How to Choose the Right Facial Oils?

May 04, 2020

How to choose the right facial oils - Micora

Searching for the right facial oil for your skin can be daunting given the plethora of oils you get in the market. There are also many misconceptions about face oils and the most common question asked is: “Can you use a facial oil if you have oily and acne-prone skin?” The answer is YES! We try to break it down for you in this blog post and recommend some of our favorite oils:

Fatty acids – oleic vs linoleic acids

Fatty acids are the basic building blocks of all oils, and oleic acids and linoleic acids are the two most important ones to know when it comes to choosing the right face oils.

Oleic acid also goes by the name, omega-9 fatty acids and can be naturally produced by the body.

Linoleic acid, known as omega-6, cannot be produced in our body’s tissue like oleic acid. However, it is more lightweight and absorbs easily onto the skin as compared to its oleic acid counterpart.

All oils have a ratio of oleic acid vs linoleic acids. One key factor that makes some oils work for some but not for others is the ratio of linoleic acid to oleic acid in the oil.

Oily, clogged skin’s sebum is mostly composed of oleic acid.  People with oily and battling acne usually have an excess production of oleic acid due to a deficiency in linoleic acid which then clogs pores and creates acne. We can reverse this and rebalance the skin’s oil production by applying oils high in linoleic acid directly to the skin and avoid oils with high oleic acid levels. 

With that said, if you have dry and aging skin, you may want to opt for an oil that has a higher oleic acid ratio which adds richness and heaviness to oils and has deep moisturising properties.


Okay, don’t get too excited finding oils high in linoleic acid now fellow acne-sufferers, a slight buzzkill: Just because it is high in linoleic acid, does not mean it will not irritate your skin. The second component to consider is comedogenic rating, or the likelihood a certain oil will clog your pores.

Ranging from a comedogenic rating scale of 0 (highly unlikely to clog your pores) to a 5 (extremely high chance of clogging your pores!), if you are acne-prone, you may want to narrow down your selection of oils to those with mostly 0s,1s or 2s. 3s should only be used as a wash-off product (i.e. makeup-remover).  

Some great face oil options

With so many oils and characteristics to consider, we've narrowed down this list to a handful of commonly known face oils. Please note that the list includes high oleic, balanced, and high linoleic oils.

Let’s find out which face oils are best for your skin!

Facial Oil Name

Fatty Acid Composition

Comedogenic Rating

Good For

Jojoba Oil



Most skin types, including oily/acne-prone

Sunflower Oil

High Oleic Acid

0 -2

Most skin types, reduces the appearance of hyperpigmentation.

Argan Oil

High Oleic Acid


Dry and normal skin, preventing signs of aging

Marula Oil

High Oleic Acid

3 - 4

Very dry, sensitive skin

Hemp Seed Oil

High Linoleic Acid


Most skin types, including oily/acne-prone

Rosehip Seed Oil

High Linoleic Acid


Oily, acne-prone skin types, combating signs of aging, scarring, hyperpigmentation.

Grapeseed Oil

High Linoleic Acid


Most skin types, alleviates redness for sensitive skin

Tamanu Oil



Most skin types, especially scarred and sensitive

Squalane Oil


0 - 1

Most skin types, combat signs of ageing and anti-inflammatory


Important points to note:

  • These are guided ratings, not hard and fast laws! Everyone's skin will react differently. Some people can use ingredients with 4's and not have an issue at all. As you start to learn what your skin likes best, your skin care shopping will be greatly simplified.
  • "The dose makes the poison": Don't go throwing out products with high-ranking oils in them! Maybe an oil that doesn't work for you at 100% concentration is benign at 25%.
  • Product quality matters: choose high-quality, expeller-pressed, or cold-pressed (never solvent extracted!) oils that are stored properly in a dark glass bottles to keep contamination, rancidity, or other negative properties to a minimum. 
  • Keep your beauty routine simple and consistent for a few weeks prior to testing a new oil. This will isolate the oil so you know that any results - good or bad - are most likely the result of the newcomer. You may notice an improvement in your skin when you do less to it; irritation from overdoing it is a common acne trigger.
  • Always perform patch testing before committing to the whole face.
  • Avoid oils with essential oils for starters as it can cause irritation and photosensitivity to some people. 

Have fun and oil up!



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