Like sunflower oil, apricot kernel oil is lighter than the first two and absorbs quickly, making it a great moisturizer for busy mornings. It's also full of vitamins A, C, and E, antioxidants that protect the skin from signs of aging and sun damage.
Coconut oil is another cooking oil that's garnered a reputation for being a great skin salve. But Niemann recommends against using it. It's a common ingredient in soap because it's so effective at stripping surfaces of oil, she says, and it can do the same thing to your skin. "There are people who say it's great, and if it works for them, great, but it dries my skin out," she says.
Using Oil for Your Skin
The best part about using healthy cooking oils for your skin? If you don't like the way any one of them feels, you can use up what's left over in your kitchen—no money gone to waste, and no more bathroom cabinets littered with half-empty bottles.
When you're applying any of them, Niemann recommends using just one or two drops. "It really doesn't take much," she says. If you've applied some to your skin and it hasn't absorbed within a couple of minutes, you're using too much, she adds.
Buy oils that are as unrefined as possible, as those retain the highest levels of vitamins and healthy fats. Look for words like "extra-virgin" and "cold-pressed." And like any oil you'd use in your kitchen, store those you're using for your skin in dark places away from direct sunlight, advises Niemann. If you can find an amber or cobalt jar to store them in, all the better. Those colors protect oil from sunlight. "It's like sunglasses," she says. Any oils you have in your bathroom should be used within a month, she notes. Otherwise, they'll go rancid and start to smell funky.
Making Your Own Scented Oils
Get creative with using essential oils, she suggests, if you're the type who likes scented products. Essential oils' fragrance is much more natural and comes without the hormone-disrupting and allergenic chemicals used to artificially scent commercial lotions and creams. Any fragrance works well, she says, but steer clear of lemongrass, which is very astringent and can dry out your skin, and cinnamon, which can be irritating.
Tea tree oil has been shown to improve acne, but Niemann warns that the scent is very strong. If you want to add tea tree oil to your beauty oils, she suggests using half the amount you'd use with other essential oils.
More from Rodale.com: