Using oil to treat your acne might sound crazy but the science is real. Grapeseed oil for acne has great benefits… for the right types of acne.
It sounds a little less worrying when you realise the top layers of your skin are also oil based. They’re designed to be this way. It’s natural. It’s needed. Even normal skin types, which don’t look oily, have these oils. The key is they’re in the perfect balance.
As you have acne, yours aren’t.
Using grapeseed oil for acne can help you re-set this balance.
This my friend, is the what, why and who of grapeseed oil for acne. Ready to get skin savvy? Let’s do this…
Why Use Oil to Treat Your Acne
Acne is a condition of your skin’s pores and while most people realise acne is linked with oily skin and hormone changes, it’s not commonly know that acne is a disorder of your pore’s ability to exfoliate properly.
Naturally your outer layers of skin shed almost fully every month.
New skin cells replace old ones and then the old ones, in normal skin types, flake away.
However, when you have acne, this doesn’t happen quickly enough.
It’s scientifically called hyperkeratinisation and using grapeseed oil for acne can help stop it from happening.
Hyperkeratinisation sounds techy, but it’s actually really simple to understand. Hyper is like a toddler after 5 bars of chocolate i.e. something is going into over drive… and keratin is one of the main proteins your skin is made from. Normal skin types keratinise i.e. form skin normally. Acne prone skin types hyperkeratinise i.e. they make or hold on to dead skin cells for far too long.
This is bad because it forms keratin plugs inside your pores which help breed acne causing bacteria i.e. propionibacterium acnes.
Grapeseed Oil for Acne
When you suffer with acne, studies show you have skin oils which are deficient in a type of oil called linoleic acid. This is why using grapeseed oil for acne can help – it’s linoleic high.
Pssst! Here are some great purse friendly picks;
- Tisserand Grapeseed Pure Blending Oil (£3.70/100ml) – adding in/mixing with some vitamin E oil will help your grapeseed oil last longer – I’ll explain all about this soon.
- Naissance Grapeseed Oil (4.99/250ml)
The fact oils are very different might at first sound confusing. I mean, oil looks like oil and most of it looks yellow to yellow-green. Think of it like this, heading into a bakery and ordering a cake could have you enjoying a deliciously moist lemon drizzle cake or a devilishly indulgent chocolate fudge cake. You could walk away with a deconstructed banofee pie cake or a taste bud tingling gingerbread cake. But ask for cake and you’re opening yourself up to mystery food. Which might be… exactly what you want.
However, when you have acne, your skin craves a certain type of
cake oil. This is why grapeseed oil can help treat and reverse your acne. It’s high in the specific oil your skin lacks.
Imagine being given a carrot when all you’ve eaten for 10 days is vegetables. Now imagine giving your skin oleic acid when all it knows how to make is oleic acid. It’s going to have some words with you and right now your skin’s magic word is acne.
Linoleic Acid Deficiency In Acne Prone Skin
Evidence shows your skin takes linoleic acid from your bloodstream. Now unlike other ingredients your body can manufacture on it’s own i.e. oleic acid, you actually have to eat linoleic acid high foods to have a needed portion of linoleic acid in your body. If you don’t eat it, you don’t have it.
This makes linoleic acid an essential fatty acid.
When scientists first started studying skin they found a fat free diet quickly made skin as scaly and flaky as the bi-yearly shed skin of a small snake.
Without fat, skin isn’t able to stay healthy.
These very same scientists also found that treating these flaky scales with moisturising ingredients high in linoleic acid helped treat and reverse the condition. Flaky snake skin snapped back to healthy and glowing skin.
Meaning, when your skin is deficient in linoleic acid, you can eat more to help it or you can apply more to do the very same thing. Inside-out and outside-in are both winners.
— Cheryl Woodman (@HonestyForSkin) 25 October 2017
Using grapeseed oil for acne can help supply your skin with a balancing amount of linoleic acid. It’s clear when your skin’s linoleic acid levels are low, skin does not behave normally. Just imagine those excess flakes becoming acne causing skin plugs deep inside your pores.
Can Using Grapeseed Oil for Acne Work?
Before using grapeseed oil for acne, you want to know that it works ‘eh. That this is a natural solution with legs. That you will get results. That your acne will be helped. First, know this, using grapeseed oil for acne as the only change you make to manage your acne, is very unlikely to be a magic cure. Instead it’s going to help, but it’s also likely you need to adjust other areas of your diet and of your skincare routine.
The first part of the story is this. Acne is caused by a combination of skin changes. If you use grapeseed oil to help treat your acne, but neglect your diet or use a comedogenic moisturiser, you’ll help with one hand but take away with the other.
The second part of the story is this. People who have acne have a much lower level of linoleic acid in their skin oils aka sebum. Studies show that when people with mild acne apply linoleic acid to their skin daily for a month (which is not a relatively long time) the size of microcomedones they suffer from reduces by 25% i.e. their acne shrinks, which is a very positive result. Imagine what would happen if you used grapeseed oil for acne over 3 months. A similar study also shows that using a linoleic rich ingredient over a month gives a total 55% reduction in comedones.
Wherever you see the word comedones, read this as spots and acne.
Microcomedones are small acne type spots. Have you gotten forehead texture with your acne? This is an example of microcomedones.
Comedones are larger spots. You already know what they are, just by a different name. Open comedones are blackheaded spots and closed comedones are whiteheaded spots.
