Using oil as your moisturiser for acne prone skin (UK) might freak you out, and be the opposite of what you have been told, but stay with me! Oil for oily skin? Sounds weird, right? Especially if everything you have been taught about skincare for acne prone skin is to avoid oil in products at all costs! It’s a total misconception that you have to use oil-free products at all times when you have acne. There are some plant oils with acne-fighting properties that could really boost your anti-acne skincare routine. And no – they will not turn you into one gigantic pimple (just in case you’re still freaking out).

Here in the UK we can have temperamental weather that can aggravate our acne further. Some anti-inflammatory plant oils can work to remove our make-up, cleanse our skin AND be used as a moisturiser for acne prone skin. Pretty impressive! The best plant oils for are non comedogenic, which simply means they will not clog your pores! So now that you’re just about recovering from the idea of putting oil on your already oily face, let’s talk about the plant oils that could be your new moisturiser for acne prone skin (UK).

6 Plant Oils for Moisturising Acne Prone Skin

These oils may be great options for your skin to provide moisture without making acne worse. Read on to find out how these oils are good for acne, and how they may even improve your acne condition whilst revitalising the skin with all of their natural goodness.

  • Jojoba Oil

There is a good reason why jojoba oil is commonly used in skincare products geared towards treating acne. This is because it’s antiviral, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial but also moisturising and very healing. Jojoba oil can be used to treat acne, and research suggests that it can be used as an ingredient on its own.

A study completed in Germany in 2012 consisted of participants applying jojoba oil masks 2 – 3 times per week. A significant decrease in inflammation, lesions and acne was noticed.

As jojoba oil is technically a wax ester, not an oil, it mimics the natural oil of human sebum. Acne is caused when sebum is made in excessive amounts in the skin, but when you apply jojoba oil, your skin believes that there is enough sebum and that there is no need to keep on producing it.

Jojoba oil is suitable for all skin types, but it is known to dissolve blackheads, whiteheads and acne, purging the skin of its bacteria. This can often mean that using jojoba oil can make skin get worse before it gets better, as all of the bad stuff that is making your skin congested seeps out of the pores. However, over time jojoba oil has great potential as a moisturiser for acne-prone skin (UK), and will nourish the skin with its vitamin E and vitamin B-complex.

  • Rosehip Oil

Find out more information in this article on rosehip oil for acne. Why can rosehip oil be used to treat acne? The simple answer is linoleic acid. This is a fatty acid that is used to treat acne, because most people with acne have insufficient levels of this fatty acid in their skin, which leads to the acne in the first place.

Rosehip oils anti-inflammatory fatty acids and antioxidants soothe irritation and can help to fade acne scars. Rosehip oil has the potential to tone down redness for acne-prone skin and at the same time, it can really give you that glow we all desire with its skin regenerating properties. Rich in vitamin C, this helps the skin to boost collagen production to fight the signs of aging. The high vitamin A, omega-6 and omega-3 content promotes skin renewal, supporting skin affected my acne to heal and recover. This is good news for treating sun damaged skin and pigmentation too.

You can use rosehip oil as a moisturiser for acne prone skin (UK) by applying after cleansing (and toning if this is a step you include). After cleansing it is always a good idea to splash your face with cold water to close the pores again, as this prevents bacteria from getting in and causing more acne. Whilst skin is still damp (or dry if you would prefer), you can massage a few drops of rosehip oil over your face and the water still on your face will get trapped between your skin and the oil, locking in the water and keeping your skin hydrated and plump. This is the same for applying all moisturisers, in fact. If the skin is still slightly wet, optimal hydration of the skin cells is easier to achieve.

  • Grapeseed Oil

Grapeseed oil is full of acne-fighting properties including vitamin E, beta-carotene and linoleic acid. These ingredients helps the healthy regeneration of cells to replace aging or damaged cells. Vitamin E is very soothing for acne, contributing to the healing process whilst evening the skin tone. You can read more about how vitamin E can benefit your skin, hair and health by reading this article: is vitamin e good for skin and hair.

