"But won't it make my face oily?"
It's one of the first things that we hear when people start to consider the idea of using a face oil. For many of us, we've grown up hearing that oil on our face is bad, that it causes spots, and that spots can scar. So why on earth would we put oil on our face?!
There is now a lot of research supporting the fact that a well-chosen, high-quality face oil can work wonders for your skin. In particular, evidence supports that the use of plant oils on our skin can offer many benefits. They may be anti-oxidant, as well as promote healing. They can also be anti-inflammatory, and can act to help repair the skin's barrier function - which is really one of our skin's main roles.
The type of oil you choose is obviously key. Ensure that you use products that don't have water as their first ingredient - remember that ingredients are listed the same way as food ingredients, with the first one listed being in the highest quantity.
What actually makes our face oily is generally more complex than putting on a face oil. There are certain things, such as climate and gender, that have big impact on our skin. Some of these we may not be able to do much about in an instant, but over time with sensible lifestyle changes we can make a big difference.
And, as doctors, we have a range of pharmaceutical treatments at our fingertips, too, for oily skin. These can have side-effects, and as with any prescription, we need to look at the benefits as well as the risks, before using them.
Hard hitting medications such as Isotretinoin (sold under brand names such as Roaccutane) can work for severe cases of cystic acne. This is the type of acne that basically forms hard, lumpy spots that sometimes become infected. It is a very different condition to a bit of oily skin. Medications such as these can have long lasting impacts, including affecting your baby if you take it while pregnant, and also affecting your liver, the fat levels in your blood and moods. If you do choose to take such medication it is important to be closely monitored by your doctor with regular blood tests to check what is going on inside your body. Some people speak about being on a low 'maintenance dose' of such a medication, however it is important to remember that any medication can have side effects and so to keep an eye out for these. Medications are not generally 'quick fixes' and there needs to be a good and thorough comparison of the benefits against the risks before starting any medicines, no matter what they are for.
There are so many different factors that can affect the levels of oil in our skin. On the whole, remember that a bit of oil is a good thing - it is your largest organ, your skin, working away to keep itself hydrated. And so rest assured, using good quality, natural products should nourish this, rather than interfere or increase it.