What is an Oil Cleanser? Best Face Cleanser for Dry Skin

Posted by Dr. Natasha Ryz on

An oil cleanser is the best face cleanser for dry skin.

An oil cleanser is an oil-based cleanser that contains oils, including nutrient-rich plant seed oils.

Oil cleansers are gentle cleansers that can effectively remove daily dirt, skin debris, makeup and sunscreen.

Oil cleansers leave you skin feeling clean, soft, and plump. 

This article will discuss:

    • Why cleanse your face?
    • What is the skin barrier?
    • What is the lipid barrier?
    • What are emollients?
    • What are the benefits of emollients?
    • What is linoleic acid?
    • What is the oil cleansing method?
    • What are the benefits of oil cleansing?
    • What is an oil cleanser?
    • What is an oil to milk cleanser?
    • How to use an oil cleanser
    • Who should use an oil cleanser
    • Summary
    • References
What is an Oil Cleanser? Best Face Cleanser for Dry Skin

Why cleanse your skin?

Cleansing your skin is essential to keeping your skin healthy. 

All types of skin, from healthy to diseased, infant to aged, need to be kept clean in order to preserve the skin barrier (Mijaljica et al, 2022).

The main purpose of skin cleansing is to remove impurities from the skin’s surface, including make-up, dirt, grime, and daily skin debris. 

Cleansers are designed to remove dirt, sweat, sebum, and oils from the skin (Ananthapadmanabhan, et al, 2004).

To goal is to cleanse skin, without disrupting the skin barrier - i.e. not disrupting the skin pH, nor altering skin microbiota, nor removing the protective lipids and proteins found in the stratum corneum (Mijaljica et al, 2022).

Gentle skin cleansing can be challenging, as the skin’s composition and barrier integrity are intricate, inconsistent, and dynamic (Mijaljica et al, 2022).

What is an Oil Cleanser? Best Face Cleanser for Dry Skin - Brick Wall

What is the skin barrier?

Your skin barrier includes the outermost layers of skin, called the stratum corneum.

The stratum corneum can be thought of as a brick wall that protects you.

On a weight basis, the stratum corneum contains approximately 70% protein, 15-25% water and 15% lipids (Ananthapadmanabhan et al, 2013).

The structure of the stratum corneum can be described as a ‘brick and mortar’ model, in which the protein-rich corneocytes are the bricks, and the mortar is the lipid‐rich matrix containing ceramides, cholesterol, and fatty acids.

When your skin barrier is healthy, it feels and appears smooth, soft, and plump.

In contrast, a damaged skin barrier looks dry, rough, dull, and dehydrated, and may become irritated, inflamed and itchy.

The skin barrier includes:

  • The moisture barrier
  • The lipid barrier
  • The acid mantle

    Learn More: What is The Skin Barrier

    What is an Oil Cleanser? Best Face Cleanser for Dry Skin

    What is the lipid barrier?

    The lipid barrier is a part of your skin barrier. 

    The surface of your skin is covered by a layer of protective lipids (fats), including epidermal lipids and sebum.

    Epidermal lipids are released from keratinocytes (skin cells), and are a mixture of ceramides, free fatty acids and cholesterol. These lipids are released from skin cells and fill the spaces between the cells, like mortar or cement (Pappas, 2007).

    Learn more: Beneficial Fats Found Naturally in Your Skin Barrier

    There are several ingredients that can protect your lipid barrier:

    1. Emollients
    2. Linoleic acid
    3. Occlusives

    What is an Oil Cleanser? Best Face Cleanser for Dry Skin

    What are emollients?

    The word emollient derives from the present participle of the Latin verb emollire, which means "to soften or soothe." Emollire, in turn, derives ultimately from mollis, meaning "soft." 

    Skincare ingredients that function as emollients include plant butters, vegetable oils, nut, grain and seed oils, animal fats, and esters.

    Products that function as emollients include moisturizers, creams, oils, serums, balms and oil cleansers.

    An emollient is an ingredient in a moisturizer. The job of the emollient is to soften skin.

    Learn more: What are Emollients? Best Emollients for Dry Skin.

