Skip to main content

How it works:

  • Share your skin goals and snap selfies

  • Your dermatology provider prescribes your formula

  • Apply nightly for happy, healthy skin

How it works:

  • Share your skin goals and snap selfies

  • Your dermatology provider prescribes your formula

  • Apply nightly for happy, healthy skin

  1. blog
  2. > Skincare Products

Face oils that won’t clog pores - Winter Skincare Tips

What face oils are good for your skin, and what to avoid.

Curology Team Avatar
by Curology Team
Updated on Jul 6, 2023 • 8 min read
Medically reviewed by Nicole Hangsterfer, PA-C
Face Oil Skincare For Dry Skin Winter
Curology Team Avatar
by Curology Team
Updated on Jul 6, 2023 • 8 min read
Medically reviewed by Nicole Hangsterfer, PA-C
We’re here to share what we know — but don’t take it as medical advice. Talk to your medical provider if you have questions.

Every year, there comes a point when the charm of winter has worn off and you just want to be warm and hydrated. Face oils are a soothing, skin-nourishing treat at any time of year, but it depends on which oil you use. It may be counterintuitive, but some oils are actually great for oily and acne-prone skin. On the other hand, the wrong oils can clog pores — or just sit on top of your skin — leaving you with more of an oil-slick look than that dewy glow you’re going for.

Face oils, serums, and oil-based moisturizers

Contrary to popular belief, most oils are well-tolerated on acne-prone skin. For example, mineral oil is usually fine. Many oils used in skincare are loaded with skin-nourishers such as omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E. In fact, acne has been associated with low levels of essential fatty acids (EFAs) in some studies. Smoothing the right oil on your face may benefit your skin beyond the pampering, treat-yo-self experience.

Start with an oil underneath your moisturizer or sunscreen to make sure your skin really soaks in all the goodness and glows all day.

Closeup of mans face with finger on his face

Non-comedogenic oils for your skin

Here’s a list of oils that are non-comedogenic and popularly used for skin treatments. You can find combinations of these in face oils and serums that can hydrate and infuse your skin with essential fatty acids and beneficial nutrients.

Jojoba oil

A popular ingredient in face oils and serums, jojoba oil has been shown to be a great carrier oil with anti-inflammatory properties. It can be used as a cleansing oil or moisturizing treatment that might help with acne, redness, and irritation all in one. Desert Essence Jojoba Oil is available at many stores. It’s also a key ingredient in face oil blends and serums, such as Sangre de Fruta Solis balancing serum.

African marula tree and marula fruit

Marula oil

Rich in omega-9 and -6 fatty acids, vitamin E, and vitamin C, marula oil helps restore skin’s suppleness without clogging pores. Drunk Elephant Virgin Marula Luxury Facial Oil, for example, offers deep hydration and antioxidant benefits.

Neroli Plant

Neroli oil

Distilled from the small white flowers of the bitter orange tree, neroli oil has antimicrobial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties. It’s great for acne-prone as well as dry or aging skin — it’s thought to be beneficial for scars, stretch marks, and wrinkles. For one example, African Botanics Neroli Infused Marula Oil is a blend that’s packed with vitamin E, vitamin C, and essential fatty acids, and won’t clog pores.

Red raspberry seed oil

Another essential oil known for its anti-inflammatory properties, red raspberry seed oil contains essential fatty acids omega-3, -6, and -9, as well as vitamin E. It’s found in skincare products like Sunday Riley JUNO Antioxidant + Superfood Face Oil.

Rosehip Plant

Rosehip seed oil

Packed with omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids, rosehip oil provides anti-inflammatory effects, which can help improve acne. It’s found in many face oils, but you can get it on its own and add a drop or two to your everyday moisturizer for extra hydration. Pai Skincare Rosehip BioRegenerate Oil is a great option, at $40 per 30ml bottle.

Hemp Seeds

Hemp seed oil

With a combination of omega-3, -6, and -9 fatty acids, hemp seed oil is another anti-inflammatory ally that’s non-comedogenic, too — meaning it’s safe for acne-prone skin. It may even help balance your skin’s oil production. You can buy in stores like Whole Foods Market.

Meadowfoam seed oil

Made from a flower native to Northern California and Oregon, meadowfoam seed oil is lightweight, non-comedogenic, and sinks right into the skin. It’s great at locking in moisture, leaving skin supple, glowing, and hydrated. It’s an effective carrier oils as well, used in serums such as Sangre de Fruta Solis balancing serum.

sea buckthorn bush

Sea buckthorn oil

Sea buckthorn has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties: it’s rich in anti-inflammatory omega fatty acids, including omega-3, -6, -9, and -7. A 2010 study of sea buckthorn fruit extract applied as a cream showed a decline in sebum (oil) production — this may point to some anti-acne benefit separate from fighting inflammation. It may be helpful for inflammatory skin conditions like acne, rosacea, and eczema.

Sweet almond oil

Rich in vitamin E, vitamin A, omega-3 fatty acids, and antioxidants, sweet almond oil is a lightweight skin-food made by pressing almonds. It’s also believed to have antibacterial and antifungal properties, so it can work well for acne-prone skin. You can cook with it, too — as long as you’re not allergic to almonds!

Evening Primrose Flower

Evening primrose oil

Evening primrose oil is a source of gamma-linolenic acid, an omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acid, which has an anti-inflammatory effect. Any decrease in inflammation would conceivably help with acne!

