Whether you have acne-prone skin, oily skin, or dry skin with acne, facial oils are a great addition to your skincare routine! Since there are plenty of choices, it's important to choose ones that not only can treat acne but also suit your skin type.
Want to know how to choose the best facial oil for you? Check our dermatologist-reviewed buying guide to know what needs to be considered before you decide to buy one. Our favorite product is Lapis Blue Tansy Face Oil. This oil blend is lightweight, contains effective ingredients for combatting acne, and is suitable for all skin types. Read on for our other favorites, as well as a buying guide reviewed by dermatologist Dr. Lauren Levy!
Dr. Levy is a board certified dermatologist practicing in NYC and Westport, Connecticut. She has expertise in treating inflammatory skin conditions like acne, rosacea, eczema, and psoriasis. She has an interest in skincare and takes a personalized approach to all of her patients.
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While oil may be the last thing you think you should be putting on your acne-prone skin, face oils can actually help reduce and prevent breakouts. When your skin is dehydrated, it produces extra sebum to compensate. This causes clogged pores and a buildup of sebum and dead skin, which are the root cause of most pimples and zits.
When used correctly, facial oils help balance your skin's moisture and reduce the production of sebum. You do need to be careful to choose lighter facial oils; if you use heavy oils like avocado or almond oil, your pores may become clogged. Instead, opt for facial oils lighter ingredients like jojoba oil, grapeseed oil, or fractionated coconut oil.
Even if you use a lighter oil, experts recommend oily or acne-prone skin types to only apply facial oils once a day. Evening application is optimal, as your skin produces less oil and sebum while you sleep. Bearing these points in mind, facial oils can be just as beneficial to acne-prone skin as they are to dry or normal skin types.
In this section, you'll find a lot of useful information on how to choose a facial oil that can treat existing acne and prevent new breakouts. Make sure you don't miss out on any details!
When it comes to selecting the right facial oil for your skin, you may want to look into its fatty acid content, as well as whether it's non-comedogenic.
Linoleic acid is an omega-6 essential fatty acid that our body can't make, and it’s mostly found in plant-based oils like argan and evening primrose oils. These oils also happen to be lighter and are more fitting for acne-prone skin.
Studies show that oils with high levels of linoleic acid can help to balance sebum production and prevent breakouts. Thus, they’re suitable for oily and acne-prone skin. Just be sure that you don't mistake linoleic acid for another fatty acid called oleic acid; while the latter is also nourishing and moisturizing, it can clog your pores.
Choosing an oil with linoleic acid can also help treat any dryness that may occur if you are using other acne medications like a topical retinoid or retinol. You can use the oil under your other acne medications to act as a barrier and help prevent dryness and irritation.
When it comes to non-comedogenic oils, you need to understand the comedogenic scale that ranges from zero to five. A rating of zero means oils won’t clog your pores, whereas a rating of five means it has oils with a high possibility of clogging pores.
We recommend you choose oils that have a rating of two or lower. Rosehip oil, grapeseed oil, sunflower seed oil, and safflower oil are great because they can moisturize your skin without clogging pores.
If you have acne, you may think using oil will make your skin worse as it could clog the pores; however, oils that are non-comedogenic can be used. You should avoid products with coconut oils as these can cause breakouts and clog the pores.
With so many options for oils, it’s a good idea to know the difference between the types of oils. Let's look at their texture, smell, benefits, and disadvantages.
Argan oil is rich in antioxidants, vitamin E, and essential fatty acids. It has a nutty smell with a smooth texture but isn't watery. It’s considered a mid-weight oil, which means it’s not too light or heavy.
As it has soothing and healing properties, argan oil will ease discomfort caused by any acne you currently have. This oil is also known for its ability to balance out sebum production, which will help prevent further breakouts.
Finally, argan oil can be used as a moisturizer for your skin, hair, and nails, too! It's a very gentle oil that's safe for most users, including pregnant people.
Tea tree oil is an essential oil that has anti-bacterial properties. That means it can prevent the bacteria that cause those painful, inflamed whiteheads from getting into your skin.
However, some people may actually develop allergic reactions to tea tree oil. If you have sensitive skin, it’s a good idea to do a patch test before using it on the whole face. Still, tea tree oil is fairly lightweight and also has anti-inflammatory properties that can ease discomfort caused by your acne.
