A Guide to Using Oils for Oily Skin

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Putting oils on oily skin will only make things worse – myth or fact? Slathering oil onto your skin is probably the last thing you think of when you have oily skin, as oils usually give the impression of being greasy and clogging pores. However, oils can be used on oily skin; it’s just a matter of choosing the right ones.

Not all oils are bad for oily skin! Cleansing oils and cleansing balms are great for oily skin since they clear oil-based makeup and sebum from your skin. They also don’t strip skin of moisture or damage the skin barrier. A cleansing oil followed by a foam cleanser ensures a thorough double cleanse for oily skin.

Oils rich in linoleic acid (a type of Omega-6 fatty acid) are best for oily skin as well as acne-prone skin. These oils have a lightweight, watery texture that easily absorbs into skin, helping to retain moisture, plump skin and strengthen its barrier.

It’s also helpful to know the difference between carrier oils and essential oils. Carrier oils are taken from the fatty parts of plants like seeds and nuts. They’re rich in fat-soluble vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to nourish skin. Essential oils are extracted from parts of a plant – such as roots, buds, leaves and fruits – via steam distilling or cold-pressing. They’re potent on their own and evaporate quickly. Since essential oils are highly concentrated and may irritate when applied directly, they need to be diluted in either a carrier oil or a moisturizer.

As a point of reference, one drop of essential oil should be diluted in ten drops of carrier oil. While essential oil usually requires dilution before use, it’s harmless to use up to three drops of carrier oil alone or mixed with a moisturizer of your choice as part of the last step in your daily routine to seal in moisture and strengthen skin’s barrier.

Many of you may already be using beauty products infused with carrier and essential oils. The following oils are non-comedogenic, high in linoleic acid, and boast a non-greasy texture, making them suitable for oily skin.

Type: carrier oil

Derived from the small fruits beneath roses, rosehip oil is rich in antioxidants and Vitamin A to reduce redness. It calms and heals inflammation, smooths complexion and even increases collagen production and skin elasticity. It also features Vitamin C to reduce hyperpigmentation, fine lines and wrinkles.

Evening Primrose
Type: carrier oil

Originating from the seeds of the oenothera biennis plant, evening primrose oil reduces moisture loss by strengthening the skin barrier. It regulates sebum production, reduces inflammation and improves skin texture and elasticity, leaving skin soothed and supple in no time!

Type: carrier oil

As its name suggests, grapeseed oil hails from grape seeds after they’ve been removed from grapes during wine making. It’s a natural astringent that easily penetrates into skin, drying out excess oil while hydrating skin and reducing water loss. Extra perks of grapeseed oil include antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits to lessen redness and scars, and an abundance of Vitamin E to prevent free radical damage.

Hemp seed
Type: carrier oil

Derived from the seeds of the cannabis sativa plant, anti-inflammatory hemp seed oil moisturizes and hydrates skin without clogging pores. It regulates oil production with abundant Vitamins D and E to keep skin balanced and healthy overall.

The following oils aren’t high in linoleic acid but are still great for oily skin:

Type: carrier oil

Coming from the nuts of the jojoba plant, jojoba oil is chock-full of Vitamins A, E and D, as well as antioxidants and astringents to condition skin. It mimics skin’s natural sebum to keep skin moisturized and prevent it from overproducing oil, thereby mitigating clogged pores and breakouts. Its waxy texture absorbs easily into skin, soothing and moisturizing it.

Tea tree
Type: essential oil

Known to treat acne, tea tree oil mainly comes from the leaves of the Australian melaleuca alternifolia plant. It boasts antiseptic and antibacterial properties to prevent the growth of acne-causing bacteria, minimize pores, maintain skin’s oil-water balance and keep skin matte. A few drops of tea tree oil mixed with a carrier oil or moisturizer should do the trick!

Type: essential oil

Boasting plentiful antioxidants to keep skin healthy and youthful, marula oil comes from the nuts of the fruits of the marula tree. The non-comedogenic and emollient oil seals in moisture and softens skin. It also offers antioxidant benefits to fight off free radical damage from UV rays and pollution, and anti-inflammatory properties to reduce redness and heal minor wounds.


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