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With your skin’s sensitivity level off the charts, you’re no stranger to the constant redness, itchiness, dryness, burning sensations, and other challenges your sensitive skin may bring along. But, implementing natural oils into your skincare regimen may bring you some relief, as these are usually filled with fatty acids, antioxidants, and other compounds that are soothing to sensitive skin and related discomforts.
So, in today’s article, we'll explore a variety of some of the best natural oils effective, yet safe for your sensitive skin and how to use them to enjoy the most out of their benefits!
What Are Natural Facial Oils?
Natural facial oils are plant-based oils that are extracted from seeds, nuts, fruits, flowers, and other botanical sources. These oils are often used in skincare as a natural alternative to synthetic oils, which can be derived from petroleum-based ingredients.
Natural facial oils are valued for their ability to nourish, hydrate, and protect the skin. Many of these oils are rich in vitamins, antioxidants, and essential fatty acids that are beneficial for the skin. They are often used as moisturizers to improve skin hydration and to prevent moisture loss and dry, rough, or flaky skin. They can also protect the skin from environmental stressors, such as UV radiation, pollution, and harsh weather conditions, as well as strengthen skin's natural moisture barrier.
There are many different types of natural facial oils available, each with its own unique properties and benefits. Some oils, such as grapeseed oil and jojoba oil, are suitable for oily skin as they are easily absorbed and can balance the skin's natural oils. Other oils, such as coconut oil and avocado oil, are best for dry skin; while some of these natural oils are also beneficial for sensitive skin due to their healing and anti-inflammatory properties (more on these in just a sec...).
Natural facial oils can be used in a variety of ways, including as a standalone moisturizer, as a facial oil cleanser, as a massage oil, or as a booster added to other skincare products.
10 Best Natural Oils for Sensitive Skin
Some natural facial oils are good for sensitive skin because they are gentle, non-irritating, and can help soothe and calm the skin. Sensitive skin is characterized by a weakened skin barrier, which makes it more susceptible to irritation and inflammation. Many natural facial oils can help strengthen the skin barrier and provide a protective layer that can reduce the risk of irritation.
When using natural facial oils on sensitive skin, it's important to choose oils that are cold-pressed and free from synthetic fragrances, preservatives, and other potential irritants. Additionally, it's a good idea to patch test the oil on a small area of skin before applying it to the face to ensure that it doesn't cause any adverse reactions.
So, here's the list we gathered of the best natural oils for sensitive skin on face:
#1: Jojoba Oil
Jojoba oil, derived from the seeds of the jojoba plant, is a highly recommended oil suitable for all skin types, making it a popular ingredient choice in skincare products. It's rich in vitamin E, a potent antioxidant agent that fights off and protects the skin from damage-causing free radicals interfering with the skin cells. It contains anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory and healing properties [source], providing relief to redness, itchiness, and other inflammations associated with sensitive skin.
Now, its benefits do not stop here. Jojoba oil is also a trusted humectant ingredient that attracts and retains moisture on the skin and works as an emollient, essential in healing dry and irritated skin.
Fun fact: Jojoba oil is composed of almost 98% pure wax [source], which allows it to mimic the skin's normal oil (sebum), hence non-greasy when applied. So if your eye is on a lightweight oil that barely seems there, that's also great for your sensitive skin, jojoba oil checks all the boxes!
#2: Almond Oil
Almond oil, according to research, has been used for centuries as a safe remedy for treating skin irritations such as dryness, swelling, itchiness, and redness, including inflammatory skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis. The nut-derived oil is a powerhouse of nutrients, consisting of essential omega fatty acids that aid in moisturizing, soothing, and repairing the damaged skin barrier.
Almond oil, thanks to its abundance of vitamin E, a fat-soluble vitamin that offers antioxidant functions, assists in reducing UV-related skin damage, and offers healing benefits after any form of irritation. Almond oil also serves as an emollient; thus, when used as a daily moisturizer, it assists in soothing the skin and reducing inflammation to a minimum.
However, note that while almond oil is a generic term used to address the two types of nut-derived oil, namely sweet and bitter almond oil, both have different properties. Therefore, in this case, you're looking out for sweet almond oil, especially in its pure unrefined form, to enjoy its remarkable gifts.
