The Oil You’ve Never Heard Of That Saved My Face

Anyone who has dry skin knows that managing it can be a never-ending, often painful challenge. The most uncomfortable permutation of my own dry skin is the malar rash I get on my face. A malar rash is also known as a “butterfly rash”—an irritated patch of skin that stretches across the cheeks and over the bridge of the nose.

Two years ago, I had flaky and sore neon-pink triangles on either side of my nose. After a wash, the dead skin would peel off leaving the skin raised and inflamed. This was the kind of enemy that could not be defeated by mere soap and coconut oil. 

Fed up with the affliction, I wanted to finally nail down an effective skin routine that didn’t take hours or leave me feeling raw. My skincare-enthusiast friends expertly assembled an assortment of expensive, high-quality products that promised to fix my face: cleanser, gentle exfoliant, toner, and moisturizer. What could possibly go wrong?

Well, first of all, all those excellent products didn’t work. The rash persisted. Moisturizers failed, making me feel like I was wearing a cling-film mask. And the toner dried out my damaged skin even more.

But everything changed when my friend sent me a bottle of maracuja oil. The contents of the enticing little bottle hadn’t worked for her oily skin type, so when she heard about my skincare struggles, she passed it along.

After just one application, I was hooked.

Maracuja oil comes from the seed of the passionfruit, known to scientists as Passifloraedulis, which is native to tropical and subtropical areas in South America. Products bearing the same name may also come from Passiflora incarnata, more commonly referred to as a passion flower, which is a wild vine that populates the southern United States. Both varieties are packed with nutrients known for promoting skin health, most notably the antioxidants vitamin C and vitamin B, as well as oleic and palmitic fatty acids.

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For optimal results, I rub an approximated silver dollar amount over my hands and massage it into my face. Since I use so much oil, it does take a minute or so to work it in, but my desert-dry face absorbs the moisture like a dehydrated sponge. To finish the job, I like to apply a vitamin E cream on top.

I apply the oil after cleansing in the morning and before going to bed. Using it gives me an extra layer of protection against the elements and keeps my face feeling supple and healthy.

Though my skin sometimes maintains a little redness, the hydration provided by the maracuja oil has helped manage the flaky dryness and keeps the area smooth. I’m also pleased to note that long-term use has not resulted in any pore clogging or increase in pimple activity!

Related: All The Ways I Use Tea Tree Oil In My Beauty Routine

Maracuja isn’t the only oil I use to tame the horsemen of the apocalypse doing their best to wreak havoc on my face. I also love camellia oil as a make-up remover and cleanser. I have experimented with various other oils as a primary staple, but many make me feel greasy, rather than hydrated.

Ultimately, this oil has been a lifesaver. Total game changer. My holy grail skincare product. After implementing it into my routine, I was suddenly taking selfies without a filter and admiring the natural glow my skin developed after regular applications.

Before, using makeup to cover the bright patches on my cheeks was necessary but frustrating, as the texture was visibly unpleasant and removal was always painful. Now, if I do wear concealer or foundation, my face isn’t a disaster zone when it comes time to take it off at the end of the day. I’m like, “Foundation-who?”

Many people I’ve encountered say they avoid maracuja oil because they’re familiar with it only through the super-expensive versions sold by luxury brands. This breaks my heart, considering that you can find affordable versions—like this oil from Shea Terra Organics—without dropping all your cash.

Best of all? I was able to forego the million-step skincare routine so many others before me have endured. Maracuja oil spares my face and my fragile attention span by keeping things neat, clean, and simple.