Argan growing on tree to make argan oil

Argan oil

Rich in vitamin E, carotenes, squalene, and antioxidants, argan oil is a popular choice for hydrating and nourishing skin and hair. It doesn’t appear to clog pores, so it seems to be a good choice for acne-prone skin.

Avocado oil

Avocado oil is rich in omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin E, A, and D, and several nutrients — it’s like avocado toast, but for your face. It’s deeply nourishing for hair, too (smooth it on your split-ends!). It’s got a richer texture than some other oils, so this one is great for dry and acne-prone skin types.

Is tea tree oil good for your skin?

It can be good in moderation. Tea tree leaf oil has anti-inflammatory properties. It also acts as an anti-fungal, antibacterial, antiseptic, and astringent agent. This makes tea tree oil helpful in treating acne and seborrheic dermatitis. You can usually find tea tree oil in the skincare aisle at your local drugstore. Keep in mind that tea tree oil can be very harsh and irritating to the skin if it isn’t diluted with a carrier oil (sunflower, castor, jojoba, or hemp oil are good choices!). Don’t apply pure tea tree oil directly to your skin.

As a rule of thumb, 1 part of pure tea tree oil should be diluted with 3 parts of a carrier oil. For example, 1 drop of tea tree oil can be added to 3 drops of jojoba oil before applying the mixture to the skin.

Tea tree is included in skincare products to help keep pores clear, and can even treat and help prevent ingrown hairs in men’s beards. It’s also found in Fur Oil, which was designed to help prevent ingrown hairs in the beard area as well as the bikini area.

🚫 Pore-clogging oils to avoid 🚫

Coconut Oil

We know we’re sounding like a broken record by now, but ICYMI, coconut oil is pore-clogging ingredient. Also called “cocos nucifera oil," coconut oil can be a culprit in clogged pores and acne, and is used in many skincare products.

Wheat Germ Oil

Wheat germ oil can also clog pores, so we recommend avoiding that one as well. Be sure to look for this pore-clogging ingredient in the label of any oil-based products you consider using.

Labels can be misleading. Read the ingredients list on any skincare product before you use it, and find out which ingredients might cause acne breakouts.

How much face oil should you use?

Face oils can feel like a luxurious way to pamper your skin, especially in the winter. The downside is that they can be expensive. But remember: a little oil goes a long way! One small bottle can last up to 6 months if you only use a few drops at a time, which is typically the recommended amount.

Closeup of a shoulder with golden liquid against a purple background

As a somewhat less expensive alternative, some people buy vials of oils they like for their skin and make their own blend at home. Just remember, essential oils can have an expiration date. Face oils and serums that come in opaque containers (such as “ultra violet glass”) often maintain their properties longer since their contents are protected from light exposure.

Think you might be allergic to essential oils?

Essential oils could irritate your skin if you’re allergic to the plants they’re extracted from. You might want to do a patch test on your skin (such as on your inner forearm) before using them on your face to make sure you won’t have an allergic reaction.

A face with a pipette full of oil.

Can you use face oils with Curology?

Yes! Face oils can be used with your Curology set. If your skin feels in need of extra hydration, you can smooth on 2–3 drops of face oil or oil-based serum underneath your Curology moisturizer to give dry skin a well-deserved boost. At night, you can try an oil or serum before applying your custom Curology cream for an overnight hydration sensation.

Get your personalized skincare routine with Curology

Get your personalized skincare routine with Curology

curology bottle
curology bottle

New to Curology? Sign up for a free trial to take the guess work out of your skincare routine. Complete a quick skin quiz, snap a few selfies, and one of our dermatology providers will review your info. If Curology is right for you, we’ll send a bottle of your Custom Formula for your unique skin concerns, plus any of our recommended skincare products (like our cleanser and moisturizer). 

• • •
Our medical review process:We’re here to tell you what we know. That’s why our information is evidence-based and fact-checked by medical experts. Still, everyone’s skin is unique—the best way to get advice is to talk to your healthcare provider.
Our policy on product links:Empowering you with knowledge is our top priority. Our reviews of other brands’ products in this post are not paid endorsements—but they do meet our medically fact-checked standards for ingredients (at the time of publication).
Curology Team Avatar

Curology Team

Nicole Hangsterfer Avatar

Nicole Hangsterfer, PA-C

Related Articles

Sunscreen for eyes: How to protect your delicate skin from UV raysFoundation makeup for aging skinWrinkles and other signs you’re doing it rightWhat is micellar water and how can you use it effectively?Why Curology is cruelty-free and vegan-friendly

Popular Articles

Ask Curology: Is my cold breaking me out?Slugging: The dermatologist-approved skincare hack going viral on TikTokTretinoin vs retinol: What’s the difference?How to create a self-care routine that actually sticksYour 2023 skincare horoscope
Try prescription skincare
30-day trial. Subject to consultation. Cancel anytime.
Get routine essentials
A display of Curology Custom Formula bottles on a white shelf.

Good skin days ahead

Join the 1M+ patients who’ve tackled everything from acne, to fine lines, to hair thinning with prescription-powered treatments, personalized by a Licensed Dermatology Provider.
Ingredients proven to tackle
  • Breakouts
  • Redness
  • Fine lines
  • Dark spots
  • Hair thinning
*Subject to consultation. Cancel anytime.
Get StartedShop ProductsWhy CurologyGuidesOur StoryCommunity
All Rights Reserved 2014-2024 Curology Inc.
Terms of ServicePrivacy Notice
Do Not Sell or Share My Personal Information