Does Coconut Oil Clog Pores and Cause Acne?

The health benefits of coconut oil are many, and it helps treat many common skin problems and diseases.

Coconut oil also works as a skin moisturizer and is an excellent remedy for microbial infections and inflammations that occur on the skin.

While some recommend using coconut oil for acne, others reject and forbid the use of this oil on the skin.

What are clogged skin pores?

Skin pores (excretory conduits) are tiny little openings in the skin. The sebaceous gland which produces the body’s natural oil called “sebum,” is located in the skin pores.

It is through these sweat glands that the sebum oil is released to the skin’s top surface. Every pore has a hair follicle beneath it, and hairs grow through this opening.

“A square foot of human skin will contain one hundred forty-four million pores, and supposing that a medium-sized man’s surface is made of fourteen square feet.”

What causes clogged pores?

The sweat glands in the skin can get clogged or blocked when they are filled with an excess amount of sebum.

The accumulation of dead skin cells in the openings in the skin can also block them. They can also get clogged with dirt and filth that enters them from the external environment.

Also, lipids and excessive dead skin cells can produce skin infections and breakout-prone skin.

Here are a few reasons that may cause the blocking of the cysts:

  • Excessive production of sebum;
  • Use of organic and plant oils;
  • Dehydrated skin;
  • Poor hygiene and cleanliness;
  • Dead and dry skin cells;
  • Excessive sweating;
  • Fluctuation in hormone production;
  • Genetic reasons;
  • Allergenic reactions;
  • Bacteria;
  • Fungal infection.

Excessive sebum production is the most prominent reason that sweat glands get clogged.

Teenagers in puberty experience volatile hormone production instability that results in excess natural skin oil production. For this reason, teenagers are generally most vulnerable to acne attacks like whiteheads, blackheads, and pimples.

Fluctuations in hormone production during menstrual and pregnancy can also cause excess sebum secretion.

Blocked sweat glands are also common in people who regularly use certain cosmetics like skin lotions, creams, and cleansers.

What happens with clogged pores?

Skin breathes, self-moisturizes, and lets out sweat through the skin pores.

Blocking of the openings in the skin hinders the flow of oxygen and carbon dioxide in and out of the body via the skin.

The excretion of toxic wastes from the body via sweat is prevented.

With the poor absorption of moisture, the pH balance of the skin is disturbed.

Blocked openings in the skin prevent the healthy growth of hair; most hair on the body is in miniature forms that are not easily visible.

The single biggest skin problem arising from obstructed skin pores is acne. They become breeding grounds for bacteria that cause whiteheads, blackheads, pimples, or zits.

Does coconut oil clog your pores?

Does Coconut Oil Clog Pores

Any substance that blocks the opening in the skin is called Comedogenic.

On a rating scale of 5, coconut oil’s comedogenicity is 2, and its irritancy is 1. This indicates that coconut oil is “fairly comedogenic.” However, some health experts have given this oil a rating of 4, which means this oil is highly comedogenic.

Many people have comparatively larger pores in their skin than others who have narrow ones.

Those with a wider opening are susceptible to getting blocked by external factors like oils, cosmetics, or dirt.

Some studies point out that most people with acne-prone skin have comparatively larger openings on their skin.

If your skin is highly prone to getting frequent bouts of acne, in all probability, raw coconut oil may clog your pores.

If you have oily skin, it is a clear indication that your skin produces excess sebum, and you have larger pores on your skin.

Topical coconut oil for skin moisturizing or cleansing is ideal for people with dry to normal skin without large vents. Usually, people with dry skin have narrow blisters on their skin, which do not get blocked easily.

If you are unsure, ask a derm to identify your skin type. Note that each person’s skin can react differently to any oil.

Studies suggest that the lauric acid found in coconut oil has antimicrobial benefits and can kill acne-causing bacteria.

Some people can effectively use the coconut oil treatment for managing acne, while for others, it might aggravate the issue all the more.

In short, the comedogenic effect of coconut oil varies according to the type of skin that an individual has. You can confidently use coconut oil for skin treatments if you have normal to dry skin.

Benefits of coconut oil for skin

Coconut oil is the most useful plant oil for skin, hair, and health. It’s superior to mineral oils and other oil alternatives.

It is effectively used even for treating acne, a problem caused by oil logging in the hair follicles and skin pores.

This oil’s different types of fatty acids and vitamins E and K truly benefit the skin in many ways. Let us briefly look at some of the major benefits:

Antimicrobial and antiseptic

The medium-chain fatty acids in this oil have antimicrobial and antiseptic properties. Using coconut oil may help cure and prevent skin infections caused by bacteria and fungus.


Lauric acid in coconut oil is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent that can quickly heal skin issues caused by inflammation. It is beneficial for healing wounds, preventing acne, and reducing rashes.


