Washing your face is the cornerstone of any skin care routine, and it's especially important if you have acne-prone skin. But with so many options out there, it can be hard to know which cleanser will keep the pimples at bay without drying your skin or being overly harsh. Sound familiar? An oil cleanser may be just what you need.

If you're prone to breakouts or have oily skin, the idea of oil cleansing for acne might give you pause. Does oil cleansing help with acne? The short answer is yes. Read on to learn how it works and why it might be just the thing you've been searching for.

What Is Acne?

Most people are familiar with acne and the havoc it wreaks on your skin, from whiteheads and blackheads to deep, painful cysts. But just because it's common doesn't mean it's not challenging to get rid of.

All acne bumps start with the same problem: a clogged pore. There are thousands of pores on your face. A breakout happens when some of those pores start to get clogged with dead skin cells, excess oil (called sebum), and bacteria. The more inflamed they are, the larger and more painful the pimples become.

How Do Oil Cleansers Work?

The first thing to know about oil cleansers is that they don't make your skin more oily. It may seem counterintuitive, but oil cleansers can actually help remove excess oil from the skin, which is one of the main contributors to acne.

How do they accomplish this? Well, it comes down to the chemistry principle of "like dissolves like." This means that similar substances are more likely to mix together, whereas substances that are different from one another will stay apart (for example, oil and water). So, what does this mean in the context of your skin? An oil cleanser effectively blends with, dissolves, and removes extra oil from your complexion. This includes the oil that your glands produce as well as any oil that skin care products, like makeup and sunscreen, leave behind.

How Does Oil Cleansing Help with Acne?

The best way to treat and prevent acne is to address the underlying cause. For many people, this means targeting the excess sebum produced by oil glands. This is where an oil cleanser can help. Using an oil cleanser as part of your regular routine removes sebum and any other oil-based impurities that collect on your skin, all without leaving a greasy residue.

The EltaMD Oil-In-Gel Cleanser goes one step further by combining the benefits of an oil cleanser with those of a traditional water-based cleanser. In addition to removing excess oil, this formula melts away sweat, makeup, and environmental pollutants without disrupting the skin barrier, leaving your complexion feeling clean and comfortable. And seeing as sunscreen is part of your daily routine (if it's not, it should be!), it's important to note that oil-based cleansers will also do a better job of removing residual sunscreen at the end of the day—including waterproof options.

If you have oily or acne-prone skin, you may not think an oil cleanser is for you. But these skin types often benefit the most from this deep-cleaning method when used on a regular basis. Oil cleansers are also typically mild, which means they won't irritate your skin or strip it of too many oils—which can actually cause your skin to produce more oil in order to compensate. You can also use an oil-based formula as part of a double cleansing routine, following up with a more traditional option like the EltaMD Foaming Facial Cleanser. The result? Extra clean skin that's better prepared to absorb serums and moisturizers.

The Best Oils for Acne

When it comes to acne, all oils are not created equal. Oils that you find in your kitchen cabinet—like olive and coconut oils, for example—are great for your skin as part of a healthy diet. But they may be too heavy to put directly on your skin and could make your acne worse, as they're known to clog pores. If you're prone to acne breakouts, look for lighter oils, like grapeseed or lavender. Ultimately, your best bet is to stick to oil cleansers that have been commercially formulated and tested.

Incorporating the right oil cleanser into your skin care routine can eliminate acne-causing oils and leave your complexion feeling clean, healthy, and vibrant. With a little time and patience, you'll shine brighter from all of the confidence within.



    Maria Robinson, MD, MBA is a board-certified dermatologist and dermatopathologist with over ten years of clinical experience. Dr. Robinson has a passion for nutrition and integrative dermatology, and is the co-founder of www.integrativederm.org, where people can explore holistic dermatology treatments. Through her writing, she strives to empower people with accurate health information so they can make positive decisions that lead to healthy and vibrant skin.