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Article: 43 Comedogenic Oils That Worsen Acne-Prone Skin

Comedogenic oils that worsen acne-prone skin
Skin Foundations

43 Comedogenic Oils That Worsen Acne-Prone Skin

With everyone continuing to rave about a new "superstar" oil just about every year (sorry squalane and coconut oil lovers), It’s no wonder why it's so difficult to find relief to acne.

In a previous article, I talked about the oils that are good for skin conditions like acne.

Here, I'm going to cut through the nonsense floating around the internet and highlight all of the facial oils (there's a lot of them) that actually cause clogged pores, inflammation in the skin, and worsen acne-prone skin.

What to know about topical skin oils.

Oils have become extremely popular in recent years, and this is because they're a rich source of fatty acids—which act as natural moisturizers for the skin.

1. Their purpose

At a basic level, oils are used to moisturize the skin. They're also used for anti-aging as well as oil cleansing  replacing traditional options.

2. Their skin care benefits come from fatty acids

Oils are mainly comprised of fatty acids, but It's crucial to know which kinds are good for our skin. There is a simple rule of thumb that can make, or break, an oil.

What makes an oil comedogenic?

The fatty acid composition is really what makes an oil comedogenic or not.

Most oils contain significant quantities of two different fatty acids

  • Oleic acid — monounsaturated omega-9
  • Linoleic acid — polyunsaturated omega-6

We’ve all heard by now that unsaturated fats (omega 3, 6, and 9) are healthy for us.

Um, no.. Well at least omega-3s and 6s are.

How oleic acid contributes to acne breakouts

Monounsaturated omega-9 fats like the oleic acid listed above, are not healthy for our skin when applied topically.

The major characteristic of a high-oleic oil is that it takes forever to absorb. Well, something like that. Seriously, you will be a greasy mess for a long time waiting for the dang oil to absorb into your skin.

This is a sign that the oil you’re using is inflammatory, as oleic acid is detrimental to the skin's barrier function.

With continued topical use, high-oleic oils will negatively effect hydration, firmness, and inflammatory skin conditions.

Why linoleic acid is the best moisturizer for acne-prone skin

Linoleic acid plays a direct role in maintaining the skin's water permeability barrier, as it plays a major role in the healthy functioning of the epidermis (skin's outermost layer) — which keeps moisture in the skin.

In other non-scientific words, linoleic acid keeps the skin healthy and able to retain moisture by itself.

So here's the catch: acne-prone skin is unusually low in linoleic acid.

How does the skin compensate for this important nutritional deficit? It overproduces oleic acid, leading to enlarged sebum (clogged pores) and excess oily skin. 

This leads me to my point: It's critical to use oils that have balanced fatty acid ratios, and this is where my list comes in. 

43 comedogenic oils that worsen acne-prone skin

Facial oils that worsen acne & eczema

Some oils on this list might be a bit shocking, so refer to this list of non-comedogenic oils that you can use for acne-prone skin. 

Each ingredient is listed in order of its quantity of oleic acid, with #1 being the highest. 

Check the labels on moisturizing products to avoid these comedogenic oils:

1. Sunflower Oil (High Oleic Variety)

Oleic acid: 70% 88%

Linoleic acid: 3% 20%

2. Shea Nut Oil

Oleic acid: 65% — 86%

Linoleic acid: 5% — 15%

3. Hazelnut Oil

Oleic acid: 63% — 83%

Linoleic acid: 8% — 29%

4. Olive Oil

Oleic acid: 55% — 83%

Linoleic acid: 3.5% — 21%

5. Sweet Almond Oil

Oleic acid: 50% — 83%

Linoleic acid: - 20% — 30%

6. Plum Kernel Oil

Oleic acid: 60% — 80%

Linoleic acid: 15% — 25%

7. Camellia Oil

Oleic acid: 79%

Linoleic acid: 7%

8. Marula Oil

Oleic acid: 78%

Linoleic acid: 7%

9. Ungurahua Oil

Oleic acid: 76.8%

Linoleic acid: 3.9%

10. Moringa Oil

Oleic acid: 70%

Linoleic acid: 0.9%

11. Apricot Kernel Oil

Oleic acid: 69%

Linoleic acid: 23%

* Also contains 22% omega-3.

12. Tucuma Seed Oil

Oleic acid: 65.6%

Linoleic acid: 3.6%

13. Buriti Oil

Oleic acid: 65.6%

Linoleic acid: 4.9%

14. Avocado Oil

Oleic acid: 65%

Linoleic acid: 14%

15. Peach Kernel Oil

Oleic acid: 64.1%

Linoleic acid: 25.2%

16. Canola Oil

Oleic acid: 61.8%

Linoleic acid: 18.6%

17. Pequi Oil

Oleic acid: 40% — 60%

Linoleic acid: 15% — 25%

18. Mango Seed Oil

Oleic acid: 34% — 55%

Linoleic acid: 1% — 4.5%

19. Acai Berry Oil

Oleic acid: 35% — 55%

Linoleic acid: 20% — 40%

20. Mangosteen Oil

Oleic acid: 54.5%

Linoleic acid: 5.6%

21. Macadamia Nut

Oleic acid: 53%

Linoleic acid: 2%

22. Pecan Nut Oil

Oleic acid: 52%

Linoleic acid: 36.6%

23. Karanja Oil

Oleic acid: 51.5%

Linoleic acid: 16%

24. Emu Oil

Oleic acid: 50.8%

Linoleic acid: 11%

25. Neem Oil

Oleic acid: 50%

Linoleic acid: 13%

26. Mango Butter

Oleic acid: 40% — 50%

Linoleic acid: 2% — 4%

27. Argan Oil

Oleic acid: 43% — 49%

Linoleic acid: 29% — 36%

28. Pracaxi Oil

Oleic acid: 42% — 47%

Linoleic acid: 1% — 3%

29. Shea Butter

Oleic acid: 41%

Linoleic acid: 7%

30. Kokum Butter

Oleic acid: 42%

Linoleic acid: 2%

31. Tamanu Oil

Oleic acid: 41%

Linoleic acid: 29%

32. Cupuaçu Butter

Oleic acid: 41%

Linoleic acid: 3%

33. Sal Butter

Oleic acid: 40%

Linoleic acid: 2%

34. Palm Oil

Oleic acid: 40%

Linoleic acid: 9.1%

35. Baobab Oil

Oleic acid: 30% — 40%

Linoleic acid: 24% — 34%

36. Brazil Nut Oil

Oleic acid: 39.3%

Linoleic acid: 36.1%

37. Mowrah Butter

Oleic acid: 38%

Linoleic acid: 16%

38. Illipe Butter

Oleic acid: 35%

Linoleic acid: 2%

39. Cocoa Butter

Oleic acid: 35%

Linoleic acid: 3%

40. Bacuri Butter

Oleic acid: 24%

Linoleic acid: 2%

41. Sea Buckthorn Fruit Oil

Oleic acid: 14% — 18%

Linoleic acid: 5% — 7%

* This is different than sea buckthorn seed oil.

42. Tucuma Butter

Oleic acid: 14%

Linoleic acid: 3%

43. Murumuru Butter

Oleic acid: 12%

Linoleic acid: 2%

1 comment

What oils would yo recommend for dry skin use topically for the oil cleansing method?


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