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Dr. Alpana Mohta Ranka, MD, DNB, IFAAD, is a dual-board-certified dermatologist with over 90 research publications in peer-reviewed scientific journals.

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Is Olive Oil Comedogenic? - A Dermatologist's Opinion

Updated: 2 days ago

The benefits of consuming olive oil are well known. However, those are related to when you put it in your body. What about when you put it on your body? Yeah, you heard me right. Many people use olive oil as a "moisturizer". I wouldn't use it on my skin. Apparently, it can reduce the integrity of the topmost layer of the skin.

However, the question we seek to answer in this article is whether or not olive oil is comedogenic, i.e., does olive oil clog pores?


Olive oil being poured

Olive Oil's Comedogenic Rating

Olive oil typically falls between 2 and 3 on the comedogenic scale. This means it has a moderate likelihood of clogging pores for some skin types. I don't like to rely on the comedogenic scale because, as I mentioned in my article on shea butter's clogging potential, the comedogenic ratings are not determined by any standardized tests. I wouldn't say that they are completely obsolete, as they at least give us some guidance.


Here's my advice for different skin types on how to deal with a product having a comedogenic rating of 2 - 3:

  1. Oily skin: Avoid the product

  2. Combination: Do a patch on your shoulders or back for a week and see the results before using it on your face.

  3. Dry: Use it. However, in the case of olive oil, I'd ask you to be careful. Although many people swear by its moisturizing potential, as I mentioned at the beginning of the article, there have been cases where it has been found to weaken the integrity of the topmost layer of your skin.

 

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Why Do Some People Swear By Olive Oil?

Olive oil is rich in antioxidants and vitamins, particularly vitamin E. So, it is beneficial when consumed (eaten).


There's a psychological phenomenon, a cognitive bias called the Halo effect, whereby we use one good characteristic to attribute goodness in all other areas. Therefore, since olive oil is considered to be so healthy to eat, people immediately assume that it will be great to apply on the skin, too.


Conclusion

So, is olive oil comedogenic? While it possesses numerous health benefits, it can be comedogenic for specific skin types. If you're keen on trying it, be mindful of its potential to clog pores and its capability as a moisturizer, and always consult with a dermatologist if in doubt.


If you use Vaseline on your face, you may want to read my article on whether Vaseline clogs pores or not.

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