When I’m looking for the best oils for summer skincare formulas I look for two qualities.
First, I want an oil that feels light on the skin so it will soak in despite heat and humidity that accompanies summer.
And second, I look for an oil that has high amounts of anti oxidants to help protect the skin while we play outside and enjoy the weather.
Finding Oils that Absorb Well
In general, the lower the percentage of saturated fatty acids in an oil, the more quickly it will absorb into the top layers of skin.
Oils high in saturated fatty acids work wonders in the winter when we need the extra protection against drywinds and cold, but in summer these heavier fatty acids tend to sit on the surface of the skin as we perspire more in the heat.
All oils are made up of a combination of fatty acid types, including saturated and unsaturated. So for summer skincare, you want to look for oils that have 20% or less saturated fatty acids.
Of the unsaturated fatty acids we have both polyunsaturated and monounsaturated. Look for the oils with the higher percentage of polyunsaturated linoleic acid to find the ones that will absorb well in summer heat.
Finding Oils High In Anti-Oxidants
A general rule of thumb is to choose oils with high color. It is the colorful oils are rich in plant compounds that help protect the cells.
Orange and red oils in particular have high amounts of beta-carotenes that acts as pro-vitamin A in and on the body. When you apply these oils to your face and body, the colorful plant compounds deliver important vitamins to the skin which help protect the cells from free radical damage.
Why Anti-Oxidants for Skincare?
Antioxidants found through out the plant world protect the skin’s cellular structure against free radical damage. Living tissues do a continual dance between breakdown and repair.
The word anti-oxidant means preventing oxidation, that browning of the apple when it is cut open and exposed to the air. Antioxidants literally insert stabilizing electrons that halt the ‘free radical cascade’ of the oxygen molecules that cause oxidation and damage to cells.
Oxygen in the wrong place and the wrong form is what damages tissues and speeds aging. Using oils that have antioxidant compounds helps to protect and even heal our tissues from damage.
A Few Examples of Oils for Summer Skincare
Here’s a few oils that have the qualities we’ve been discussing.
Passion fruit oil, watermelon seed oil, cucumber seed oil, and raspberry seed oil. These are examples of oils high in polyunsaturated fatty acids so their nature is to absorb into the top layers of the skin.
A note on oils and sun protection
While the colorful oils high in antioxidants can help protect your skin from sun damage, the lipid oils should not be considered sunscreens.
Consider the word, screen. This would mean that whatever screens prevents the sun’s rays from coming into contact with the skin and oils certainly cannot screen the sun out.
However, the lipid oils do help protect tissues exposed to sun. This is a big subject, how to safely protect the skin from sun damage. I am fascinated by what role oils play in this process and it is something I am continuously researching. I’’ll have more on that at some point, but until then, what is your summer climate like? hot and dry? humid? and which oils to you love for summer skincare? Leave a comment below and let me know.
And remember, lipid oils are not sunscreen. Be careful and protective of your skin, its got a big job to do.