Does Coconut Oil Clog Pores? Friend Or Foe For Your Pores?

By Kathy Brisbane

Updated On

Clogged pores can be a frustrating and persistent issue for many people, leading to various skin concerns such as blackheads, whiteheads, and acne breakouts. As we strive to maintain healthy and radiant skin, it’s crucial to understand the factors that contribute to clogged pores. One topic that often sparks debate is the use of coconut oil and its potential impact on our pores. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll dive deep into the question: does coconut oil clog pores?

Key Takeaways

  1. Coconut oil’s comedogenic rating suggests it may clog pores for some people.
  2. Individual skin types play a significant role in determining the impact of coconut oil on pores.
  3. Alternative oils and proper skincare routines can help prevent and treat clogged pores.

What are clogged pores, and what are their symptoms?

Clogged pores occur when hair follicles become blocked by a combination of sebum (the skin’s natural oil), dead skin cells, and other debris. This buildup can lead to the formation of comedones, which are small bumps on the skin’s surface. The two main types of comedones are blackheads and whiteheads. Blackheads have an open surface, allowing the contents to oxidize and appear dark, while whiteheads remain closed, appearing as small, flesh-colored or white bumps.

Common symptoms of clogged pores include:

  • Rough, bumpy skin texture
  • Dull complexion
  • Increased visibility of pores
  • Frequent breakouts and acne flare-ups

Addressing clogged pores is essential for maintaining healthy, clear skin and preventing more severe skin issues from developing.

Also Read: Is Salt Water Good For Your Skin? How It Can Transform Your Skincare

Does coconut oil clog pores?

The question of whether coconut oil clogs pores is a topic of much debate in the skincare community. Some experts and users swear by its benefits, while others caution against its use, particularly for those with acne-prone skin.

One factor to consider is coconut oil’s comedogenic rating. Comedogenic ratings indicate the likelihood of an ingredient clogging pores, with higher ratings suggesting a greater potential for comedogenicity. Coconut oil has a comedogenic rating of 4 out of 5, which means it has a relatively high likelihood of clogging pores for some individuals (Schaumburg, 2017).

However, it’s important to note that comedogenic ratings are not definitive and can vary depending on the source. Additionally, individual skin types and sensitivities play a significant role in determining how coconut oil affects the skin. Some people may be able to use coconut oil without experiencing clogged pores, while others may find that it exacerbates their skin concerns.

A study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Science found that coconut oil can penetrate the skin more deeply compared to other oils, which may contribute to its potential to clog pores (Agero & Verallo-Rowell, 2004). However, another study suggested that coconut oil’s antibacterial properties could be beneficial for acne-prone skin (Verallo-Rowell, et al., 2008).

Coconut Oil Alternatives

If you’re concerned about coconut oil clogging your pores or have experienced adverse effects, several alternative oils and skincare products may be more suitable for your skin type.

  • Jojoba oil: This oil closely resembles the skin’s natural sebum, making it less likely to clog pores. It also has anti-inflammatory properties that can help soothe irritated skin (Pazyar, et al., 2013).
  • Rosehip oil: Rich in vitamins A and C, rosehip oil can help improve skin texture and reduce the appearance of scars and hyperpigmentation (Phetcharat, et al., 2015). Its lightweight texture makes it less likely to clog pores.
  • Non-comedogenic moisturizers: Look for moisturizers specifically formulated to be non-comedogenic, meaning they are less likely to clog pores. These products often contain ingredients like hyaluronic acid, which hydrates the skin without leaving a heavy, greasy residue.

How to treat clogged pores?

Treating clogged pores involves a combination of proper skin care techniques and targeted treatments. Here are some practical tips to help unclog pores and maintain healthy skin:

  • Cleanse regularly: Use a gentle, non-comedogenic cleanser twice a day to remove dirt, oil, and debris from your skin. Avoid harsh scrubs or cleansers that can irritate the skin and worsen clogged pores.
  • Exfoliate: Incorporate a chemical exfoliant, such as salicylic acid or glycolic acid, into your skincare routine. These ingredients help dissolve the bonds between dead skin cells, making it easier to unclog pores (Arif, 2015).
  • Moisturize: Choose a lightweight, non-comedogenic moisturizer to keep your skin hydrated without clogging pores. Avoid heavy, oil-based products that can contribute to blockages.
  • Use clay masks: Apply a clay mask once or twice a week to help draw out impurities and excess oil from the pores. Bentonite and kaolin clay are popular options for their ability to absorb sebum and deep-clean the skin (Williams & Haydel, 2010).
  • Consider professional treatments: For more stubborn cases of clogged pores, professional treatments like facials, chemical peels, or microdermabrasion can help. These treatments can effectively remove dead skin cells and unclog pores, leaving the skin smoother and clearer. Always consult a licensed esthetician or dermatologist for personalized advice and treatment options.


In conclusion, the relationship between coconut oil and clogged pores is complex and depends on various factors, including individual skin types and sensitivities. While coconut oil’s high comedogenic rating suggests it may clog pores for some people, others may be able to use it without adverse effects.

To maintain healthy, clear skin, it’s essential to understand your skin type and choose skincare products accordingly. If you’re concerned about coconut oil clogging your pores, consider alternative oils like jojoba or rosehip, or opt for non-comedogenic moisturizers.

Remember, a consistent skincare routine that includes proper cleansing, exfoliation, and moisturization is key to preventing and treating clogged pores. If you’re struggling with persistent clogged pores or acne, don’t hesitate to consult a dermatologist for personalized advice and treatment options.

By staying informed and making informed choices about the products you use on your skin, you can take control of your skin health and achieve the clear, radiant complexion you deserve.

Read More: How To Get Glass Skin? Steps For Skin Perfection


Q: Can I use coconut oil on my face if I have oily skin?

A: If you have oily or acne-prone skin, it’s best to avoid using coconut oil on your face due to its high comedogenic rating. Opt for lighter, non-comedogenic oils or moisturizers instead.

Q: How often should I exfoliate to prevent clogged pores?

A: Exfoliating once or twice a week is generally sufficient for most skin types. However, if you have sensitive skin, you may want to exfoliate less frequently to avoid irritation.

Q: Can diet affect clogged pores?

A: Yes, diet can play a role in skin health. Consuming a diet high in processed foods, sugar, and dairy may contribute to inflammation and increase the likelihood of clogged pores and acne breakouts (Melnik, 2015).

Q: Are there any natural remedies for clogged pores?

A: Some natural remedies for clogged pores include using honey as a spot treatment, applying tea tree oil (diluted with a carrier oil), or using a mixture of baking soda and water as a gentle exfoliant. However, it’s always best to patch-test any new remedies and consult with a dermatologist if you have concerns.


Kathy Brisbane

Kathy Brisbane is a highly respected and experienced dermatologist with over three decades of expertise. After graduating with honors, she completed her residency and established herself as a leader in the field. Known for her compassionate approach and diagnostic abilities, Dr. Brisbane has authored numerous publications and lectures at conferences. Committed to staying at the forefront of advancements, she provides exceptional skin care and is widely regarded as one of the most trusted dermatologists.

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