Is Olive Oil Comedogenic?

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Now that all-natural products have been dominating the skincare world, many people have started turning away from chemical-packed products and are switching to skincare products with fewer natural ingredients. 

Olive oil is one of the most popular natural ingredients that have been around for thousands of years. 

Olive oil being poured into a bowl on a wooden table with some olives on it

Olive oil is mainly used for cooking. But did you know that you can also add it to your skincare routine?

This natural oil is a great staple, thanks to its benefits to the skin and overall health.

However, is olive fruit oil comedogenic? Will olive oil clog your pores? Is it safe to use for your skin? 

If you want to know the answers, read this article and find out!

What Is Olive Oil?

Olive oil is extracted from the fleshy part of the ripened fruit of the Olea europaea, mostly produced in the countries of the Mediterranean Basin.

It is rich in oleic acid and contains fatty acids, such as palmitic and linoleic acid. 

Olive oil is widely classified into four grades:

  1. Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  2. Virgin olive oil 
  3. Pure olive oil
  4. Commercial or refined olive oil

Pure olive oil is mainly used in the culinary world and for food preservation, especially canned fish. 

Aside from that, this natural oil is also an ingredient added to soaps, traditional lamp fuel, pharmaceuticals, and cosmetics. 

While you have many great olive oil options available, your skin may benefit from the oil that you already have: a high-quality extra virgin olive oil (EVOO).

However, there is an ongoing discourse on whether olive oil is comedogenic. 

To help you find out, let’s check the comedogenic rating of olive oil. 

TIP: Before using olive oil on your skin, do a patch test first to know if you are sensitive to this ingredient to avoid irritation. You may also refer to your dermatologist regarding how to incorporate olive oil into your skincare routine based on your skin type. 

What Does Comedogenic Mean?

But before determining whether olive oil is comedogenic, let’s first define what comedogenic means.

“Comedogenic” refers to the possibility of an ingredient or product clogging pores and causing an acne breakout. 

Our skin naturally produces sebum — a naturally waxy substance produced on the face. Sebum serves as protection for the skin to keep it waterproof and hydrated. 

When the sebum outflow from a pore is blocked, this can result in the formation of comedones. Open comedones are known as the blackheads, while closed comedones are called the whiteheads. 

Although comedones are a non-inflammatory acne type, they can cause inflammatory acne to form. As a result, we get this red, painful acne that most want to avoid at all costs. 

On the other hand, “non-comedogenic” means that a particular ingredient is unlikely to clog pores and thus won’t cause your skin to break out. 

While everyone’s skin is different, a comedogenic rating is a basis for whether an ingredient can cause acne breakout or not.

What Is a Comedogenic Rating?

The comedogenic rating is used to understand how likely a product or ingredient can cause breakouts on the skin. 

A product is rated on a scale of zero to five: 0 is considered non-comedogenic, and 5 is regarded as the most comedogenic. 

To understand better, refer to this quick comedogenic rating guide:

0Non-comedogenicDoes not clog pores
1Slightly comedogenicHas a very low chance of clogging pores
2Moderately low comedogenicPossibly clog pores in some people but is fine for most
3Moderately comedogenicWill likely clog pores for people with oily or acne-prone skin types
4Fairly high comedogenicWill clog pores for most people
5Severely comedogenicHigh chance of clogging all people’s pores

Olive Oil Comedogenic Rating

Here comes the big question: is olive oil non-comedogenic or comedogenic?

Based on the comedogenic scale, olive oil is rated a 2. Meaning, this ingredient is considered mildly comedogenic.

Hence, there’s a slight possibility that it can clog pores and cause breakouts, especially for those with acne-prone and oily skin. 

Shockingly, the purest form of olive oil clogs pores more than luscious and thick shea butter. 

One of the main reasons why olive oil can contribute to clogged pores is because of the high oleic acid concentration — an acid that is thought to act like sebum and clog pores. 

A few studies show that high levels of oleic acid can damage your skin barrier and eventually result in water loss. 

Since there are four types of olive oils, you might ask, Is extra virgin olive oil comedogenic? Is hydrogenated olive oil comedogenic? Is virgin olive oil comedogenic?

Well, since the main ingredient of these oil types is olive oil, they still have a comedogenicity rating of 2, which is mildly comedogenic. 

Olive oils are best used to enhance the feel and taste of your food. However, that’s not the case when it comes to your skin, particularly if you have an oily skin type. 

Since this oil is graded 2 on the comedogenic scale, it’s not the worst among all the natural oils used for your skin. However, it’s not the best either. 

Can Olive Oil Be Less Comedogenic?

Now that you know the comedogenic rating of olive oil, this natural ingredient is not the worst thing you can apply to your skin. 

Again, there’s a possibility that it can clog your pores and thus lead to pimples and blackheads. 

However, the chances of olive oil being comedogenic are low compared to those natural ingredients, with a 3 to 5 rating. 

For those who want to try out the benefits that olive oil can give, know that you can do something to make it less comedogenic.