This oil is suitable for treating active breakouts as it reduces inflammation and redness and promotes cell regeneration. However, grapeseed oil tends to not be recommended for pimples just below the skin, like blackheads, whiteheads and cysts. The linoleic acid content helps to treat and prevent acne. It mimics the natural sebum to prevent your glands from thinking that they need to produce more. It can make the distribution of oil more balanced, so that oilier areas of the face become more balanced and equal with the drier areas.

Grapeseed oil inhibits an enzyme called 5a-reductase. This enzyme turns testosterone that has reached the skin through the blood into a different hormone called ?-dihydrostestosterone (DHT), which causes the skin to produce more sebum. So grapeseed oil stopping that pesky 5a-reductase in its spot-causing tracks is a very good thing for keeping our skin clear.

  • Borage Seed Oil

Also known as Starflower, borage seed oil is known to treat redness caused by rosacea and acne when applied topically. When taken internally, it acts as a hormone regulator which is useful in treating symptoms of PMS, and also balance the hormonal fluctuations that cause teenage acne. These hormone balancing properties are because of the gamma-linolenic acid content which converts into prostaglandins by the body.

Pregnant women should avoid taking borage oil as a supplement as it can potentially cause premature labour. Potential side effects include nausea, indigestion, constipation, bloating or headache, so if you develop any of these after taking the oil, you should stop taking it.

The oil has a comedogenic rating of 2, and as this is low, it means that the pores are less likely to be blocked. When an oil has a rating of 4-5, this means that it’s highly comedogenic and should be avoided for acne-prone skin.

Borage oil may have an anti-inflammatory effect on red skin caused by acne, making it a good option when choosing a moisturiser for acne-prone skin in the UK and its cold, rainy weather in the winter. Sometimes it feels like it rains A LOT here in the autumn/winter, and London is often thought of for its grey skied aesthetic. I am afraid to say for those loving the heatwave, but autumn is on its way, so it’s good to be prepared!

The problem with cold and rainy weather is that it can cause the skin to get dry and dehydrated. This leads to breakouts because the glands think that they need to secrete more oil, and over-produce. The result is more acne! This is, of course, not what we want. By making sure that the skin is being adequately moisturised, we can prevent this from happening, and borage seed oil can be used as a moisturiser for acne prone skin in the UK to prevent this from happening.

  • Hemp Seed Oil

First things first, hemp seeds comedogenic rating is 0! What does this mean? It means that if your pores actually got clogged, it would be mind-boggling! It also might help acne prone skin balance out its sebum production. Although light and easily absorbed, it is still very moisturising and can be used under make-up if this works for you. It works for all skin types, and this includes oilier skin types.

Vitamin D and E in hemp seed oil may help to reduce the inflammation of acne, whilst treating an uneven skin tone. The ideal, perfectly balanced ratio of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids (3:1) may help to treat symptoms of acne, rosacea, eczema and psoriasis. Hemp seed oil makes a great daily moisturiser for acne prone skin because it does not clog pores and will keep your skin feeling nourished and smooth. Vitamin A also encourages cell turnover, acting as a natural retinoid and helping to fight fine lines and wrinkles.

The linoleic acid (omega-6) content is ideal for acne-prone skin which is often naturally deficient in this, causing acne. Topping up the levels with an oil like hemp may help to reduce and treat acne.

All of these antioxidants, fatty acids, vitamins and minerals aid in the healing and repair of acne and inflamed skin, and increases the suppleness and elasticity of the skin. For the internal benefits of hemp seed, which are endless, this article compares the health benefits of flax seed and hemp seed so that you can choose which one you would benefit most from: flax seed vs hemp seed. Taking hemp seed oil internally can really improve the health and appearance of your skin, nourishing it from the inside out.

  • Tamanu Oil

Tamanu oil is this wondrous oil that has the ability to heal acne and acne scars. The oil is a natural alternative to prescribed medications or over-the-counter medicines that can sometimes be really harsh on the skin. It boosts the formation of healthy new skin tissue, which is what helps the acne scars to fade with consistent use over time. They may not fade completely, but tamanu could have a significant impact. This is because tamanu is incredibly healing with its anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-biotic, anti-parasitic and anti-bacterial power.