Tea tree oil can be very drying and irritating. If you have dry skin or sensitive skin or are prone to rosacea, you should avoid products with tea tree oil as your skin may become red and irritated.
Additionally, tea tree oils can cause contact dermatitis or an eczema-like reaction, which can result in dry, itchy, and red skin. If you are in doubt, use a small amount of product behind your ear or on the nape of your neck to see how you will react.
Jojoba oil is considered hypoallergenic, which means even those with sensitive skin are generally able to use it without any negative effects. For this reason, it's often used as a base oil for mixing in other essential oils.
Not only is Jojoba oil lightweight and non-comedogenic, but it also has antibacterial properties that protect your skin from further breakouts. It also helps create a moisture barrier that keeps your skin hydrated for a longer period of time.
Jojoba oil can be quite soothing, and an added benefit is that it acts as a topical anti-inflammatory. It can be used in people with sensitive skin or those who suffer from eczema. The anti-inflammatory properties can help treat acne as well.
Grapeseed oil is a good option for people who have sensitive skin. It’s lightweight and has a mildly sweet scent. It has antimicrobial properties that can kill germs and bacteria. Grapeseed oil also bolsters the vitamins in your system to give your skin more elasticity.
Since it's full of fatty acids, grapeseed oil is a great source of linoleic acid. Try to find grapeseed oil that's been cold-pressed, as this means it hasn't been processed to the point that its nutrients are lost.
Mixing grapeseed oil with other essential oils like lavender oil can improve its effectiveness in terms of softening the skin. You can also mix it with other natural oils like jojoba or olive oil to strengthen and add extra moisture to your skin, too!
Evening primrose oil has a soothing effect on painful breakouts like cystic acne or whiteheads. It reduces inflammation and moisturizes the skin effectively despite its lightweight texture.
This oil can also be beneficial to your skin when taken as a supplement, as some studies have shown that it can reduce inflammation beneath the epidermis. This reduction can help prevent follicles from becoming clogged, which is what leads to a pimple in the first place.
Other benefits of evening primrose oil when applied topically include soothing painful eczema and improving the skin's elasticity. This means it can calm the appearance of wrinkles and other blemishes.
Oil blends are a good option for someone who has many skin problems and wants an all-in-one oil. Some products contain a mix of several types of plant-based oils, while others contain a combination of oils and vitamins.
We suggest you consider vitamins A, C, E, and D. Many studies show that these vitamins have strong anti-inflammatory properties, which can fight bacteria and decrease inflammation.
Oils are very soothing on the skin and can give the desired dewy look to your complexion. They are easy to apply and generally provide a great deal of hydration to the skin.
It is a misconception that all oils should be avoided in acne-prone skin. Oils that have added anti-inflammatories can both help treat active acne and provide relief to any dryness from other acne medications - a two-in-one benefit.
If you have oily skin, it’s a good idea to avoid heavy oils like shea butter, coconut oil, avocado oil, olive oil, and almond oil. Excess oil can prevent skin from breathing, which leads to blemishes and breakouts.
Heavy oils like those with coconut oil can actually worsen acne. Coconut oil can also lead to the overgrowth of fungus which can lead to a condition called pityrosporum folliculitis (many know this as "fungal acne").
If you have acne-prone skin or oily skin, avoid coconut oil. Olive oil has become a trendy at-home skin treatment for anti-aging thanks to a certain celebrity, but the heaviness of the oil can lead to major acne outbreaks.
The methods used to process and store oils can have an impact on how well they work. If possible, you may want to invest in facial oils that are extracted without too much processing and are stored in such a way that they'll last longer.
Cold-pressed oils are processed at a low temperature, thus they can retain more antioxidants and healthy nutrients than oils that are processed by using different methods. Although they're quite expensive, they're a safe option. Unrefined oils are also known as "virgin oils" or "extra-virgin oils." They're processed by either cold pressing or expeller pressing.
Both expeller and cold-press methods use a low temperature and are minimally processed. Of course, non-virgin oils can still benefit your skin, and you may find them a bit more cost-effective. If you want the maximum impact, though, select a facial oil that's been through as little processing as possible.
