Moisturize Your Skin with Natural Oils

Published: March 21st, 2013   |   Author: Nina Lincoff

Go the chemical-free route and rehydrate with Mother Nature's skin soothers.

When it comes to beauty, it's time to look in the kitchen pantry. Oils aren't just for the salad bowl—they're a great natural beauty product, too.
"Natural oils are great for moisturizing the skin, adding shine to hair, and softening brittle nails and cuticles," says Jeanette Jacknin, MD, board-certified dermatologist, and author of Smart Medicine for Your Skin. For the same reason that oils are delicious to eat—they're full of healthy and nourishing fats—they're just as magical for moisturizing the skin.
"Many [oils] are easily absorbed into the skin and have rich essential fatty acids which plump up dry, shrunken skin cells," Dr. Jacknin says. Because of cold winds, dry air, and temperature fluctuation between indoor and outdoor air, your skin cells are parched after winter and need moisture. Use an effective natural oil instead of a formulated product and you'll save money while avoiding synthetic additives, she says.
The best news? "Oils for moisturizing can be used for all skin types," Dr. Jacknin says. However, if you're allergic to specific nuts and fruits like avocado, avoid using that oil as a moisturizer. If you're worried that using oil will leave your skin greasy or clog pores, never fear—that's a misconception.
To get started, Dr. Jacknin recommends using a teaspoon or less of these three natural, effective moisturizing oils instead of your regular moisturizer. You can find them at your local health food store or online. Choose only products that are 100 percent of the natural oil, without any additives.
Argan Oil: Indigenous to Morocco, this is a restorative oil pressed from the kernels of the argan tree. Rich in natural antioxidants, this moisturizer is loaded with vitamins A and E, plus omega-6 and omega-9 essential fatty acids. The beauty properties are so popular that this oil is being integrated into different products like bronzers and shampoos, but it's still available to buy as just oil.  
Use it for: Soothing solution for seasonally inflamed, chapped, and dry skin. 
Macadamia Nut Oil: This light, non-greasy healing and regenerative oil is high in omega-7 fatty acids and "easily absorbs into the skin as it mimics the body's own natural sebum and oils," Dr. Jacknin says. 
Use it for: Natural protection from sun, heat, wind, and chemical damage. It's actually an ingredient in some sunblocks.
Coconut Oil: Chances are you've heard of coconut oil as the newest trendy ingredient. While there's still a debate about whether it's the healthiest oil out there for cooking, for beauty purposes it contains natural proteins and capric and lauric acids, which fight wrinkles and tone and tighten skin, Dr. Jacknin says. "As nature's richest source of MCFAs [medium-chain fatty acids], coconut oil is easily absorbed by the body, strengthening the skin's connective tissues," she says.
Use it for: Regular moisturizing to keep skin looking fresh and young.
Related Links:
The Facts Behind Coconut Oil
4 Foods for Healthier Skin
Are You Causing Your Skin to Break Out?