Choosing A Skin Care Oil

A large part of our skin care routines involve natural and organic oils. There are hundreds from which to choose, and endless ways to mix them as a way to find which oil or oils are best for you and your skin. But, how do you find the right one? Well, trial and error is a major part of the process, but there's more to the story of oils.


Comedogenic Oils:

One of our Gorgeous Girl's sent me an article that really helped me understand the difference between certain oils and the effects they may have on different skin types. So, I have to thank Mama B for all her help in the matter.

Each type of oil is different, obviously, but each oil product varies, as well. As you may have already discovered, for instance, not every coconut oil is the same. There are a number of factors that make each oil different, and any one of those factors can react positively or negatively with your skin and your very unique genetic and lifestyle make-up. So, even with the information below, courtesy of the Holistic Health Herbalist, try your hand at many different oils before you decide on your personal favorites.

Comedogenic Ratings:

A comedogenic rating of 1 signifies a slight chance that the oil will clog your pores.

A comedogenic rating of 2 tells you that the oil will not clog pores for MOST people, but some will begin to notice clogged pores or a “purge” in some cases.1

A comedogenic rating of 3 is where a lot of people will break out using this oil, but a lot of people may not break out depending on their skin type.

A comedogenic rating of 4 suggests that MOST people will break out using this oil unless they have a good tolerance for it. This largely depends on a number of skin type factors.

A comedogenic rating of 5 is basically a guaranteed chance of breaking out. Very few people can tolerate oils labeled as a 5, but they do exist!

Some of Our Favorite Oils:


    Linoleic acid– 37%
    Linolenic acid– <0.5%
    Oleic acid– 43%
    Comedogenic Rating– 0

    Argan oil is the holy grail oil for many and for good reason! It boasts some pretty amazing skin reparative benefits along with the very low chance of clogging pores. Another reason to reach for this oil is for its ability to treat acne and acne scars. Argan oil regulates the production of sebum which helps prevent further breakouts, and its Vitamin E content helps fade scars and smooth out the skin’s texture. Suitable for most skin types.



    Linoleic acid– 15%
    Linolenic acid– 0.8%
    Oleic acid– 65%
    Comedogenic Rating– 3

    Avocado oil is suitable for drier acne prone skin types but may still clog pores. However, if your skin tolerates this oil, it is amazing for hydration and skin tone renewal. Since it is a heavier oil, it may be best suited for use at night. Avocado oil is said to diminish pore size and remove impurities from the skin over time. It’s also good for repairing the skin’s outer most barrier, reversing the signs of aging, and for treating skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis.



    Linoleic acid– 4%
    Ricinoleic acid– 90%
    Oleic acid– 4%
    Comedogenic Rating– 1

    Castor oil is essential for many who use the OCM (though not for myself as I find it much too drying). It has strong detox and purging properties. It also increases cell turnover which is why it is used as an acne treatment. Due to its ricinoleic acid content, castor oil is a very drying oil and must be diluted before using it on the skin. It is suitable for oily skin types but may cause purging and detox of the skin.



    Lauric acid– 45-52%
    Linoleic acid– 1-3%
    Linolenic acid– 0.2%
    Oleic acid– 5-8%
    Comedogenic Rating– 4

    This oil is a favorite among many for its amazing health promoting and beautifying properties. It smooths skin and reveals a fresh, glowing complexion for those who tolerate it well. Most, however, do not tolerate coconut oil well on their face, so if you have acne prone skin, you may want to steer clear of this oil. Coconut oil is rather heavy and may be better used at night. Suitable for very dry skin types. You can use it for a lot of other things which you can read about here.



    Eicosenoic acid– 65-80%
    Linoleic acid– 5%
    Linolenic acid– 1%
    Oleic acid– 5-15%
    Comedogenic Rating– 2

    Jojoba oil is a holy grail acne treatment for many because it mimics the consistency of our own sebum. It has a light moisturizing feel and absorbs well into the skin. Most skin types tolerate jojoba well but will often experience a “purge” of toxins when they begin using it. Normally, this purge will end in a few weeks, revealing clear pores and revitalized skin. This oil is more suitable for oily skin types as it helps balance the production of excess oil.



    Linoleic acid– 13%
    Oleic acid– 50%
    Palmitic acid– 18%
    Stearic acid– 15%
    Comedogenic Rating– 1-2

    Neem oil is an amazing oil to use for acne prone skin due to its potent anti-bacterial properties. It reduces inflammation, redness, and irritation while protecting and moisturizing the skin. I find that it has a heavier, oilier feel when applied so I generally mix a few drops into another carrier oil to prevent that “oil slick” look. This oil is better suited for drier skin types for this reason but can still be used for oily skin when mixed with other oils. Neem oil has a strange pungent odor like “boiled peanuts” so keep that in mind before going on a date with it on your face!



    Linoleic acid– 5-15%
    Oleic acid– 63-80%
    Palmitic acid– 7-14%
    Comedogenic Rating– 2

    Olive oil contains potent anti-oxidants and squalene; a lipid that is also found in our skin cells. This squalene is what makes olive oil to well received by most skin types as a nourishing and moisturizing addition to their beauty routine. Using it in your daily regimen has been shown to reduce the signs of aging, smooth skin texture, and hydrate dry skin conditions. It reduces inflammation and brings down redness making it perfect for acne sufferers who lean more on the drier side.



    Linoleic acid– 52%
    Linolenic acid– 22%
    Oleic acid– 11.7%
    Comedogenic Rating– 0-1

    Raspberry seed oil is one of my favorite oils to use! Not only does it have a low chance of clogging your pores, but it also protects your skin from the sun with a natural SPF of 28! The sun is the leading cause of accelerated aging which makes this oil perfect for those who spend time outdoors. It absorbs well, has a high anti-oxidant content, and moisturizes the skin.



    Linoleic acid– 44%
    Oleic acid– 14%
    Comedogenic Rating– 1

    Rosehip seed oil is one of my favorite oils to use for cleansing and moisturizing acne prone skin. It’s amazing for reversing hyperpigmentation, the signs of aging, sun damage, stretch marks, and scars. Its high anti-oxidant content improves texture and revitalizes the skin. Suitable for oily skin types.



    Linoleic acid– 3-8%
    Oleic acid– 40-55%
    Stearic acid– 35-45%
    Comedogenic Rating– 0-2

    Shea butter is really interesting because even though it has a high stearic acid content, it doesn’t seem to break people out. Sure, there ARE people who react badly to use it, but overall, many find that shea butter is an amazing oil to use during the cold, dry winter months. It’s heavy and leaves a greasy feel on the skin after applying, so you only need the tiniest bit. It forms a protective layer on the skin that reduces inflammation and smooths rough skin. It is especially good for elbows, knees, and heels.



    Linoleic acid– 20-30%1
    Linolenic acid– 0.4%
    Oleic acid– 62-86%
    Comedogenic Rating– 2

    Sweet almond oil is a great oil to use for dry acne prone skin due to its emollient properties. It’s great for regenerating skin cells because it penetrates damaged cells and softens them allowing for better hydration. Sweet almond oil is suitable for sensitive skin types that are dry and irritated.

There are lots of other oils mentioned on the Holistic Health Herbalist's blog post. It's very much worth a gander.

skincareElisabeth Ovesen