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Is Olive Oil Comedogenic?

Is Olive Oil Comedogenic?

Are you looking to incorporate more natural ingredients into your skincare routine? 

MadeMan is a major supporter of organic products. We spent two years formulating our own water-based products that use all-natural ingredients. Therefore, we always want to encourage incorporating anything organic when it involves your skin’s health — so long as it is sure to help and not hurt you. 

Like any other product, organic products require a little research before applying them to your skin to ensure that they are the right fit for you. Today we will discuss olive oil, how it can be used to benefit your skin, and whether it is comedogenic.

Benefits of Olive Oil

There are a lot of characteristics of olive oil that make it beneficial for the skin. It is rich in both vitamins and antioxidants. These vitamins include vitamins A, D, K, and E. As for the high antioxidant properties, olive oil boosts protection against free radicals from its high concentration of squalene.

Fights Free Radicals 

The antioxidants in olive oil help with combating aging. Since the oil can protect even sensitive skin, it can keep your skin safe from the damages of environmental aggressors. Olive oil’s antioxidant properties can revitalize the skin’s tonicity for those already struggling with premature aging.

Moisturizing Effects

Olive oil is also useful for moisturizing. Olive oil has a high fatty acid content, including oleic acid, palmitic acid, and linoleic acid. All of which are capable of benefiting dry skin. The oil is also an emollient, meaning that it has the quality of softening or soothing the skin, providing it with a moisturized feeling. 

Boost Skin Health 

All of the vitamins in olive oil can have a positive effect on your skin’s overall health. For example, vitamin A can help prevent breakouts, promote natural moisturizing, and speed up the healing process for any damage. Vitamin D can help to repair skin cells and promote skin cell growth. Vitamin E can nourish and protect the skin from damage caused by free radicals while also reducing ultraviolet damage in the skin. 

With so much potential for positive results in one single product, you may be wondering what could prevent you from applying olive oil to your skin. This leads to our next topic of whether the product is comedogenic. 

Understanding Comedogenicity

If a product, or an ingredient within a product, is comedogenic, it has a tendency to block the pores of the skin. These clogged pores, if left untreated, can become infected and cause blackheads, whiteheads, and other pimples to develop.

Logically speaking, the safest option is always to use non-comedogenic products, meaning that they are less likely to clog your pores. So is olive oil comedogenic or non-comedogenic?

Is It Comedogenic?

Olive oil is typically described as heavy, thick oil. These characteristics prevent it from absorbing easily into the skin. This makes the olive oil moderately comedogenic, which means that there is a chance for it to clog your pores and cause acne when directly applied to your skin. In its purest form, olive oil is rated a two on the comedogenic scale.

Comedogenicity Scale

Through early comedogenicity experiments, a comedogenicity scale was developed to rate how likely skincare ingredients were to block one’s pores and cause a breakout. The scale ranges from zero to five, and the higher the number, the more likely an ingredient is to clog your pores. Products rated zero are non-comedogenic, but anything rated a two or lower is generally considered safe to try.

Some low-rated oils include aloe vera and sunflower seed oil. Oils with high comedogenic ratings include coconut oil and palm oil. As previously mentioned, olive oil lies somewhere in the middle. It is rated a two in its purest form, which we now know is moderately low comedogenic and might clog some people’s pores but is safe for most others. However, other forms of olive oil are considered moderately comedogenic and are likely to clog pores for those with oily or acne-prone skin.

Should You Use Olive Oil?

The tricky thing about the comedogenicity scale is that it rates individual ingredients as comedogenic or non-comedogenic but does not necessarily help to determine whether products containing a mixture of ingredients are safe to use. 

As we know, pure olive oil has a comedogenic rating of two and is safe for general use on the skin. When olive oil is combined with other ingredients, this may no longer be the case.

Additionally, skin type does play a role in determining how a product will perform on your skin. While olive oil is safe for most skin types, those with oily skin or pimple-prone skin might find that olive oil clogs their pores even in its purest form. A diluted version of this oil may be applied safely on oily and sensitive skin types.

In short, whether you decide to use olive oil on your skin is entirely up to you. You know your skin best and are now aware of both the benefits and risks.

Applying Olive Oil

If you decide that you would like to try incorporating olive oil into your skincare routine, here are some tips to help you to do so safely.

  1. Start with a spot test. Before applying olive oil to the entirety of your face, choose a discrete patch of skin to test the olive oil on. Make sure that the area you select is clean and free of any substances that may influence your test results. Apply a small amount of the oil to the selected area of the skin. If your skin shows no signs of irritation or sensitivity after a full day, it is likely safe for you to use.
  2. Select an olive oil that is organic to ensure that you are reaping all of the benefits the ingredient has to offer. Regardless of which olive oil you choose, we encourage you to apply it lightly. Too much of almost any substance can lead to clogged pores, so reduce your chances of acne by applying the product in moderation.
  3. Apply your olive oil after you have put on all of your other skincare products. Olive oil has a tendency to seal in hydrating moisture. For this reason, it should be the last step in your skincare routine, aside from your sunscreen. Calling back to the idea of diluting the olive oil for safer application, you can also try mixing your olive oil in with your moisturizer and applying it straight out of the shower.

Treating Clogging

In the instance that your pores do become clogged, take solace in knowing that exfoliating followed by the use of a good cleanser and moisturizer can successfully repair your skin back to good health.

Exfoliation is a process in which dead skin cells are removed from the outer layers of the skin. In addition to removing dead skin cells, exfoliating can increase blood circulation and brighten one’s appearance.

The two main methods for exfoliating are mechanical exfoliation and chemical exfoliation. Mechanical exfoliation is when you manually exfoliate your skin using a tool like a brush, sponge, or glove. Certain tools can be used dry, while others are meant to be used with a cleansing agent.

Chemical exfoliation uses chemical solutions to dissolve dead skin cells from the face. Chemical exfoliating products usually contain either BHAs (beta hydroxy agents) or AHAs (alpha-hydroxy acids) to buff away dead skin cells.

The method you choose, or the type of tool or chemical solution you select, is mostly a matter of preference. Still, you may want to consider your skin type when making your choice.

Those with dry or sensitive skin types respond better to mild chemical exfoliators. Oily skin does best with more vital mechanical exfoliation. Combination skin reacts well to a combined treatment of both mechanical and chemical exfoliation. Those with normal skin can typically try their hand at either form of exfoliation.

For cleansing and moisturizing, we recommend MadeMan’s The Re(Set) Collection. This collection was designed with ease and simplicity in mind. It contains two water-based products containing all-natural ingredients that can be applied in under two minutes. Together, the products cleanse, moisturize, and protect your skin against environmental stressors.

The first product in the collection is The Resetter. This cleanser offers you a deep, gentle, refreshing cleanse perfect for treating recently exfoliated skin. The cleanser will eliminate impurities from your pores, leaving the skin smooth without breaking down the skin’s moisture barrier or altering the skin’s pH balance. A list of the ingredients can be found here.

The second product in the collection is The Refresher. This moisturizer uses complex nutrients to restore and repair your skin. It is fast-absorbing and contains an antioxidant blend that promotes the repairing process, helps fix fine lines, and boosts natural collagen production. 

A list of the ingredients can be found here.


In conclusion, it is always wise to look into the effects of products on your skin before application. Olive oil is loaded with benefits but can cause clogging for some skin types more than others. If you decide to try olive oil, remember to approach it with moderation. 



A Review on Free Radicals and Antioxidants | PubMed

Non-comedogenic cosmetics | PubMed

How to safely exfoliate at home | AAD

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