There are a few key elements that make up a solid anti-aging routine: retinoids for stimulating cell turnover, peptides for boosting collagen production, and of course, SPF for preventing future damage. But according to dermatologists, there's one other product that may be worth adding to your regimen: a facial oil.
"Facial oils, if used correctly and consistently, can provide a necessary seal for locking moisture in the skin, improving the skin's hydration and the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles," says Nava Greenfield, MD, a board-certified dermatologist with Schweiger Dermatology.
Keep scrolling to find out why she—and other derms—say you should be adding a facial oil for wrinkles into your regular routine.
Why facial oils can help with aging skin
As we get older, hormonal shifts cause the skin to become drier, our bodies produce less collagen and elastin, and our complexions start to show the effects of sun damage and oxidative stress more easily. According to the pros, however, the right facial oil will be able to remedy all of these things.
"Our skin produces less sebum with age so face oils are beneficial to maintaining skin hydration," says Azadeh Shirazi, MD, a board-certified dermatologist based in San Diego. "Oils have the ability to form an occlusive barrier to prevent transepidermal water loss and allow other skin-care actives to penetrate better into the skin. Many also have antioxidant properties to help protect and repair the skin, and depending on the active ingredients they can also help to control bacteria and soothe inflammation."
What to look for in a facial oil for wrinkles
Not all facial oils are created equally, so it's important to educate yourself on the ingredients you need before you invest. "Look for oils rich in essential fatty acids, vitamins A and C, lycopene, and antioxidants," says Dr. Shirazi. "Two of the fatty acids that are greatly beneficial for the skin are oleic acid and linoleic acid." If you have acne-prone skin, she explains that you'll want to look for oils with smaller molecular sizes—like squalane, jojoba, and argan oils—which penetrate the skin more easily and won't clog your pores.
A few of the oils derms recommend looking for:
1. Rosehip oil
"Rosehip oil has been shown to have high levels of vitamin A, lycopene, and beta-carotene, making it a good option for antiaging concerns," says Dr. Shirazi. It can reduce the appearance of scars, fight inflammation and hyperpigmentation, and increase skin elasticity—all of which start to become more prevalent as we get older.
2. Avocado oil
According to research, avocado oil is "an excellent source of enrichment for dry, damaged, or chapped skin." The same study found that the oleic acid in avocado oil helps to increase collagen synthesis, which helps your body grow new, healthy skin cells and leads to a stronger skin barrier and fewer fine lines and wrinkles. The ingredient has also got its fair share of healthy fats, which help to strengthen your skin's lipid layer.
3. Coconut oil
"Coconut oil is a natural anti-inflammatory, and full of fatty acids that help improve the skin barrier," Rachel Nazarian, MD, a board-certified dermatologist based in New York, previously told Well+Good. "It also melts into the skin easily with a little gentle rubbing, and it can feel cosmetically elegant." Like avocado oil, it boosts your body's own natural production of collagen, which aids in smoothing away fine lines and wrinkles.
4. Almond oil
Rich in omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin A, research has shown that almond oil can help to diminish some of the visible effects of sun damage—including wrinkles and hyperpigmentation.
5. Olive oil
Olive oil is thought to be hydrating, as it contains squalene which helps to keep the skin moisturized and smooth," says Dr. Garshick. "Olive oil can also help with antiaging as it serves as an antioxidant to help fight free-radical damage." That said, he notes that as with all oils, it's best used in moderation if you don't want to run the risk of clogging your pores.
6. Seabuckthorn oil
This popular marine ingredient is packed with fatty acids, which help with skin regeneration and skin repair. It's frequently used to treat dry, flaky, and aging skin, as it improves circulation and aids in skin oxygenation, and eliminates inflammation.
7. Argan oil
Argan oil nourishes skin with essential fatty acids like omega 3, 6, and 9, which strengthen the tissues in your skin and help to combat fine lines and wrinkles.
How to use a facial oil
Though facial oils can be an important (and hydrating) part of an anti-aging routine, they don't take the place of your usual moisturizer. "An oil does not necessarily replace a moisturizer, but can help to provide moisture to the surface of the skin, absorbs and leaves the skin feeling smooth," says Marisa Garshick, MD, a board-certified dermatologist based in New York. "In general, it is good to still use both as some of the ingredients may differ and both can be used to help boost moisture and strengthen the skin barrier."
She suggests applying your oil after your moisturizer, as it will help to really seal in its ingredients while also delivering hydrating benefits of its own.
