Myth: Oil fights oil.

bowl being poured with yellow liquid
Photo by Pixabay on

This is a phrase that I hear often. To break it down, the skin has no mechanism to sense oil on the skin, so the concept of adding oil to the skin to stop oil production isn’t quite right.

However, the idea has some truth to it. Those of us with oily skin typically use harsh foaming cleansers and we cleanse often. Some of us don’t use a moisturizer due to the panic of adding more hydration to our already oily skin. We scrub, we use hot water, we super exfoliate when the dry patches come and this leads to a parched, damaged and sensitized epidermis. More sebum is released by our sebaceous glands in an attempt to repair all of the damage that’s being done.

This cycle is repeated.

When an oily skin person uses the appropriate oils on the face and scalp, it adds hydration and soothes the damage done by our harsh scrubbing and over exfoliating. When the oil cleanse method is used for an extended period of time, homeostasis is reached and the need for our over active sebaceous glands subside.

Which oils are appropriate for use on the face? Jojoba oil is the gold standard as far as the fatty acid content. It’s similar to human sebum, yet it’s non-comodegenic. Everyone’s skin is different. I use lavender infused sweet almond oil in my lymphatic drainage massage. I personally use olive oil to remove my eye makeup.

The worst oil to slather on your face is coconut oil. The comodogenicity of coconut oil is high. It’s also an occlusive, that means it doesn’t soak in it actually acts as a barrier. It’s not terrible for moisturizing the body, although the moisturizing benefits have much to be desired. A barrier oil with a low comodogenicity rating is mineral oil. That means you can add your favorite moisturizer to your face, then smooth on some Aquaphor to prevent TEWL or trans-epidermal water loss.

Other options for problematic oiliness are blotting papers or mattifying powders. A medicinal option is isotretinoin (accutane). This is a high dose of oral vitamin A that shrinks the oil glands and reduces oil production.

All is not lost for us dewy maidens. One of the wonderful things about having oily skin is the fact that hydrated skin tends to crease slower than dry skin. I can definitely live without wrinkles!


Crystal  @ Arch




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