Facial oils: The benefits, myths, and uses with Dr. Gervaise Gerstner

By The Beauty Experts at: L'Oréal Paris

Cleopatra used it to enhance her beauty in harsh desert conditions. Make up artists have been sneaking it backstage for years. The beauty elite have been hoarding, and paying a small fortune, for their stash since the first batches snuck out. Finally, one of the best-kept secrets to healthy, glowing skin is making its way to a drugstore near you. We're talking facial oils; concentrated concoctions formulated with essential oils smoothed all over your face. And it's not as bizarre as you think.

How can oil be a good thing? And why would you want to slather it on your face when you spent half your life trying to get rid of it? We thought you'd ask, so we turned to celebrity dermatologist Dr. Gervaise Gerstner for reinforcement on the ultra-hydrating, rejuvenating, nourishing, beauty benefits of facial oils. So slide on up, and listen.

"Facial oils are an excellent way to get antioxidants and vitamins quickly into the skin," explains Dr. Gerstner. "Oils are absorbed quickly, and soften the appearance of fine lines."

So far so good, right? Essential oils are derived from botanicals, many of which are naturally packed with antioxidants, and create a protective barrier against harsh and uncaring external factors, like pollution, environmental toxins, even over cleansing. Still light weight, and incredibly aromatic, the oils penetrate surface layers of your epidermis and maintain moisture for a brighter more radiant appearance. Just like all those plant-based super-foods that are so good for you, facial oils actually nourish your skin with intense moisture. We like what we're hearing.

But what if your skin tends to be oily in the first place? Would you really want to add more oil? Dr. Gerstner, to the rescue again. "Facial oils should not cause oily skin to break out. Use a small amount at first to test," Dr. Gerstner advises. "The oils absorb instantly so the skin does not look greasy or shiny but rather has a sheer glow." We all know, glow is good.

For those with normal, dry, or combination skin, Dr. Gerstner shares her regimen. "I put four or five drops on at a time. One on my forehead, one on each cheek, one on my chin and jaw line." And if you're not ready to give up your favorite moisturizer, you don't have to. Facial oils are great for layering. "You can definitely use both. It is best to apply oils right after freshly cleansed skin in the morning and at night right before applying your moisturizer or you can even use alone."

Aside from the nourishing, moisturizing, hydrating beauty benefits, facial oils continue to gain popularity because they feel and smell amazing! With ingredients like English lavender, rosemary leaf, geranium, orange peel, and rose flower, the aromatherapeutic qualities are calming and satisfying. But it's the silky smooth, super soft finish that converts are raving about. One application, and you're hooked! Thanks to smart and resourceful beauty companies, you no longer have to be among the beauty elite to indulge in the beauty benefits of facial oils. We feel younger already.

Weekly World New, Ancient Beauty Secrets
Wall Street Journal Online, At My Vanity
Discovery Health, Tips to Banish Dry Skin
Webmd, The Skin (Human Anatomy)

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