10 Best Face Oils for Acne-Prone Skin


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Yes, You Need Oil for Your Acne-Prone Skin

Face oils from Sunday Riley, Drunk Elephant, Herbivore Botanicals, and Pixi

Photos courtesy of Sephora, Herbivore Botanicals, and Target

Photos courtesy of Sephora, Herbivore Botanicals, and Target

If the thought of applying pure oil to your acne-ridden face gives you a mild anxiety attack, you’re not alone—many acne-sufferers avoid applying oil to their already “greasy” face, in fear that the added oils will produce more pimples. But let’s think about this for a second: acne develops when our body starts to make an excess of sebum, or oil that keeps our skin from drying out. Many acne-sufferers have been told that their skin is “oily” and that they should be using products to “dry it out,” but logic tells us that their skin is actually feeling super dry and is trying to make up for missing moisture.

“Oil is beneficial for acne because it’s very similar to the sebum of our skin, and will help balance out oil production,” says Julie Clark, holistic esthetician, aromatherapist, and founder of Province Apothecary. “It’s all about finding the right oil for your skin,” says Clark, “and for acneic skin, I recommend looking for products with camellia, jojoba, neem, sea buckthorn, frankincense or turmeric oil in them.”

But not all oils are created equal—oils including petroleum, coconut, and shea can be too comedogenic (or cloggy) for acne-sufferers, so it’s best to avoid applying these to the face. “Also, some people are sensitive to the activeness of rosehip oil, and when they use it straight, it can be too stimulating and cause more red bumps and inflammation,” says Clark. “If you are going to use rosehip oil, I always suggest to only use 1 drop of pure rosehip in a blended serum, instead of applying straight rosehip directly to the face.”

When it comes to application technique, Clark says hydration is key. “Spray alcohol-free toner all over your face first, and then apply a couple of drops of face oil to the dampened skin in a massaging motion,” explains Clark. Spritzing a toner (like Caudalie Beauty Elixir, us.caudalie.com, $49) on first allows the oils to penetrate deeper. Clark suggests applying face oil morning and night, and if you’re extra dry, it’s okay to apply your regular moisturizer over the toner and oil.

So there you have it! Did Julie and I convince you to try out oils on your acne? I hope so. See below for 10 acne-safe face oils to add to your skincare routine:


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Sunday Riley U.F.O. Ultra-Clarifying Acne Treatment Face Oil

Sunday Riley U.F.O. Ultra-Clarifying Acne Treatment Face Oil

Photo courtesy of Sephora

Photo courtesy of Sephora

Designed specifically for acneic-skin, this face oil treatment includes jojoba and neem oil to moisturize, as well as 1.5% salicylic acid to treat existing pimples. 

sephora.com, $80


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Province Apothecary Clear Skin Advanced Face Serum

Province Apothecary Clear Skin Advanced Face Serum

Photo courtesy of Province Apothecary

Photo courtesy of Province Apothecary

A pick from Julie’s line, the Clear Skin Advanced Face Serum contains camellia seed oil, jojoba seed oil, and sea buckthorn oil to balance and tone. This serum converted me into using face oils daily, and it’s now on its last drops in my stash!  

provinceapothecary.com, $76


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Botanics 100% Organic Nourishing Facial Oil

Botanics 100% Organic Nourishing Facial Oil

Photo courtesy of Target

Photo courtesy of Target

While this facial oil does contain rosehip oil, sweet almond oil is the base of product, so it should be safe for acne-prone skin.

target.com, $12


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Lumene Valo Arctic Berry Cocktail Brightening Hydra-Oil

Lumene Valo Arctic Berry Cocktail Brightening Hydra-Oil

Photo courtesy of CVS

Photo courtesy of CVS

One of my favorite brands, Lumene’s Hydra-Oil uses jojoba seed and sea buckthorn oil to nourish the skin, as well as antioxidant-rich cranberry and arctic cloudberry seed oils for extra protection against the elements. Plus, the lava-lamp-looking formula is mesmerizing.

cvs.com, $23


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Leven Rose Jojoba Oil

Leven Rose Jojoba Oil

Photo courtesy of Amazon

Photo courtesy of Amazon

With more than 7,000 customer reviews on Amazon, this pure jojoba oil is a perfect basic for anyone trying out facial oils. Jojoba oil soaks into the skin easily, and won’t leave you feeling greasy.

amazon.com, $14


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Herbivore Lapis Oil Balancing Facial Oil

Herbivore Lapis Oil Balancing Facial Oil

Photo courtesy of Herbivore Botanicals

Photo courtesy of Herbivore Botanicals

With an olive squalane and jojoba seed oil base, this pretty blue bottle has powerful anti-inflammatory and antibacterial ingredients, including blue tansy and kukui nut oil.

herbivorebotanicals.com, $72


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Drunk Elephant Virgin Marula Luxury Facial Oil

Drunk Elephant Virgin Marula Luxury Facial Oil

Photo courtesy of Sephora

Photo courtesy of Sephora

Drunk Elephant’s facial oil is chock full of vitamin E and omegas 6 and 9 for a surge of moisture to your parched skin. Plus, it’s super light and works well under makeup.

sephora.com, $72


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Youth to the People Superberry Hydrate + Glow Oil

Youth to the People Superberry Hydrate + Glow Oil

Photo courtesy of Sephora

Photo courtesy of Sephora

Superberries are the superheroes in this oil, with maqui, acai and goji berry oils blended together for a powerful antioxidant blend. Try adding a drop or two into your foundation for an added glow.

sephora.com, $44


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Lancer Omega Hydrating Oil

Lancer Omega Hydrating Oil

Photo courtesy of Sephora

Photo courtesy of Sephora

Not only is this pick super safe for acne-prone skin, but it includes turmeric oil, which is known for its anti-redness and anti-inflammatory properties.

sephora.com, $75


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Pixi by Petra Jasmine Oil Blend

Pixi by Petra Jasmine Oil Blend

Photo courtesy of Target

Photo courtesy of Target

Moisturize while calming and restoring stressed-out, unbalanced skin with this affordable find. Plus, it smells divine.  

target.com, $24


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About our expert

Daley Quinn

Photo courtesy of Daley Quinn

Photo courtesy of Daley Quinn

Daley Quinn is a former Assistant Beauty Editor at Family Covers and a current full-time freelance beauty and wellness writer. Daley is a Connecticut-born, Texas-bred pasta-aficionado living in New York City. Check out more of her work on her website.