Oils and Acne – A Comedogenic Love/Hate Relationship

A Comedogenic Love/Hate Relationship

It may seem counter-intuitive to those with oily, acne prone skin to add oil to counteract the issues they experience, but the truth is some natural oils could, either applied directly, or as part of a well formulated skin care product, significantly improve the skin condition. However, the choice of oil is of utmost importance. Using the wrong oil with breakout prone skin, is very likely to exacerbate the problem.

Some oils will increase the number of clogged pores, the condition that leads to those highly annoying, embarrassing and sometimes painful blackheads, whiteheads, and pustules. Other oils are less likely to produce such issues or may even lead to an improvement in the skin condition. These oils can help heal acne breakouts, and by healing the skin, even prevent them from reoccurring!

Oils that have a tendency to aggravate acne are described as comedogenic and those that prevent the pores from blocking are described as non-comedogenic.  Non-comedogenic oils, are also called “dry” oils, as they can penetrate the skin quickly, without leaving a greasy feeling on the skin.

Natural, non-comedogenic oils often deliver other benefits. They can make the skin very soft and smooth to touch. Some have anti-inflammatory and nourishing properties since direct application delivers fatty acids and nutrients directly to the skin. Non-comedogenic oils can often contain antioxidants which can help protect the skin against free radicals and reduce inflammation. Non-comedogenic oils are usually rich in linoleic acid which helps to boost hydration and prevents TEWL in compromised skin. These oils can also be used to regulate sebum production. A good non-comedogenic oil can also be used for colloidal cleansing, a method of cleaning dirt and soil from the skin’s surface using an oil-based product; the oil particles attach themselves to dirt, makeup, or other irritants on your skin, and then can be wiped away easily with a soft cloth.

Oat Cosmetics has just received the preliminary results of a 28 day comedogenicity study on our extremely popular natural lipid complex, Oat Lipid e, conducted by Alba Science in Edinburgh. Using a cohort of 30 subjects, the Oat Lipid e was applied directly to the skin on a daily basis. A baseline count of inflamed (papules and pustules) and non-inflamed lesions (blackheads and whiteheads) were counted and comparisons made after 2 and 4 weeks.

The early results show that Oat Lipid e is not only non-comedogenic, but that it offers a statistically-significant reduction in papules, blackheads and lesions. Oat Lipid e is therefore the perfect emollient and active oil for use in anti-acne products. This confirmed reports from users that Oat Lipid e is beneficial for those suffering from conditions attributable to blocked pores.

Comedogenicity is measure on a scale of 1 to 5 whereby:

0 – Will Not Clog Pores
1 – Low
2 – Moderately Low
3 – Moderate
4 – Fairly High
5 – High

Generally, be considered a non-comedogenic oil it must be rated 2 or lower. Oat Lipid e is firmly placed in the zero-rated category.

Oat Lipid e has many skin benefits:

  • It has a light-medium viscosity, which absorbs quickly, leaving a non-tacky, non-greasy after-feel, a reassuring characteristic for those prone to breakouts.
  • It is rich in vitamin E particularly tocotrienol, which is a much more potent anti-oxidant than tocopherol. This helps protect the skin against UV induced peroxidosis and insult from reactive oxygen species.
  • Rather surprisingly for a non-comedogenic oil, Oat Lipid e contains approximately 40% oleic acid (omega 9). Generally, oils higher in oleic acid are better for dry skin types, but are often associated with clogging the pores of those susceptible to acne. Non-comedogenic oils tend to be the ones that have high-linoleic acid contents…
  • Oat Lipid e however, has a similar level of linoleic acid (Omega 6) as it does oleic acid, balancing any negative effects and giving a wonderful initial emollient feel. The linoleic acid can also calm down burns and erythema.
  • Oat Lipid e has been used to soothe irritation and inflammation, and is said to help reduce scars.
  • The skin is made of many intracellular lipids. The most important ones are called ceramides. These ceramides form the protective barrier of the skin. Using natural or synthetic ceramides can help the skin’s protective barrier remain intact. Oat Lipid e naturally contains at least 1% ceramides.
  • Oat Lipid e also contains 10 % cholesterol and sterols. These saturated fatty acids our found in skin sebum, they help maintain smooth, soft and hydrated skin and are involved in the integrity of cells. These molecules are easily stripped away with soaps and other surfactant containing products, but topical application of cholesterol and sterols can help replenish these losses.

So, in summary Oat Lipid e is an incredible ingredient in the formulator’s pallete! It is an easy to use, ECOCERT and COSMOS approved natural oil, which is highly beneficial in all skin types including those prone to blocked pores giving rise to acnified skin.

Written by Angus Robertson.

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