If you have oily, combination, or acne-prone skin, you might think that incorporating a face oil into your skin-care routine might be counterintuitive. These days, though, we know that not all oils are created equal, and while some might lead to breakouts for particularly blemish-prone skin, the best face oils for acne are basically a one-way ticket to a plump, zit-free complexion.
According to Michele Green, MD, a board-certified dermatologist based in New York City, those with acne-prone or oily skin should opt for lightweight formulas with ingredients that contain anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. “Jojoba oil is an example of a lightweight oil that closely resembles the skin’s natural sebum,” she says. “Tea tree oil is a popular ingredient used in acne products because it is a natural antibacterial and antifungal, as well as having anti-inflammatory effects.” As for ingredients these skin types should avoid, Dr. Green says denser additives like olive oil and coconut oil, although very moisturizing, are likely to clog pores and should be avoided when it comes to areas with acne flare-ups.
Acne-prone, oily, and combination skin types, rejoice. Below, we tapped a few dermatologists like Dr. Green to spill on their favorite oils that won’t cause breakouts. Take a look and prepare for your dewiest, smoothest skin yet.
1. Drunk Elephant Virgin Marula Luxury Facial Oil
Los Angeles-based, board-certified dermatologist James Y. Wang, MD says that Drunk Elephant’s Virgin Marula Luxury Facial Oil is one of the purest forms of marula oil on the market. “This ingredient naturally contains antioxidants to help with oxidative stress from acne,” he says.
2. The Ordinary 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Moroccan Argan Oil
According to New York City-based board-certified dermatologist Hadley King, MD, argan oil is one of the best facial oils for moisturizing skin without the risk of acne flare-ups, which is why she recommends grabbing a vial of the pure stuff, like The Ordinary’s 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Moroccan Argan Oil. She says this oil is one of the few oils available that actually help decrease oil production and reduce shine.
3. Paula’s Choice Moisture Renewal Oil Booster
Dr. Wang loves that the Paula’s Choice Moisture Renewal Oil Booster contains a slew of dryness-reducing additives like ceramides, primrose, jojoba, and argan oils. Along with these moisturizing ingredients, this formulation is also fragrance-free for sensitive skin types to enjoy.
4. Versed Skin Sunday Morning Antioxidant Oil-Serum
Dr. Green is a major fan of the Versed Skin Sunday Morning Antioxidant Oil-Serum, a hybrid of two staple skin-care products that contains high concentrations of pimple-reducing antioxidants such as vitamin E. “It also contains nourishing ingredients for moisture replenishment and to reduce redness, such as camellia oil and sea buckthorn extract,” she says.
5. Odacité Jo+L Clogged Pores Concentrate
Another acne-prone skin savior Dr. King swears by is jojoba oil, which can be spotted in the Odacité Jo+L Clogged Pores Concentrate. Along with the blemish-battling oil, this elixir also contains antioxidant vitamin E to make skin feel smoother, softer, and more even in texture each and every time you use it.
6. Tata Harper Beautifying Face Oil
If you can fit a luxury face oil into your budget, Dr. Wang says to look no further than Tata Harper’s Beautifying Face Oil. “This is a light and fast-absorbing oil that contains plenty of antioxidants for skin rejuvenation while minimizing risk to acne-prone skin,” he says.
7. True Botanicals Pure Radiance Oil
As you can expect from its name, True Botanicals Pure Radiance Oil strives to brighten and clear your complexion. You can expect your skin to be treated with a blend of moisture-retaining hemp, pumpkin seed, and grapeseed oils — while antioxidant-rich algae and astaxanthin give your skin a plumper feel and radiant finish.
8. Biossance Squalane + Vitamin C Rose Oil
The Biossance Squalane + Vitamin C Rose Oil stars two heavy-hitting skin-care ingredients that need to be in your regimen, stat. Vitamin C is essential for brightening skin, evening skin tone, and reducing textural concerns like blemishes and fine lines while squalane provides conditioning properties to make skin feel velvet smooth.
9. Pai Skincare Carbon Star Overnight Face Oil
Not only is the Pai Skincare Carbon Star Overnight Face Oil fitting for any Wednesday-inspired regimen, but it also contains a not-so-secret weapon against acne: charcoal. Along with the pore-unclogging ingredient, this oil features a skin-softening blend of vitamin E, acai extract, and black cumin oil (hence its color).
10. The Body Shop Tea Tree Oil
The Body Shop’s Tea Tree Oil works wonders as a natural spot treatment. As its name suggests, the main ingredient in this concoction is tea tree oil, which is a powerful antibacterial known for its blemish-busting properties. Add a dab of this oil to your moisturizer for a diluted, all-over treatment, or use it as a spot treatment to target breakout-prone areas.
11. Sunday Riley U.F.O. Ultra-Clarifying Face Oil
Sunday Riley’s U.F.O. Ultra-Clarifying Face Oil gets right to the point with its powerful, breakout-fighting ingredients. You’ve likely used an acne treatment with salicylic acid, one of beauty’s best weapons against breakouts, and this face oil contains a hefty, 1.5-percent dose of the stuff. Meanwhile, nourishing milk thistle and cucumber seed extract work to hydrate the skin, while chamomile and neroli essential oils further soothe
Finally, tea tree oil and black cumin seed help the salicylic acid purify and clear skin by breaking down pore-clogging debris. No wonder Dr. Green gives this blemish-targeting formula two thumbs up.
12. Uma Deeply Clarifying Face Oil
Uma’s Deeply Clarifying Face Oil is rooted in Ayurvedic tradition and ingredients, including acne-targeting clove extract and moisture-replenishing grapeseed oil. As an added bonus, both of these ingredients are also rich in complexion-brightening antioxidants, which are also known to combat free radical damage and even skin tone.
13. Herbivore Botanicals Lapis Facial Oil
The secret sauce in Herbivore’s Lapis Facial Oil (and the explanation behind its striking hue) is blue tansy oil, an ingredient Dr. Green says is wonderful for acne-prone skin. The plant extract contains azulene, which is a powerful antibacterial and anti-inflammatory ingredient — just what acne-prone skin needs. Jojoba oil is another key to this decadent oil-based cocktail — it easily absorbs into the skin without blocking pores, while vegetable-derived squalane helps reinforce barrier strength.
14. Burt’s Bees Complete Nourishment Facial Oil
Burt’s Bees Complete Nourishment Facial Oil is super affordable and contains moisture-locking rosehip seed oil to effectively condition skin without clogging pores in the process. Jojoba and evening primrose oil give the formulation an antioxidant boost while lavender, rose, and neroli adds a calming, aromatherapeutic touch.
15. African Botanics Neroli-Infused Marula Oil
African Botanics’ Neroli-Infused Marula Oil is a lightweight option that soothes your skin and your mind. The infused marula oil acts as a skin-comforting conditioner that’s rich in barrier-supporting fatty acids while the delightful scent of neroli blossoms floods your senses. Dr. Wang also notes that the neroli blossoms also have mild antiseptic properties that decrease the amount of acne-causing bacteria on your face.
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