Oil vs. Moisturiser. Which Is Best For You?

There are so many skincare products in the market these days it is hard to decipher what is going to work best with your skin, an oil, or a moisturiser? To look at the difference between and oil and a moisturiser we also need to look at how they work with your skin to decide what is going to be best for you. It may be both!

Our skin has an outer layer which is what all general skincare is able to assist in looking after, this layer is called the protective barrier, and it protects the epidermis. The protective barrier which prevents penetration of irritants and allergens can become dry and damaged from environmental factors (like soap, dry weather) or because of age (when we produce less sebum, the skins natural oil) and/or lifestyle factors. When this happens, it is important to ensure you repair this barrier to protect your skin from further irritation and potential ageing.


skin cross section

The elements needed to care for your epidermis and repair your protective barrier include:

Water – This makes up approximately 70% of our epidermis. Damage to the protective barrier results in water loss leaving skin dry and can sometimes result in cracking. Moisturisers will contain some percentage of water to try and replace the water lost through the protective barrier.

Humectants – These ingredients attract and retain moisture. You find them as part of many moisturisers to plump skin and draw moisture into the epidermis either from further in the skins structure or from outside the skin (eg from within the moisturiser formulation itself). Humectant ingredients include hyaluronic acid, glycerine, urea and vitamin E.

Emollients – These are usually oils (though they can include other ingredients) that soften and smooth skin. Moisturisers will often also include some form of emollient to soften skin and make skin feel smooth and refreshed.  Emollient ingredients include Grapeseed Oil, rosehip oil, and vitamin E.

Occlusives – These are usually oils that form a barrier on the skins surface to prevent water loss from the skin. They have a hydrating effect by simply preventing water loss through the protective barrier. Occlusive ingredients include silicone, mineral oil, and waxes.

For dry and damaged skin, it is good to have a combination of moisturisers and oils to accelerate the repair of the epidermis and its protective barrier. The moisturisers will replace the lost water and the oils will help prevent water loss, increasing skin softness and smoothness for a stronger protective barrier.

For oily and combination skin, it is important to help protect the protective barrier from damage however, it is also important to ensure any added oils are not occlusive so that pores are not clogged. An emollient oil will help protect skin prevent water loss.

So to add an oil into your regime; if you have oily/combo to normal skin, you can add an oil straight out of the shower to prevent further water loss to skin, our pick of the bunch would be the Vita E Quick Dry Oil. Or, if you have dry skin you can use a moisturiser to hydrate skin then an oil on top to keep all the newly added moisture in the skin, our pick would be the Vita E Vitamin E Cream with either the Vita E Quick Dry Oil on top or you can use the Vita E Pure Oil for extra moisturisation for those particularly dry spots.