Oils are among the most versatile cosmetic ingredients. It starts as soon as you win them. Depending on this, cosmetic fats can be divided into three groups: mineral oils, vegetable oils and neutral oils. But how do they differ and are mineral oil-free cosmetics always better for your skin? In this article you will find out which properties synthetic and natural oils have. This will help you decide what type of oil is best for your skin.
Nourishing or non-irritating, what should it be?
Oils fulfill very different tasks in skin care, because each oil has different advantages. Which these are depends on how well the skin can absorb and process it. The principle applies here: The more the skin can do with an ingredient, the higher the irritation potential . On the one hand, mineral oil-free cosmetics give your skin more to do. On the other hand, very low-irritant skin ingredients offer no nutritional value.
It's like with sports. A good level of fitness definitely makes sense. But if you don't feel well, it's time to take it easy. In the same way, healthy skin can be challenged. It needs nutrients to function normally. But certain skin conditions want to be handled with kid gloves. Heavily damaged skin that is prone to allergies may not be able to cope with natural cosmetics. It may respond better to particularly non-irritating synthetic products.
☝️ That doesn't mean that natural cosmetics generally cause irritation . Here, too, there are particularly mild oils that are even suitable for delicate baby skin and sensitive skin types. At the same time, conventional cosmetics often contain other ingredients that dry out or irritate the skin.
Vegetable oils and mineral oils have fundamentally different structures
The texture may be similar, but the effect of synthetically produced and natural oils is very different. This is due to their composition. Let's take a closer look at how the individual types of oil are structured and what the advantages and disadvantages of cosmetics containing and free of mineral oil are.
Vegetable oils are triglycerides . They are made up of various fatty acids bound to glycerol. These fatty acids are also found in the skin. Vegetable oils can therefore be absorbed and metabolized by our skin. They are incorporated into your own lipids (skin fats). So everything is valuable here.
The situation is similar with vegetable waxes, such as jojoba oil (because this is actually not an oil but a wax), except that the fatty acids are not bound with glycerol but with a fatty alcohol.
- Rich in fatty acids like linoleic acid, oleic acid, palmitic acid and more
- Rich in phytochemicals such as antioxidants
use of vegetable oils
You will encounter vegetable oils in natural cosmetics , where they are used as base and active ingredient oils. They fulfill many functions at the same time: transporting vitamins into the skin, repairing the skin barrier from the inside and laying protectively over it. Because of their nourishing effect, natural oils are also valued in conventional cosmetics, but are found in smaller doses. Argan oil is sometimes added to a hand cream, while paraffin oil forms the basis.
This is how vegetable oils work
Natural oils and waxes are very similar to skin . She can split them up without any problems and process the individual active ingredients further. You can think of these oils like food, except that instead of being metabolized in the gastrointestinal tract, they are metabolized directly in the skin cells.
Fatty acids such as oleic acid, linoleic acid and so on have very different properties that are individually combined in vegetable oils. They are also rich in secondary plant substances such as vitamins, provitamins and phytosterols. This is why you will find such a broad spectrum of effects in natural oils. Every skin type and condition is served here.
☝️ Reading tip: There are many vegetable oils. So how do you make the right choice for your skin's needs? Have a look here: Which oil is good for dry skin? And which oil for impure skin?
Neutral oils are synthetically processed vegetable oils . Because of their structure of medium-chain fatty acids, they are also called MCT oils for medium chain triglycerides . For example, you take coconut or palm oil and separate the individual oleic acids from the glycerin. Then you pick out certain ones and combine them again with glycerin or esterify them with a fatty alcohol. However, all secondary plant substances are lost in the process.
- Contain skin-like fatty acids
- Extremely low irritation
Use of MCT oils
Neutral oils are primarily used in natural cosmetics where particularly good compatibility or oxidation stability is required. However, only to a limited extent. How high their share in the product may be is regulated separately depending on the certificate. The neutral oil Capric/Caprylic Triglyceride is used most frequently . So you may come across this designation on the INIC list.
