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There are many natural skincare ingredients out there that are both safer to use and less harsh than their synthetic counterparts. As people are moving towards more natural products, they are also trying to find ones that are good for them. One such natural ingredient is olive oil. While there are many benefits to olive oil, people are wary of the comedogenic properties it holds. But is olive oil comedogenic?
While it might be comedogenic, there are various types of olive oil on the market that are not just limited to skincare products. They are also used in cooking and various other industries. There is also the fact that there are different levels of comedogenicity so that could confuse people as well. So let’s look at all things olive oil and come to a conclusive understanding about its comedogenicity and how you can go about using it!
Olive Oil and Comedogenic Rating
So what exactly is comedogenic? It means the clogging of pores that are present on the skin. The skin naturally produces a waxy substance known as sebum. It is waterproof and helps to keep skin hydrated by making it so it does not lose moisture. When there is overproduction of sebum on the skin without being removed, it clogs the pores and produces comedones which are responsible comedones which are that produce breakouts on the skin like acne, blackheads, and whiteheads on the face!
There are 5 levels of comedogenicity so let’s take a quick look at what these levels are and a brief description of it.
|Moderate||Like to be comedogenic|
|High||Comedogenic for most people|
|Highest||Comedogenic for all|
Olive oil is known to have a comedogenic level of 2, making it mild and slightly comedogenic for the skin. This is also true for the different types of olive oil, where they are somewhere between levels 1 to 3 of comedogenicity.
So how comedogenic is olive oil? While we have figured out that it is mildly comedogenic, everyone has different skin types which makes the question a bit harder to answer. While all types are at level 2, this is misleading because it might be more for some than others! Someone with dry skin can benefit a lot from olive oil because they can get the moisturizing effect of olive oil without the risk of clogged pores. But someone with combination skin or oily, acne-prone sensitive skin is more at risk from clogged pores. For them, olive oil can be level 4 comedogenic!
It also matters how much olive oil is being used on the skin. If you use a lot of olive oil where it is able to block the pores completely, then even a level 1 comedogenic oil like argan or jojoba oil can become level 5! If properly applied in a thin layer, olive oil can be less comedogenic even for oily or sensitive skin, causing fewer breakouts as a result!
So we can conclude that olive oil is indeed comedogenic to the skin where some people will face clogged pores while others might not. It is mostly dependent on the type of skin and how is being used. Even though it is comedogenic, olive oil is relatively safe to be used without clogging the skin for normal to dry skin! But sadly, the same cannot be said for sensitive to oily skin.
All Things Olive Oil
Olive oil is a natural oil made from the fruits of the olive tree which are either hand-picked or harvested via machines. These fruits are then pressed and crushed to release the oils that are inside the fruits. This oil is made of a mixture of triglycerides, polyphenols, and tocopherols, mainly being made up of fatty acids like oleic acid.
Types of olive oil
Now that we have an understanding of some of the components of olive oil, let’s see the different types of olive oil out there.
- Extra virgin olive oil: this is the highest quality and most flavorful type of olive oil, made from the first cold pressing of the olives. Extra virgin olive oil or EVOO is unrefined, meaning it has not been treated with chemicals or filtered, which helps it retain its natural flavors, nutrients, and antioxidants. Typically extracts from EVOO produce squalene that is used in skincare products.
- Virgin olive oil: this is also made from the first cold pressing of the olives, but has a slightly lower quality than EVOO. Virgin olive oil is also unrefined but may have a higher acidity level than EVOO. Extracts from virgin olive oil are used in skincare products, typically squalene being the most beneficial.
- Pure olive oil: this is a blend of virgin and refined olive oils, and is typically labeled simply as “olive oil.” It has a milder flavor than virgin olive oil and is made more for cooking than skincare products.
- Commercial or refined olive oil: This is made using chemical or physical processes to remove any impurities or defects from the oil. However, it has fewer nutrients and antioxidants in it than the other types of olive oil.
Advantages and disadvantages of olive oil
There are many advantages and disadvantages to olive oil in terms of using it on the skin. So let’s see what these advantages and disadvantages are:
- Moisturizing: Olive oil is a natural emollient that can help to hydrate and soften the skin.
- Anti-aging: The antioxidants and polyphenols in olive oil may have anti-aging effects on the skin.
- Anti-inflammatory: Olive oil has anti-inflammatory properties that may help to soothe and calm irritated or inflamed skin.
- Rich in vitamins: Olive oil is rich in vitamins A, D, E, and K, which are all beneficial for the skin and help give the skin the much-needed vitamins it might be lacking.
