Can Olive Oil Treat Acne Effectively?

Can Olive Oil Treat Acne Effectively?

There are many pesky conditions we have to deal on a daily basis, acne is one of them. Many people think that dark spots, scarring, and uneven skin tone is more unpleasant than the pimples themselves. So they opt for oil-free facial cleansers lest they would clog the skin pores and cause acne breakouts.

At times, this age-old practice of using olive oil can work wonders for your skin, but it doesn’t really treat scars at all. Sad truth isn’t it? Let’s find out more.

Olive Oil and Skin Treatment

Olive oil has tremendous health benefits and everyone knows that since time immemorial. Besides using it in a lot of delicacies, people for centuries have used it as an herbal treatment for hair and skin. 

It is a common ingredient for a variety of products including soaps, lip balm, bath oils, etc. for the simple reason it performs as a lubricant for a slippery, smooth feel.

Olive Oil and Acne Scars: Does it works?

Seriously, it sounds very lovely but it is far from scientific truth. We have to be realistic when it comes to treatment and the truth is acne scars can’t be healed by applying olive oil. Why? Here is the reason. The leftover dark spots or pimple fades are known as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and its normal part of skin though worse to our liking.

This discoloration cannot be washed-out simply by topical application of olive oil. The same rule goes for miserable scars. In simple words, olive oil cannot reconstruct the skin or cause it to rebuild itself.

Advantages of Using Olive Oil

Despite the fact it cannot heal acne scars, there are numerous studies which show that it has various other skin benefits though yet to be confirmed by established science.

  • According to International Olive Council, olive oil contains many vitamins including A, D, E and K which is beneficial for the skin
  • The anti-oxidants properties might help prevent damage from cancer-causing ultraviolet radiation
  • Olive oil moisturizes and keep your skin hydrated

Risk of Using Olive Oil on Skin

While there might be various benefits of using olive oil on the skin, there are some reported drawbacks also or it might not work for some people as it used to be.

  • In one study, olive oil has made certain skin conditions worse in adults and the same study also recommends to avoid using olive oil on infants
  • For people with sensitive skin, it is recommended to consult with a dermatologist and perform allergic test before using it
  • Olive oil is heavy and it might clog pores of the skin

What should be done to treat acne and scars

There are various ways one can fade post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.

  • Over the counter products containing glycolic acid or niacinamide can be beneficial for slight discoloration. For deeper discoloration of acne spots, topical retinoids and azelaic acid are considered best.
  • For pitted scars, there are certain procedures such as laser treatment, dermal fillers, that can help minimize scars and smoothen skin.
  • Many people also use home remedies such as turmeric for treating acne.

Just because something is natural doesn’t mean it is a better choice. Olive oil is not a proven scar treatment. People suffering from acne must consult a dermatologist for alternative treatment methods as applying olive oil might worsen their condition.


1. Danby SG, et al. (2012, September 20). Effect of olive and sunflower seed oil on the adult skin barrier: implications for neonatal skin care. Pediatric Dermatology, 30(1), 42-50 read more
2. Cooke A, et al. (2016, March). Olive Oil, sunflower oil or no oil for baby dry skin or massage: A pilot, assessor-blinded, randomized controlled trial (the oil in baby skincare). Acta Dermato-Venereologica, 96(3), 323-30 
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