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Is Facial Oil Good for Acne?

4 mins

Akhila Jerripothula

Stop drying out your skin & start nourishing signs of dehydration!

If you have acne-prone skin, you know acne is the beginning of potential skin issues. In your adolescence, blemished skin was probably accompanied by oily skin and irritation. While you may think it stops with puberty, many people experience acne in their adult life in the form of blackheads, clogged pores, and different skin types in various areas of the face. 

It may sound reasonable to reach for skin-drying acne treatments and harsh cleansers that aggressively strip your skin’s natural oils. The reality is, it can make your acne worse! Drying out your skin will cause the oil glands to overproduce oils in order to compensate for hydration that’s being stripped away. Don’t be afraid of moisture, especially with ultra-hydrating facial oils! It can be the key to nourishing, balancing, and strengthening your skin barrier! 

Will Facial Oils Clog My Pores?

This is a totally valid concern, so let’s break down pore-clogging properties, aka what comedogenic means. This word means it will clog pores in an irritating way that can cause blackheads or acne. A comedogenic scale is a great tool that rates how likely an oil will clog your pores. They range from 0-5, with 0 meaning that the oil will not clog the pores at all; 1 means very low likelihood of clogging pores; 2 means a low likelihood of clogging pores; 3 means moderate likelihood of clogging pores; 4 means a fairly high likelihood of clogging pores; 5 means highest likelihood of clogging pores (stay away!). If you have acne-prone and oily skin, stick with a facial oil in the 2 or under range for your skin type. (Source)

Does Facial Oil Make Acne Worse? Why Clogging Your Pores Isn’t Bad

If you instantly panic thinking of clogged pores, don’t fret! It’s the reality of the skin barrier, which needs moisture to create a barrier against outside irritants and seal in your skincare to prevent it from evaporating. If you don’t seal in your skin, aka clog your pores with hydration to prevent evaporation, your skincare will do nothing for you! That’s why applying your skincare in the correct order is SUPER important, check out our newbie-friendly skincare guide here for all the essential tips. 

If you’re scared of oil, remember that your face naturally produces oils like sebum, along with fatty lipids that make up your skin’s protective barrier. Oils work is by essentially “plugging” your pores with its oil particle size, which prevents any irritants from getting inside your skin. This hydration is essential to prevent water loss and fight environmental stressors that can strip your skin of its moisture-- like pollution and free radicals. A strong and healthy skin barrier NEEDS hydration, and is essential for keeping your skin looking smooth, glowing, and radiant-- and free from dry patches and irritation like eczema and acne! 

Oils On Oily Skin?!

You read that right! Your oily skin could be a sign of dehydration, where your skin is overproducing sebum to compensate for the dryness. Being aggressive to your skin barrier with harsh and drying skincare is only going to worsen this. By adding this essential hydration into your skincare routine, you can actually trick your skin into thinking that it doesn’t need to produce more oil! How cool is that? 

Oils are packed with skin-loving ingredients like antioxidants, fatty acids, and vitamins. Some of these key ingredients are fatty acids, oleic and linoleic acid-- “Oleic acid is a monounsaturated fatty acid, also omega-9 fatty acid. Linoleic acid is an unsaturated fatty acid, and also an omega-6 fatty acid.” Acne-prone skin has been found to show low levels of linoleic acid on their skin surface lipids. (Source) Finding oils that are higher in linoleic acids would be better for oily skin, but this doesn’t negate the positive effects that oleic acids can have on the skin as well. Using oil that are balanced in both components will work even better, like with WOW Skin Science Castor Oil

Is Facial Oil Good for Acne? Ideal Routine For Oily + Acne-Prone Skin

With this ground-breaking info, introducing oil to your existing routine can sound scary, but it’s SUPER easy! Which oil is best for acne? Set the stage with a clean canvas, using WOW Skin Science Activated Charcoal Foaming Face Wash With Brush to gently exfoliate dead skin cells that are clogging pores with the soft-silicone built-in brush! It’s plant-powered with Activated Charcoal to absorb impurities and excess sebum to deep clean pores for a clean slate. 

The next step is to tone with WOW Skin Science 10-In-1 Apple Cider Vinegar Mist Tonic to refine pores, balance pH levels, and soothe skin irritations in one step. If your blemish-prone skin needs some extra treating, use the WOW Skin Science Activated Charcoal Face Mask to dig deep into pores and absorb built-up dirt, grime, and gunk in the skin that can cause acne. This mask can be applied just to the breakout-prone areas of your face to prevent over drying your skin. 

Spot treat active acne with WOW Skin Science Tea Tree Essential Oil, packed with antimicrobial and antibacterial properties to fight acne-causing bacteria at the source. Mix 1-2 drops into WOW Skin Science Castor Oil as a carrier oil for skin-safe usage. Remember, we don’t want to be harsh to your skin! If you’re looking for a ready to use option, use WOW Skin Science Vitamin C Serum, packed with 20% Vitamin C to revive your glow and promote skin cell turnover for faster acne healing. 

Lastly and most importantly, it’s time to rehydrate your skin after all the cleansing and treating. WOW Skin Science Castor Oil is a favorite facial oil since it is a 1 on the comedogenic scale, and has a low chance of causing adverse reactions to your skin. Make sure you apply as your last step, after eye cream and other treatments, as nothing should penetrate your oil-clogged and hydrated pores after sealing in your skincare. See, that wasn’t too hard!

Trial And Error

Remember the comedogenic scale? It’s a great guide to avoiding high-ranking oils like coconut oil that will clog pores in a bad way, causing adverse reactions. It should be taken as just that though, a guide. Many people refer to this acronym YMMV (Your Mileage May Vary) when reviewing skincare products and how they’re “supposed” to work on the skin. This means that a beauty product will have varying effects on different people, as your skin type is determined mainly by genetics, and that is okay! Just because a product didn’t work for you doesn’t mean that it doesn’t work later down the road!

If you’re prone to getting acne and bumps on your skin, then it's probably best to steer clear of products that are rated high on the comedogenic scale. However, if a product that you’ve been using without any problems happens to list an ingredient as comedogenic, you don’t necessarily have to just give it up. Trust your experience and listen to your skin’s reaction. Since there’s no formal regulation of the words “non-comedogenic,” keeping a list of ingredients and how they make your skin react would be really helpful when shopping for skincare products. 


Skincare truly is a science, and finding the balance is what a great routine is all about! If you’re cleansing and treating, then rehydrating quenched skin is essential. Look for signs of dryness like tightness, dry patches, and flaky skin to know how much and how often to hydrate. Your skin condition changes with the seasons and throughout the years, so watch your skin carefully to understand its needs. Good luck!

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Author: Akhila Jerripothula

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