In skin care, oils can act as carriers of other ingredients to enable better absorption into the skin. Oils are part of the lipid family and although the skin lipids are more ‘fats’ than ‘oils’, using oil at times is not harmful. Having oils as components in a ‘fatty’ compound (aka moisturizer) is fine because it is a small percentage of the overall formulation, and the emulsifiers in the formulation will hold the oil and water based ingredients together.
Basically the oil has to be pretty purified and free of ‘artifacts’ or ‘contaminants’ that inevitably are the things that cause the break-outs or the skin irritation. Clogged pores can be the result of using too heavy an oil on your face, but usually it is also due to insufficient and incorrect exfoliation as well as the use of detergent cleansers – both of which increase the level of dry skin cells available for blocking the pores… Just adding oil on the face for the sake of it being oil is not a good idea. Yes the oil will ‘mask’ the fact that your skin is way too dry and is totally unbalanced, but the oil will not exfoliate the dry skin cells nor will it balance your skin. In a nutshell, oil should only be used as a delivery vehicle for other skin care ingredients and it should be used with care.
All the myths and legends about oil are just that – myths and legends – but the marketing departments of skin care manufacturers can spin a story to seduce consumers into believing it is a good idea all the time.
I have seen increased blackheads as well as sebaceous cysts on faces where people have committed to a ‘healing’ oil routine for the skin.
Oil in a cleanser is a good idea if it is a hydrophilic oil – because oil will attract dirt out of the pores far better than any detergent can….but it is washed off the face and not left on…