The green movement has had many repercussions, but arguably none greater than in the home. In an effort to save the planet and reduce chemicals (which are both good impulses, of course), people increasingly turn to their grandmother’s remedies and the items in their cupboards. While in some cases, traditional pantry products yield vegan and hypoallergenic benefits to skin, for the most part they do not.
Take olive and sunflower oil, for example. In recent years they have been touted as all-natural replacements for your skincare regimen, but this is misguided information. Not only do these oils not work as well as products formulated especially for your skin, they can have downright negative effects.
1. These Oils Have Slow Absorption Rates
Both olive and sunflower oil penetrate skin’s external barrier slowly, which has many bad side effects. First, because the oil does not sink into skin but rather sits on top, it gives your skin that classic oily sheen, which most people try to avoid. Second, because of the slow absorption rate, your skin may not receive the actual hydration benefits you’re looking for. This can result in dry cracked skin and even eczema, where patches become red, flakey and inflamed.
2. Skin Requires Lots of Nutrients
To stay healthy, elastic, blemish-free and beautiful, you need to give your skin lots of nutrients. Most types of sunflower oil, however, contain very few nutrients beyond vitamin E and vitamin K. Putting it on your skin, therefore, accomplishes little other than to replace a skincare product that would actually provide those nutrients. And while olive oil is a fantastic addition to a lean diet, it possesses none of the major vitamins that skin needs to look its best.
3. The Grocery Store Stuff May Be Contaminated
Unfortunately, many of the products in our grocery stores contain chemicals or other adulterants that are bad for you. In addition to harming or aging your skin, these impurities can clog pores, react with blemishes or small wounds, and make your skin worse. Not even natural and organic oils are exempt, so avoid them for skin care use.
4. Using All-Natural Treatments Can Mask Serious Issues
Admittedly, in the vast majority of cases neither of these oils is deadly. Most of the time you apply olive or sunflower oil to a spot, the results likely won’t be much worse than some dry skin. In rare cases, however, your skin condition might be serious, and continually apply oil to it could mask a deeper issue. If you have strange or unexplained skin problems, don’t rub oil on it and hope for the best. Instead, see a specialist.
Wanting to replace a more expensive, specially formulated skin care product with a cheaper, pantry-accessible alternative is understandable, but that doesn’t make it wise. While natural substances and traditional remedies work well in some cases, neither sunflower or olive oil will provide the benefits you are looking for. Remember, you have to live in your skin your whole life, so treat it well.
+Dr.Lee is a board certified dermatologist that has dedicated her practice and research to develop skin care treatment options for conditions such as: eczema, psoriasis and rosacea at cherylleemd.com