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Will Massage Oils Make My Acne Worse?

Will Massage Oils Make My Acne Worse?

Ask Eva, our Zeel National ZMT Manager and licensed massage therapist.

“Dear Eva,

I have acne on my back and sometimes my face (I guess it’s called bacne). I’ve been told that I can’t get a massage because massage oil clogs pores. Is that true?”


Dear Spotty,

You’re correct that many massage oils can clog pores (the fancy word for this is “comedogenic”). Fortunately, there are some options for people with acne.

One of the main non-comedogenic massage oils — that is, massage oils that do not clog pores and cause skin irritation — is jojoba oil. The fact is that jojoba oil is not technically oil — it’s a wax, derived from the seed of the jojoba plant. Jojoba is chemically very similar to sebum, the oil secreted by the skin. So not only will it not clog pores, some doctors think that the use of jojoba can make the skin think it’s produced enough sebum, thus shutting off overactive oil production that can lead to acne. Argan oil is also non-comedogenic and good for massages, but costs much more than jojoba oil.

There are other, non-oil options. People with acne can also use aloe vera gel for massage. Aloe vera gel, a derivative of the aloe vera plant, is not only non-comedogenic, but has been shown to hasten the healing of acne scars and other skin marks. Aloe vera can also be made into an oil, but if you choose to use aloe vera oil for your massage, make sure that you’re either using pure aloe vera oil or using a non-comedogenic carrier oil to mix it with, like jojoba.  

Finally, one option is to use talcum powder for your massage. While by definition powdery and a bit messy, talcum also have the advantage of not clogging pores or sticking to hair during the massage.

So don’t worry, Spotty, you can get a massage with acne, and it won’t irritate your skin or clog your pores.


Eva Carey is a licensed massage therapist with 20+ years of experience, as well as Zeel’s National ZMT Manager. Have a question for Eva? Contact

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