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Q&A: Why do you use coconut oil when I’ve heard it’s pore-clogging?

Why use coconut oil when I hear it's pore-clogging / congestion / coconut oil for skin / benefits of coconut oil / green beauty

Hi there,

I am really interested in trying your products,  but I see that one of the ingredients you use is coconut oil. Coconut oil makes me breakout, and I’ve heard that many people with acne experience the same issue. I was just wondering why coconut oil is included in this when so many people break out from it?

Thank you for your response!

coconut oil  / face care / green beauty / skincare routine / eco beauty / mother nature's ingredients



Hey there!

Thanks for your question! This is something that comes up quite frequently thanks to misinformation that has been spread over the years.

The short answer is that we include coconut oil in our products because it has a ton of benefits for the skin including antibacterial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties thanks to both Lauric and Capric Acid. Both of these are actually very helpful in the fight against acne.

But let’s talk about natural ingredients that you may have seen show up on internet lists of “pore-clogging ingredients“.

A few of these include coconut oil, Shea butter, olive oil, Moroccan oil, Argan oil, and cocoa butter. Here’s the deal though – the only time I’ve seen these ingredients be problematic for acne-prone folks is when…

First and most importantly, these ingredients are used by themselves (ie. not in a cream or formula; just applied undiluted on to the persons face)

But let’s say that’s not the case. Are these ingredients problematic? In 90% of cases, no. They are extremely beneficial ingredients packed with nutrients, vitamins, antioxidants and more! The benefits far out weight the (unlikely) pore-clogging potential. The reason being is that ingredients such as rich, plant-based butters and oils speak the same language as our skin.

In fact, these ingredients produce and share many of the same fatty acids as our skin. Our skin ‘gets them’ and knows what to do with them for this reason! All the lipids, EFAs, antioxidants, vitamins, nutrients are vital to maintaining, repairing, protecting, and supporting our skin’s natural processes (such as being a protective barrier from the outside world including keeping out bacteria and unfriendly organisms, both of which cause inflammation). The passage function is another essential process of our skin, meaning the skin needs to be able to know what to let in and what to let out – so substances our body is trying to purge can leave and beneficial substances (like oxygen, vitamins, nutrients, and EFAs) can come in).

In reality, acne is often triggered by a result of the specific makeup of our body’s natural oils lacking substances that plant oils can give us. They can also help balance substances that our acne-prone skin oil has too much of. The right plant oils and butters, in the right combination, can transform our oil barrier from being a trigger for acne to being a tool to keep it at bay! This is why I feel so strongly about the powers of the right skin care and not shying away from ingredients that nature has to offer

Just look at our Patchouli Facial Moisturizer for example. It has numerous positive reviews, loyal fans, and acne-clearing powers. Hundreds of woman have seen their acne heal, clear, and blackheads become a thing of the past with a routine that includes this moisturizer which has ingredients that often show up on ‘copy and past’ lists on the internet of supposedly pore-clogging ingredients. While I appreciate the information being available, sadly these lists aren’t taking the unique makeup of these ingredients into consideration, such as how beneficial they are at balancing the makeup of our oils and repairing our lipid barrier. These benefits come from ingredients like cocoa butter, shea butter, coconut oil, mango butter, etc.

Patchouli Moisturizer made with natural ingredients / facial moisturizer / acne care / green beauty / eco beauty

Even our light, antioxidant-packed facial moisturizer is full of plant oils to be a super acne fighter. Oils like jojoba, argan, grapeseed, avocado, sunflower, etc are all added to that formula for their very specific properties. Both our Patchouli Facial Moisturizer and Raw Radiance Moisturizer ingredients list, despite being packed with butters and oils, aren’t pore-clogging and can help keep your pores clear through several different processes like keeping your skin hydrated by making sure precious hydration doesn’t seep out through a weak barrier.

I hope I’ve driven home that you don’t have to be scared of oils or butters in natural skin care as long as they are formulated with acne-prone skin in mind and the creator of the product understands what our skin needs (and doesn’t need) to keep it balanced, healthy, and clear. Not all formulators will focus on this so be sure to ask if you’re unsure. At Grounded Sage, my goal has always been to provide acne-prone skin SAFE, healing skin care as well as skin care that soothes, calms, and supports sensitive skin. Those two sides of the coin (acne prone and sensitive) go into every formula I make.

So having said that, there are always a few rare exceptions to the rules!


What are the few, rare cases when these ingredients CAN be problematic for acne-prone people?

Usually, it’s when one of the following conditions are met:

NOTE: most gals who find themselves in one of these situations usually find that it’s only one or two ingredients their skin doesn’t tolerate well over an extended period of time. For example, during the winter, they might be able to handle say, coconut oil in a formula, but come summer, they find better results switching to a coconut oil free moisturizer.

  1. You were born with naturally, narrow pores (pores that are hard to see, even on your nose or t-zone)
  2. You have damaged or misshapen pores. Similar to having naturally narrow pores, damaged or misshapen pores CAN (though not always) make it harder for beneficial, natural ingredients to be absorbed without the potential for congestion. Damage could happen from a number of sources but some of the most common I find are from acne scarring (predominately from picking) or from stress to the pores (eg: the stress and pressure that is experienced during “pore strips”- these will stretch out your pores, and once pores are stretched, they don’t shrink! Avoid them at all costs!)

Bottom line is, for most of us, as long as the “suspect” natural ingredients in a well-balanced formula, you will reap the benefits of these ingredients without any risk of clogged pores.

If you know, without a doubt, certain natural ingredients encourage congestion in your skin, opt for an oil-based, rather than butter-based or butter + oil based moisturizer. For example, our Raw Radiance Facial Moisturizer doesn’t include the richer butters that our other moisturizers do.

With Love & Radiance,

Jamie's signature


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Why use coconut oil when I hear it's pore-clogging / congestion / coconut oil for skin / benefits of coconut oil / green beauty

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