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Does Olive Oil Clog Pores? Skincare FYI


Olive oil is one of those kitchen staples that pretty much everyone has bought into by now. Even if you do not cook with it obsessively, as I do, you at least have it around for salads and stir fry. 

I have loved olive oil since Rachel Ray’s cooking show twenty years ago. She used to call it EVOO, and I had no idea what she was talking about. Once I figured it out and researched the benefits, I was hooked. 

A few months ago, I listened to one of my favorite podcasters interview a doctor on aging and longevity; he said he would advise drinking the stuff from a cup, he was so impressed with its health benefits. I laughed. Then I went out and bought a giant bottle at Costco. (Don’t worry. I didn’t drink it.) But I did start replacing virtually all the canola oil in my recipes with olive oil. Why not, right? 

But when it comes to skincare, it never occurred to me to apply olive oil. As it turns out, it does not take much investigation to discover the wonders of olive oil. Sadly, however, the benefits come from consuming olive oil, not leaving it on your skin as a moisturizer or it will clog your pores

Table of Contents:

  • Why Does Olive Oil Clog Your Pores?
  • 5 Alternatives to Olive Oil for Skincare
  • Argan Oil
  • Coconut Oil
  • Grapeseed Oil
  • Shea Butter
  • Olive oil and...
  • Oil for Skin, the Pros and Cons
  • Olive Oil Body Butter

Why Does Olive Oil Clog Your Pores?

Olive oil is heavy. Unlike grapeseed oil, black seed oil, or argan oil, it does not run through the fingers and spread easily onto the skin. It smears. It is thick, so if it sits on your skin, it may clog your pores and breed bacteria. 

That reality does not, however, mean that you cannot use it on your skin ever. When combined with other products as a moisturizer, like coconut or an argan oil, you can reap myriad benefits. This approach will not have the same clogging effects. 

As a makeup remover, it can be even safer because you do not leave the oil on your skin. You simply rub the oil across your face and then wipe off and wash with a gentle cleanser. 

Further, you can use olive oil to help eliminate scars. Since clogging pores is not an issue with scar tissue, you can use less caution with the thick, vitamin-rich oil and rub it into your scarred area. 

Thus, the short answer to “does olive oil clog your pores?” is “it can, so use caution.”

5 Alternatives to Olive Oil for Skincare

Rather than rubbing undiluted olive oil into your skin and running the risk of clogging up your clean skin, check out some alternatives that will not require the same level of wariness. 

Argan Oil

Argan oil is one of my favorite skincare oils. It is so thin it spreads easily, so one bottle lasts forever. It is vitamin and nutrient-rich as well as being an anti-inflammatory. You cannot go wrong with argan oil as an alternative to viscous olive oil. It also smells better on the skin, in my opinion. 

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Coconut Oil

My current go-to for all-day moisturizer, coconut oil is thin, spreads well, and smells heavenly. Like olive oil, it tends to make its way from the kitchen cabinet to the beauty shelf commonly and even more effectively. It is a great sunscreen and healing solution as well. 

Grapeseed Oil

Antioxidant-rich and super thin, grapeseed oil is seldom discussed in terms of skincare, but it should be celebrated far and wide. I first tripped upon this magical potion in a bath and body butter-type shop, and I fell in love. It is not as easy to find, so I have stuck with the accessible coconut oil.

Shea Butter

If you do have dry skin and are looking for a thicker, richer moisturizer, shea butter is my go-to. It is helpful during harsh cold winters, acting as a natural barrier for skin, and it goes on smoothly without clogging pores. Like olive oil though, it can worsen skin if it is already oily or acne-prone. So take caution. 

Olive oil and...

If you are determined to make olive oil part of your skincare routine (and who can blame you?), try mixing it with a thinner oil like grapeseed oil or coconut oil. Find the perfect combination that works for you, mixing and measuring in your little apothecary. You can work it out so you avoid the pore-clogging problem but still reap the myriad benefits olive oil delivers. 

Oil for Skin, the Pros and Cons

As with any plant-based approach to life, there are pros and cons, and you must keep in mind that every single body is unique and different from another. Olive oil may work wonders on one person and find another riddled with acne and bacterial cysts. It is a guessing game and one I adore. 

If you do decide to experiment and mix and match, do your research on the oils before you use them. Oils can work wonders on skin and hair when applied externally, supporting the natural oils in your body, delivering healing, and preventing further damage. They can also cause further damage when applied incorrectly or without attention to side effects, allergic reactions, and contraindications. 

When experimenting, start with a small patch of skin and work your way up from there. Give each experiment 24 hours to see how the oil operates and functions overnight. 

Olive Oil Body Butter

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One great example of an olive oil combination is this olive oil body butter by Wow Skin Science. It is all-natural, plant-based, cruelty-free, and mixed with almond oil and shea butter. To be clear, it is body butter, so I would not use it on my face, but it can work wonders on the rest of your skin.

Shanna Mendez

Shanna Mathews Mendez is a freelance writer and blogger on topics related to self-care, naturopathy, female empowerment, and motherhood. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and children, where she enjoys traveling, being active outdoors, and studying herbalism and plant-based remedies in her free time. Drawing on her graduate degree in comparative literature and her own life experiences, she is currently writing her first book. She can be found online at her website

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