In these parts we’ve long known that natural oils feed the skin—and they’ve even helped some of us with our breakouts, right? But a new group of natural oils have focused in on blemishes by including acne-fighting actives in the mix now too. Well+Good has reviewed some of their faves below. Has oil helped your acne?

It might sound contradictory (and maybe downright scary!), but one of the best things you can do for a bout of blemishes is to slick your skin with oils. Not with pore-clogging mineral oils, but with plant-based ones that can help balance and calm your adult skin.

“Treating oil with oil balances skin,” says Vered Back, an herbalist, facialist, and beauty-product formulator. “Drying it out with harsh ingredients just engages it in a battle.”

Back, who’s the founder of Vered Organic Botanicals, says her top seller is an acne treatment oil blend. “There are so many people with problem skin, and nobody really dared to think about making an oil for them.” But now, they are. Here are six oil blends for acne-prone skin we love…

1. Vered Therapeutic Balancing Face Oil

This handcrafted line is all about the love of oils. They’re handmade by organic-obsessed master herbologist and facialist, Vered Beck, who uses anti-inflammatory and anti-viral herbs (including rare ones like niaouli, chickweed, and speedwell) that vary with the available crops and promote deep healing.


2. Marie Veronique Organics Treatment Oil

This is a perfectly balanced acne-fighting cocktail. Argan oil controls surface sebum, borage oil fights inflammation (thanks to its gamma-linolenic acid), and tea tree oil helps banish acne-causing bacteria. Use it alone or as part of the company’s Acne Relief Kit for even clearer skin.


3. Susan Ciminelli Oil Control Formula

This word-of-mouth wonder helps clear pimples and blackheads. It contains thyme, which you want because it was found to be more effective against acne than benzoyl peroxide (the controversial main ingredient in Proactiv). And a trio of anti-bacterial extracts—lemongrass, lavender, and cajeput bark—gives it a sinus-clearing scent.  This simple blend of oils is actually super active, so it’s probably not a fit for super sensitive, inflamed skin.


4. In Fiore Pur Face Oil Concentré

Sometimes the best solution comes from old-world practices. Like this apothecary-style blend of wild-crafted oils. It’s a beautiful skin-balancer powered by neroli, nature’s stress-buster. On breakout-prone skin it brings down redness, eases congestion, and slows the pimple-making process to a halt. And a dash of rosehip-seed oil helps give skin back it’s healthy, even glow.


Keep reading about the last two here.


Seven Ways to Better Care for Winter Skin

So, this is actually a repost of an article I wrote last year for GOOD. We’ve never done a repost before, but because several people have sent us emails about their winter skin woes I thought it could be helpful to those who had missed this one—and a reminder to the rest of us. Even to moi, the advice doller who woke up this morning with dryer-than-usual skin and serious lip crackage. Also? Awesome excuse to post a picture from Dr. Zhivago.

How do change you beauty routine, diet, and routine in the winter?

Cosmetics companies just love to sell you on the idea that each new season calls for an arsenal of new products. And why wouldn’t they? It means you’ll ditch your half-finished current bottle of snake oil in favor of one that comes with the same crap on the inside and different claims on the out. Cha-ching.

Of course, it’s true that cold weather and even clock changes can have serious side effects for skin. But if you’re the sensitive type, switching out your entire regimen—i.e. risking reactions to new products—right when the temperature is dropping, is likely to do more harm than good. In fact if your skin is at all finicky, we strongly advocate sticking to routine in this area.

So how to beat your winter skin woes? Click “Next” above to read the tips that will matter most for winter skin.

1. Moisturize. Yes, it’s the most boring advice in the world, but there’s a reason people say it so often. Moisturizing does exactly what it implies: It helps keep moisture in by replicating the skin’s natural barrier function. It’s simple science, and you don’t need to use a different one for every season. Find a good clean moisturizer that you love, or get with the oil program, and just do it consistently. If you’re out and about in the winter keep a to-go version in your bag for some extra application.

2.Wash less. We’ve covered this in the past, and the merits of this advice are doubly relevant for winter. Over-washing strips skin of its natural protective oils, robs it of healthy bacteria, increases exposure to harmful and/or irritating chemicals, and generally aggravates skin conditions like rosacea and eczema—the very same ones that are exacerbated by seasonal changes. So as the air gets cold and dry, and you’re less likely to be a sweaty mess, do yourself a favor and get with the dirty program.

3. Avoid the acids. You don’t have to agree with our no-acid rule, but even proponents of stripping and peeling should dial back over the winter. Whether you use AHAs or BHAs, go for chemical peels, get microderm abrasion, or just subscribe to a heavy scrubbing routine, we reallyreallyreally think you should slow down. While you may be less at risk to sun exposure over the winter, burning off that top layer of skin will make you all the more vulnerable to the chafing, drying and cracking effects of cold air and gusty winds. While you may think this is reducing fine lines, we think over the long haul it’s speeding up the aging process.

