What is Body Oil?

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  • Written By: Allison Boelcke
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
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  • Last Modified Date: 01 May 2020
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Body oil is a skin care product that is generally recommended as treatment or prevention of extremely dry skin. Its main ingredients tend to be oils extracted from natural sources, such as from fruit or vegetable seeds, which give the product a smooth texture. Other common active ingredients include vitamin E and fatty acids, both of which have moisturizing properties.

For body oil to be most effective, manufacturers will typically recommend that the product be applied while the user’s skin is still damp. Since body oil is obviously oil-based, while other body lotions are creams are water-based, it is thought to create a barrier against the outside of the skin. The oil barrier may help trap the water from a shower or bath onto the skin so it can sink in and provide extensive moisture, rather than being rubbed off or only lightly moisturizing the very top layer of the skin.

Overly hot water can draw out any of the little moisture that dry skin has, so prior to using body oil, it is recommended to take a lukewarm shower or bath. Afterward, one will typically need to lightly pat the skin dry until it is damp without being fully dried. If the skin is too wet, the product may slip right off and never penetrate the skin. Conversely, not having any water on the skin afterward will usually prevent the oil from being able to trap moisture onto the skin. People who feel they need extra moisture can also apply the oil to their bodies in the shower or add it to the bathwater as a way to try to further coat the skin.

Using body oil as a person’s selected form of moisturizer is generally only recommended for those with extremely flaky, tight, or rough skin. These type of skin issues may not respond well to lighter, water-based moisturizing products because they may not be potent enough to fully saturate the skin‘s dryness. People with normal or oily skin will typically not be advised to use the product because its heavy texture can make their skin feel overly greasy, rather than just smooth. The oil can also clog skin pores and result in pimples for some people, even if they are not acne prone.

Body oil tends to be available in traditional liquid-based versions, as well as dry versions. The traditional liquid-based types usually have water added to the other active ingredients as a way to make application easier; however, they can be messier to handle. Dry body oils typically do not have any added liquids with the active ingredients and instead come packaged in a spray bottle so the product can be spritzed directly onto the skin’s surface with little rubbing. This version tends to be more expensive and more difficult to find than the traditional kind.

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