Oil-Free: It's Not The Key To A Clear, Healthy Complexion. Here's Why—And What To Look For.

Posted on April 03, 2014 by Rachel Duran

Bottles of pure oil: Cold pressed olive, coconut, jojoba

Author: Rachel DuranFighting oil with oil may seem like a battle bound for slippery disaster, but those waging war against acne may find skincare solace by incorporating some plant-based oils into their skincare arsenal.

When it comes to acne-prone adult complexions, “Treating oil with oil balances skin,” says Vered Back, an herbalist, facialist, and founder of Vered Organic Botanicals. “Drying it out with harsh ingredients just engages it in a battle.”

Everyone’s skin naturally contains a careful concoction of oils, fats, and lips that primarily act as a protective barrier from the outside world, fending off bacteria that tries to penetrate pores, preventing water loss, and improving water retention for supple, youthful skin.

Oil becomes problematic when its overproduced by the sebaceous glands, or when we use products containing heavier oils, like petrolatum. Our own imbalance and an abundance of pore-clogging oils in skincare products not only leave the complexion a shiny beacon of despair, but it can aggravate and sustain acne. 

These types of negative connotations associated with oils have many acne suffers afraid of emollient concoctions, hence a skincare market full of products boasting oil-free formulas. 

What goes unexplained to most is that “oil-free” shouldn't mean free of oil.

In fact, instead of oil-free, people should look for formulations that are non-comedongenic, meaning it's less likely to block pores and lead to the development of a comedone—a.k.a. a pimple. These cleansers, moisturizers and beauty products have promised to omit the trouble-making oils, but sometimes they still contain the good guys: synthetic or plant-based oils that moisturize, replenish, and heal. 

The point is simple: oil is not the enemy. Some oils just make better friends than others and it’s important to introduce adult complexions to the plant-based varieties, especially those with naturally calming benefits. If youre skin is overproducing oil, maybe it’s time to give in and quench its thirst with a full on oil cleansing or an oil-inclusive regimen.

In fact, jojoba oil is similar to the oil your skin produces on its own. Using it helps to rebalance your natural oil production, which is great for sensitive, acne-prone complexions.

Today’s apothecary market is booming with choices created by skincare experts and enthusiasts, too. Options stretch from well-loved favorites, like acne-banishing tea tree oil, to lesser-known anti-inflammatory and anti-viral herbs like chickweed and speedwell that promote deep healing.

Oil blends like Marie Veronique Organics Treatment Oil uses argan oil to control surface sebum and borage oil to fight inflammation. The apothecary-style of In Fiore Pur Face Oil Concentre combines wild-crafted oils like neroil, a natural stress buster that brings down redness and slows the blemish-making process, and adds rosehip-seed oil for added glow. 

While the high price points on some oils may cause concern, remember that a little bit of oil goes a long, bountiful way.

  • Rachel Duran is an editor at Arithmetic.
  • Image: Bottles of pure oils: Cold pressed olive, coconut, jojoba. Via iStock. 
  • About Us: Arithmetic is a new skincare company focused on helping adults achieve clear, healthy skin.

Posted in acne, adult acne, jojoba, oil, oil-free


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