If you’re concerned about pesticides, fertilizers, or harmful chemicals in the product, we suggest you consider organic oils. Fortunately, there are many options for organic oils available.
To be safe, it's best to check whether the oil you want is certified as organic by the USDA. An officially certified product should have the seal shown above. The seal can be in color, or it can be black and white. Variations of these two are also permitted.
While those who try to fake the USDA seal will be fined if caught, fraudulent organic seals do exist, so be sure to check your oil's label to ensure it matches the official design. If you buy a facial oil with other ingredients in it that aren't organic, it's possible that only the oil will be listed as a recognized organic product. Either way, it's best to check the product's label when possible.
No matter what types of oils you choose, it’s a good idea to choose oils that come in dark-colored bottles to protect them from exposure to sunlight. The strong UV rays can result in the degradation of oils. Also, make sure you keep them in airtight bottles to prevent oxidation. Your oil won't necessarily become harmful if it oxidizes, but it will lose its efficacy.
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Lapis Blue Tansy Face Oil
Best Oil Blend for Inflammation and Acne Scars
U.F.O. Ultra-Clarifying Face Oil
Best Oil Blend for Blackheads
Youth to the People
Citrus Glow Drops
Best Oil Blend for Oily Skin
Volcanic Elixir Polynesian Beauty Oil
Best Oil Blend for Acne Scars
Blue Tansy Facial Oil
Best Oil Blend for Hormonal Acne
Best Organic Oil for Eczema
Squalane + Tea Tree Balancing Oil
Best Organic Oil for Dry Skin
100% Pure Cold Pressed Argan Oil
Best Organic Oil for Preventing Breakouts
Tea Tree Essential Oil
Best Oil Blend for Mature Skin
Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil Herbal Concentrate
Best Oil Blend for Sensitive Skin
Blue tansy oil contains azulene, which is the key ingredient that soothes irritated skin and gives this oil its beautiful blue hue. Kukui nut oil, also in the formula, balances sebum production in the skin, reducing breakouts. This product also reduces redness, clogged pores, and has antimicrobial properties, a perfect combination to soothe acne-prone skin.
Some reviewers find that this oil does not suit those with dry skin and does not make a huge difference in their complexions. On the other hand, many reviewers love how light this oil feels on their skin and how well it works to reduce their rosacea, fungal acne, and scars. Other nourishing ingredients like jojoba oil and vitamin E provide extra health benefits for the skin.
Sunday Riley's U.F.O is the best oil blend for blackheads. The 1.5 percent salicylic acid clears away the dead skin cells that clog the pores and follicles, making excess sebum easier to remove. Tea tree oil reduces inflammation caused by acne and blackheads, plus, milk thistle oil and cucumber oil counterbalance the dryness that salicylic acid can cause.
This oil is lightweight, so it dries quickly and does not leave your face greasy. Some feel that the smell of the tea tree oil is very strong and that the oil blend dries out their skin. However, most love how well it clears up their acne and even helps those with rosacea and painful breakouts. This product is also available in a smaller bottle for those that wish to sample the product.
This cold-pressed oil blend is great for those with very oily skin. The goji berry oil and prickly pear oil in this formula are lightweight oils that moisturize oily skin well without causing breakouts. Açai berry oil combats dryness and provides the skin with omega 3, 6, and 9 fatty acids, which make the skin soft and reduce swelling caused by acne.
A few reviewers note that the droppers leak or break, spilling some of the product. They also point out that their complexions remain the same after using this product. However, others say that the product works well to reduce the oiliness of their T-zones and moisturize their dry patches. They also report that this oil absorbs quickly and has a pleasant smell.
This oil is the perfect product for treating acne scars. The tamanu oil in this formula reduces acne scars and the blue tansy oil soothes breakouts while repairing your skin. Rosehip oil moisturizes and reduces the appearance of dark spots and blemishes as well and black cumin seed oil provides anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and anti-aging benefits for a healthy face.
A few reviewers feel that the smell is unpleasant and that the pump releases too much product at once. But, many other reviewers love how quickly this product reduces their acne blemishes, is gentle on the skin, and works for people of various ages. The manufacturer also offers a free dropper for those that feel that the pump is too messy to use.
