Is Olive Oil Comedogenic? You May Be Surprised!

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does olive oil clog pores

Does Olive Oil Clog Pores

Facial oils have become all the rage in recent years, partly in thanks to celebs like J. Lo who claim oils like olive oil are her secret to ageless skin. For most people, putting oils on your face may seem like a bad idea, facial oils can be incredibly beneficial for oily and acne-prone skin types. But not all oils are created equal. In fact, there are some oils that are pore clogging and it’s best to stay away from those. So is olive oil comedogenic? Let’s find out!

What Is Olive Oil

is olive oil comedogenic

While most commonly used for cooking, olive oil or EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) can also be used on the skin, along with other uses. It comes from the olives, which are the fruits of olive trees.

The majority of the olive oil produced is produced in the Mediterranean, where their diets consist of lots of olive oil.

There are many types of olive oil and some of the most common are extra virgin olive oil, hydrogenated olive oil, refined and pure olive oil.

You may also know olive oil as Olea Europaea Oil or Olea Europaea Fruit Oil, as their scienfitic names that are usually written on ingredients lists.

Olive Oil Benefits For The Skin

Not only is olive oil a great, healthy fat to add into your diet, olive oil can also be used in many different ways in your skincare routine. From oil cleansing to mixing a few drops in your moisturizer, there are endless ways you can add facial oils into your skincare routine and reap all the good benefits.

There are so many benefits to incorporating olive oil into your routine. It will help reduce inflammation and redness, heal wounds, prevent stretch marks and may even have anti-aging properties! Adding EVOO also extends the life of your moisturizer by locking in that moisture to keep it from escaping. Here are some of the benefits of olive oil for the skin:

  • Moisturizes: olive oil is an incredible moisturizer for the skin. It helps lock in moisture and prevent transepidermal water loss while softening and smoothing the skin. Olive oil works best when mixed in a moisturizer or applied on top of a moisturizer to keep everything locked in
  • Fights bacteria: not only can olive oil help treat stomach ulcers that are cause by h. pylori, it can also help to kill bacteria on the skin. Meaning it can kill acne causing bacteria and other harmful bacteria that can cause skin issues
  • Vitamin Rich: olive oil is rich in vitamins like vitamin a and vitamin e, which means it’s nourishing and can replenish skin when its low on needing vitamins and nutrients. That means healthier skin for you!
  • Antioxidant Rich: olive oil is packed with antioxidants like vitamin a and vitamin e to help defend the skin against environmental damage while promoting damage repair. Olive oil can be used day at night to protect and repair against damage from UV rays, pollution, etc.
  • Anti-inflammatory: it’s also been found that olive oil has antioxidant properties which can help with a variety of skin issues from acne to eczema. This also means it’s a great facial oil for sensitive skin type because it can help calm irritation and soothe inflammation quickly
  • Anti-aging: because of its high concentration of antioxidants and vitamins, olive oil is great for anti-aging. It can help prevent skin damage from pollution and UV rays, thus preventing fine lines and wrinkles. Olive oil can also help to smooth fine lines and wrinkles thanks to its moisturizing effects
  • Stimulates Collagen: not only does olive oil help fine lines and wrinkles, it’s also been show to help with collagen production. Meaning more youthful looking skin!
  • Wound Healing: it’s also been shown that olive oil helps with wound healing and tissue regeneration. This means it’s great for things like acne, hyperpigmentation and even minor cuts or scrapes.

Comedogenic Vs Non-Comedogenic: What Do They Mean?

You’ve probably seen the words “non-comedogenic” on skincare labels and wondered what the heck it actually means. It’s actually pretty simple.

Comedogenicity just refers to how likely the product is to clog pores or cause breakouts. Acne is caused when hair follicles become clogged with oil, bacteria ad dead skin cells, making it more difficult for the skin to breathe. If you have oily or acne-prone skin, you might want to avoid anything with a high comedogenicity rating since this can lead to additional breakouts.

Comedogenic means that it’s likely the product or ingredient will clog pores, especially if you have oily or acne-prone skin. Non-comedogenic, on the other hand, means it’s not likely the product or ingredient will clog pores.

The Comedogenicity Scale

The comedogencity scale is what we refer to when we want to know if a product or ingredient is comedogenic or non-comedogenic (or somewhere in between).

The comedogenic scale ranges from 0-5. 

0- Does not clog pores

1- Low chance of clogging pores

2- Moderately low chance of clogging pores

3- Moderate chance of clogging pores

4- Fairly high chance of clogging pores

5- High chance of clogging pores

So in general, anything from 0-2 is likely fine to use and shouldn’t cause breakouts or clogged pores in most people. Anything 3-5 should be used with caution, especially if you have oily or acne-prone skin.

