Oil and Acne

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Oil and acne. Cause and effect?

Not necessarily. Oil, as it relates to skincare, exists on a spectrum. Pizza oil dripping on your chin? Wash your face, stat. Pumpkin seed oil? Rub it in.

I have written about the oil cleansing method before. It’s still my favorite way of cleaning my face. For those unfamiliar, oil cleansing comes down to three truths: (1) oil can dissolve oil, (2) some oils clog our pores and cause acne, and (3) some oils have superpowers and dissolve the oil that clogs our pores.

Oils that dissolve the oil (aka sebum) that clogs our pores are the key to unlocking clear skin. These oils have low comedogenic ratings (usually between 1 and 2) and are often antibacterial. My favorite is manuka oil, which is 20x more effective than tea tree oil in killing P. acnes bacteria. Manuka oil is derived from Manuka trees, which grow wild in New Zealand. It smells deliciously nutty-I would love to have it in a latte-and it mixes well with hemp seed oil, which is, hands down, the best oil moisturizer I have ever found. (A note about hemp seed oil–tread carefully. It saturates washcloths and it will never fully wash out. If the oil builds up in the cloth, it can catch fire in the dryer, and yes, I am speaking from personal experience.)

I replaced hemp seed oil with pumpkin seed oil in my skincare routine after a second incident with the dryer. Like hemp seed oil, it has a high concentration of linoleic acid, an essential fatty acid my skin loves. Adding three drops of manuka oil to a silver dollar-sized amount of pumpkin seed oil makes it the perfect cleanser for me. I rub it into my skin and remove it with a hot, wet washcloth.

Oils high in linoleic acid are thin and lightweight, making them a great choice for those with acne-prone skin, like me. However, your skin may be better suited for oils high in oleic acids, such as almond oil, or olive oil. This is especially true if your skin is dry and cracking, as mine is in the winter. Oils high in oleic acid are thick, heavy, and moisturizing. Skincare Lab offers an excellent breakdown of the differences in these acids and how they may impact the skin.

If you are hesitant to try these oils, consider using jojoba oil instead. It is a liquid wax that is unlikely to clog pores, regardless of your skin type. It is universally gentle and you can likely find it at your grocery store. Jojoba mixes particularly well with a few drops of lavender oil, which can sooth redness and irritation and kill bacteria. Regardless of what oils you use, rub them deep into your skin, take a moment to enjoy the fragrance, and wipe your face with a hot, wet washcloth. Your skin will be primed for any additional product you wish to apply, or good to go!

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