Lotus Face Treatment Oil by Clarins is the best oil blend for cystic and hormonal acne. The geranium seed oil and chamomile oil in this blend possess anti-inflammatory properties that can soothe the pain caused by cystic and hormonal acne. The hazelnut oil is rich in vitamin E and omega-9 and hydrates your skin without clogging your pores.
Some reviewers say that this oil blend causes more breakouts for those with very oily skin. Many other customers love that this product works keep their skin hydrated during winter, evens up their skin tone, and reduces breakouts. They also love this product’s floral fragrance from the combined flower oils.
Cliganic’s Jojoba Oil is the best product for treating eczema. Jojoba oil is hypoallergenic and has anti-inflammatory properties, making it perfect for eczema-addled skin. This oil can also be used on the body, hair, and nails. It is great for people with oily, acne-prone, and eczema-prone skin, as it's lightweight, non-sticky, and non-greasy.
Some reviewers note that their product had a weird scent and that their skin broke out more when using this product. Other reviewers love how well this product cleared their faces of pimples, clogged pores, and acne scars. Many also love how well it moisturizes their skin.
The Ordinary's Rose Hip Oil is the best organic oil for dry skin. People that struggle with acne also struggle to find a moisturizer that won't clog their pores. It is cold-pressed, retaining the vitamins and fatty acids that reduce inflammation from acne and keep dry skin hydrated and healthy after being processed and also regulates sebum production while providing hydration.
A few reviewers say that they do not see a difference when using this product and that it even causes more dryness. However, others say that it leaves their skin glowing, hydrates their skin, and does not cause irritation. This oil is also free of harmful ingredients like parabens, silicates, and phthalates. This product can be used on the body as well as the face.
This organic, cold-pressed argan oil by Pura D'or is the best oil for preventing breakouts. Argan oil naturally balances out sebum production in the skin, preventing buildup and reducing the frequency of breakouts. This antioxidant-and-nutrient-rich oil is cold-pressed from handpicked argan nuts, preserving all of its nutrients. This oil also improves skin elasticity and reduces the appearance of scars.
A few reviewers say that this oil does not moisturize well and smells as if it was mixed with another oil. However, most customers are happy that the oil lessens acne breakouts for all skin types. This oil is also lightweight, brightens skin, and can be applied throughout the day.
The omega fatty acids, vitamin C, and vitamin A contained in sea buckthorn oil and pomegranate seed oil reduce the inflammation that acne causes. Seabuckthorn oil makes skin firmer and more youthful by promoting collagen formation. The combination of these oils makes this product perfect for older consumers that struggle with acne.
Some reviewers claim that the smell is strong and that this product feels heavy on their skin. Yet, many other people say that it nourishes their skin, reduces dark spots, and gives them a glow. They also love how well it works for those with dry skin and comes in a mini bottle for those who would like to sample the product.
This oil blend is good for sensitive, acne-prone skin. Meadowfoam seed oil and borage oil in this product are excellent lightweight oils that won't irritate and clog sensitive pores or cause more acne flare-ups. The product is also high in eicosenoic acid, which is a fatty acid that balances oils in the skin. Hemp seed oil provides the omega fatty acids that moisturize the face and reduce signs of aging.
Some reviewers feel that the product causes more breakouts instead of reducing them and is too oily for their faces. That being said, many reviewers love using this product during winter and in arid climates to reduce dryness. This product can also be used on other areas of the body, like the arms and neck.
In closing, Dr. Levy says, "If you're unsure if the product is right for you, check with your dermatologist. You can also test the product behind your ear or on your neck for several days to see if you have a reaction to it before putting it on your face. Stop any oil that causes redness or irritation."
Trying too many products may not be a good idea because it may worsen your existing acne! Our recommended products below are suitable for acne-prone skin in terms of texture, ingredients, and benefits.
If you're still looking for ideas, here's a list of Amazon's best-selling facial oils. Be aware that not all of them are for acne-prone skin, so you may want to revisit the buying guide as you browse.
No. 1: Herbivore | Lapis Blue Tansy Face Oil
No. 2: Sunday Riley | U.F.O. Ultra-Clarifying Face Oil
No. 3: Youth to the People | Citrus Glow Drops
No. 4: Blume | Volcanic Elixir Polynesian Beauty Oil
No. 5: Clarins | Blue Tansy Facial Oil
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