☝️ FIVE has not used a neutral oil so far, but squalane in the facial oils . It ideally complements the jojoba oil and the active ingredient oils. The recipe is pleasantly light and yet full of secondary plant substances.
Purpose of neutral oils
Neutral oils give you a very pleasant feeling on your skin in no time at all. As so - called quick spreaders , they spread as if by themselves and feel wonderfully light . They are often used to give the product a melt-in-the-mouth texture. They are ideal for decorative cosmetics. After all, a foundation should be easy to apply.
At the same time, MCT oils are oxidatively stable. This is especially important when it comes to sun protection . The sun screen is supposed to reduce the stress caused by UV radiation. However, if the product itself were to oxidize, exactly the opposite would be the case.
👍 Conclusion : Even if neutral oils lose their naturalness, they definitely have their justification in particularly low-irritant formulations, make-up and sun protection.
Mineral oils are hydrocarbons derived from heavily refined petroleum. They come in different textures from fully occlusive (means covering) to a little lighter. They have nothing in common with the skin and contain no usable nutrients. They are a foreign body for your skin, but well tolerated. Because if you don't interact, you don't irritate either.
- Very low irritation and allergy potential
- No nutritional value
📖 In INCI jargon, mineral oils are called petrolatum, paraffinum liquidum, paraffinum subliquidum, cera microcristallina, microcrystalline wax, ozokerite, ceresin or vaseline .
use of mineral oils
Mineral oils are only found in conventional cosmetics , not in natural cosmetics. Since there is nothing usable here, they remain exclusively on the surface and cover them like a film. They are like the cling film used in cosmetics.
Mineral oils have advantages for severely damaged skin . They relieve it of its protective function so that no more moisture escapes. However, they are also found in abundance in products for healthy skin because they are inexpensive and have a long shelf life.
The strength of paraffin oils is the immediate effect
In skin care, mineral oils only serve the purpose of locking in moisture in the skin. They seal and smooth the surface so that no water evaporates. This causes the skin to swell up a little, making it look plumper. Plumper, smoother, more even - that sounds like the top advertising promises for beauty products! And you will see results immediately.
Unfortunately they are not sustainable. Due to the sealing effect, the skin becomes sluggish and reduces its own processes. Hence the feeling of being “dependent” on a product that you may be familiar with from a lip gloss.
The use of these low-irritant oils sometimes makes sense for extremely sensitive or damaged skin and for allergy sufferers who react to vegetable oils. However, you should then also make sure that your care product does not irritate the skin with other harsh ingredients. Conventional cosmetics often also contain parabens or alcohols. Check out the whole package here!
The advantages and disadvantages at a glance
Mineral oils are unlike skin. It cannot break them down into usable lipids.
🙂 Advantages : Very low allergy potential, low-irritant and long-lasting
😕 Disadvantages : Not nourishing, have a purely superficial and short-term effect
👉 Mineral oils are not found in natural cosmetics
Neutral oils are synthetically made from vegetable oils.
🙂 Advantages : Long shelf life, low irritation and a light texture
😕 Disadvantages : No phytochemicals
👉 Are limited in natural cosmetics and replace vegetable oils in sunscreens, for example, because they are oxidation-stable.
Vegetable oils are very similar to the skin's own lipids. They are absorbed and processed by the skin.
🙂 Advantages : High nutritional value, phytochemicals are retained, therefore a wide range of textures and properties
😕 Disadvantages : More expensive, less durable and due to the higher interaction with the skin, allergies and irritations are possible
👉 A natural product with many advantages: vegetable oils nourish and care for your skin.
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Are mineral oil-free cosmetics the best solution for you?
It depends on the nature of your skin and what kind of results you want to achieve. All oils have their strengths and weaknesses.
- If you want to nourish and care for your skin, provide it with usable fatty acids and secondary plant substances. Products with a larger proportion of cold-pressed vegetable oils are the right choice here.
- If your skin is overwhelmed by this, low-irritant neutral or mineral oils are a possible alternative.
🌱 By the way, it can take a few weeks for your skin to get used to natural cosmetics . During this time she can get angry. The article Skin renewal tells you why and for how long : How quickly does your skin get used to new care?