4. Get your fat on. Ever notice how you crave more fat in the winter? While the diet set will offer tips on how to counter that impulse, we think that the body has an innate intelligence when it comes to such things. Healthy fats, especially omegas 3s, are key to maintaining hydrated, glowy, happy skin. Winter’s a good time to up your intake on these and as an added bonus it will help satisfy that appetite for grease the healthy way. Foods like salmon, sardines, olive oil and walnuts are chock full of omegas, but we’re not opposed to taking a supplement on top of that. Just make sure it’s a good one.

5. Improve your digestion. Your tummy is talking to you, and what it’s saying can often be read on your skin. While we don’t think you need different products every season, we do think you need different food. In past posts about Ayurveda we’ve explained how important it is to eat with the season. Winter calls for warm, calming foods and the previously mentioned healthy fats. Sorry salad girls, but your skin needs something a little bit more substantial and heat-producing to face the winter months. Instead of eating your veggies raw, make a soup or stir fry with them instead.

6. Dose up on D. Vitamin D has emerged as something of a miracle worker in the last few years. While research is ongoing, there is promising evidence that it could help prevent cancer, raise immunity, and lower the risks associated with all kinds of diseases. It’s also a powerful antioxidant, and you know that that means. Because the sun is a primary source for vitamin D, and because most of us are deficient, we’re going to suggest that you look to increase your intake of this wonder vitamin during the winter.  It is available in certain foods, like fish and fortified milk, but it’s hard to get enough through those sources. As with fish oil, we think it’s a good idea to take supplements too.

7. Get a humidifier. One easy way to counter dry air is—ding, ding, ding—to add moisture to it. Some advice from the experts at the Mayo Clinic:Be sure to keep your humidifier clean, because a dirty one is an amazing place for bacteria to thrive. Also, try to have your humidifier where you spend the most time, since you’d need several to change the air quality of a house or large apartment. We suggest you put it by your bed when you’re asleep: That way you’ll wake up with happy, hydrated skin.

Image via

You know how you’re always told to apply moisturizer on damp or just-patted-dry skin to seal in the moisture? Well, when I can be bothered to moisturize my body in the first place, I do as I’m told: Pop out of the tub, and on goes the body oil.

Lately, though, my mornings have been a little lazier (not complaining!), which means by the time I’m in the shower, I’m looking to cut corners anywhere I can. So last week I grabbed my body oil and slathered it on in the shower, while my conditioner was working its magic (I typically leave conditioner on for a couple of minutes). As it turns out, I find this quite pleasant!

My current body oils—Lotus Wei’s Energy Serum, which you can use on your face as well, and Soapwalla’s body oil, which, yes, I am still loving—smell incredible, and when taken into a steamy shower there’s an aromatherapy effect that’s luxurious and spa-like. So I apply, rub it in, rinse off the excess (truthfully there never is any “excess,” actually), then pat dry. My skin’s been super soft!

The last couple of days I’ve done this on my face, too. As I’m winding down, I grab my Kahina (yes, still obsessed) and drop a quarter size of the oil onto my palms and then press my palms into my cheeks, neck and forehead. This has made the biggest difference, I think. My skin is getting a little drier with the seasons changing and the rain abating, at least for now, and the extra hit of moisture feels amazing.

So who else does this? Anyone? And if anyone else has time-saving shower tips, we’d love to hear them.

Picture of a bath I don’t have time to take via

Mark another one on the chalk board for team oils, girls! In the September issue of Elle there’s a whole feature devoted to revealing to the readers that oils (oils!) can actually reverse the excesses of, you know, excessive skin care.

The piece’s author is one of those product junkies—hey, we can relate—whose multi-layered, supposedly multitasking, 100-step skin care routine has left her skin worse for wear: red, irritated, and congested beyond belief. So she heads to a derm in search of help. From the piece:

She basically goes on a major product detox, replacing her chem-laden crap with gentle, skin-friendly oils instead. And guess what? Her skin calms down. Ahhh.

This article reminded me of some very stupid behavior of my own back when I was a product hound. I must have been 26 or 27 when a very old woman (who’d clearly had several facelifts) working at a fancy beauty store convinced me and my even younger, baby-faced, wrinkle-free friend that we must—MUST—start using glycolic acid NOW. In our twenties. Otherwise, we would be in big trouble. We should also never, ever, under any circumstances go in the sun. And we should change our pillowcases every night and wash them after one use (with toxic laundry detergent, no doubt). Of course, I ate up this advice.

I applied the glycolic acid as instructed, slowly building up my tolerance to several applications a week. My skin looked… dewy, I thought. Definitely my pores were smaller. At any rate it would prevent me from aging, I told myself. Then I went snowboarding one weekend and my skin turned a color of tomato red I’d never seen before on a face. I kept using the glycolic though. Duh, it was making me younger. But before long, I had—rosacea maybe? Hard to say, but my skin was angry and irritated and red and bumpy, and I’m not exaggerating when I say that it took years (and a whole lot of natural oils) to reverse the damage I’d done.

Needless to say I’m thrilled to see Elle telling this skin detox story. The whole article isn’t online, but I did find this link to product recs.

Did any of you engage is these charming burn methods? Were the results fab or frightening?