    What is an Oil Cleanser? Best Face Cleanser for Dry Skin

    What are the benefits of emollients?

    The function of emollients in skincare is to soften the skin, help the skin retain its moisture and to support the skin’s barrier function.

    Skin that does not have sufficient lipid content on its surface can appear dull, dry and rough. Emollients "fill in the gaps" in the skin barrier and soften it along with giving it a healthier look

    The role of emollients in the treatment of dry skin conditions is often underestimated. Emollients promote optimal skin health and prevent skin breakdown, and their use can improve quality of life (Moncrieff et al, 2013; Newton et al, 2021).

    Emollients are skin conditioning – the give skin a soft and smooth appearance, restoring suppleness and improving elasticity (Brown et al, 2005).

    Emollients have many benefits:

    • Emollients make your skin feel soft and smooth.
    • Emollients reduce flaking and roughness from dry skin.
    • Emollients strengthen the skin barrier by filling in gaps between cells.

    What is linoleic acid?

    Linoleic acid is an essential fatty acid found naturally in healthy skin.

    Linoleic acid is the most abundant polyunsaturated fatty acid in the skin barrier (Ansari et al, 1970).

    Linoleic acid is also the precursor to ceramide synthesis (Breiden et al, 2014).

    As an essential component of ceramides, linoleic acid is involved in the maintenance of the transdermal water barrier of the epidermis (Whelan et al, 2013). 

    Linoleic acid can relieve symptoms of dry skin.

    Most of the free fatty acids can by synthesized by your skin cells and are released into the outer stratum corneum.

    However, linoleic acid is an essential fatty acid that must be provided externally through diet, supplements or topically through skincare products (Lin at al, 2017).

    Learn more: Linoleic Acid Omega 6 Fatty Acid - Benefits for Dry Skin

     What is Oil Cleansing?

    What is the oil cleansing method?

    The oil cleansing method is a technique used to clean your face using oils. It works according to the principle of "like attracts like" as the oils help lift and remove daily sebum and oil build up, dirt and skin debris.

    Oil cleansing is very effective for gently removing oil-based and waterproof cosmetics, and sunscreens that cannot be easily removed with soap and water.

    The oil cleansing method is effective for cleansing skin and is safe to use daily.

    The oil cleansing method will not clog pores if the correct oil cleanser is used.

     What is Oil Cleansing?

    What are the benefits of oil cleansing?

    Oil cleansing is very gentle on your skin and protects your skin barrier.

    Oil cleansing effectively cleanses your skin and removes all types of makeup and sunscreens effortlessly. 

    Oil cleansing doesn’t dry out your skin: You’re replenishing oils as you cleanse, instead of just stripping it away with soap.

    Learn more: The Problem with Soap for Dry Skin

    Oil cleansers are packed with plant oils that are nutrient-rich and lubricating: They leave your skin so soft, and you may find, you don’t need a moisturizer afterwards.

    Learn more: 5 Benefits Wild Orange Oil Cleanser for Dry Skin

    Hemp Seed Oil

    What is an oil cleanser?

    Oil cleansers are soap less cleansers that are composed of oils. 

    Most oil cleansers do not contain water.

    An oil cleanser is made from plant-based oils, and may also include mineral oils, animal-based oils, and/or esters. 

    A simple oil cleanser may be composed of a single plant oil, whereas a more complex oil cleanser may contain several plant oils, as well as extracts, actives and essential oils.

    Some plant oils in oil cleansers include:

    For dry skin:

    • Virgin coconut oil
    • Apple seed oil
    • Jojoba seed oil

    For all skin types:

    • Sunflower seed oil
    • Hemp seed oil
    • Castor seed oil

    Different plant oils have different properties, including textures, aromas, colors, skin feel, nutrient profiles and benefits.

    Virgin Coconut Oil

    Virgin Coconut Oil

    Virgin coconut oil has a strong natural coconut aroma that is buttery and sweet, and easily absorbed into your skin.

    Virgin coconut oil initially creates an oily, protective barrier on the skin, which is then absorbed fairly quickly, leaving your skin feeling soft and plump.