#3: Argan Oil
Your sensitive skin can also benefit from argan oil's revitalizing properties. This superb oil is derived from the kernels of the fruit pit of the argan tree and is soothing and deeply moisturizing, owing to its high composition of nourishing fatty acids, helping with dry and irritated skin.
Argan oil also contains polyphenols and vitamin E, which function as antioxidant agents [source], to protect the skin against environmental damage, such as pollution and many more. It also improves the skin's elasticity to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines, consequently making it a natural anti-aging oil for a youthful and glowing appearance.
Argan oil can as well be used by all skin types but is typically favored for dealing with dry skin conditions. This is because it contains healing and anti-inflammatory properties, blocking the effects of certain enzymes that may contribute to inflammations on the skin, which justifies its wide use in many skin care products.
#4: Marula Oil
Marula oil is extracted from the kernels of the marula fruit tree, native to Southern Africa. It's a non-irritating oil with a high concentration of oleic acid [source], an essential fatty acid that deeply hydrates the skin and repairs compromised skin barrier to reduce the risk of infections. Marula oil's high fatty acid concentration also helps in cell regeneration and increases elasticity on the skin to lessen the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.
In addition, marula oil contains antioxidants, namely vitamin E and vitamin C, which work hand in hand to prevent oxidative stress on the skin, likely resulting in skin damage. Although new to the scene, the refreshing properties of this skin-nourishing oil make it a natural alternative in catering to the needs of your sensitive skin, providing it with the much-needed benefits it deserves.
#5: Grapeseed Oil
Grapeseed oil is loaded with skin-loving ingredients, such as phenolic compounds, vitamins, and omega fatty acids [source]. Its high level of vitamin E contributes to its vast range of incredible functions, which include relieving the skin of inflammations, like redness and itchiness, and forming a protective barrier on the skin against the negative environmental effects.
Grapeseed oil also contains proanthocyanidins, a powerful antioxidant said to be more potent than vitamins C and E, protecting the skin from oxidative damage and delaying signs of aging by improving the skin's elasticity.
Its emollient and anti-inflammatory properties help combatting redness and swelling typically associated with inflamed skin. With all of these impressive benefits in mind, it's no surprise that grapeseed oil is on our list of natural oils for sensitive skin.
#6: Rosehip Oil
Rosehip oil is derived from the seeds of the Rosa Canina plant. It's rich in carotenoids, a form of antioxidant, and contains a high percentage of vitamin A, which is great for healing the skin and promoting skin cell turnover [source]. Rosehip oil's antioxidant properties aid in fighting free radicals linked to premature signs of aging. Plus, with its abundance of linoleic acid, a type of fatty acid, it delivers long-lasting hydration, which in turn helps reduce itchy and irritated skin.
Rosehip oil is suitable for blemish-prone skin and is an effective remedy for various skin conditions for its anti-inflammatory properties and its ability to fade off discolorations. To enjoy the benefits of rosehip oil, get it in its undiluted form, free from additives, and your skin will thank you for it.
#7: Calendula Oil
Calendula oil is an ideal natural oil for treating everyday skin irritations like redness, itchiness, or swelling and providing intense hydration to the skin while at it. The skin conditioning oil is extracted from the marigold flowers (Calendula Officinalis) and is enriched with a high level of vitamin A, an all-around ingredient for skin cell regeneration, increased elasticity, and the ability to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Calendula oil is also packed with healing, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory-properties [source]. Therefore, it can tackle inflamed skin and assist in providing relief to other skin conditions like psoriasis and dermatitis, which can be difficult to deal with. Thus making calendula oil a necessary remedy for sensitive skin!
#8: Evening Primrose Oil
Evening primrose oil is obtained from the seeds of the beautiful evening primrose plant, native to North America. Its derivative oil comprises linoleic acid and gamma-linolenic acid, all essential omega-6 fatty acids [source], which play a role in improving the skin's barrier. A deficiency of these essential fatty acids is often characterized by dry and dull skin. This amazing oil can help with these by building the skin's lipid layer to prevent transepidermal water loss.
Evening primrose oil, as you may know, can also be taken as a supplement. But, if you intend on taking it orally, it's necessary to consult your healthcare provider before doing so. Otherwise, its topical application still guarantees it a great choice for sensitive skin, typically prone to redness and other skin inflammations.
