The struggle is real when working for, not against, your acne-prone skin. Products and key ingredients need to mitigate inflammation, and calm flare-ups while delivering hydration. One common misconception among many skincare lovers is that if acne is present, this must be an indication of oily skin. As a result, facial oils and other oily skincare products are avoided.

In truth, skincare lovers can use oil to their advantage in soothing acne and its unpleasant side effects. Today we’ll be addressing all of your burning questions about oil and acne, and how the use of facial oils can actually help, not hinder your acne-prone skin.

Is all acne-prone skin oily?

Despite sebum production being a significant player in what causes acne (resulting in an increase in oily skin texture), other factors including stress and our genetics, also play a role in whether you draw the acne card.

In fact, all skin types may be acne-prone, from dry to combination to oily. Not all acne is indicative of oily skin, and not all oily skin is indicative of acne. Acne also manifests itself in other ways besides oily skin and pimples, such as clogged pores and inflamed cysts.

So if oil is a problem, I should use oil-removing products, then – right?

Where most folks tend to go wrong is using products intended to strip the skin of its natural oils that protect and hydrate our skin’s barrier. This is actually counterintuitive to the end goal of beautiful skin, as these naturally occurring oils protect against inflammation and calm sensitive skin.

The more stripping products you use with the intent to eliminate excess oil, the more your skin becomes deprived of its essential moisture. In turn, your skin is thrown into hyperdrive in order to re-supply itself with this necessary hydration, and creates more oil!

Finding a balance between making your skin drier than the Saharan desert but not slicker than an oil spill, while also actively working to treat acne, is key. One unlikely ally comes in the form of facial oils.

Can you use facial oils when you have acne-prone skin?

You can certainly use facial oils when you have acne-prone skin. However, using facial oils as part of your acne-prone skin care routine is about choosing the right ingredients for your skin condition. Well-formulated clinically researched professional products that balance hydration and moisture are ideal for tackling acne.

What ingredients should I look for in a face oil for acne?

It’s important to note that not all face oils are created equal. In fact, certain ingredients are considered comedogenic, clogging pores and increasing skin flare-ups. Choosing the best facial oil ingredients is about conducting thorough research prior to purchasing, and performing patch tests.

Beneficial, healthy ingredients

With the myriad of available facial oils these days, parsing out the good from the not-so-good can feel like an impossible task. Below we’ve included key ingredients to look for.

Jojoba Oil

Using jojoba oil for acne is one recommended beneficial ingredient for tackling blemishes. In one 2012 study, 54% of subjects saw a reduction of mild acne, after consistently applying a clay jojoba oil mask two to three times a week.

Jojoba oil’s benefits for acne sufferers include its unique ability to mimic our skin’s naturally-produced sebum. This self-regulation signals to our skin not to produce excessive sebum, in turn, moisturizing skin while actively working to reduce the appearance of oil.

Sunflower Oil

A highly absorbent non-comedogenic oil, sunflower oil serves as a great option for skincare lovers looking to keep their acne-prone skin clear. Consisting of several compounds, the presence of linoleic acid is especially important for acne sufferers looking to reap sunflower oil health benefits for the skin.

Previous research demonstrates that acne-prone skin typically has lower levels of linoleic acid, lending to the theory that reduced concentrations of linoleic acid can lead to congested skin and clogged pores for acne sufferers. Linoleic acid is also an omega-6 fatty acid, meaning the body can not produce it on its own. 

Sunflower oil benefits acne-prone skin, by supplying it with a healthy concentration of linoleic acid, as well as antioxidant-rich Vitamin E.

Environ’s Sebu-ACE Oil is scientifically formulated to provide a daily dose of essential vitamins. This light-textured oil helps control the appearance of blemishes, while leaving skin feeling and looking healthy and smooth.

Hindering Ingredients

It’s important to note that different resources convey different information about which ingredients hinder your skin rather than help it, especially brand-sponsored research. 

Working with an individual skin therapist to navigate your options is your safest bet. In the meantime, read on to review the no-nos on our list, when it comes to treating acne with oil.

Coconut Oil

Remember that coconut oil craze a few years back? Promoted as a restorative mask when slathered on the scalp, or used as a natural teeth whitener, it was everywhere. However, for acne-prone skin, the coconut oil extravaganza stops here.

Like many similar occlusive ingredients, it creates a moisturizing barrier, and delivers a dose of much-needed hydration. However, the heavy consistency of coconut oil actually traps dead skin cells, and sebum, further clogging and irritating your pores.

Shea Butter

While not technically an oil, shea butter’s chemical make-up, in particular the presence of oleic acid, spells bad news for blemish-prone skin. While brands may indicate their shea butter products to be non-comedogenic, there are currently no studies to support shea butter as a non-comedogenic ingredient. 

Unlike linoleic acid, our bodies naturally produce oleic acid, with particularly high levels already present in acne sufferers. Oleic acid has also been found to stimulate the growth of Cutibacterium acnes (simply known as C.acnes), a type of bacteria that occurs in the development of acne. 

As a result, the presence of oleic acid in acne-prone skin, combined with shea butter’s high concentration of oleic acid, is likely to clog pores and worsen acne.

Misconceptions surrounding acne and the best face oil for glowing skin, might shape the products you purchase and the ingredients you use on a daily basis – but you don’t have to tackle blemish-prone skin alone!

Our Clarity FX – Deep Pore Cleansing Facial helps your acne-prone skin feel refreshed and balanced, after targeted cleansing, exfoliation, and extractions – book now!

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