Breakouts, dry patches, sun burns, frost bite, you name it. Our skin endures a lot throughout the seasons. Every type of weather poses its unique challenges to our epidermis, and with winter approaching, we have to take special care of our skin. Whether you’re dealing with particular issues such as eczema or acne or you’re blessed with healthy skin, the products you use should be carefully chosen. Conventional moisturizers and emollients often contain chemicals such as parabens and phthalates that can irritate sensitive skin and create problems down the line, even for so-called ‘normal’ skin. Not to mention that these kinds of products are often tested on animals.

Using plant-based and homemade lotions and creams is the way to go if you want to protect your skin this season and have healthy glowing skin that defies aging all year long. Unfamiliar with the world of chemical-free, gentle cosmetics? Here are 5 natural oils that you should get to know:


1. Marula Oil

Ton Rulkens/Flickr

If you’ve been looking for a natural product that works equally well for your dry skin and breakouts, marula oil is the answer. This oil, derived from the fruit kernel of the Sclerocarya birrea tree originating from South Africa, is rich in oleic and palmitic acids, two fatty acids that are very similar to those found naturally in our skin’s outer layer, the epidermis. The presence of these fatty acids means that marula oil is non-irritating and easily penetrates our skin, leaving it hydrated and moisturized for hours as they inhibit transepidermal water loss.

Worried about breakouts? You don’t have to be. The structure of the fatty acids molecules found in marula oil are smaller than other conventional oils so they are absorbed into our skin faster which means they aren’t comedogenic. Besides its soothing and hydrating effects on our skin, marula oil also has the power to heal existing scars and help repair superficial wounds. Marula oil’s antimicrobial properties are worth noting as well as they are beneficial in treating skin infections and certain skin issues like eczema and psoriasis.

2. Kigelia Oil

RVCTA Imágenes/Flickr


If you have acne or other skin issues, this African oil is for you. Kigelia oil, made from the sausage like fruit of the Kigelia africana tree, is packed with antioxidants that gives it antimicrobial, rejuvenating, and healing properties that do wonders for problematic skin.  Iridoids, naphthoquinones, and coumarins, three types of phytochemicals found in Kigelia oil help get rid of acne-causing bacteria and prevent skin infections from occuring. The antioxidant compounds also fight free-radicals that cause photoaging of the skin and have been shown to soothe dry skin and heal damage caused by chemicals, sun burns, or cold weather.

Aside from its well-established benefits for common skin issues, Kigelia oil shows promising medicinal properties for the treatment of skin diseases such as psoriasis and eczema. Researchers also report that its antimicrobial and antioxidant content has a positive effect on fungal infections, wounds, and even cancer.


3. Jojoba Oil

Ken Bosma/Flickr

Jojoba oil, extracted from the seed of the Simmondsia chinensis plant, is a polyvalent oil. It is suited for all types of skin and can help treat a wide range of skin issues such as acne, eczema, and psoriasis. Its remarkable effects are due to its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties as well as its emollient quality. Jojoba oil mimics sebum, the natural oil produced by our skin, and also removes oil buildup on our epidermis. Thus, jojoba prevents breakouts while leaving our skin well-moisturized and soft. Jojoba oil’s hydrating properties also makes it a great treatment for irritated, scaly skin.


Jojoba oil can be used to treat skin lesions as it has proven healing properties due to its antioxidant content. Its ability to fight free-radicals also makes it a great anti-aging oil, helping smooth out lines and wrinkles on our face.

4. Argan Oil


You have likely heard of this oil as its use in many cosmetics is nothing new. Argan oil, extracted from the kernel of the Argania spinosa, has been used by Moroccan women for centuries. Aside from its well-established beneficial effects on evening out our complexion and preventing breakouts, argan oil is also good for treating dry and inflamed skin, psoriasis, eczema, scabies, wounds, and burns.

Argan oil contains tocopherols, medium chain fatty acids, carotenoids, squalene, and oleic acid, all of which are powerful antioxidants that give the oil strong anti-inflammatory and anti-aging properties. Not only does it help prevent wrinkles and age lines, argan oil also has anti-cancer properties. Studies show that the oil inhibits melanogenic enzymes which leads to skin cancer and hyperpigmentation disorders. How awesome is that?

5. Tea Tree Oil

Herbolario Allium/Flickr

Tea tree oil is derived from the tea tree native of Australia. Not to be confused with the Camellia sinensis plant which is used to make the tea we enjoy. Tea tree oil is actually toxic if ingested so make sure to keep it away from children and pets. Don’t let that scare you away from using the oil on your skin though. Tea tree oil is a powerful antiseptic that can do wonders for acne prone skin and can also treat fungal infections, cuts, burns, athlete’s foot, insect bites, and other skin ailments.


While tea tree oil is great for oily skin and breakouts, be aware that it may not be the best option for sensitive skin or people suffering from eczema as its strong cleansing properties can be too harsh and dry out your skin.

Not to worry though — argan oil, jojoba oil, marula oil, and kigelia oil are all amazing options. Have you tried any of these natural oils? If so, which is your favorite? Let us know in the comments!

Recommended Resources to Get You StartedDitch the Wrinkle Cream: Anti-Aging Properties of Natural Oils, and 5 DIY Formulas

Want to find out more about natural skin care and homemade beauty products? Here are a few articles that might interest you:

If you like articles like this and want more tips and tricks related to living an eco-friendly and plant-based lifestyle, we also highly recommend downloading the Food Monster App, which is available for both Android and iPhone, and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. The app has more than 10,000 plant-based, allergy-friendly recipes, and subscribers gain access to ten new recipes per day. Check it out!

Lead image source: Olga Miltsova/Shutterstock