Select a treatment to
get started

Oil Cleansing for Acne-Prone Skin: Is It Acne Friendly?

Read on

If you’re acne-prone you might have been taught oil is the sworn enemy -- so you might steer clear of anything oil-based. While it’s true that some acne is caused by trapped excess sebum, not all oil is bad.

Some argue oil cleansing is great for acne-prone skin.

The idea behind this is oil dissolves oil. So using the oil cleanser method (OCM) may be able to address excess oil problems without over-stripping your face. Let’s dive into the ins and outs of oil cleansing for the acne-prone.

What is oil cleansing?

The basic idea behind oil cleansing is “like dissolves like.”  So, using oil as a cleanser is said to suspend and remove excess oil (along with dead skin cells and dirt).  

This idea of oil cleansing, aka double cleansing, hails from Korean skincare.

Many American skincare brands have begun formulating cleansing oils and balms as this cleansing method grows in popularity.

How to oil cleanse

Using oil in a skincare routine has a few different applications.

Many people use oil to dissolve makeup before cleansing with a more traditional wash.

This is what is called “double cleansing” and is considered one way to use the oil cleansing method.

Here are the two common methods of using oil cleansing:

1. Basic oil cleansing step-by-step:

  1. Begin by putting ½ teaspoon of jojoba oil or castor oil into the palm of your hand.
  2. Warm-up this oil in your hands and then massage it onto a dry face for 1-2 minutes. Use your fingertips to lift any dead skin cells or makeup.
  3. Use a clean washcloth and dampen it with warm water. Then gently wipe away the excess oil.
  4. Rinse with warm water if you find this necessary.
  5. Pat dry. Your skin should feel clean and moisturized afterward.

2. Oil cleansing with residue removal step-by-step:

  1. Follow the basic oil cleansing step by step
  2. But after wiping down with a cloth, use a gentle cleanser to remove any oil residue.
  3. Use a simple, gentle cleanser as not to scrub away the nourishment of the oil.

Beware, not all oils are acne-friendly

Scientific studies on the efficacy of OCM are limited.

However, across the internet, there are a lot of anecdotal success stories of people resolving their acne woes by using this oil cleansing method. But, you must choose your oil wisely. This will help avoid creating an acne mishap as some oils can clog your pores.

Learn more:Facial Oils That Won't Clog Your Pores

Choosing the wrong oil could very well be the downfall of this method. Be sure to choose mindfully and if you’re buying a brand name product look for products that say “non-comedogenic,” or “does not clog pores.”

You can DIY an oil cleansing blend, or you can purchase formulated oil cleansers or balms. Some formulated oil cleansers include mild surfactants so those are heftier on the “cleansing” part.  

Be aware of oil cleansers that use coconut oil (also listed as cocos nucifera oil) as this common skincare oil may contribute to clogged pores and comedonal acne.  

Learn more: Coconut Oil: Does This Skincare Superstar Clog Pores?

Give it a fair shot and try it for at least a  28-day skin cycle

Not all that glitters is gold. (But hey, it might be!) Try the oil cleansing method for one skin cycle (around 28 days) to determine if this method is right for you.

Nothing is an instant hit or miss as our skin needs time to adjust to reap any benefits.

When in doubt, use an anti-acne treatment

If you’re concerned about acne and how you can best take care of it, you might want to consider prescription retinoids to help keep your pores squeaky clean.

Prescription retinoids like tretinoin can works as a comedolytic, blocking pore clogging from happening, or cleaning up what’s already in those pores.

Learn more about our Strut Acne Formula which uses the power of Tretinoin.

If you’re ready for clear skin, complete a questionnaire-based online doctor's consultation to see if our anti-acne treatments are right for you. If our doctors find this is a good fit for you, we’ll ship your prescription right to your doorstep.

Free shipping
Free follow-up care
Cancel anytime, no fees
Free online MD visit

Related posts