Is Olive Oil Comedogenic?

does olive oil cause acne

While olive oil is found in many skincare products, from cleansers to moisturizers, it’s not always the best facial oil to use. Olive oil is considered mildly comedogenic, so yes olive oil is comedogenic and can lead to clogged pores.

Olive oil has been found to be mildly comedogenic, so if you are someone whose skin typically breaks out or if you have oily or acne-prone skin, you should avoid using olive oil as a face product or facial oil for your skin care routine.

What Is The Comedogenicity Rating For Olive Oil?

So how comedogenic is olive oil? Olive oil is rated a 2 on the comedogencity scale, meaning there’s only a moderate chance of it clogging pores and leading to breakouts. Compared to something like coconut oil, which has a rating of 4, olive oil is generally pretty safe.

However, those with oily and acne prone skin will say a moderate chance is too much of a chance to risk pore clogs and breakouts. Especially since there are many other non-comedogenic facial oils to use.

Olive oil does have some incredible benefits for the skin, so it can be a great oil for certain people (those with drier skin and aren’t prone to acne). Since olive oil is a thicker oil, it’s great at keeping skin moisturized and keeping hydration locked in (along with a ton of other benefits). So just because olive oil is slightly comedogenic, doesn’t mean you should completely write it off!

But, if you have acne-prone skin, I’d stay away and stick with less comedogenic oils. And if you have dry skin, I say go for it!

What Makes Olive Oil Comedogenic?

There are some properties of olive oil that can contribute to clogged pores. The main one being its high concentration of oleic acid. Oleic acid is a fatty acid that is found in all types of plant oils. Its concentration is what matters here.

Olive oil has a pretty high concentration of oleic acid and can range anywhere from 55–83%. So why is this important? Well, oleic acid has been found to contribute to acne and clogged pores in the skin.

So, since olive oil has a higher concentration of oleic acid, that means it’s slightly more likely to clog pores than say, Argan oil, which has a low concentration of oleic acid.

Other oils with a comedogenicity rating include sweet almond oil and sesame seed oil which are safely used by many people without issues.

Will Olive Oil Break Me Out?

While it’s no guarantee that you’ll experience breakouts and clogged pores when using olive oil, it’s certainly likely. However, olive oil has been used on the skin for centuries, and many people swear by it.

Yes, olive oil may possibly break you out. But it also might not! It does have a small chance of breakouts, but so do a lot of other ingredients found in your skincare products.

Everyone’s skin reacts differently to products and ingredients, so there is no definitive answer to whether or not olive oil will cause acne.

If you’re worried you can always patch test olive oil or a product containing olive oil. Or simply avoid it and use non-comedogenic oil instead.

Where Does The Comedogenicity Scale Come From?

Originally, the comedogenicity scale came about by testing products on rabbit ears. The ingredient was applied, and if no breakouts or comedones appeared, then the ingredient was deemed non-comedogenic.

While testing has come a long way since then, we still use much of the data that was collected on rabbit ears. So how reliable is it? Well, rabbit skin is very different from human skin, so take it with a grain of salt.

However, it’s still a great guide to go by and I personally still use it, as I am pretty acne prone.

Non-Pore Clogging Facial Oil Alternatives

Now if you really want to try a facial oil, but are too scared to try olive oil and are looking for an alternative, there are some great options. So which oils do not clog pores? These are some non-comedogenic facial oils that are safe for acne-prone and oily skin types:

  • Argan Oil – comedogenicity rating 0
  • Black Currant Seed Oilcomedogenicity rating 0-1
  • Camellia Seed Oilcomedogenicity rating 1
  • Grapeseed Oil – comedogenicity rating 1
  • Hemp Seed Oilcomedogenicity rating 1
  • Meadowfoam Seed Oilcomedogenicity rating 1
  • Safflower Oil  comedogenicity rating 0
  • Squalane Oil – comedogenicity rating 0
  • Sunflower Seed Oilcomedogenicity rating 1

Is Olive Oil Comedogenic: Wrap Up

Olive oil can be a great facial oil for the skin because of its ability to nourish and moisturize the skin. However, olive oil can be comedogenic in some cases and can lead to clogged pores and breakouts.

If you do experience comedones or acne from olive oil on your face, try using on your body instead. Many times our facial skin is more sensitive than our body skin. So, ingredients that cause breakouts on your face, may be perfectly fine to use on your body without issues.

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