7 Alternatives To Coconut Oil For Unclogging Pores

by Jen Marie

Everyone, it seems, is embracing the sheer versatility of coconut oil for cosmetic use these days — but what about alternatives to coconut oil? With such a wide variety of health and beauty benefits to coconut oil itself, it's no wonder this hearty little drupe's miracle oil has made its way from our kitchens onto our vanities. Coconut oil boasts moisturizing, skin softening, anti-aging, and anti-microbial properties, just to name a few. Kind of makes you want to rub some on your face right now, doesn't it?

But if you haven't already tried incorporating coconut oil into your daily regimen, either as a facial cleanser with OCMor moisturizer, there's a catch you should consider. Or, if you've given it a go without the success you were hoping for, don't stress — it's not your fault. Coconut oil has a slight contraindication that isn't always mentioned along with its cosmetic benefits: It's fairly comedogenic.

Comedo-what now? Comedogenicity ratings are how various oils and emollients are categorized based on the degree to which they're likely to clog your pores. Or, in simpler terms, comedogenic oils have a higher tendency to produce or aggravate acne and blackheads, whereas non-comedogenic oils are less likely to produce such issues. The rating scale goes from zero to five, wherein oils with a rating of zero won't clog pores, and oils with a rating of five are highly likely to clog pores. And while there's some discrepancy from list to list, coconut oil is regularly listed as a level 4, or moderately comedogenic oil, and sometimes higher.

If you're already in love with coconut oil and have used it with great success, there's no need to panic. Everyone's skin reacts differently to each oil type. While those of us with naturally oily skin may tend toward clogged pores and have difficulty using comedogenic oils, people with normal to dry skin may be able to tolerate them, even at higher ratings.

Also, it's worth mentioning that choosing virgin or cold pressed coconut oil increases the likelihood of reaping its many benefits, and if you'd really like to incorporate coconut oil in your daily beauty routine without having to worry as much about breakouts, you can combine it with another base oil in smaller quantity, just as you would add an essential oil for aroma or beneficial properties. You can also use coconut oil as a body butter, on the less sensitive skin of your arms, legs, and torso.

But what other base oil options are out there — that won't wreak havoc on your pores? Don't worry, the list is actually comfortingly long, and packed with equally stellar beauty benefits. And luckily, these days, most of the items on this list are things you've already seen at Whole Foods and your local health food store, or you can order them fairly easily online.

As you read on, consider the specific skin conditions you're looking to improve, then take the time to experiment with the oils that seem best suited to your skin type. Keep in mind that new oil regimens take time to adjust to, and it's always worthwhile to spot check on a small patch of skin before you dedicate yourself to a full oil facial.

1. Hemp Seed Oil

Hemp Seed Oil Pure Organic , $5, Amazon

  • Comedogenic Rating: 0
  • Natural SPF 6
  • Aids Vitamin D absorption, to make your time in the sun even more worthwhile
  • Reduces pore size
  • High in Omega 6 and Omega 3 (which help rebuild epidermal lipids)

2. Argan Oil

Try: Aria Starr Beauty Organic Argan Oil, $9, A mazon

  • Comedogenic Rating: 0
  • Natural SPF 30
  • Light consistency, similar to human sebum
  • Contains Vitamin E, an excellent antioxidant, which aids overall skin health
  • Contains essential fatty acids
  • Reduces inflammation, minimizing the appearance of wrinkles and blemishes
  • Heals scars due to containing Triterpenoids, which have a variety of benefits
  • Disinfectant and anti-fungal properties, making it helpful for cleansing
  • Great scent (another reason Argan oil is one of my current personal favorites)


  • Argan oil has a fairly short shelf life, between three to six months.
  • The price is a little high, due to being somewhat difficult to obtain (the life cycle of the Argan tree is long) and process.

3. Shea Butter

Organic Shea Butter Face and Body Cream, $54, Amazon

  • Comedogenic Rating: 0
  • Natural SPF 6 to 10
  • Contains Vitamin E
  • Anti-inflammatory, and exceptionally helpful for dealing with eczema, psoriasis, bites, cuts, cracks, burns, etc.
  • Moisturizing
  • Both skin strengthening and regenerating, as well as stimulating in terms of collagen production


  • Shea Butter has a strong scent, which many people have an aversion to. Refined versions of the product aim to reduce this scent, but often result in lowered beneficial properties.

4. Sunflower Seed Oil

La Tourangelle 100 Percent Organic Sunflower Oil , $11, Amazon

  • Comedogenic Rating: 0
  • Light consistency, similar to human sebum
  • Contains Vitamins E, A, and D (all of which are essential for the health and radiance of your skin)
  • Contains essential fatty acids
  • Contains carotenoids, which help prevent skin cancer
  • Deeply nourishing and moisturizing for many skin types


  • Unfortunately, sunflower seed oil doesn't moisturize quite as well for oily skin types.

5. Neem Oil

Neem Oil , $18, Amazon

Comedogenic Rating: 1


  • Neem oil is pretty thick, and usually needs to be diluted, or comes pre-diluted. Consider diluting neem oil with jojoba oil for added benefits.

6. Jojoba Oil (technically a liquid wax ester)

Dessert Essence 100 Percent Pure Jojoba Oil, $10, Amazon

Comedogenic Rating: 2

  • Natural SPF 4+
  • Medium consistency, very similar to human sebum
  • Long shelf life, doesn't turn rancid, and doesn't require refrigeration
  • Anti-bacterial
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Tends to level out natural oil production

7. Sweet Almond Oil

Sweet Almond Oil , $12, Amazon

Comedogenic Rating: 2

  • Natural SPF 5
  • Light to medium consistency, somewhat similar to human sebum
  • High fatty acid content
  • Recommended for all skin types
  • Especially beneficial for dry, itchy, or inflamed skin
  • Contains calcium, potassium, magnesium, as well as Vitamins E, A, B1, B2, and B6


  • To be safe, do extensive research around the use of sweet almond oil if you have nut allergies. While almonds are not technically nuts, some people have reactions, others do not.

See, plenty of great options, with very similar benefits to our beloved coconut oil. So, play around, mix and match, and enjoy the many natural benefits that oils have to offer.

Images: Fotolia; Courtesy Brands