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By BDG Commerce
Cleansing your face with oil might sound counterintuitive if you have acne, 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. In fact, the best oil cleansers for acne-prone skin can actually be an excellent source of hydration, which, according to board-certified dermatologist Dr. Channing Barnett, is something all skin — even the most reactive types — needs in order to be healthy. “Oils play a central role in helping us maintain hydration,” Dr. Barnett explains to Bustle. “And effective oil-based cleansers are rich in nutrients with healing properties.”
The science behind how cleansing with oil can help acne-prone skin is based on what Dr. Barnett refers to as the “like-dissolves-like” concept. “Plant-based oils found in many oil-based cleansers dissolve the natural oils on our skin that have hardened and plugged up our pores,” she says. “The applied oil will mix with the hardened oils, and can be lifted away when the mixture is wiped with a damp washcloth. This is a great approach if you are prone to acne with pore congestion and blackheads.”
Keep in mind, using an oil cleanser isn't the same as slathering your face in straight olive or coconut oil or from your kitchen— you’ll want to look for a properly formulated product for your skin type first. “Focus on products labelled as ‘non-comedogenic’ to ensure that they won’t clog your pores,” Dr. Barnett advises. “Also avoid cleansers with added scents or dyes.” Finally, she adds that mineral oil is a “big no no” for skin that’s prone to inflammation, blackheads, and/or whiteheads.
In terms of best practices, washing your face with an oil cleanser is best to do only at night so your skin stays well hydrated while you sleep. “I recommend applying the cleanser to your face when it is dry,” Dr. Barnett says. “Use your fingertips to massage the oil cleanser into the skin gently for a minute or two to remove impurities such as dead skin cells and makeup. Let it penetrate the skin. Then use a warm, damp, soft, smooth, cotton-based washcloth to gently wipe away the oil. And don't scrub too hard! You will win the battle against acne with a gentle touch and not your nails.”
Using the right oil cleanser for your skin will give your pores a deeper clean, and these eight oil cleansers and cleansing balms — which melt into oils when you apply them — are particularly great for acne-prone skin.