Did I just say the best oils for acne-prone skin? Yes, you read that right. I use oils on my combination, acne-prone skin. And I have never been happier. My skin feels clean, properly moisturized with way lesser breakouts. But not all oils are equal, so you have to be careful which ones you use. Here I present the best carrier oils for acne-prone skin and scars.
7 Best Carrier Oils for acne-prone Skin
Here is a list of the 7 best carrier oils for acne-prone skin and scars. This is a general guideline and based on my personal experience, remember to do a patch test to find if you are allergic to any of these oils.
1. Argan Oil
Pressed from the fruit of the Argan tree (found only in Morocco) this oil is known as liquid gold, and for a good reason. With high amounts of Vitamin E, this oil is great for anti-aging.
It can help with fine lines, wrinkles, and even tightening the skin.
With a balanced profile of oleic and linoleic acid, this oil is amazing for every skin type. It feels moisturizing without being too oily on the skin. This absorbs easily and does not leave an oily feeling behind. I love this oil as it absorbs nicely and does not leave any oily residue.
This is an overall safer choice for any skin type. If you are just starting out with oils, I would recommend this oil.
Check out how to use argan oil for acne-prone skin.
2. Rosehip seed Oil
With linoleic acid being major fatty acid, this oil has high protection against inflammation and oxidation.
Due to its properties to combat oxidation, this oil is helpful in treating signs of aging. High anti-inflammatory properties make it suitable to treat scarring, redness, and inflammation.
This oil has a dry consistency and does not feel sticky on the skin. This is an excellent oil for mature skin.
3. Almond Oil
Extracted from the almonds, this oil is known for its emollient properties. This oil is also known to improve complexion and skin tone.
This oil takes some time to skin in the skin so I generally avoid this one.
This oil is great for normal skin types. If you have dry skin, add a drop of almond oil to your routine. It will moisturize your skin and keep it supple.
4. Grapeseed Oil
Another oil high in linoleic acid and with amazing moisturizing properties for the skin.
I love using this oil as it is cheap so an excellent option to mix some of the expensive oils. Even on its own, grapeseed oil is pretty light and absorbs quickly. This makes it a great oil to use for acne-prone skin.
And, it absorbs nicely in the skin and does not leave oily residue behind. Talk about skin and pocket-friendly.
5. Olive Oil
This is one of the most commonly available oils in our kitchen. This oil mainly consists of oleic acids with smaller quantities of linoleic acid. Due to this, it has strong moisturizing properties and is more suitable for dry skin.
It is heavy oil and takes some time in drying off. Use only a few drops of this oil to see whether it suits your skin or not.
Olive oil is very commonly recommended for oil cleansing. It works nicely to clean up dirt, and sebum from the skin. Personally, I did not have great results with olive oil either as a cleanser or moisturizer.
6. Jojoba Oil
Technically a wax, this oil most resembles the natural oil produced by our skin. It has high anti-inflammatory properties making it suitable for infections, aging, and moisturization.
Due to its structure closely resembling sebum, this helps to balance oil secretion in the skin.
Even though this oil is supposedly great for skin, I yet have to have any success with this one. I have used this oil multiple times with great hopes, but every time it broke me out. It works great for my hair though, dilemma!!!
Do a patch test (either on the underside of your elbow or use on a portion of the face) to see whether this oil suits you.
7. Prickly Pear Seed Oil
Next, I have relatively less famous and one of my personal favorite oils, Prickly Pear Oil. Prickly pear oil is extracted from a cactus.
This oil has large amounts of linoleic acid, and vitamin E. Prickly pear oil stimulates cell production, provides protection and helps retain skin moisture (source).
This oil is moisturizing, helps in cleaning up active acne (personal experience), and is overall amazing for skin.
The only downside is the cost. Quality prickly pear oil is expensive as only a tiny amount of oil is extracted from each seed.
Instead of opting for the cheapest option, go for quality oil here. It will be totally worth it. This is one of my secret weapons against acne.
This is like one of the big guns I withdraw against those tiny budding bumps. And it slays them like a pro.
Okay, after the quick overview, let’s get into details of why you should be using oils on your face.
Want to skip the details and check other great oils for acne-prone skin.
Why use oils on the face?
Now, to the big question. Why should you use oils on the face?
After all, everyone would have told you to stay from oils. Acne-prone skin? use “oil-free” face wash, moisturizer, serum, and whatnot.
But, not all oils are scary or ready to break you out. In fact, oils might be what your skin needs, as they are loaded with beneficial nutrients for the skin.
Our skin has glands that produce natural oil. This natural oil is necessary to keep the skin properly moisturized. When this oil is perfectly balanced, then you get moisturized skin. But when the balance is off, you get dry/oily skin.
