During the winter, it's easy to add several steps to your skincare routine, especially if you have dry skin. The goal during those months is to keep your skin as hydrated and moisturized as possible to combat biting winds and freezing temperatures. So when it starts to get warmer out and summer approaches, you might be tempted to strip your routine back down to the basics, ditching additional serums and swapping facial oils for lightweight moisturizers.
While the summer heat makes it tempting to reduce your skin care routine to just cleanser and moisturizer, you may want to reconsider. Between increased sun exposure and frequent dips in the pool, the season can wreak havoc on your complexion. Your main concern is probably whether you've been applying enough SPF, but you should also focus on keeping your skin hydrated. That's where the oils come back in.
While the decision to use any product always depends on your skin type, there are plenty of benefits to using a facial oil all year long. Though our skin naturally produces lipids (oils), applying facial oil can help give our complexion a boost.
"No matter the season, if you have aging skin or genetically dry skin, facial oils can provide extra help in keeping the skin hydrated," Dr. Robin Schaffran, chief dermatologist at BalmLabs, told Shop TODAY. "In fact, summertime activities can actually exacerbate dry skin, like sun, swimming and drier climates. Facial oils are formulated to help complement and enhance the natural oils normally found on our skin."
Facial oils are best known for their hydrating properties. In essence, the oils lock in moisture and protect the skin from the elements. Since hydration is equivalent to healthy skin, oils can even provide some anti-aging benefits.
"As we age, our skin moisture levels decline, causing dry, dehydrated skin, which makes fine lines and wrinkles more noticeable," said Dr. Robyn Gmyrek, a board-certified dermatologist at Union Square Dermatology. "Oils not only hydrate the skin, but because they are rich in antioxidants, they also fight free radical damage to cells, thereby preventing further aging."
With these goals in mind, you might be wondering why you shouldn't just opt for a facial cream or moisturizer instead of an oil, but it's important to note that each of these products serve different purposes. And yes — there is a difference between serums and oils.
"It’s important to note that facial oils, like serums, differ from moisturizers," Schaffran said. "While most will provide some level of hydration, they are more often plant-based and purposeful — delivering specific active ingredients to address issues like inflammation or dullness."
"Facial oils are great and are perfect to use year-round," New Jersey-based dermatologist Dr. Shari Sperling said. "In the summer, vitamin C is great to incorporate into your routine as it helps to fight free radical damage from UV light."
If you're interested in trying a facial oil, Gmyrek says it is best to "listen to your skin." Those with oily skin might not need to consider facial oils as a first choice, but those with combination skin have a good shot at success, depending on their skincare goals.
For those whose main concern is anti-aging, consistency is key. You'll need to apply the oil up to twice a day for at least three months in order for your skin to produce new collagen and elastic tissue.
"If you see results immediately, it is not due to new collagen and elastic tissue but rather due to the hydrating effects of the oil," Gmyrek said. "When your skin is well hydrated, the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles is improved."
Summer might make your skin dry, so Gmyrek recommends applying an oil to your face or body once or twice a day. Although the hydrating benefits may leave your skin feeling soft and smooth, it is important to remember that you still must include an SPF in your regimen, as most oils do not have sunscreen in them.
Author: Jillian Ortiz