- Skin elasticity: The vitamin E content in olive oil may help to promote skin elasticity and prevent the signs of aging.
- Cell regeneration: The polyphenols in olive oil may help to boost skin cell regeneration, leading to healthier, more radiant-looking skin.
- Hypoallergenic: Olive oil is considered to be hypoallergenic, meaning it is less likely to cause an allergic reaction than other skincare ingredients.
- Heavy texture: Olive oil can have a heavy texture that may not be suitable for all skin types, especially those with oily or acne-prone skin.
- Allergic reactions: Some people may be allergic to olive oil or its components, and may experience skin irritation or other allergic reactions when using products containing olive oil.
- Messy: Applying olive oil to the skin can be messy and may leave an oily residue.
- Limited shelf life: Olive oil has a limited shelf life, and can go bad quickly because it has no preservatives added to it.
- Risk of clogged pores: Using olive oil on the face may increase the risk of clogged pores and breakouts, especially if used in excessive amounts.
Using Olive Oil for Skincare: Guide
So now that we have seen how olive oil can be comedogenic and the amount of clogged pores is dependent on how the olive oil is used, it is then important to say how to use it for skincare! Here is how you should be using olive oil on your skin. This little guide will be for 100% olive oil which is either virgin olive oil or EVOO as they are the best for the skin.
- Wash your face with a gentle exfoliator on the skin
- Apply moisturizer on your face to keep it hydrated
- Dip your fingertips in olive oil or soak a cotton ball or pad with it
- Then, gently massage it on your face and let it sit on your face to lock the moisture
- Wipe off any excess olive oil on your face by patting a clean paper towel
With that, you can use olive oil effectively without clogging pores. Of course, it will depend on your skin type because you might even be allergic to it! That is why it is important to do a patch of olive oil under your chin and then observe any changes over the next 48 hours. If there are no signs of irritation or allergic reaction on your skin, then you can be safe to use olive oil!
Other than moisturizing and being a natural antioxidant that provides many benefits for your skin, olive oil can also be used as an exfoliator, a makeup remover, a hair treatment, and even a cuticle treatment!
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Making Olive Oil Less Comedogenic
While it might have a comedogenic level of 2, there are ways to make sure that olive oil can be less comedogenic and better for your skin! One of the most popular methods of making olive oil less comedogenic is by creating a sugar scrub to become an exfoliator for your skin. The abrasive nature of sugar when combined with olive oil is not only an excellent exfoliator, but you also get moisturized skin afterward! You get all of that with the olive oil being less comedogenic than if only using virgin olive oil.
Another popular way to make olive oil less comedogenic is to mix it with mineral oil. Mineral oil is known to have less comedogenic levels than natural oil which is perfect when you combine them together. What you get is an oil mixture that is less comedogenic while providing the benefits of both of these oils. To make this mixture, simply mix mineral oil with olive oil and then make sure to dilute it to about 25% to reduce the comedogenic effect while also making stay fresher for longer!
Olive oil may help with dark circles under the eyes due to its moisturizing properties and antioxidants, but getting rid of dark circles has unproven results.
It is not necessary to buy organic olive oil for skincare, but organic oils may be free of pesticides and other chemicals which is better and safer for your skin.
Olive oil may not be safe for people with rosacea as it can be irritating to the skin.
Olive oil may help with acne due to its anti-inflammatory properties, but it can make it worse before making it better because it is comedogenic.
Olive oil has no sun protection properties to it and you should not use it as a substitute for sunscreen.
So overall, we can definitely say olive oil is comedogenic and that is true for all types of olive oil, even for EVOO or virgin olive oil. While it might be comedogenic, the amount of comedogenicity that it can be is very dependent on how it is used and the type of skin you have. With normal to dry skin, olive oil is not that comedogenic and if you use it properly then you can be safe from clogged pores as well. Olive oil is very versatile and can be used in varying ways but you can always make it less comedogenic by combining it with mineral oil. Olive oil is generally safe for the skin but remembers to do a patch test on your skin to make sure that it is suitable for you first.
- Olive oil is comedogenic but it is deceiving because it does not have the same level of comedogenicity for all skin types.
- There are many types of olive oil and most EVOO and virgin olive oil are used in skincare.
- Olive oil has many advantages and disadvantages to it which is why it is a popular ingredient for natural skincare routine.
- Knowing the proper way to use olive oil can help reduce clogged pores and there are ways to decrease olive oil’s comedogenicity.
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