Guide to Using Oils in Your Skin Care

Oils have always got a bad rap when it comes to acne. Especially skin care for acne. If you have acne you are always advised to look for products that are oil free. Oil free moisturizers and oil free face washes have always been held in high esteem by acne sufferers. Since it is assumed that acne is caused by excess oil, oil has never been a big part of any skin care routine meant for acne prone skin.

In this post however I’m going to show you how you can use oils in your skin care even when you have acne.

skin care

Why is it that people with acne are often asked to stay away from using oil on their faces? This is because it is generally assumed that acne is caused by excess oil. This is not really true. There are people who have oily skin who do not have acne. There are also people with dry skin who have severe acne. Acne is caused by a buildup of sebum i.e oil in the pore, when the pore is blocked by dead skin. This sebum is secreted by the sebaceous glands in the skin. It is nothing to do with any oil or anything that is applied on the surface of the skin.

My journey with using oil in my skin care started with OCM or Oil Cleansing Method. I found that my face wash was leaving my face dry, itchy and red. It was not helping my acne at all. I figured out I would try OCM one day and if it created problems I would stop. After a week of no problems, I continued to do this on a regular basis and actually ditched my regular face wash. Today it has been 3 years of no face wash and my skin has never looked better. I even started using coconut oil as a moisturizer and I still have no breakouts that have been caused by it.

What Oils to Use

There are 2 types of oils to consider. One is an essential oil and the other is a carrier oil. Essential oils are very strong and should never be applied directly on the skin. They should always be mixed with a carrier oil.

Best essential oil for acne prone skin are tea tree and lavender. Carrier oils are oils like olive oil, coconut oil, jojoba, rosehip oil, avocado oil, sweet almond oil, evening primrose oil and castor oil. All these can be used directly on your skin without a problem.

Why You Should Try Using Oils

Oils are very versatile and can be used as moisturizers, cleansers and makeup removers. You can use the same oil if you want to, for all 3 things. That one bottle of oil can double up as a lot of things. Oils make for great moisturizers. In winter if your favorite moisturizer does not seem to do anything for you, oil can make a great substitute. It will actually soothe dry and itchy patches.

Oils also make for great deep cleansers for your skin and this is a great thing if you have acne prone skin or clogged pores. Oil can actually remove the sebum plugs that block your pores. Essential oils like tea tree oil can help heal acne while rosehip oil can help with scars.

Do Not Try This if
  • You have active acne that are broken or inflamed
  • You have cuts or open wounds on your face
How You Can Use It

Using oil in your skin care for the first time can be scary. More so if you have acne and have always been told to go oil free. Here are some tips to help you incorporate oil into your skin care. When you start out, start with carrier oils like olive, avocado or coconut oil. Initially use it only in the evening. If you live in a hot, humid climate it is better that you only use oil in the evenings.

  • Start out by using a drop of oil in your face mask. Rosehip oil will do wonders for scars while coconut or avocado will soothe red inflamed acne.
  • If you are using a face wash mix a drop of oil with it.
  • To use as a moisturizer mix a drop of oil with plain water or rose water and apply to damp skin.
  • Add a drop to your preferred moisturizer.
  • Add 2-3 drops of oil to a coin sized amount in your body lotion.
  • To remove makeup use a cotton ball soaked in oil and then use your normal face wash

Do this once in 4-5 days so you give your skin time to get used to it and see if you have any adverse reactions. Basically this time period gives you time to observe how your skin is reacting to the oil.

Once you are fine with this you can move on to Oil Cleansing Method and incorporate oil in your daily skin care. You can even make your own oil blends with essential oils that are suitable for your skin type and its problems.

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Daily care for acne prone skin


Even after my acne had healed I used to be terrified of washing my face at the end of the day. I used a face wash that was supposed to be gentle and not strip my skin of its natural oils. However, the resultant sore, dry, red face which felt like it would crack if I smiled or talked, told a different story. My skin was dry and flaking in places, oily in others. Contrary to what most people with acne prone skin are led to believe – that their skin is oily, my skin was oily in a very strange way, it looked and felt dry but if I gently wiped a finger on my cheek it would come away oily and no amount of moisturizer helped the dry patches. They just got worse.

So even though I had acne free skin, it still looked pretty awful. This was not the skin I wanted.

Then I heard about something called OCM (Oil Cleansing Method). Like everything else it seemed to have mixed reviews. Up until this time oil was something I would never let close to my face. I figured that I had nothing to lose and gave OCM a try. My skin looked a little oily after but the tightness and redness was not there. I did this once a week, washing with just water the rest of the time. After about 2 weeks the dry, red patches on my face disappeared. My face became less tight, the pores less visible. I waited a week between each OCM as I wanted to see if there would be any new breakouts. I had none.

However, I understand that many of you will be in the same situation as I was then and be wary of trying out OCM initially. Also, I do not recommend starting or trying out OCM when you have active acne.

There are some alternatives to face wash like milk, besan (chickpea flour) and aloe vera, but if you have active acne, the gentlest alternative would be honey. Don’t try anything else till the acne have healed. Honey will remove impurities without drying out your skin. It will balance out the oily areas and hydrate the dry areas.

You need to use any organic honey. However if you have makeup on, honey will not remove it properly. So you will need to either use a makeup remover or remove the makeup using cotton wool and oil first.

How to use : Take about 1/2 teaspoon raw honey on your palm. Add a few drops of water if it is too thick. Massage this on your face. Wash off with normal or warm water. After washing you can either splash rose water on your face or rub an ice cube all over it. You can now moisturize your skin. I use a few drops of oil but you can use any moisturizer you want.

Next, I regularly use a face mask made with honey. The first time I did this I just used the table honey that I generally use to cook with. Even though it was not organic, this gave me better results in one use, than any of the treatments I had for acne. Inspired by this I went and got organic honey just for my face mask. Repeated use of this mask with organic honey, cinnamon and nutmeg refined the texture of my skin, made it softer and got rid of many of the red and brown marks. The pores got smaller and my skin finally looked clear and radiant. The weird mix of oily and dry skin finally balanced out with this mask.

Honey moisturizes and hydrates the skin and helps heal the acne. Cinnamon is anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial and helps heal and reduce inflammation caused by acne. Nutmeg is an astringent, so what this does is make your pores smaller and also gets rid of dead skin cells which then gradually reduces the marks left by acne.

You can either use the face mask immediately after you wash your face and before you apply moisturizer or if not then any time you have 1/2 hour to 45 minutes free. I suggest the following routine for slowly adding the cinnamon and nutmeg as they are rather strong spices on their own. As with everything else do a patch test first.

Week 1 : Just apply organic honey to your face and leave it on for 1/2 an hour. Wash off with warm water.

Week 2. As the acne start to heal add 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon powder to 1 teaspoon of honey. Apply this on your face and leave for 1/2 hour to one hour.

Week 3: Add 1/4 tsp finely grated nutmeg powder to the week 2 mask.