Despite being a thick oil, it actually has a slight astringent effect, so depending on how your skin responds to the oil, you might want to combine it with another oil and experiment with different combinations to suit you and your individual skin needs. It might work just as well on its own though!

It’s also used to heal skin rashes, and other inflammatory skin conditions, as it’s so healing for the skin. Tamanu may work better as a treatment for individual areas rather than as a moisturiser for the whole face, but it really depends on the person. With a comedogenic rating of 2, it has the potential to clog pores, but at the same time, it could be completely fine to use as a moisturiser for acne prone skin (UK) and your skin could be glowing with its revitalising, acne-fighting properties. It’s all about experimentation!

How to Patch Test Each Oil

For every oil you try, you should always do a patch test as you never know how your individual skin will react to any given oil.

Use the inside of your elbow, wrist or behind the ear to patch test the oil of your choice. Beforehand, wash the area of your choice, then, dip a cotton bud into a carrier oil and rub it in the area you have chosen for your patch test. Look for changes in your skin over the next 12 to 24 hours. If there was no reaction or redness in that area at all, then the oil is suitable for your skin and you can continue using the carrier oil.

If the oil causes a change in your skin, wash the oil off immediately. There is no point in continuing use of an oil that makes your skin red, itchy, inflamed, bumpy or painful in any way.

If you become ill as you are testing the chosen area, with symptoms of nausea, dizziness or headaches, then wash off the area straight away. To check if these symptoms were caused by the oil, do another patch test the following day. If the symptoms come back, accept that yourself and the oil you’re testing just aren’t that compatible, and that you may have a sensitivity or an allergy to this particular oil.

With severe reactions, you should contact your doctor. Severe reactions include hives, contact dermatitis and Quincke’s edema.

Comedogenic Ratings

The following table makes it easier to see the comedogenic ratings of the oils mentioned here. It also gives each oils consistency to give you an idea of how it would feel for you on the skin depending on what texture you prefer.

Plant Oil

Comedogenic Rating

Jojoba2Liquid Wax
Rosehip1Light, absorbs easily
Grape Seed1Medium, non-greasy
Borage Seed2Light, absorbs fairly well
Hemp Seed0Light ’dry’ oil

An oil with a comedogenic rating of 0 is thought of as non comedogenic and is highly unlikely to clog your pores and cause acne.

There is a slight chance that an oil will clog your pores with a comedogenic rating of 1.

Some people may notice a slight increase in clogged pores, but most people’s pores will remain unclogged, with a comedogenic rating of 2.

A lot of people may break out, and a lot of people may remain spot-free with a comedogenic rating of 3. People very prone to acne should be wary of this rating.

With a comedogenic rating of 4, an oil is likely to make most people break out, unless their individual skin personally responds well to that individual oil. If you have acne-prone skin, an oil of this comedogenic rating is very likely to give you a break out.

The last and probably least favourite oil for acne-prone skin, is an oil with a comedogenic rating of 5. There is most likely no point in even trying this oil, unless you maybe want an explosion of acne on your face?

It is important to take into consideration the comedogenic rating of an oil when you’re choosing to try out an oil for the first time. Ratings of 0 or 1 are definitely your safer options.

How to Test Out a New Moisturiser for Acne Prone Skin (UK)

When introducing a new oil to your skin, make sure that you’re not using too many products, as you want to know which products are giving the results. If using one of these oils as a moisturiser for acne prone skin (UK), then you will want to try it out for a few weeks to see how it effects your skin, without swapping and changing your moisturiser each day.

If an oil clearly has a negative effect on your skin, you can discontinue use immediately. If not, continue using and see if and how your skin changes! If you don’t like the thought of using oils as daytime moisturisers, you can always use one at night instead. Experiment with what works for you! You might prefer to use one as a face serum as opposed to a moisturiser.

So, which plant oil will you be trying as a moisturiser for acne-prone skin (UK)? Do you already have a favourite? Get in touch!

Written by Jess Burman

Wellbeing writer

BA (Honours) in Writing