#9: Tamanu Oil
Despite being under the radar and probably not the first (nor fifth) natural oil that comes to mind, tamanu oil does boast a lot of benefits for the skin. According to research, tamanu oil is a healing and regenerative oil, traditionally used as a treatment for various skin-related ailments for its ability to stimulate collagen production to promote wound healing, which is, in turn, great for healing scars and smoothening wrinkles and fine lines.
Tamanu oil also offers antioxidant functions to protect the skin from damage caused by environmental factors; alongside antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, making it an ideal choice for combatting symptoms like redness, itchiness, and skin conditions like atopic dermatitis.
#10: Hemp Seed Oil
Hemp seed oil is extracted from the seeds of the Cannabis Sativa plant, not to be confused with Cannabidiol oil, which is extracted from the flowers of the same plant. Hemp seed oil contains a perfect 3:1 balance of omega 3 and 6 acids [source], all essential fatty acids that work in harmony to repair the damaged skin barrier. These also form a protective seal on the skin, trapping in skin's moisture and making it softer.
Hemp seed oil also contains anti-inflammatory properties due to its gamma-linoleic acid compounds, which act as a powerful anti-inflammatory agent to calm and reduce irritation in the skin, including skin conditions like dermatitis.
How to Use Natural Oils for Sensitive Skin
Natural oils are mostly occlusives, meaning they create a protective barrier and keep the good stuff (moisture) in while keeping the bad stuff out. Therefore, we recommend using it as the last step, preferably in your nighttime skincare routine, after applying your serums, moisturizer, etc., to seal in all the nutrients from the other products.
So, without wasting time, here's a simple guide on how to use your preferred natural oil for your sensitive skin:
- Step 1. Cleanse your face: Before applying any face oil, make sure your face is clean. Use a gentle cleanser to remove any dirt, oil, or makeup from your skin.
- Step 2. Do your regular skincare routine: Apply your toner, serum, moisturizer, and everyting else before applying the oil.
- Step 3. Dispense a small amount of oil: Most face oils come with a dropper or pump. Dispense a small amount of oil into the palm of your hand. You don't need a lot – a few drops go a long way.
- Step 4. Warm the oil between your hands: Rub your hands together to warm up the oil. This will help it absorb better into your skin.
- Step 5. Apply the oil to your face: Gently press the oil into your skin, making sure to cover your entire face and neck.
- Step 6. Let the oil absorb: This is the case for both morning an evening skincare routine. If you use it in mornings, give the oil a few minutes to fully absorb into your skin before applying sunscreen. This is because oils and sunscreens are not exactly the best of friends, as oil could break down your sunscreen, thereby making it less effective. While in the evenings, you need to let it absorb well so that the oil ends up in your skin instead of your pillowcase. You can use a facial roller or gua sha tool to help the oil absorb quicker.
Extra tip: Alternatively, you can mix a few drops of natural oils with your favorite moisturizer for an extra dose of nourishment to your skin.
With the skincare industry booming with a lot of products, making the right choice for your sensitive skin can be quite demanding. Therefore, natural oils are undeniably great substitutes, giving your skin jaw-dropping nourishment. However, when choosing natural oils, be sure to go for high-quality pure oils free from additives and synthetic fragrances.
Although these natural oils are plant-based and considered safe for sensitive skin, they can still be potentially irritating for some and could cause an allergic reaction, especially for people with a nut allergy. Therefore, conducting a patch test before use on a small area of your skin is important to ensure the oil is 100% safe for you to use.
What is the best oil for mature sensitive skin?
If you have mature sensitive skin, look for oils that have soothing and anti-aging properties. Our top picks would be jojoba oil, rosehip oil, evening primrose oil, and tamanu oil.
What face oils are not good for sensitive skin?
Essential oils like peppermint, lemon, and cinnamon should be avoided for sensitive skin as they can be too harsh and cause irritation. Always opt for gentler oils like jojoba, almond, or calendula for sensitive skin types.
Does olive oil clog pores?
Olive oil can potentially clog pores, as it is a heavier oil with a high oleic acid content. It's not typically recommended for those with oily or acne-prone skin due to its comedogenic nature, which may lead to blocked pores and breakouts.
What oil is non-comedogenic?
The best non-comedogenic oils for sensitive skin are jojoba oil, grapeseed oil, sweet almond oil, and hemp seed oil. These lightweight oils are easily absorbed by the skin and are highly unlikely to cause breakouts.