Dear Megan,

I want to try beauty oils, but my skin is acne-prone! Which ones can I use (if any)?

– Babi P.

Let me make one big PSA before I begin: Currently dermatologists are debating about whether or not benzoyl peroxide (main ingredient in OTC and RX acne washes/creams) causes premature skin aging. I’ve seen it go both ways in articles about dermatologists’ perspectives, and even though the jury is still out (here for, here against), I have seen it at work in my own skin, after using BP products for the past 7 years. Let it be known: I’m ditching derm-prescribed acne products in favor of face oils.

Let it be known: I’m ditching derm-prescribed acne products in favor of face oils.

For those suffering with acne, the idea of putting oil on their already oily skin can be terrifying. And I admit, there are some oils that you don’t want to be rubbing all over your face (I’m looking at you, coconut oil). That’s what we call a “comedogenic” oil, by the way–one that can cause comedones / blackheads / acne. Now that I actually know what a comedone is–thanks to those nasty, life-like posters in my dermatologist’s office–that word is practically unutterable to me *shudders* ..nasty.

ANYWAY, there are many oils that can be incredibly beneficial for the skin, and will even help you get rid of acne. Here are some that can make a world of difference for your skin. And trust me — I researched, grew and harvested all of these oils myself and am currently experimenting with them to get rid of my own adult acne (available for sale this holiday season!), so I know these oils can pack a serious punch!

First of all, here is a quick + dirty guide that rates oils from 0-5 on how comedogenic they are (0 is good) is an awesome guide that rates oils from 0-5 on how comedogenic they are (0 is good). It’s not complete, but it’s a starting point. Now, for some acne-fighters:


There is an ester present in sage oil called linalyl acetate. This ester can reduce skin inflammation and works as a natural remedy for acne and skin irritations. It also regulates the production of oil by the skin and prevents the growth and spread of bacteria. (Source)

Sage oil is maybe the best natural acne fighter. I’m currently testing a sage/castor combo for my acne and will later release a product if its successful for me; follow for updates here.


The antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties of honeysuckle make it excellent for those with acne prone skin! It can also be used to calm irritations of the skin such as rashes, eczema, sunburns, and reactions to plants like poison ivy.

Another great way to use honeysuckle oil is in the bath! Just add a few drops and this sweet oil will help relax and detoxify your body. (Source)


Yarrow oil has powerful astringent properties due to its tannin content, anti-inflammatory effects contributed by salicylic acid, and antiseptic qualities from its volatile oils. The camphor it contains makes yarrow oil a great skin toner when added to water!

So not only are you getting a powerful acne treatment with yarrow oil, but you are also getting a slew of awesome anti-aging benefits as well! (Source)


Now typically you hear about castor oil in relation to hair growth, but did you know it can also be used to help fight acne? Castor oil contains tons of incredible anti-acne properties that make it a perfect addition to your skincare regime.

Castor oil has been used in Jamaica for centuries to treat acne and inflammation.

The ricinoleic acid in castor oil reduces inflammation, swelling, and redness. It has omega-9 fatty acid that helps fight the bacteria that cause acne. It is also a natural astringent that cleanses skin, drawing out dirt, oil, bacteria, and other toxins that contribute to acne. The triglycerides and fatty acids in castor oil are antiviral, antibacterial, and antiseptic, so they assist in the reduction of acne. Basically, if you want to stop acne dead in it’s tracks then castor oil is the way to go!

Want to know the best part? We will be selling castor oil + sage infusion later this holiday season, with sage that’s been in my family for 4 generations. This will be the perfect gift for those who want to take a more natural, luxe approach to treating their acne. After all, it looks like benzoyl peroxide products can not only increase the chances of sunburn, but also cause premature skin aging (eek!). It may be time for a change. Follow for updates here.


Lavender oil soothes and nourishes the skin — treating acne, and reducing the appearance of dark spots and scars caused by acne. It also has the ability to reduce stress and anxiety that are associated with acne breakouts in adults!

Studies suggest that stress and acne are linked. This is the reason we so often experience acne flare-ups during stressful periods of our lives (exams, job hunting, wedding planning, etc.). The cells that produce sebum have receptors for stress hormones. Researchers believe that an increase in acne may be due to the higher levels of sebum that are produced in times of stress; therefore, lavender essential oil serves as a powerful tool because of its stress-reducing capabilities. (Source)

Side note: I also grew + extracted lavender oil this summer for the Farm to Face collection; follow it here!


First of all, here’s SHINE‘s ingredient list:

Organic Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Oil, Organic Argania Spinosa (Argan) Oil, Organic Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Oil, Helianthus Annuus Sunflower (Seed) Oil, Organic Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Extract, Citrus Limon (Lemon) Peel Oil, Arctostaphylos Uva Ursi Leaf (Bearberry) Extract, Sambucus Nigra (Elderberry) Fruit Extract, Citrus Paradisi (Grapefruit Seed) Oil, +/- Jasminum Officinale (Jasmine) Oil.

You can buy it with or without the jasmine oil.

It’s not an acne treatment, but it is fairly non-comedogenic–meaning it’s fine for those with acne. Pomegranate oil recieved a 1 out of 5, Argan a 0 out of 5, Jojoba a 2 out of 5, Sunflower a 2 out of 5 and onward from there. Given the composition of the formulation (which you can guess at from the order of ingredients, but only I really know), I’d say you’re pretty darn safe. Unless you have very serious cystic acne, you can use SHINE without worrying.

I’m a grade III-IV on the Burton acne scale and  I use SHINE every day with no increase in comedones/blackheads/acne.

From experience: To give you some idea, without a medicated wash/cream, I am a Grade III-IV on the Burton Scale, here (don’t read if you get queasy easily or eating!) With my derm-prescribed products, I’m no Korean beauty god, but I’m between a Grade I-II. Again, I’m a grade III-IV on the Burton acne scale and  I use SHINE every day with no increase in comedones/blackheads/acne. All I notice is softer, smoother, better looking skin!


There are so many great options for oils out there, but it really comes down to what works best for you. Before going in and rubbing a new oil all over your face, it’s better to first do a patch test on a small section of skin and see if there is a reaction. You can also mix and match different oils until you find the perfect concoction for your skin.

Good luck, and may the beauty oil gods be with you!

…or rather, us! I’ll be ditching my derm-prescribed products and treating my skin with my homegrown Castor oil + Sage (will be available for sale under the name CLARITY) infusion for the next 2 months. Updates + links to follow!


I grew and extracted every single one of these oils this summer, though for some.. I have different uses in mind. Look out for our Farm to Face collection later this holiday season and definitely subscribe for updates below!

Interested in learning about how I grew + extracted my own organic beauty oils?

Sign up for notifications about the Farm to Face collection + its creation here!



Dr. Vanessa Rodriguez is a board-certified general practitioner with more than 15 years of patient care experience. She takes an integrative approach to patient care that considers the whole person – mind, body, and spirit – and is deeply committed to assisting her patients in achieving and sustaining optimal health. Dr. Vanessa is also a skilled writer and medical reviewer, specializing in preventive care and health promotion. Her articles are written in an approachable manner that is simple to comprehend and implement in one’s own life. Dr. Vanessa’s mission is to equip her patients and readers with the knowledge and resources necessary to live their greatest lives.

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