Is Olive Oil Comedogenic? Here’s What You Need to Know Before Using It on Your Face

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Olive oil is famous for its beauty benefits. In ancient Greece, Cleopatra used olive oil to keep her skin moisturized and glowing.

Even today, we can find olive oil in many skincare products. But how good is it? Is it comedogenic? Let’s find out.

This article discusses what comedogenic means, whether or not olive oil is comedogenic and how it may affect your skin’s health.

What Does Comedogenic Mean?

Comedogenic is a measure of how likely an ingredient is to block the hair follicles and cause comedones (pimples, whiteheads, or blackheads) to form.

It is measured on a scale of 0–5, where 0 means that it will not clog the pores and 5 means that it will definitely clog the pores.

The main factor determining how comedogenic an ingredient can be is oiliness. The oilier an ingredient is, the more likely it is to clog pores and lead to breakouts.

In addition, skin type and the amount of product used can affect the comedogenicity of an ingredient. For example, someone who has very oily skin may find that an ingredient that rates as non-comedogenic still makes their skin break out.

This means that while comedogenicity ratings may be a useful guide, they should not be taken as absolute truth.

The Comedogenicity Scale

The comedogenic scale is the most famous scale for determining how likely a skincare product is to cause breakouts or clogged pores. This scale ranges from 0 to 5, with 5 being the most comedogenic and least likely to be tolerated by acne-prone skin types.

  • 0 = will not clog pores.
  • 1 = low likelihood of clogging pores.
  • 2 = slightly low likelihood of clogging pores.
  • 3 = moderate likelihood of clogging pores.
  • 4 = moderately high likelihood of clogging pores.
  • 5 = high likelihood of clogging pores.

Is Olive Oil Comedogenic?

The term comedogenic refers to a substance that can clog pores, leading to the formation of blackheads, whiteheads, and other types of acne. Olive oil has a comedogenic rating of 2 out of 5, meaning it is slightly likely to clog pores and cause acne.

But remember, the comedogenic rating only tells you if an ingredient will clog your pores or not – it doesn’t tell you if a product is good for your skin or not.

While olive oil may not be suitable for those with oily or acne-prone skin, it is one of the best natural moisturizers around and can help improve the appearance of dry skin.

The oils most likely to cause acne are coconut oil and cocoa butter, which have a comedogenic rating of 4-5. If you have oily skin or are susceptible to clogged pores, it’s best to avoid these products and any oil that has a comedogenic rating of 3 or above.

What Are the Benefits of Olive Oil for Skin?

1. It protects against premature aging

Olive oil contains four major antioxidants: vitamin E, polyphenols, phytosterols, and carotenoids. These compounds can protect your skin against premature aging and skin diseases by fighting free radicals.

2. It moisturizes the skin

Olive oil deeply moisturizes the skin without clogging pores. The vitamin E present in it also helps to repair damaged skin cells and promote cell regeneration.

3. It relieves sunburns

Regular use of olive oil may help keep your skin protected from sunburns as it contains a compound called hydroxytyrosol, which increases the amount of time that the skin can withstand UV exposure before burning.

4. It treats psoriasis and eczema

Being a natural moisturizer, olive oil also helps in treating skin problems like eczema, psoriasis, and rosacea. These conditions make the skin flaky, itchy, and red.

Applying olive oil to the affected area helps in relieving the symptoms by hydrating the skin and keeping it well-moisturized. The anti-inflammatory effects of this oil also help in reducing redness and itchiness caused by these conditions.

5. It heals wounds

Olive oil can also help with wound healing by promoting tissue repair and reducing inflammation at the site of injury. It also has antimicrobial properties that can help prevent infection after a cut or scrape.

6. It can cleanse the skin and remove makeup

Olive oil is great for removing makeup because it doesn’t irritate the eyes or dry out the skin as other cleansers can. Use it as a makeup remover or add a few drops to your regular cleanser for an extra boost of moisture.

What Are the Side Effects of Olive Oil on Skin?

Olive oil is generally safe for most people to use on their skin. However, if you’re allergic to olives, you may also react to olive oil when you apply it directly to your skin.

Signs of an allergic reaction may include hives, swelling of your face, lips, or tongue, and a rash that affects all or part of your body.

In addition, olive oil can clog pores and cause breakouts, especially in people with oily or acne-prone skin. If you’re prone to breakouts or have oily skin, it may be best to avoid using olive oil on your skin.

How Do You Apply Olive Oil to Your Face?

  • Wash your face with a gentle soap or cleanser then pat dry with a soft clean towel.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly then pour a dime-sized amount of olive oil onto your clean hands.
  • Rub your hands together to warm up the oil before massaging it into your skin (this allows for easy penetration).
  • Wait for 10 minutes before rinsing it off with warm water.
  • Rinse it off, do so with warm water and pat your face dry
  • You can also leave the olive oil on overnight as a moisturizing mask.

Non-comedogenic Alternatives to Olive Oil

If you want non-comedogenic alternatives to olive oil, look for oils with a low comedogenic rating like:

  • Sunflower oil
  • Jojoba oil
  • Avocado oil
  • Grapeseed oil
  • Hemp Seed oil
  • Meadowfoam seed oil
  • Rosehip oil
  • Tamanu oil


Is olive oil good for dry skin?

Yes, it is. The primary benefit of olive oil for the skin is its moisturizing effect. The oil creates a barrier that prevents moisture from leaving your skin while nourishing it from within.

You can use olive oil directly from the bottle or mix it with other skincare products like your favorite moisturizer to keep your skin healthy.

When is the best time to apply olive oil?

The best time to apply olive oil is at night before bedtime. Wash your face before applying the oil. Using circular motions, start from the center of your face then work outward. Wash off any excess oil in the morning.

Can you use olive oil on your face?

Yes, you can. Olive oil is an inexpensive, natural way to take care of your face. It may also help reduce the signs of aging due to its antioxidant content.

However, you should be cautious when using olive oil on your face if you have oily or acne-prone skin. Using olive oil on irritated or broken skin may also cause irritation or breakouts.


Olive oil can make your skin look and feel better without the use of chemicals or harmful substances. However, it may not be suitable for everyone, especially those with oily or acne-prone skin.

As explained earlier, olive oil has a comedogenic rating of 2 out of 5, meaning it is likely to cause breakouts and make them worse.

If you have oily or acne-prone skin, try non-comedogenic alternatives like jojoba oil, sunflower oil, or grapeseed oil. You can also contact your doctor to see if other alternatives are more suitable for your skin condition.

Thanks for reading.

Visit Serum101 to learn more about the benefits of olive oil and other natural products for your skincare routine.