Using avocado oil, both as a skin moisturizer and having it in your diet on a regular basis, can make a very positive difference to the appearance of your skin. But can it also help with acne problems and other skin issues like enlarged pores and blackheads?
Avocado oil and Acne
Avocado oil may be beneficial to acne sufferers in three different ways – nutritionally, as a nightly moisturizer and as a topical treatment to prevent acne and diminish blackheads and enlarged pores.
From a nutritional standpoint, the type of fats we most regularly consume in our diet are recognised as often a contributing factor behind acne problems. As detailed in the page on the best oil for healthy cooking, avocado oil is extremely high in monounsaturated fats like oliec acid. At the same time, it is very low in polyunsaturated fats, such as linoleic acid, compared to most other cooking oils.
This is important if you’re an acne sufferer because polyunsaturated fats have recently been implicated in sebaceous gland inflammation, which leads to acne outbreaks. Specifically, the 5-LOX enzyme has been observed acting on the polyunsaturated fat arachidonic acid and turning it into inflammatory compounds known as leukotrienes. There are more details and research on this for those interested in the science at acne: omega-6 fat worsens skin inflammation.
Replacing primarily polyunsaturated cooking oils, like corn, safflower, soybean and sunflower oil, with the much healthier avocado oil for cooking, not only lowers your polyunsaturated fat intake, it also replaces it with more beneficial monounsaturated fats.
Additionally, by switching to cold pressed avocado oil as your cooking oil and salad dressing, you are also receiving the many other avocado oil skin benefits. These include high levels of vitamin E, antioxidant carotenoids like beta-carotene and lutein and moisturizing plant sterols and lecithin. All of which may help with improving your skin tone and preventing acne from ever occurring in the first place.
The second way that avocado oil can help prevent acne problems and improve your skin in general is by using it as a nightly moisturizer. Many people with outbreak prone skin are would be understandably afraid of putting more oil on their face when they believe that the skin’s oil is the cause of acne in the first place. But it’s not actually our natural sebum that is the problem.
In most cases a pimple starts with an inflammation of the sebaceous gland. The nutritional properties of avocado oil are ideal for preventing this kind of inflammation, as well as making for a great moisturizer in general. There is much more information on applying avocado oil as a face moisturizer on the previous page.
How to Use the Oil Cleaning Method with Avocado Oil
The third way to use avocado oil to help with clearing up acne and diminishing blackheads and enlarged pores is by using it as a topical treatment, applied directly to the face, in what is known as the oil cleaning method.
Once again, it’s very understandable that you might be fearful of applying an oil to your face if you have acne problems. But when it works (and of course this can’t be guaranteed as everyone skin is different), the oil cleaning method helps clear out blocked pores, reduces the causes of sebaceous gland inflammation and improves skin tone in general.
Many people in acne forums online have reported positive benefits with the oil cleaning method. Here’s how to do it with avocado oil.
Start by mixing together a small amount of cold pressed avocado oil, perhaps just a teaspoon, with a similar amount of castor oil in a bowl.
Castor oil is great for removing impurities from the skin. For very oily skin, you may want to use more castor oil, say one and a half teaspoons and only half a teaspoon of avocado oil. Conversely, for skin that is usually drier but still prone to acne outbreaks, you could use one and a half teaspoons of avocado oil and only half a teaspoon of castor oil.
Gently massage the oil mixture into your skin with clean fingers and lie down and cover your face with a very warm (but not too hot) face cloth for several minutes to help open pores (you can warm the face cloth up in the oven on a low heat or in the drier).
Rinse the washcloth and gently wipe away any excess oil. If you have the time, repeat the process a few times for even better results. Finally, rinse your face in cold water to help close the pores.
There are a couple of alternative ways to get the heat to open your pores and clean your skin once you’ve massaged in the oil.
The first is to half fill the bathroom sink with steaming hot water, perhaps with a couple of drops of tea tree essential oil, which is also great for treating pimples. Taking care to not let your face actually touch the water, cover your head and the sink with a large towel and let the steam get to work for a minute or two.
One way that I’ve had great results with personally is to use the oil cleaning method after a workout at gym. I then go straight into the steam room for ten to fifteen minutes.
Follow it up with a cool shower to close the pores on your face. If you go to a gym with a steam room, I’d really recommend trying this for reducing blackheads and enlarged pores.
A small warning to people using retinol treatments for acne like Retin-A. It would be recommended to patch test avocado oil on an inconspicuous spot before using it on your entire face. This is because some people have reported a stinging sensation when using it after Retin-A.
In fact, this is good advice if you’re using any other topical acne treatments, or just have sensitive skin in general.
This avocado oil cleaning method can be performed several times a week whenever you have the time. Ideally, combine this with using avocado oil as a face moisturiser, making it your primary cooking oil and having it in your diet regularly for best results.
Photo 1: SweetonVeg / Photo 2: Public Domain Photos