Shop the 16 best facial oils for wrinkles
“This facial oil combines seabuckthorn oil with rosehip oil and bakuchiol, making it a great option for someone looking to improve the signs of aging,” says Dr. Garshick. “Seabuckthorn works to reduce dryness and hydrate the skin, while rosehip oil and bakuchiol together help to regulate skin cell turnover, improving the overall appearance of fine lines, while minimizing irritation.”
“This face oil is lightweight and easy to apply and uses seabuckthorn in combination with buckwheat honey to simultaneously hydrate and soothe the skin,” says Dr. Garshick. He suggests using it on its own or mixing it with your moisturizer for a double-whammy of hydration.
Marine ingredients have been popularized in skin care, thanks to their nutrient-rich properties, and this stuff delivers them in droves. “This lightweight facial oil is infused with various seaweeds, including padina pavonica, golden seaweed, and roaring water kelp, and helps to improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles,” says Dr. Garshick.
Dr. Shirazi is a fan of this best-selling face oil because it’s rich in antioxidants and fatty acids and also has antibacterial properties. It penetrates quickly and easily into the skin, which means you won’t have to worry about looking greasy after you apply it.
Dr. Shirazi uses this particular facial oil on her own complexion every night after cleansing. “I have acneic skin that’s also dry and prone to hyperpigmentation so I find this to work best for me,” she says. “It is formulated with vitamin E oil and a potent blend of vitamin C 15 percent, ferulic acid, and antioxidants that reduce hyperpigmentation, boost collagen, and brighten the skin
“This blend of oils is rich in antioxidants and hydrating ingredients including blackberry seed oil which contains vitamin C, blueberry seed oil, which contains vitamin E, and omega-3s,” says Dr. Garshick. “It absorbs easily while also giving the skin a nice glow.”
Dr. Shirazi calls this a “great anti-aging oil” because it’s jam-packed with rosehip oil’s wrinkle-fighting prowess. It’s lightweight and easily absorbs into skin, which means you’ll hardly even notice it’s there within seconds of slathering it on.
This fan-favorite formula combines hydrating squalane with soothing essential oils and firming evening primrose oil. This thoughtful mix allows the oil to combat some of the most prevalent age-related skin concerns, including dryness, wrinkles, and irritation.
Maracuja oil is rich in vitamins C and E, which is why Dr. Greenfield loves this product for aging skin. Aside from using it to fight fine lines and wrinkles on your face, you can also use this formula as a hair-and-scalp mask, a cuticle conditioner, or a hand moisturizer.
With a trio of nourishing oils (olive-derived squalane, meadowfoam seed, and borage seed), this formula employs adaptogens to deliver the ingredients your skin needs to all the right spots. It’s also got hemp seed oil in the mix, which works to moisturize and calm your complexion.
Retinol is known to be the gold standard of anti-aging ingredients, and this product delivers it in oil form to help minimize irritation. It’s made with fermented green tea, which helps with absorption, evening primrose for smoothing the skin, and hemp seed oil, which delivers amino acids and an overall radiant glow.
Another retinol-spiked oil, this stuff pairs the anti-aging hero with botanical oils (namely blue tansy and German chamomile) to soothe skin and diminish redness, plus avocado oil, which offers plumping effects as well as antioxidant protection.
Supermodel Miranda Kerr has used this facial oil every day since she was 26, and the results are written all over her wrinkle-free face. “It smooths, nourishes, brightens, and helps even skin tone and texture,” she says. “It’s my holy grail oil that I use religiously morning and night. I cannot go without it!” It’s made with a blend of antioxidant-and-fatty-acids rich oils—including noni, rosehip, and seabuckthorn oils—giving it anti-inflammatory, anti-acne, and anti-aging properties. The combination of actives helps to reduce the appearance of acne scars and dullness, fights inflammation and hyperpigmentation, and increases skin elasticity.
Don’t let this oil’s drugstore price point fool you—though it’s affordable, it still packs a major punch in diminishing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Made with 100 percent pure rosehip oil (which is cold-pressed to ensure you’re getting maximum efficacy), you’ll know you can count on it to hydrate skin, fight inflammation, and even out tone and texture every time you apply.
This quick-absorbing oil melts immediately into skin, where fruit stem cells and grapeseed oil add radiance to dry, dull complexions. It’s also made with a lipid complex that strengthens your skin barrier, powerful emollient oils (including sunflower seed and jojoba) to soothe and moisturize skin, and antioxidant-rich pomegranate seed oil and vitamin E.
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