    Virgin coconut oil is nutrient-packed and has many benefits for dry skin.

    Virgin coconut oil contains fatty acids including lauric acid (49%), myristic acid (18%), palmitic acid (8%), caprylic acid (8%), capric acid (7%), oleic acid (6%), linoleic acid (2%), and stearic acid (2%).

    These beneficial fatty acids help nourish your skin to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles for plumper looking skin.

    When formulated properly, virgin coconut oil is non-comedogenic and will not clog your pores. 

    Learn more: 5 Benefits of Virgin Coconut Oil for Your Dry Skin 

    Dry Skin Love Wild Orange Oil to Milk Cleanser contains organic extra virgin coconut oil that is cold-pressed and unrefined. Our coconut oil is Fair Trade and comes from a sustainable source.

    Our virgin coconut oil has a strong natural coconut aroma that is rich, buttery and sweet.

    We infuse our virgin coconut oil with calendula flowers, chamomile flowers and whole vanilla beans, resulting in a rich, creamy, decadent aroma.

    Learn more about Dry Skin Love Signature Aroma

    Apple Seed Oil

    Apple Seed Oil

    Apple seed oil smells heavenly - like fresh apples and a hint of marzipan. 

    Apple seed oil is cold pressed from seeds that would otherwise go to waste in the juice industry and is considered a ‘zero waste’ seed oil. 

    Apple seed oil contains 60% linoleic acid, 30% oleic acid and 9% palmitic acid, fatty acids which are found naturally in the protective outer layer of the skin, and help the skin retain moisture. 

    Apple seed oil has high levels of vitamin E, including β-tocopherol and α-tocopherol and these vitamins have strong antioxidant activity.

    Apple seed oil can soften your skin, strengthen your skin barrier and prevent free-radical damage.

    Learn more: 4 Benefits of Apple Seed Oil for Your Dry Skin

    Dry Skin Love Wild Orange Oil to Milk Cleanser is made with organically crafted, cold-pressed apple seed oil. 

    It has the most delightful aroma.

    Top notes of real apple - sweet, complex and mouth-watering, with hints of marzipan. Fresh, warm and comforting. It smells divine.

    Hemp Seed Oil

    Hemp Seed Oil

    Hemp seed oil has a beautiful green color and a grassy to slightly nutty aroma.

    Hemp seed oil is quickly absorbed, packed in essential nutrients, and leaves skin feeling soft and supple. 

    Hemp seed oil can soften your skin, strengthen your skin barrier, calm redness and inflammation, and protect against oxidative stress and damage. 

    Hemp seed oil contains 56% linoleic acid and 11% oleic acid, which are found naturally in the protective outer layer of the skin.

    Hemp seed oil also contains 16% linolenic acid, an essential omega 3 fatty acid that calms redness and irritation.

    Hemp seed oil also contains 5% γ-linolenic acid, a unique n-6 fatty acid with potent anti-inflammatory activity.

    Learn more: 5 Benefits of Hemp Seed Oil for Your Dry Skin 

    Dry Skin Love Wild Orange Oil to Milk Cleanser contains organic hemp seed oil that is cold-pressed and unrefined. Our hemp seed oil is from Canada. It has a rich vibrant green color and a grassy aroma. 

    Dry Skin Love Wild Orange Oil Cleanser for Dry Skin

    What is an oil to milk cleanser?

    An oil to milk cleanser is similar to an oil cleanser but is also contains an emulsifier to help it rinse away clean with water.

    Oil to milk cleansers can emulsify dirt, oil and microorganisms on the skin surface so that they can be easily removed with water. 

    There are many different emulsifiers that can be used.

    Dry Skin Love Wild Orange Oil Cleanser contains a natural emulsifier called polyglyceryl-4 oleate in our cleanser.

    Polyglyceryl-4 oleate is made from sunflower seed oil and vegetable glycerin.

    Polyglyceryl-4 oleate is included in our formula to create an oil cleanser that rinses off with water.

    Oil to milk cleansers rinse away clean, and do not leave a greasy feeling on your skin.

