Should I use oil if I have oily skin?

Should I use oil if I have oily skin?

There is a common misconception that if you have oily skin or acne, you shouldn't use products that contain oil. Advertising perpetuates the notion that comedogenic (acne-causing) products are synonymous with oil-based products, and, conversely, that non-comedogenic products are, therefore, oil-free.

Our skin naturally produces sebum (oil) to lubricate the skin. People who have acne-prone skin tend to overproduce sebum, causing inflammation when various components are oxidized (e.g. squalene). Pathogenic acne-causing strains of bacteria — Cutibacterium acnes (formerly Propionibacterium acnes) — can also break down sebum into both glycerol (food for bacteria) and inflammatory free fatty acids. It’s no surprise that treatments for acne center on removing and stripping sebum from the skin. Notable treatments include salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, or retinoids, which remove this natural lubrication, leading to visible side effects that include dry skin and irritation. To compensate for the effects of harsh astringents and cleansers, the skin increases its production of sebum prompting a cyclical pattern of excess oil that is triggering for acne-prone individuals.

Oil production on the skin isn't constant — it fluctuates based on hormones and feedback from our skin products.


By lubricating our skin with moisturizers, we can down-regulate oil production and lower sebum levels. Moisturizers are, therefore, extraordinarily critical for acne-prone subjects as this alone can improve acne by reducing host sebum production and restoring membrane integrity.

Using products containing oils is not in fact a contraindication to oily skin or acne-prone regimens, as long as they are the right kind of oils. Certain oils, such as mineral oil, are known to be comedogenic. However, oils with compositions that mimic human sebum can decrease sebum production, calm down the skin with potent antioxidants, and pacify the bacteria living on our skin that would otherwise feed off sebum, and create inflammatory byproducts.

Symbiome's Postbiomic™ Oils have been extensively studied, through compositional analysis, human repeat patch testing trials, and clinical safety studies. They contain minimal ingredients delivered in their most bioactive form to maximally benefit skin health. Our oils are rich in linoleic acid — a key essential fatty acid necessary to maintain normal epidermal barrier function, sebaceous gland (oil gland) maturation, moisturization, potent antioxidants, and carotenoids (natural Vitamin A derivatives), all of which are key components of a minimalist skincare routine.


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