It is the best natural alternative to skin-moisturizing creams and lotions. The fatty acids in this oil produce moisturizing, smoothing, and softening effects on the skin.

It works wonders for the whole body as a moisturizer, so use it for the hands, feet, neck, face, and even as a massage oil.


The antioxidant properties in coconut oil help fight free radicals in the blood cells. This is beneficial for reducing wrinkle formation and making the skin younger.

Cleanses and tones the skin

Most people fear that coconut oil makes their skin oily and sticky. But if you use it correctly, this oil is fantastic for deep skin cleansing. It makes the skin tones lighter and brighter.

Makeup remover

This oil is an excellent makeup remover; it removes waterproof mascara. Apply a little oil on a cotton ball to wipe away the makeup easily.

Reduces acne

Using oil to fight an oil-born disease may sound quite strange and absurd. This oil’s anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties can effectively heal and prevent acne. It also cleanses clogged pores and prevents bacterial activity.

However, this oil is not recommended for oily skin and severe bouts of acne.

Scar removal

In this oil, the fatty acids, vitamins E and K, are beneficial for a healthy amount of collagen production in skin tissues. This helps to heal the inflammation fast and prevents scar formation.

Highly nutritious

Coconut oil is nutritious, with healthy fatty acids and vitamins necessary for skin protection and care. Consuming about 30 grams of coconut oil per day can improve the metabolism and liver functions needed for improved body and skin health.

Can you apply coconut oil to your face?

You might think that applying coconut oil on the face can clog pores and make your face oily with increased acne breakouts.

However, coconut oil is unique and safer for the skin than mineral and other plant oils.

It hydrates, softens, cleanses, and protects the skin from bacterial activities like acne. This oil effectively clears dirt and dead skin cells accumulated in the pores.

It moisturizes the facial skin, making it appear smooth and has a lighter complexion.

Applying this oil to one’s face is beneficial for reducing age spots and wrinkles and repairing the skin damage caused by the UV rays of the sun.

Initially, when you begin to use coconut oil on the face, you may experience increased outbreaks of acne as it tries to clear the skin from within. If you continue applying coconut oil on your face, acne will gradually diminish and clear up.

You must follow a healthy diet and lifestyle habits to get rid of blackheads.

While applying coconut oil on the face, you must apply only a small amount of this oil to the face. If your skin is oily, cleanse your face with a natural oil cleanser after 10-15 minutes of applying the oil.

Applying coconut oil over your moisturizer could clog your pores and result in acne.

Remember, a little bit goes a long way, so don’t slather excess of it on your face.

If you have sensitive skin, you can mix the coconut oil with a blend of non-comedogenic carrier oils like argan oil, jojoba oil, sunflower seed oil, hemp seed oil, or shea butter. Mixing a few drops of hemp seed oil into coconut oil helps keep the sebum from hardening and clogging the pores.

You can also perform mild facial exfoliation before applying the coconut oil to the facial skin. If your skin is genetically oily, applying a very thin layer of coconut oil is best, and doing it only twice a week.

How to get rid of clogged pores?

For some people, applying comedogenic oils like coconut oil to the face may clog the pores in the skin. However, you can follow some simple methods to unclog the pores quickly. Here are some of those steps worth practicing:

  • Steam your face for 5 minutes, preferably before going to bed at night; do not scrub the face after steaming. Do not oversteam the face either;
  • Wash your face with lukewarm water twice a day;
  • Make sure to remove the makeup completely from the face before you go to sleep at night;
  • Use a mild cleansing face wash once a day
  • Always dry your face with a clean and soft towel
  • Add a few drops of tea tree oil to the lukewarm water you use for cleansing the skin;
  • Exfoliate the skin with mild cleansing lotion twice a week
  • Do a dry brushing of the facial skin; use a soft-bristled facial brush for it;
  • Keep your skin hydrated by drinking lots of water daily and using good skin moisturizer after the shower.

Final thoughts

Coconut oil is safe, but it can clog pores if used incorrectly. Properly used on the face will give your skin much-needed youthfulness.

Depending on the specific skin type, one would benefit from using a coconut oil cleanser or a dab of coconut oil over your moisturizer.

However, using coconut oil on acne-prone skin is a much-debated and disputed issue.

People have got mixed results from using coconut oil on their skin. Some people have found this oil to be good for clearing skin problems, while others have found it causes more acne outbreaks.

This oil is comedogenic, so it is not recommended for use on very oily skin with recurring incidences of severe acne.

Make sure to use only virgin coconut oil for treating your skin. If you are using coconut oil for deep cleansing, then it is better to add a few drops of hemp seed oil to it.

If you can use coconut oil correctly, it does not clog the pores. It is safe to use this oil for normal and dry skin types.

Read more on coconut oil benefits such as skin cleanser, psoriasis, and hair growth.