olive Oil
Olive oil doesn’t usually cause allergic reactions, says Katta, but choose the extra-virgin variety rather than generic cooking olive oil. It’s a good choice for an all-over body application, and you can buy olive oil based soaps that won’t dry out your skin.
3. Sunflower Seed Oil
Sunflower seed oil is affordable and widely available. It’s high in vitamin E, and is absorbed easily into the skin. One study found that sunflower oil protected infant’s skin barrier better than olive oil, and didn’t cause or aggravate atopic dermatitis.
4. Shea Butter
This oil comes from the nuts of the African shea tree, and it’s a buttery substance that tends to come in solid form, but melts at body temperature. It’s used as a hair product and a moisturizer, and unrefined, organic shea butter can be combined with olive or coconut oil to create a smoother texture for application.
5. Jojoba Oil
Jojoba is native to Mexico and the American Southwest, and it has been used medicinally by Native Americans for centuries. Katta says that jojoba oil doesn’t seem to provoke allergic reactions, and researchers found it may have anti-inflammatory and healing properties.
6. Almond Oil
This oil is made from pressed, raw almonds, and contains vitamin E, zinc, proteins and potassium. Because it has a lighter texture than olive oil and shea butter, many people prefer to use it on the face. Katta does warn that sweet almond oil can cause allergic reactions, so she recommends avoiding if you have sensitive skin.
7. Grapeseed Oil
This oil contains vitamin E and is antioxidant, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory. Katta says that in her experience, grapeseed oil isn’t a common choice for skin care, but she thinks it will become more popular. She hasn’t seen allergic reactions to grapeseed oil, and is impressed by the number of phytochemicals and nutrients it contains.