Here come, carrier oils. They can help to balance natural oil production, clean up clogged pores, and moisturize your skin.
Plant oils have been used on the skin for cosmetic and medicinal uses due to their physiological benefits. As is demonstrated in this article, different molecular structures of oil benefit different skin problems.
What are carrier oils?
Carrier oils are basically oils derived from nuts and seeds of different plants. Based on the plant they have different properties. They can be used by themselves (as a moisturizer, to treat specific problems) or can be mixed with other carrier oils or essential oils.
They are called carrier oils as they carry essential oils or any other absolute to the skin(source). The absorption of essential oil will depend on the chemical as well as physical properties of the oil.
Even though called vegetable oils, not all oils are derived from vegetables. This name is given to mainly distinguish them from non-plant oils (like emu, mineral oil).
Many of these oils may be used in cooking, but not all oils are food grade. Always check the recommended usage before consuming carrier oils.
Quality of carrier oils
When it comes to selecting the best quality oils, cheap is not always the best Quality oils are pricey, so buy the highest quality you can afford. Choose cold-pressed and unrefined carrier oils. This means the oil is not heated during extraction and not refined, which is a higher quality oil.
Which carrier oils are good for acne-prone skin
Based on the plant from which it is derived, each oil contains a different chemical structure and unique properties. It is this structure that defines whether oil will clog pores or not.
How to tell whether a particular oil will clog your pores or not? In comes Comedogenic Rating.
Comedogenic rating basically tells the likelihood of specific oil clogging pores. Given on a scale of 0-5, a lower rating means less likelihood of that oil clogging while a higher means there is a very high chance of it clogging pores.
0 – Not likely to clog pores
1- Low chances of clogging pores
2- Moderately Low. These oils may or not clog pores
3 – Moderate chances of clogging pores
4- Fairly High.
5- High chances of clogging pores.
For acne-prone skin, you want to use 0-2 comedogenic rating oils. Anything above that increases the chances of breakouts.
Keep in mind, this is more like a guideline, and finally, whether an oil suits you or not will depend on many factors like your skin, genes, your location, health, lifestyle, and other variables.
I have shared the comedogenic rating of the most common oils below.
What is linoleic acid?
Okay, so from above you understood, comedogenic 0-2 oils are good for acne-prone skin. But there is one more factor to keep in mind when deciding to use oils.
You want to use oils that are rich in Linoleic Acid. You can ask what is linoleic acid and why is it important in deciding your next oil?
Among other fatty acids, two omega essential fatty acids play an important role in making the chemical structure of the oils. These are oleic acid (omega 9 essential fatty acid) and linoleic acid (omega 6 fatty acid).
In healthy, balanced skin, both these oils are in good balance. But in acne-prone skin, linoleic acid is way lesser than it should be. Result, acne, dryness, or sensitivity. None of the good things.
In short, for acne-prone skin, you want oils that are rich in linoleic acid.
Low comedogenic rating + Rich linoleic acid = happy skin
Carrier oils suitable for acne-prone skin
Based on the above criteria, here is a list of carrier oils that are generally great for acne-prone skin and scars.
Since these are mostly nut oils, do a patch test before using it to find if you are allergic to it.
- Comedogenic Rating – 0 – very less likely to clog pores
- Argan oil
- Hemp oil
- Safflower oil
- Sunflower oil
- Tomato seed oil
- Watermelon seed oil
- Shea butter
- Comedogenic Rating -1 – less likely to clog pores
- Grapeseed oil
- Rosehip seed oil
- Prickly Pear oil
- Guava seed oil
- Cucumber seed oil
- Comedogenic Rating -2 – some chances to clog pores
- Jojoba oil
- Black cumin seed oil
- Borage oil
- Pumpkin seed oil
- Mango butter
- Olive oil
- Almond oil
I have intentionally left out oils above comedogenic rating 2 as these are more like to cause clog pores and breakout acne-prone skin.
Oil Vs Butter
You may observe that the above list contains oils as well as natural butter. So, what is the difference between them?
In very simple terms, butter is a fat extracted from some part of the plant, typically fruit. Compared to its oil counterpart, butter is thicker and takes more time to absorb in the skin.
Using natural butter like shea is good for the skin. Butters generally have higher oleic acid content. This makes them an excellent choice for dry skin, but more susceptible to breaking you out.
Do a patch test before using any new oil or butter on your face.
Quick Tip: Use one oil at a time to see if it suits you. This makes it easy to identify which oil worked for you and which didn’t.
Different oils have different benefits for the skin. Look for a low comedogenic rating oil with high linoleic fatty acid for healthy skin. Combine using oils with a healthy skin routine to enjoy glowing skin.
Do you use oils on your face? How was your experience?