    Oil to milk cleansers leave your skin feeling clean, soft, and plump.

    Oil to milk cleansers are the best face cleansers for dry skin.

    Dry Skin Love Luxury Skincare for Dry Aging Skin

    How to use an oil cleanser?

    An oil cleanser can be used as a face cleanser, and as a mask.

    For best results, apply the cleanser to your dry skin (not even a little damp...)

    As a cleanser: With dry hands, apply a generous amount of oil cleanser, and massage into dry face and neck. Gently remove cleanser with a warm moistened cloth. Use daily as required.

    Can be used as a stand-alone cleanser, or as the first step oil cleanser in two step cleansing.

    As a mask: With dry hands, apply a generous amount of oil cleanser, and massage into dry face and neck. Let sit for 20 min and up to 1 hour. Gently remove cleanser with a warm moistened cloth.

    Learn more: 7 Ways to Use an Oil to Milk Cleanser

    Oil Cleanser

    Who should use an oil cleanser?

    Oil cleansing is great for all skin types, but especially recommended for dry skin.

    Dry skin appears dry, rough, and may scale and flake. It may also show premature signs of aging, like fine line, surface wrinkles and loss of elasticity.

    Dry skin is skin that is lacking water, humectants and fats. Humectants absorb and hold water, while fats coat the skin and seal in moisture. When there is not enough water, humectants or fats, skin barrier disruption can occur, further worsening symptoms of dry skin.

    Read more: What is Dry Skin?

    Oil cleansers are the best face cleansers for dry aging skin.

    Learn more: What is Dry Aging Skin?

    Dry Skin Love Luxury Skincare for Dry Aging Skin

    Summary

    An oil cleanser is an oil-based cleanser that contains plant seed oils.

    Oil cleansers are gentle cleansers that can effectively remove daily dirt, skin debris, makeup and sunscreen.

    Oil cleansers leave you skin feeling clean, soft, and plump.  

    Oil cleansers are the best face cleansers for dry aging skin.

    References:

    Ananthapadmanabhan KP, Moore DJ, Subramanyan K, Misra M, Meyer F. Cleansing without compromise: the impact of cleansers on the skin barrier and the technology of mild cleansing. Dermatol Ther. 2004;17 Suppl 1:16-25. 

    Ananthapadmanabhan KP, Mukherjee S, Chandar P. Stratum corneum fatty acids: their critical role in preserving barrier integrity during cleansing. Int J Cosmet Sci. 2013 Aug;35(4):337-45.

    Ansari, M.N.; Nicolaides, N.; Fu, H.C. Fatty acid composition of the living layer and stratum corneum lipids of human sole skin epidermis. Lipids 19705, 838–845. 

    Breiden B., Sandhoff K. The role of sphingolipid metabolism in cutaneous permeability barrier formation. Biochim. Biophys. Acta. 2014;1841:441–452.

    Brown A, Butcher M. A guide to emollient therapy. Nurs Stand. 2005 Feb 23-Mar 1;19(24):68, 70, 72 passim.

    Lin TK, Zhong L, Santiago JL. Anti-Inflammatory and Skin Barrier Repair Effects of Topical Application of Some Plant Oils. Int J Mol Sci. 2017 Dec 27;19(1):70.

    Mijaljica D, Spada F, Harrison IP. Skin Cleansing without or with Compromise: Soaps and Syndets. Molecules. 2022 Mar 21;27(6):2010.

    Moncrieff G, Cork M, Lawton S, Kokiet S, Daly C, Clark C. Use of emollients in dry-skin conditions: consensus statement. Clin Exp Dermatol. 2013 Apr;38(3):231-8; quiz 238. 

    Newton H. Using emollients to promote safe and effective skin care for patients. Nurs Stand. 2021 Oct 6;36(10):77-82.

    Pappas A. Epidermal surface lipids. Dermatoendocrinol. 2009 Mar;1(2):72-6.

    Whelan J, Fritsche K. Linoleic acid. Adv Nutr. 2013 May 1;4(3):311-2. 
      Dry Skin Oil Cleanser

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