Can applying oil to your face actually help keep skin clear and reduce blemishes? Yes! Face oils are the best kept skincare secret to naturally clear, flawless skin. Let’s talk about how face oils help to keep skin clear and which oils are the best for reducing blemishes and scarring from acne.
I have a teeny-tiny little obsession… With oil. That I put on my face.
That’s right, I put oil on my face.
Now there was a time that I would have shuddered at the very idea. I went out of my way to scan every skincare product I purchased for “oil-free” before giving it the green light, thinking that any oil would instantly clog pores upon contact and turn me into one big walking blackhead. And when it came to dealing with breakouts, I saw oil as my ultimate enemy. I mean, I even wiped my face with rubbing alcohol at one point (*cringes*).
Ironically, it was in an act of acne-induced desperation that I finally gave oil a chance, and I’ve never looked back.
The fact is: the right oils can work wonders for blemish-prone skin.
Certain face oils are high in linoleic acid, helping to bring balance back to blemish-prone skin
This one fascinates me the most. Studies have found that the sebum of acne-prone individuals tends to be deficient in a certain type of fatty acid called linoleic acid, and that topical application of linoleic acid can help reduce breakouts. And guess what? Certain face oils are loaded with linoleic acid!
Antioxidant-rich face oils prevent sebum oxidation, a key player in blemishes and acne
A number of studies have shown that acne patients experience more oxidative stress than people with clear skin. This oxidative stress causes sebum oxidation or the oxidation of the skin’s own oil. Many researchers believe this sebum oxidation is the trigger that kicks starts acne since oxidized sebum is incredibly comedogenic (pore-clogging) and causes inflammation in the skin. Topical antioxidants have been found to help prevent sebum oxidation and as a result decrease the frequency and severity of breakouts.
Face oils help to break up the gunk trapped in pores
When it comes down to it, a zit or blackhead is really nothing more than a sticky mess of oil and dead skin cells. And since like-dissolves-like (in other words, oil and water don’t mix but water and water do mix as do oil and oil), applying oil to the skin can actually help to break up this sticky mess and clear it from the pore.
Oils help regulate the skin’s own oil production
Applying oil to the skin can actually “trick” it into producing less sebum (its own oil). Not to mention that often, the skin will produce more sebum to counteract harsh, drying skincare products, and face oils help bring balance by deeply nourishing the skin.
Important note: excess oil production is often a symptom of hormonal imbalance (hello, androgens gone wild!). You can learn more about this and how to balance hormones naturally in my book Glow: The Nutritional Approach to Naturally Gorgeous Skin.
So which oils help keep skin healthy, clear and as flawless as can be!?
(And NO coconut oil is NOT on the list! It breaks a lot of people out and I do not recommend it for acne-prone skin.)
Jojoba oil was my first love. When I first started using it, all day I would look forward to bedtime so I could apply it again, knowing that I’d wake up the next morning with clearer skin (it’s a little sad but very true, and if you’ve ever been desperate for clear skin then you feel me).
Jojoba oil is a light oil that is easily absorbed. It mimics the skin’s sebum, tricking it to produce less oil, which is why it’s especially helpful for individuals with oily skin.
Pumpkin Seed Oil
Pumpkin seed oil is 100% hands-down my favorite face oil for all skin-types — which is why it’s in all 3 of the Body Unburdened Beauty Blends! It’s rich in the antioxidant vitamins A and C, as well as zinc. Vitamins A and C help prevent the sebum oxidation behind many outbreaks while zinc helps calm inflamed skin.
Anddddd best of all: pumpkin seed oil is especially helpful for keeping skin clear since it’s very high in linoleic acid (see above!).
Like pumpkin seed oil, grapeseed oil is incredibly rich in linoleic acid, helping bring balance back to blemish-prone skin. It’s also antioxidant-rich and a very light, easily absorbed oil.
Tamanu oil has been used in traditional medicine for ages, specifically for its ability to speed the healing of wounds by fighting bacteria and increasing cellular regeneration. It also has anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antibiotic, and antioxidant properties, making it ideal for acne sufferers.
NOTE: Stay away from tamanu oil if you have a nut allergy!
Rosehip Seed Oil
I confess that I decided to try rosehip seed oil after learning that Rose Byrne — a.k.a. hilariously awful and beautiful Helen from Bidesmaid — Kate Middleton, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Miranda Kerr all use this oil. You have to admit, these ladies have lovely skin.
Rosehip seed oil is a dry oil that penetrates to the deepest layers of the skin where it regenerates cells, increasing collagen production. It is rich in vitamin C and the essential fatty acids, all of which are known to help heal scar tissue. It is also high in retinoic acid, which studies show reduces the appearance of wrinkles and brightens skin.
There’s no doubt about the fact that rosehip seed oil is fantastic! (Like pumpkin seed oil, it’s in each of the Body Unburdened Beauty Blends!) But a word or warning: I personally find it too drying to wear alone. Yes, an oil can be drying! And of course drying can mean irritating so be careful. So rosehip oil is best mixed with other more emollient oils.
How to use these oils? Oh, the options are endless!
These face oils can be used on their own or mixed with each other in a blend that best suits your skin needs. Learn how to make a custom face oil blend and check out these top 10 essential oils for skincare, which make a great addition to your face oil blend.
And if you’re not a big DIYer well I’ve got you covered, my friend! After years and years of readers asking me to do so, I’ve finally bottled up my best face oil blends just for you — the Body Unburdened Beauty Blends!
Are you a natural beauty junkie too? Well you’re in the right place, my friend!
Hang around a bit and check out some of these other goodies I know your sweet little natural-beauty-loving heart will definitely enjoy!
- My Super Simple All-Natural Skincare & Beauty Routine
- The Best Face Oils by Skin Type
- The Top 10 Essential Oils for Skincare
- DIY All-Natural Clarifying & Toning Foaming Facewash
- Blackhead Busting Blackout Mask