Which oils for oily skin
Updated: Dec 15, 2021
It's been another busy season here on our beautiful little island, Aeroe (Ærø). Lots of existing customers and many new ones have called by my workshop or found me on the summer markets in town and I've been making fresh products almost daily to meet demand which has been wonderful!! And still there has been time to go to the beach at least once a day - and often twice to dive into the beautiful water from our favourite beach on the western part of the island. However, beach, summer and sun aside for a moment... One question I've had a lot over the weeks is which oils are suitable for oily skin - if any at all? And in the following I will attempt to address this question. Firstly, it is so easy and understandable to make the assumption to avoid oil based products AT ALL COSTS if your skin is oily or acne-prone.
However, oils can be very beneficial to oily skin - the key, of course, is to choose the right oil! All oils are different with different fatty acid profiles which is why it’s important to choose the right ones to suit your skintype especially if you have a tendency towards oily skin or acne-prone skin.
The skin’s own natural oil called sebum (Latin for fat or tallow) is secreted by the sebaceous glands which are distributed over the entire body either under hair follicles or under pores with the exception of the palms of your hands and the soles of your feet.
Sebum is a complex mixture of naturally produced fats, oils, waxes, cholesterols and other molecules. It helps to keep the skin waterproof and protects it from drying out.
Yet another good thing about sebum is that it contains a lot of vitamin E, an antioxidant that protects the skin and helps keep it healthy looking.
However sebum composition varies from individual to individual and it has been shown that people with congested and acne prone skin usually have a sebum composition low in linoleic acid (an unsaturated omega-6 fatty acid) but high in oleic acid (a mono-unsaturated omega-9 fatty acid) causing the skin’ s sebum to become hard and sticky causing outbreaks and clogged pores.
So one of the main considerations in choosing an oil (and knowing which ones to avoid) for oily and acne prone skin is the linoleic acid vs oleic acid composition of the oil.
By applying oils high in linoleic acid directly to the skin you can improve the ratio between these two fatty acids and experience less breakouts. Furthermore, the anti-inflammatory properties of linoleic acid help to calm and soothe red, inflamed and irritated skin. Below is a list of oils and their approx. linoleic and oleic acid content. The oils with a higher content of linoleic acid are more suitable for oily and acne-prone skin types. Avoid oils that are high in oleic acid because they tend to exacerbate the oily skin condition.
Oils high in Linoleic acid:
(the percentages are approximate)
BLACK CURRANT SEED OIL - Oleic acid 13%, Linoleic acid 54% BORAGE SEED OIL - Oleci acid 17%, Linoleic 39% EVENING PRIMROSE OIL - Oleic acid 8%, Linoleic acid 72% GRAPE SEED OIL - Oleic acid 17%, Linoleic acid 71% HEMP SEED OIL - Oleic acid 12%, Linoleic acid 65% :
KALAHARI MELON SEED OIL - Oleic acid 15%, Linoleic acid 61% NIGELLA SEED OIL - Oleic acid 24%, Linoleic acid 56% PUMPKIN SEED OIL - Oleic acid 25%, Linoleic acid 59%
PASSION FRUIT SEED OIL - Oleic acid 16%, Linoleic acid 65% RASPBERRY SEED OIL - Oleic acid 12%, Linoleic acid 54% ROSEHIP SEED OIL - Oleic acid 14%, Linoleic acid 44%
SAFFLOWER SEED OIL - Oleic acid 29%, Linoleic acid 79%
Oils high in Oleic acid:
(the percentages are approximate)
ALMOND OIL - Oleic acid 71%,
Linoleic acid 25% APRICOT KERNEL OIL - Oleic acid 64%, Linoleic acid 28% AVOCADO OIL - Oleic acid 63% ,
Linoleic acid 14% BURITI OIL - Oleic acid 70%, Linoleic acid 7 % CAMELLIA SEED OIL - Oleic acid 79%, Linoleic acid 9% HAZEL NUT OIL - Oleic acid 79%, Linoleic acid 12% MACADAMIA OIL - Oleic acid 59%,
Linoleic 7% MARUALA OIL - Oleic acid 75%, Linoleic acid 6% OLIVE OIL - Oleic acid 72%, Linoleic acid 15% PALM OIL - Oleic acid 39%, Linoleic acid 7%
TAMANU OIL - Oleic acid 41%, Linoleic acid 29%
Some more balanced oils slightly higer in OLEIC ACID include : Jojoba oil*, Baobab oil, Argan oil, Babassu oil, Flaxseed oil, Coconut oil. * Although Jojoba oil is slightly higher in oleic acid, it has got a fatty acid profile very close to that of sebum and therefore it is a great oil for all skintypes incl. oily skin.
Some balanced oils slightly higer in LINOLEIC ACID include: Castor oil, Pomegranate seed oil, Sesame oil.
Always buy the best quality oil you can afford and avoid GM oils.
Look for organic (or wildharvested), cold pressed, virgin and unrefined oils as they retain most of the desirable therapeutic properties.
…And as always - pay attention to your diet. Include lots of raw fruit and veg in your diet, minimise sugar intake, processed foods and drink plenty of clean water.
🌸 🌱💕 🌱 With love Sol