Can Olive Oil Help Get Rid of Acne?

Some people say that olive oil can get rid of acne. If it seems strange to put oil on your face, we thought the same thing. If you put oil on a pimple, will it make it go away?
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Olive oil to treat acne
Olive oil is said to have anti-inflammatory properties, and some people think it can get rid of acne, keep skin hydrated.

Acne happens when oil (sebum) builds up on your skin, but some people swear that using oil-based treatments on their skin will get rid of acne naturally. There are a lot of recipes for “oil cleansers” all over the internet.

The oil-cleansing method is based on the principle that “like dissolves like.” In other words, rubbing oil on your skin will break up the oil that has gotten dirty and hardened.

Proponents of the oil-cleansing method say that olive oil is one of the best oils to use. Olive oil is good for you because it has a lot of vitamins and antioxidants.

Are the claims made about the oil-cleansing method true? Should olive oil be rubbed on your skin? Learn more by reading on.

How it works

When oil (sebum) and dead skin cells get stuck in your pores, you get acne.

Oil cleansing is based on the idea that you don’t want to get rid of all the oil on your skin because that will make it produce a lot more oil. Oil cleansing is better for the skin because it locks in moisture and doesn’t dry it out too much.

People who like the oil-cleansing method say that olive oil is good for all skin types because it has a lot of vitamins and antioxidants. People also think that jojoba, grapeseed, almond, and castor oils are good for you. Most of the time, though, coconut oil isn’t recommended.


If you want to try oil cleansing with olive oil, here’s what you need to do:

  1. Get your olive oil ready or follow a recipe to mix olive oil with other oils. You can also just buy a brand of oil cleanser that is already mixed. 
  2. Pour the oil into the palm of your hand, and then spread it all over your face. 
  3. For a couple of minutes, move the oil or mixture around on your skin. 
  4. Let the oil stay on your face for a minute more. 
  5. Dip a washcloth in warm water that is cool enough to use on your face but warm enough to dissolve the oil. 
  6. Put the washcloth on your face and hold it there for 15 seconds. 
  7. Wipe the oil off your face slowly. 
  8. Keep doing this until all of the oil is removed.

This is something you should do often, but not more than once a day. You might not see any changes for a week or two.

Double cleansing

For double cleansing, you wash your face twice in a row, first with an oil cleanser and then with a regular cleanser that is made of water.

People who like this way of cleaning their faces say that it gets rid of both the oily dirt and makeup on their faces and the normal dirt and sweat that build up during the day.

Scientific research

Even though the oil-cleansing method sounds scientific, there isn’t much scientific proof that it works. No large, randomized clinical trials have been done on people to test the oil-cleansing method or olive oil.

On the other hand, people have been putting olive oil on their skin for hundreds of years. Small studies have been done on animals and people to see how olive oil or parts of olive oil affect the skin in general, but the results have been mixed:

  • One study found that a substance in olive oil called oleic acid caused acne. Another study found that olive oil was a mild irritant for people with eczema (atopic dermatitis), a common skin disorder that causes itchy, red patches of skin. 
  • In another study, it was found that olive oil makes bacteria that cause acne work faster. The oil also helped these bacteria stick to the hair follicles on the skin, the researchers found. 
  • In 2012, researchers looked at what olive oil did to the skin of people who volunteered. The researchers found that after putting two drops of olive oil on the forearm twice a day for five weeks, the researchers found that the olive oil broke down the skin barrier and made the skin a little bit itchy. 
  • A small study of 28 college students found that oil-based cleansers were best for people with dry and aged skin, while oil-free cleansers were best for oily and acne-prone skin. 
  • Olive oil has been shown to have direct antioxidant effects on the skin and may help prevent UVB-caused skin damage and skin cancer. 
  • The results of these studies don’t show that olive oil is good for the skin, but they haven’t fully tested the oil-cleansing method, so it’s hard to say for sure.

It would likely be hard to study the oil-cleansing method in clinical trials. This is because acne often has more than one cause, so you can’t always treat it with just one product. What works for someone might not work for someone else.

Possible side effects

Some research shows, unfortunately, that olive oil may not be the cheap miracle cure for acne you’ve been looking for. There may be some good things about it, but there are also a lot of bad things to think about.

Olive oil might actually cause acne

In an older study on animals, it was found that oleic acid, which is found in olive oil, can block pores and cause blackheads by acting as a comedogenic. This is obviously not what you want to happen.

In other research from 1993, it was found that olive oil helps the bacteria that cause acne stick to the skin follicles, which makes the bacteria more active.

It may irritate or even cause eczema

A small study found that putting olive oil on your skin may damage the skin barrier and make you more likely to get eczema, which is also called atopic dermatitis. It can also make your eczema worse. If your skin is very sensitive, you might not want to use olive oil.

It might dry out your skin

Olive oil is said to be very moisturizing, but it may do the opposite for some people.

Recent research has shown that olive oil’s high amount of oleic acid can weaken the skin’s barrier and cause it to dry out. This is in addition to making acne worse. In another small study, it was found that oleic acid might make people lose water.

All things considered, olive oil might not be the best thing in your kitchen to use on your skin.

In Conclusion

Even though it’s not dangerous to try, olive oil isn’t the best way to get rid of acne. Many people can’t use cosmetics with added oils, so if you’re one of those people, you might want to skip this one.

Some people with normal or dry skin might benefit from adding olive oil to their skincare routine. If you tend to get acne or have oily skin, you should be careful with this option and try adding it to your daily skin care routine slowly and gradually. You could also do a patch test. Start by trying it out on your arms or legs. If you like the results, you can then move up to your face. If it doesn’t irritate your skin about 24 hours after you put it on, it probably won’t irritate it again.

It goes without saying that you shouldn’t eat this if you’re allergic to olive oil. Try other oils that don’t cause pimples, like almond, rosehip, sunflower, or castor oil.

Remember that everyone reacts differently to every acne treatment that you put on their skin. Olive oil is a great way to dress a salad, but it shouldn’t be your first choice if you have acne.


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