Pro-tip: Using grapeseed oil for cystic acne is not as well studied. If you have cystic acne bear this in mind before trialing.
Why Using Grapeseed Oil for Acne Works
Treating your acne effectively means reversing the changes that make it different from a normal skin type. Using grapeseed oil for acne can help because it’s been seen to;
- Correct your pores exfoliation aka correct and reverse hyperkeratosis
- Correct and reduce your skin’s sebum production aka Inhibit 5-alpha-reductase activity
- Fight against inflammation causing biology – acne is an inflammatory skin disease
Now this bit can sound techy, but do not worry my friend. Using grapeseed oil for acne can work with or without reading this bit. Just skip to the ‘Can You Use Grapeseed Oil on Your Face?’ section to make sure you’re using the right kind.
Now back to the science.
Let’s start with bullet point 1. Using grapeseed oil for acne can help correct your pore’s exfoliation rate. Do you remember we said using olive oil for acne prone skin could worsen it? Well that’s because olive oil is high in a fatty acid called oleic acid and oleates can play with something called your skin’s calcium gradient aka the thing that tells your skin when to exfoliate. When it’s upset the wrong way it pushes skin into hyperkeratosis and this then causes acne. Linoleic acid does the opposite.
Bullet point 2. Using grapeseed oil for acne can make your skin less oily because it inhibits something called 5α-reductase. It’s an enzyme and it thinks it’s fancy. This guy is able to turn testosterone (a hormone associated with acne) into a much more potent hormone called α-dihydrostestosterone. Both of these guys stimulate your sebum glands and oily skin is prone to spots and acne. Linoleic acid can help stop this by limiting your 5α-reductase activity.
And to put the cherry ontop of our acne fighting cake, bullet point 3. Using grapeseed oil for acne can help fight against inflammation. What you see as acne is actually the end result of lots of skin changes which cause inflammation i.e. your immune function is being switched on. It’s the same kind of reaction that’d happen if you got wacked with a high speed swing-ball. Ouch. Therefore using any kind of skincare that stops inflammation, will help fight your acne. Linoleic high ingredients like grapeseed oil can help stop inflammation. Bingo.
Can You Use Grapeseed Oil on Your Face?
Using oil on your face can feel like a very strange idea, especially if you already have oily skin. By now you know not all oils are created equal. There are oils like olive oil which are bad for acne and oils like grapeseed oil which are good for acne.
Using the right kind of grapeseed oil for acne can absolutely be used on your face. Which means finding where to buy grapeseed oil for skin. This is a no to raiding the supermarket for grapeseed oil and a yes to finding a cosmetic grapeseed oil blend i.e. one that is made to cosmetic standards and is safe to use on your face.
Bonus tip: Use one of my above recommended grapeseed oil picks with a few drops/0.5-1% vitamin E –which you can buy here.
Why? Because Grapeseed oil can go-off fast as it’s an unsaturated oil i.e. it gets attacked by oxygen fast, exactly like a cut apple. Adding vitamin E into grapeseed oil helps stop this from happening. This is especially important when you have acne prone skin as oxidised oils can add to your skin’s inflammation. In other words, if you’re using grapeseed oil for acne, be sure to buy one and add some vitamin E to it.
How to Use Grapeseed oil for Acne
Now you’ve got yours, there are 2 ways you can use grapeseed oil for acne. You can use one, or you can use both, but remember the longer you leave any skincare product on your skin for, the greater its effects aka if you’re going to choose just one, go for the second.
- You can use grapeseed oil to cleanse skin as in the oil cleansing method for acne.
- Or you can use grapeseed oil as a neat facial oil for use after your moisturiser
Oil is the perfect ingredient to help treat your acne because acne is a skin disease which begins in your pores and your pores are already full of oil. This means oils dissolve into your oily pores easily and perfectly. It’s a scientific concept called like dissolves like. Watery stuff goes into watery stuff and oily stuff goes into oily stuff. Water and oil on the other hand… well they repel, have you seen it? Ever tried to rinse oil from your hands?
Which Oils are High In Linoleic Acid?
Now my friend, using grapeseed oil for acne is not your only solution. There are lots of other oils which are also high in linoleic acid. Oils like rosehip oil, safflower oil and evening primrose oil. All of these oils can be used as grapeseed oil substitutes to help treat your acne.
In fact I have a free and handy list of 10 essential fatty acid high linoleic oils here.
All of these oils can be used in the exact same way as grapeseed oil for acne. You can use the oil cleansing method or you can use them as a facial oil. It’s also just as important to make sure they have an added antioxidant like vitamin E as they’re all high in unsaturated oils and are therefore also vulnerable to oxygen attacks.
The Honesty Revive Omega Facial Oil is a carefully selected blend of several of these linoleic high oils also with a very helpful added antioxidant. You can take a peek at it in the Honesty store here.
Do you have questions my friend? Waiting for your grapeseed oil to arrive and wondering what the heck the oil cleansing method is? Or how to use it as a facial oil? Come chat with me, just leave your message in the comments below.
Cheryl Woodman is a scientist & award winning skincare formulator who’s more friend next door than bow tie wearing professor. As creator of Honesty For Your Skin her aim is to help you care for your skin in the best ways possible. She’s founder of the natural & fragrance free skincare brand Honesty while also hosting 1 to 1 skincare coaching to help you get your best skin yet. Find out more here.