Is coconut oil clogging your pores?

Coconut oil

There is a lot of hype about coconut oil and rightfully so–it can be a magical product. I use it as a body moisturizer, hair conditioner, even mouth wash. The antibacterial properties and fatty acid content make it ideal for just about everything, with one catch . . . it can clog acne prone skin.

Many people I know use it on their face as a moisturizer or cleanser with great results. I actually used to think I was one of those people until I correlated the tiny white bumps all around my chin and mouth with my coconut oil use. It was in my face oil, it was in my makeup, and it was in my cleanser.

If you are noticing the same clogged pores as I did, take a look at the ingredients in your products and experiment for a week without them. You may just see an improvement. For the lingering clogged pores, gently exfoliate with a soft washcloth; focusing on the particular congested area. And instead of coconut oil try using something like jojoba oil, which is actually a wax, and has a similar composition to the skin’s natural oil. Bonus–it can be used both as a cleanser, and a moisturizer!

I want to know what you think, what is your experience with coconut oil as a face product? Leave a comment below.


  1. Lina says

    Ironically, coconut oil is the ONLY moisturizer I put on my face. It works wonders especially in the summer months when my face is extra dry from sunscreen and sun exposure. Perhaps the use of coconut oil on the face varies with each indidicual ph level of the skin? My pores are also on the smaller side, and I never use it on my face without applying a toner first. But I know others who breakout following the same techniques! Maybe I am just the black sheep lol

    • says

      Yes, it definitely depends on the individual, their sebum production, and how the skin absorbs the oil. You are not the only one! It can work wonders for so many! Just requires a little experimenting to see if you are one of those people.

      • ishaaq says

        my daughter is in Malaysia and complaining about blackheads but cooks with coconut oil and uses it on her skin. I suggested that breastfeeding may be the cause for blackheads but I found out about her regular use of coconut oil.what do you think?

        • says

          If she is using the coconut oil on her face, than I definitely think that coconut oil could be causing blackheads (does she have a lot of white heads too?). Cooking with it should not be an issue, or using it on her body, but I would recommend that she stop using it on her face for now and see if it makes a difference. She could try using organic jojoba oil or argan oil instead. Hopefully switching oils will help prevent the blackheads, and in order to clear up existing blackheads, getting extractions (from a certified esthetcian), regular exfoliation (daily with a soft wash cloth, or 2-3x per week with a gentle scrub), and the use of a face mask (1-2x week using raw honey or green clay) will help keep pores clear. Hope that helps!

  2. jeni says

    I have been getting a lot of what seem to be whiteheads but are more like a cyst. When u remove them, which is very hard to do..turns into a mini surgery. Then I’m left with a gaping hole in my skin that scabs for over a week. I’m wondering if this is due to coconut oil. I started using it to help remove my makeup then follow it with normal washing & moisturizer. I’ve never had an issue with acne. It really doesn’t even seem like acne. Any help, suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I also recently turned 40 so wondering if that’s a contributor as well. Thanks

    • says

      Hi Jeni, it sounds like you might have milia! Milia are in fact a small kind of cyst, but filled with trapped skin cells, not fluid. The most common cause of milia (typically seen around the eyes, noes, and lips – generally where the skin is most delicate) are heavy skincare products. It all depends on your skin and how it reacts to certain ingredients, but it sounds like the coconut oil could be the cause of your milia. Unfortunately, unlike blackheads and whiteheads, milia cannot be extracted without breaking the skin . . . which can cause scarring (as you have seen). The only ‘safe’ way to remove milia is with a lancet (metal extractor) by a dermatologist or esthetician. Alternatively, you could use something like lactic acid to gently exfoliate them away (Pure + Simple has a good one). To prevent them, I would recommend not using coconut oil, but rather use something a bit lighter like sunflower seed oil, jojoba oil, or sweet almond oil. Hope this helps! Good luck!

  3. Donna L says

    I have really sensitive skin and had heard of the “magical” properties of organic coconut oil, and at first I thought this was great…it felt good, it smelled good, no allergic reactions. After using it on my face for a month, I realized it was clogging my pores and have been using facial masks weekly to remove the buildup. I read if you have larger pores, that could be a problem. And I do have some larger pores on my nose and chin. So, no problem, I went back to my regular moisturizer, but continued using coconut oil as a full body moisturizer which was suggested by my gyn doctor. After 4 months, my skin started to have itchy pimples. My dermatologist said when a pore is blocked by oil, you get a bacterial infection similar to acne. He said to use alcohol and exfoliating scrubs occasionally to clean my skin. I used to have really smooth skin all over. Now I notice little “whiteheads” everywhere…my back, my stomach, my arms, my thighs! I do not recommend coconut oil as a daily moisturizer.

    • says

      Thanks for sharing Donna! Yes, coconut oil is a tricky ingredient since for many it’s a god-send, and others . . . well you know. For you body, try dry brushing (you could rub a few drops of lavender oil on the brush for an added antibacterial boost). Brush before you get into the shower and see if that helps with the bumps. As for your face, I don’t recommend anything as harsh as alcohol, but witch hazel works as a mild antibacterial toner. Good luck!

  4. Manuel Arce says

    Hello, I’m 24 years old and I’m currently in a candida cleansing treatment. I’ve been taking oregano oil for 8 days now mixed with about a tablespoon of virgin coconut oil, which I know has antibacterial and antifungal properties. Yesterday I decided to give the oregano oil a break as I have already taken 1g amoxicillin + clavulanic acid tables for 13 days (no more antibiotics, only natural things such as essential oils I do research on and approve of since some time ago) plus the oregano oil and will be taking probiotics during the days I’ll be taking a break from these things. However, yesterday I was feeling some pain in my nose and applied some coconut oil in it as I intended to kill candida in a more straightforward manner, thinking that given the fact others apply coconut oil mixed with at least one essential oil on their faces there shouldn’t be any problem in doing so. That turned out not to be the case as my pores are clogged by the oil and some red dots that I had on my face because of the candida (I have chronic sinusitis caused by that fungus) became more noticeable. What can I apply on my face to unclog my pores? Would an aloe vera gel (which isn’t as strong as other aloe vera gels as far as I know) be something I could use to unclog them? Please reply to me asap, thanks in advance.

    • says

      Thanks for your comment! Your best bet for clearing an area of clogged pores is to A. have them professionally extracted by an estheticican, or B. use a gentle exfoliator like a lactic acid or fruit enzyme to exfoliate and clear out the pores.

  5. Karil says

    Hello, about two months ago I ran out of eye makeup remover. I had heard that coconut oil was good for the skin, etc., and I had some salve made from beeswax, coconut oil, vitamin E, for essential oils. So I started using that not only around my eyes but all over my face. It felt so wonderful! I would clear it off with a soft warm cloth and then most days wash with mild cream cleanser in my morning shower. After about 6 weeks I started noticing my pores looked like they were filled with white. Not really whiteheads not milia, not acne just white pores! I thought it was my new makeup and primer. I think I’ll start by eliminating the oil- salve and hopefully my pores will clear!

    • says

      Yes, try that! Most often heavy ingredients like coconut oil, beeswax etc. can be just too much for the delicate pores around the eyes. Try a lighter oil like sweet almond to remove your eye makeup.

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