Cleansing your face with oil might sound counterintuitive, but it's actually one of the most effective ways to cut through all the excess sebum, makeup, and buildup on your face, without stripping your skin. And, for people with acne, getting a thorough, gentle cleanse is absolutely essential to minimizing breakouts. But not all oil cleansers are created equal — the best oil cleansers for acne prone skin are free of common irritants and acne triggers, and wash away easily, without leaving any residue behind.
The science behind how cleansing with oil can help acne prone skin is simple: oil clings to oil. This is the reason that oil cleansers do a better job of removing makeup and oil that can clog your pores than other types of cleansers. Also, using an oil cleanser isn't the same as slathering your face in olive oil from your kitchen — oil cleansers contain emulsifiers that allow them to rinse off easily, taking all that sebum and makeup with them.
That being said, there are a couple of ingredients people with acne should always avoid when choosing an oil cleanser. The first major acne trigger that's commonly found in oil cleansers is mineral oil. Many inexpensive oil cleansers rely on mineral oil as their primary ingredient, but this controversial oil is known to clog pores, the exact thing you're washing your face to prevent. The second ingredient you should be wary of is added fragrance. Using skin care products with fragrance can irritate your skin, which can actually cause oily skin to produce more oil and lead to inflammation, which is pretty much an open invitation for acne-causing bacteria to waltz on in.
Like any product, it's important to make sure you're using your oil cleanser correctly. While most face washes are applied to damp skin, oil cleansers are applied to dry skin, with dry fingers. Make sure you dispense enough product that it can easily be spread and massaged all over your face without pulling on your skin. For best results, warm the oil in your palms and then massage it into your skin for about one minute. Next, wet your hands with warm water and massage your face for another 30 seconds — this should make the cleanser turn white and milky. Finally, rinse your skin with warm water. A great oil cleanser will rinse off easily and completely, leaving your skin feeling smooth and clean. For an even deeper cleanse, try the Korean double cleansing method, by following this step with a gentle foam cleanser.
Using the right oil cleanser for your skin will give your pores a deeper clean, and these eight oil cleansers and balms — which melt into oils when you apply them — are great for acne prone skin.
1This Hypoallergenic Cleansing Balm That's Safe For Sensitive Skin
This cleansing balm from Banila Co has a sherbert texture and is formulated with a soothing array of gentle ingredients that are surprisingly powerful when it comes to removing stubborn makeup and sunscreen. It can even be used to remove eye makeup from the sensitive eye are, without causing irritation or blurry vision, which some oil cleansers that don't rinse off thoroughly can give you.
2This Cult Favorite Japanese Cleansing Oil With Two Types Of Hyaluronic Acid
Although many inexpensive oil cleansers turn to mineral oil for a cheap cleanse, the Hadalabo Gokujun Cleansing Oil uses olive oil, along with a blend of other non-irritating oils, to cut through the day's grime. And, this oil cleanser contains two types of Hyaluronic Acid to effectively hydrate your skin on multiple levels.
3This Cleanser Is Formulated With Salicylic Acid, Which Takes Its Pore Clearing Power Up A Notch
Shu Uemura is known for their incredible line of high-end cleansing oils, and their Porefinist Anti-Shine Fresh Cleansing Oil includes one very special pore-clearing ingredient that you'd be hard-pressed to find in another cleansing oil: salicylic acid. The mild exfoliating acid gives this cleansing oil an extra boost to dive deep into your pores and wash away dead skin cells and buildup.
4This Hydrating Cleansing Oil Is Great For Dry Skin That's Prone To Breakouts
Oily skin isn't the only kind of skin susceptible to breakouts. Acne can affect dry skin types as well — and keeping skin properly hydrated can help reduce irritation and strengthen your skin's natural barrier function, so it's better equipped to fight off acne-causing bacteria. This cleansing oil from Julep uses grape seed, olive, and rosehip oils to nourish and hydrate the skin while you cleanse, without clogging pores.
5This Nourishing Cleansing Balm With Fermented Ingredients
Skin care that contains fermented ingredients has become increasingly popular over the last couple of years, and many Korean beauty brands have found fresh and innovative ways to incorporate traditional fermented ingredients into the modern skin care ritual. When natural ingredients ferment, they go through changes that make them more nutrient-rich and introduce healthy bacteria into the mix.
The Su:m 37 Skin Saver Melting Cleansing Balm is formulated with a blend of fermented yeast, probiotics, and apricot kernel oil that may help to brighten the skin and strengthen it's barrier function.
6The Pore-Clearing Version Of The World Famous DHC Cleansing Oil — Designed Specifically For Congested Skin
DHC's original Deep Cleansing Oil is one of the most popular out there — so much so that, according to the brand, one is sold every ten seconds worldwide. But the maker's of the iconic oil cleanser have also created a lesser-known formula specifically for acne prone skin. The DHC Pore Cleansing Oil includes a blend of nine "hydrating and clarifying oils," including coconut, argan, evening primrose, olive, grape seed, jojoba, avocado, sesame, and rice bran oils — which work together to give your pores an extra-deep cleanse.
7This Rich Cleansing Balm With Tea Tree & Citrus Oils To Help Keep Skin Clear
The Heimish All Clean Balm is often viewed as a close cousin to Banila Co's Clean It Zero Purity that gets beauty-lovers ardently discussing which one is their favorite. While they are both great gentle cleansing balms, their ingredients differ quite a bit from one another.
The Heimish All Clean Balm has a rich, creamy formula that includes shea butter, donkey milk, and coconut. This balm cleanser is also formulated with tea tree oil, which is naturally antibacterial and antiseptic — two great qualities for helping to heal acne — and a blend of citrus oils which can help to gradually fade the dark spots acne often leaves behind.
8This Cleansing Oil That's Formulated With Olive Oil & Vitamin E
Philosophy's, well, philosophy is to provide people with products made from high-quality ingredients, and combine them with words that "uplift and nourish the spirit." Their Purity Cleansing Oil uses a blend of natural oils to gently remove makeup and oil. The formula also includes Vitamin E and rose extract to help calm and nourish the skin.
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