Here’s what you can do:

  1. Mix olive oil with mineral oil. 
  2. Dilute the mixture until it reaches a 25% concentration. 

Since mineral oil has a 0 comedogenic rating, you don’t need to worry about ruining your skin when it’s mixed with a less-concentrated olive oil. 

While you can’t make olive oil completely non-comedogenic, this mixture is the closest you can achieve. 

A young woman with beautiful skin is smiling with her hand on her chin while looking away at the camera

What Are the Benefits of Olive Oil?

If you think your skin can tolerate olive oil and you want to try it, here are the skin benefits it offers:

  • Rich in antioxidants
  • Contains skin-healthy vitamins (vitamins A, D, E, and K)
  • Antibacterial
  • Natural moisturizer

How to Add Olive Oil in Your Skincare?

Here’s how you can incorporate olive oil into your skincare routine:

  • Olive oils should be the last step in your skincare routine — after any emulsions and serums — since this natural ingredient seals in hydration. If used during the daytime, don’t forget to apply your SPF on top of it. 
  • To moisturize your skin, you can mix olive oil with a lotion. A moisturizer is best used right after you shower when your skin is damp. 
  • Make sure to keep it light. You don’t have to apply too much olive oil to experience its hydration effect. Otherwise, you’ll only risk clogging your pores, particularly if you have oil, sensitive, or acne-prone skin. 
  • It’s best to opt for a non-GMO and organic olive oil to use for your skin. The top-grade olive oil is extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), which is rich in vitamins and antioxidants. 

Other Ways to Use Olive Oil 

If you think olive oil is not meant for your face, you can still incorporate this natural ingredient into your body care routine — from your nails to your hair!

Here are other ways you can use olive oil:

Cuticle Treatment

If you think your cuticles are becoming dry, olive oil can give them some love and the nourishment they need. 

All you need to do is to rub a bit of olive oil on your cuticles and leave it for at least 30 to 60 seconds. Doing this regularly can help your nail area look healthy and soft. 

Hair Treatment

For centuries, oils have been used to restore moisture and shine to dry hair.

Olive oil is one of the best oils you can apply to your hair to target such hair concerns. People have been doing this since ancient times!

To do this, apply the right amount of olive oil to your hair and massage it through. Make sure to focus on especially dry areas. 

While at it, give yourself a scalp massage and then leave it on for 30 minutes or more. You can even leave it overnight and then shampoo it as usual.

Exfoliator

Mixing sugar and olive oil can make an all-natural scrub that moisturizes and exfoliates. 

Rub this scrub on your body gently to remove dead skin cells. Just make sure to rinse it thoroughly afterward to avoid clogging your pores. 

Makeup Remover

If you’re having trouble removing stubborn waterproof eye makeup, olive oil can help you remove it easily since it helps dissolve all the products you used.

Apply a small amount of olive oil to a cotton ball and gently remove your makeup. After removing the makeup on your face, wash the oil away with your usual facial cleanser.

Be careful not to get any of the product in your eye when doing this tip.

A woman is removing her make up with cotton ball in front of a small mirror

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I avoid using olive oil?

You don’t necessarily need to avoid olive oil. In fact, olive oil has a lot of benefits to offer.

If olive oil is topically applied, its squalene content can offer more smoothness and softness to your face and body. 

Additionally, olive oil can minimize the impact of free radicals, thanks to its antioxidant properties, which keep you from harmful ultraviolet rays and pollution.

But before using olive oil, don’t forget to do a patch test or ask your dermatologist whether it’s safe for you to use. 

Are there natural oil alternatives for olive oil that are better for the skin?

Yes, if you’ve experienced breakouts while using olive oil, here’s a list of the safer natural oil alternatives you can use in your skincare routine. 

These ingredients are rated 0 on the comedogenic scale; hence, these are all non-comedogenic:

  • Argan oil
  • Camellia seed oil 
  • Grapeseed oil
  • Hemp seed oil
  • Safflower oil
  • Shea butter or shea oil
  • Squalene oil
  • Sunflower seed oil
  • Watermelon seed oil

In Conclusion: Olive Oil Is a Slightly Comedogenic Ingredient

Even though olive oil is a moderately comedogenic ingredient, it still offers promising benefits to your skin and body. 

So you can still use olive oil in other parts of your body to fully experience this natural oil’s wonders. 

But if you don’t want to risk getting skin barrier issues, grease, or acne, it’s best to stay away from using olive oil, especially if you have acne-prone and oily skin.  

Though it contains some good-for-you properties, you can find other natural skincare ingredients and non-comedogenic oils for skin that are safer and more effective.

Overall, there’s no single answer as to whether olive oil is good for your skin. But if you are curious, there’s no harm in trying it out. 

Give it a few days, and let us know the results!

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Author

  • Stephanie Martin

    Stephanie Martin blends her beauty industry background with expertise in communications to lead in the fashion and beauty world. As a fashion and beauty editor, she is known for engaging and informative articles. Her lifelong passion for fashion, makeup, and hair shines through her work, earning her widespread respect among readers and clients. Stephanie's style, a mix of classic and contemporary, makes her a dynamic and influential figure in the industry, inspiring others with her knowledgeable and approachable insights.

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