6 Reasons to Add Body Oil to Your Beauty Routine

Woman applying body oil to moisturize her skin after shower
You don't have to get rid of your beloved body butter or lotion, but if you're ready to take your skin game seriously, it's time to start using oil.

There’s no way around it, what we put on our bodies is absorbed into the skin. That’s why we should be just as mindful as we are when it comes to what goes on our faces. For decades, many have been swearing by lotion to keep their skin supple, smooth, and healthy. But oil may go the extra mile and then some.

When it comes to lotion, its ingredients aren’t always that skin-friendly, but more on that in a minute. The question is, are body oils really better? Many skin experts and dermatologists seem to think so. Or at least, your beauty routine is better off with body oil than without it.

Oils are not just moisturizing and nourishing for dry skin, they’re typically more natural than other options. So if you’re in the market for a clean, skin-enhancing swap, it might be the right time to give body oil a try.

Here are some of the biggest reasons you might want to start using body oil immediately.

Oil Might Do More For Your Skin Than Lotion

As noted by Healthline, “body oil is thicker and heavier than body lotion. It creates a barrier on the outer layer of your skin that helps keep moisture in.” Also, many body oils are lipophilic. More or less, this means they’re “fat-loving.” In turn, these oils have a harmonious relationship with your natural skin oils, like sebum.

Oil’s easy mixability allows it to more deeply penetrate your skin and stay locked in your skin’s water barrier. You’ll likely notice quickly that your new body oil retains longer than almost any lotion on the market. Oils have a way of matching the natural balance of already occurring sebum from your skin. If you have an overproduction of sebum and suffer from clogged pores and breakouts, body oils may actually become your best friend.

Closeup woman's body with cosmetic cream on skin

But don’t throw out your lotion or body butter just yet, especially if you have a skin condition. Per one Byrdie skin expert, “Oils sink right into the skin. It’s like food for your body. Lotions, on the other hand, are part water-based and come in various forms to treat different skincare concerns—for example, those who are eczema-prone would turn to an itch relief lotion while someone with textured skin might reach for a smoothing lotion that targets bumps.”

Working a bit harder than lotion, body oils are beloved for restoring the skin’s balance, including natural sebum production. This can help calm your skin and signal it to stop trying to produce excess sebum. With all of that said, many women say they get their best results when they mix their favorite lotion and body oil together.

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They Might Be The Safer Option as Well

Herbal essence. Alternative healthy oil

Body oil may not technically be “better” than lotion, but it might be better for you. Due to the fact that lotions are made with a mix of water and oil, they’re prone to separation. In turn, all lotions must go through a process that takes away from some of their naturalness. To concoct a lotion, oil and water must come together by combining additives and emulsifiers. From there, preservatives like parabens are added to lotions in an effort to prevent bacteria growth and make sure they can safely sit on the shelf for an extended period of time.

The problem is, we now know that parabens aren’t great for our skin, and certainly not what lies beneath it. For instance, scientific research has repeatedly shown that parabens can damage female reproductive health and fertility. Parabens may even lead to cancer.

In contrast, body oils are closer to their purest form. They don’t require extra ingredients to make them shelf stable and so, oils tend to be on the safer side.

Read More: Skincare Products That Are Actually Pretty Useless

Body Oil Can Give Your Skin a Lasting Boost

One of the most beautiful things about body oils si that they’re often loaded with so much more than what meets the eye. Most notably, those additional properties and botanicals can give your skin’s texture and appearance a major boost.

Do a little research at Sephora and you’ll see what I mean. Body oils all boast their own set of unique benefits, with flowers and herbs that contribute to a healthy glow and a wow-worthy complexion. They may also help you look a little more tan, but without the sun’s harmful UV rays.

oil dropper over flower

Body oil allows us to bridge the gap between spa treatments and skincare. Many body oils also come with aromatic properties that contribute to stress relief and relaxation. And who wouldn’t want (or need) a relaxing massage with body oil every now and then? If there’s no one around to rub it in for you, invest in a massage brush or glove and start rubbing. Adding to its benefits, massages with body oil can significantly improve circulation.

As discussed, your body is absorbing whatever goes on it. So if you are rubbing oils packed with healthy vitamins and nutrients into your skin, you might be doing more good for your body than what can simply be seen on the surface. Oils have the potential to revitalize your skin on a cellular level, ultimately contributing to a stronger moisture barrier.

Using Body Oil Could Improve Your Mood, Potentially

smiley and frowning face on paper

On top of those wonderful physical benefits, body oils may positively impact your mental health. After all, massaging nutrient-rich oil into our bodies is an act of both self-care and self-love. Nourishing touch can go a long way. That’s likely why many who swear by body oils say they do notice that they’re less stressed, more relaxed, and their minds feel clearer after slathering on their favorite wonder oil. The other mood-boosting ability may be ingredient related.

Not to mention, many oils are designed to directly contribute to our mental and emotional well-being. Properties like rosemary are said to enhance alertness and lavender is forever celebrated for helping us fall asleep a little more soundly. Citrus oils are used to energize the mind and chamomile calms the spirit. The list goes on and on.

Read More: 10 Aromatherapy Scents For Stress Relief

You’ll Block Out Environmental Stressors

bottles of oil with plant shadows

One of the biggest benefits of body oils is their purity. Largely undisturbed, they don’t contain water or additives, so they’re also less likely to allow things to break their barrier. This can help you ward off free radicals like pollution and other forms of environmental stressors.

Skin pollution is one of the most well-known culprits for contributing to premature aging and compromising our skin’s barriers. But oil can put a stop to that. Protecting your skin deep from within, those outside stressors won’t be able to get in and cause trouble.

 Per Esker Beauty, “oils that contain cypress and squalane are particularly helpful in shielding from free radicals and daily wear and tear, and can help reverse issues like dullness, premature wrinkles, and discoloration on the skin.”

They May Help You Repair Skin Damage

person massaging oil into their hands

When our skin’s barrier becomes compromised, our skin can become dry, tight, irritated, and unruly. This is another area body oil can come in handy. Per Glo Skin Beauty, “your moisture barrier, also known as your acid mantle or stratum corneum, provides critical protection for your skin. This layer acts as the first line of defense, keeping good things in and bad things out. Those bad things it keeps out include environmental stressors, bacteria, pollutants, and other irritants.”

This outermost layer locks in water. That’s why keeping it intact is pretty important. If our moisture barrier becomes damaged, you’ll likely notice cracks in the skin. From harsh chemicals to over-exfoliation and/or pollutants, these small cracks allow things to penetrate our skin that has no business there. Over time, this can cause lasting wrinkles and perpetually irritated skin.

Thankfully, body oils are loaded with naturally healing ingredients. When you apply them, they are able to more deeply penetrate the skin’s surface. With the right oil, you can potentially fully restore your skin’s natural moisture barrier.

The Bottom Line

We know that body oil regulates sebum production, repairs the skin barrier, packs a nutrient-rich punch, and it tends to be the cleaner option. However, if you’re staunchly team lotion, that’s okay too. Body oils tend to be heavier, and so, many find that lotion works better for them on a daily basis, especially those with naturally dry skin. Not to mention, everyone’s skincare needs (and personal preferences) are different.

So always do what works best for you.

At the end of the day, there’s no harm in keeping a lotion and oil on hand. For a little fun experimenting, mix up your beauty routine once in a while. When the mood strikes you, mix your oil and lotion and/or body butter and see what happens. Oils and lotions come with different benefits, so when they’re paired together, these two can be a wonderfully dynamic, deeply hydrating duo for your skin.

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