"I have oily or acne prone skin - can I still use an oil-based cleanser?”

It’s a common misconception that people with oily skin types or with acne can’t use any oil-based products on their skin. Whilst it can help to be mindful of the oils you leave on the skin, a balmy, oil based cleanser can actually be really beneficial.

If you’re struggling with excess oil and acne, it can be really tempting to reach for the more active or balancing cleanser. Whilst there’s nothing wrong with using these, they can sometimes end up stripping the skin and cause the skin to produce more oil to compensate.


When it comes to cleansing, oily cleansers don’t make skin more oily. Instead, what they do is help remove all the excess oil on the skin. The oils from your makeup, sebum, food and sweat build up throughout the day and sit on the skin. If not properly addressed, this can lead to clogged pores and breakouts (no thanks!), so cleansing with an oil or balm is an important part of this process. Like-dissolves-like, so by reaching for an oil based cleanser, you’re going to dissolve the hardened oil and gunk in your pores. It’s best to gently remove this step of your cleanse with a damp cloth to ensure it’s all wiped away before moving on. 

Depending on your cleanser, the specific oils can have additional benefits for the skin. For example, GunkOff contains Safflower Oil, which contains linoleum acid, well-known for its ability to help prevent blackheads and whiteheads in the skin. Other oils can help to hydrate and nourish the skin during the cleansing process, but without having that heavier feel that deters some people from reaching for an oil as part of their skincare. 


It’s also great to use an oil-based cleanser when you have acne because they can be more gentle on the skin. Pimples and acne are inflammation in the skin and a gentle touch - not aggressive scrubbing or drying out - will go a long way to help. Using a balm cleanser on dry skin, that melts into an oil gives a good level of slip and doesn’t require much pressure to work into the skin. 

What you really need to look for when reaching for an oil cleanse, is one that’s labelled as non-comedogenic, meaning that it won’t clog the pores. Some popular oils in this category are squalane, jojoba, safflower oil, rosehip and camellia seed oil


Of course, each person is different and can respond a little differently, but if you have oily skin or acne prone skin, it’s well worth testing out an oil cleanser (ahem, GunkOff) in your routine.