Are face oils really good for helping oily skin?

Face oils for oily skin - yay, or nay? That's the question we're asking today on The answer, might surprise you.

Face oils have become more and more popular over the past few years. First, there were the luxury ones, then mid-range and following quickly after that, budget offerings. So, really, price isn't an issue at all - they're available to everyone who wants to try them now. For some, though, there is a niggling doubt in the back of their mind... will it make my skin better, or worse? How do I know what to choose?

Facial oils are often cited as an absolute must have in your beauty regime especially when it comes to dehydration and dryness. But when you're dealing with other skin issues, such as oiliness, or break outs, it's really tricky even contemplating using a face oil. Everyone has times when their skin goes a bit haywire, but for anyone with problematic, or oily skin, those in-between moments of "normality" are like gold dust. Believe me, I know.

This piece isn't about pushing you either way. It's more about whether or not an oil might work for you, what can happen when you use one, and which ingredients to look out for.

Why use a face oil?

In essence, a facial oil will help to balance and regulate oil production in our skin. For someone with dry skin this makes complete sense, as dry skin lacks oil. But for someone with already oily skin, it doesn't make sense to add more. Or does it?


Oily skin is caused by an over-production of the naturally occurring skin oil, sebum. Too much sebum production leads to shininess, blocked pores and breakouts. In a nutshell, the theory for using a facial oil on oily skin, is to stop the skin from thinking it needs to produce so much sebum itself. Initially, there can be a bit of tug of war, but after a week or two, the skin starts to settle down as it becomes used to having its little helper.

Skin Purging

This is probably the worst phase of using oil when you have problematic skin. Basically, it's when your skin starts to clear itself out - which can lead to a breakout of epic proportions. Recently, I invested in the Sunday Riley UFO oil, (Ultraclarifying Facial Oil). On it, it says to gently ween your skin onto it to avoid purging.

Em, yeah. I still managed to get a few whopper spots, but now I'm three weeks into using it and over all my skin is clear, congestion free, less shiny and generally looking pretty good! The lack of  congestion is my favourite part though, because I've been battling with that since I was a teenager.


There are certain oils, and ingredients which are deemed better for oily and problematic skin. Most of the time, facial beauty oils on the market will contain a blend, but if you're thinking of getting one then these are some ingredients to watch out for:

  • Salicylic Acid: This helps to fight spot causing bacteria and clear blocked pores.
  • Tea Tree Oil: Ideal for combination and oily skin types thanks to its antibacterial properties. The light texture absorbs quickly to leave no greasy residue.
  • Jojoba Oil: Another oil that suits combination skin, this mimics natural sebum to help hydrate and rebalance oil production.
  • Squalane: Suitable for all skin types, this antioxidant-rich oil is derived from olives. It has very small molecules so can be easily absorbed into skin and won't cause blocked pores.

Would you be tempted to try a face oil?

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