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Can You Use Bio-Oil on Your Face?

Few skin-care products come with a cult following like that of Bio-Oil, a lightweight oil commonly used to try to reduce the appearance of scars. So it’s understandable that you’d want to try using Bio-Oil ($17, Amazon) on your face, especially with facial oils being so trendy right now. But whether or not you should use Bio-Oil on your face depends on your skin type and the skin concerns you’re trying to treat with it.

Let’s talk about face oils.

Face oils aren’t an essential part of your skin-care routine, Noelani Gonzalez, M.D., director of cosmetic dermatology at Mount Sinai West, tells SELF. But they can offer some benefits.

In particular, because of their emollient oily nature, these products can help the other ingredients in the product (like the vitamin E and A in Bio-Oil, for instance) penetrate through the oily layer on top of your skin. A water-based product might have a harder time with this, Dr. Gonzalez says. Other types of facial oils act as occlusives, working like sealants on the skin to keep moisture inside and helping dry skin feel hydrated, SELF explained previously. Some oils actually work as both emollients and occlusive products.

But, in general, dermatologists are skeptical about the value of face oils—especially for those who have oily or acne-prone skin, SELF explained previously. Some face oils are less comedogenic than others, meaning they are less likely to cause breakouts. But even those that feel lighter on the skin or claim to be completely noncomedogenic can cause problems for people who are especially prone to acne. Bio-Oil is “a very lightweight oil, but it could still cause breakouts,” Dr. Gonzalez says.

“Inpiduals with sensitive skin should also be careful with facial oils,” Sara Hogan, M.D., dermatologist at UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica, tells SELF. Faci

al oils—and Bio-Oil—usually contain a variety of botanical ingredients that can be irritating to those with sensitive skin or even cause allergic reactions in a small percentage of the population.So why might you want to use Bio-Oil on your face?

Let’s say you already know your face can tolerate oils well and you’re one of the many people who always seem to have some Bio-Oil laying around. Can you just…put Bio-Oil on your face? What could that do for your face—if anything?

According to the company, Bio-Oil can be used for many things on the skin, mainly managing the appearance of scars, uneven skin tone, signs of aging, and overall dryness.

The major ingredients in Bio-Oil are natural botanical ingredients, like calendula oil, lavender oil, rosemary oil, and chamomile oil, Dr. Hogan says. It also comes with small amounts of retinyl palmitate (a vitamin A derivative) and vitamin E, both of which have inpidually been shown to have at least some positive effects on the skin. Bio-Oil also contains a proprietary ingredient called PurCellin Oil, which the company claims helps the oil absorb quickly without leaving a greasy feeling behind.

If you’re thinking about using Bio-Oil on your face—or if you’re already doing so—you’re probably interested in treating dryness, skin-tone concerns, or facial scars. And there are some reasons to think it could help with some of those issues, dryness in particular. As an oil, Bio-Oil can help your skin feel more moisturized by bolstering the natural layer of oil on top of your skin. To get the most out of it for moisturizing purposes, you’d want to apply it after showering or washing your face to seal in that water. And consider layering a moisturizer on top of that, Dr. Gonzalez suggests, to help the ingredients stay in the skin rather than evaporating.