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Help Me Choose Natural Products For Oily Skin and Acne

What is it?

Oily skin, which often looks shiny and feels slick to the touch, is the result of excessive secretions of sebum, an oily secretion of the sebaceous glands. Oily skin tends to attract more dirt and dust than dry skin and may be prone to blackheads and acne.

Acne, a condition that affects the skin’s oil glands, begins with a clogged pore. As old skin cells die, they are normally sloughed off every month. If your skin is acne-prone, instead of sloughing off, the dead cell clog pores, trapping oil and bacteria inside. As the bacteria grow they can cause inflammation of the skin, leading to pimples.

Soaps with Citrus Oils have been traditionally recommended for oily skin. They work by balancing skin oils, not by drying out your skin.

For a more extensive list of soaps for oily skin please read, Help Me Choose Soap.


Oily Skin

Oily skin is the result of excessive secretions of sebum, an oily secretion of the sebaceous glands. Oily skin tends to attract more dirt and dust than dry skin and may be prone to blackheads, acne, and excessive shine.

Oily skin usually appears shiny and is characterized by a thicker feeling texture and large pores. People with oily skin struggle with keeping shine down during the day and often want to wash their faces often.

Characteristics of Oily Skin

  • Large, more visible pores
  • Shiny complexion
  • Blackheads, pimples, or other blemishes
  • Oiliness can vary depending on: time of year, weather, hormones


Many people think that acne is simply pimples. But acne signs and symptoms vary depending on the severity of the condition:

  • Whiteheads: closed plugged pores or closed comedones
  • Blackheads: open plugged pores or open comedones (the oil turns dark when it is exposed to air)
  • Papules: small red, tender bumps
  • Pustules: these are what most people call pimples. They are papules with pus at their tips
  • Nodules: large, solid and hard, painful lumps beneath the surface of the skin
  • Cystic Lesions: similar to nodules but they are softer and pus-filled (both nodules & cystic lesions can leave scars)

Helping with Oily Skin & Acne

Cleanse With Natural Soap

Cleanse With Natural Soap

If your skin is oily, do not use soap that will dry out your skin. Use a gentle natural soap. A bar of natural soap with citrus essential oils like Aloe, Aloe, Aloe, or Lemon Lavender can help balance skin oils.

We also recommend our Neem & Tea Tree and Seabuckthorn & Tea Tree Soaps. Tea tree helps heal infections and inflammation and fights acne without causing dryness or other side effects of modern-day acne treatments.

The best soaps for acne are our Bamboo Charcoal Soap which contains tea tree essential oil, bamboo charcoal, sea salt, and bentonite clay, and our Sea Salt & Seaweed Soap which removes impurities, balances skin oil production and clarifies your complexion.

Unlike most commercial oily skin and acne cleansers, our soaps are incredibly gentle and completely natural. Commercial soaps and body washes contain harsh detergents, fragrance oils, and other synthetic chemicals that can over-dry and irritate the skin. Always clean skin gently. Rough scrubbing will not decrease oil production and may even make the problem worse.



While many folks with oily or acne-prone skin tend to shy away from moisturizing, it is actually a very important step. Even though our skin produces natural oil, it is not the same as hydration. A moisturizer helps increase the water content in the skin and prevents further moisture loss. When oily skin is dry, it can trigger even more oil production, thereby exacerbating the problem. But a moisturizer that slows the evaporation of moisture, actually causes sebum-producing cells to shut down.

The main thing is to use the proper moisturizer for your skin. Stay away from petroleum-based products that contain mineral oils that can clog your pores and cause breakouts.

The best face creams or face oils are those made with organic unrefined plant-based oils. Oils like argan (left) can actually help balance sebum production.

To get the most out of a moisturizer, make sure that the skin is exfoliated and clean.

Choose Natural Moisturizers

Choose Natural Moisturizers

Pure, unrefined botanical oils are loaded with natural fatty acids that work with your skin to soften, soothe, and hydrate.

For example, we use Jojoba Oil in all of our organic facial oils because it mimics our own natural sebum, restores pH balance to the skin, and helps dissolve pore-clogging sebum which helps reduce acne breakouts.

Our most popular facial cream is our Whipped Squalane Face & Eye Mousse. Customer feedback shows that it works well for all skin types. 

For more information read "What Are Face Oils & How To Use Them"



VERY gentle exfoliation encourages healthy skin turnover, sloughs away dead skin cells, unclogs pores, and removes the extra buildup that comes with oily skin. It is important to choose a very gentle natural scrub that will cause dryness or aggravate the skin. Excess exfoliation can cause the skin to dry out and produce even more oil.

Be extra careful when scrubs using on facial acne. Massage gently and do NOT scrub the product into the facial skin. Although it seems like vigorous scrubbing would keep the pores unclogged thereby decreasing blackheads and pimples, the blockages that cause blemishes often occur deeper in the follicle, and excess surface scrubbing will simply irritate the skin

Obviously, we recommend different products for facial and body exfoliation.

Many of our natural soaps help with exfoliation. Our Adzuki Bean Complexion Soap provides gentle exfoliation for the face a body. 

Loofah Adzuki Soap has the scrubbing power of shredded loofah and organic adzuki bean powder. Our scratchy Loofah Pumice Soap can also be used for thick dry scaly patches on elbows and knees.

Our Organic body and facial scrubs, made with organic fair trade sugars, cleanse pores to stimulate dull, lifeless skin.

For more information read our blog, "The Nitty Gritty of Exfoliation"

Natural Clay Face Masks

Natural Clay Face Masks

Clay Face Masks can work wonders for your skin. The simple natural ingredients can help exfoliate and soften skin, draw out impurities, minimize pores, and remove excess surface oil. 

Activated Charcoal Clay Face Mask is especially good for oily and blemish-prone skin

Activated Bamboo Charcoal is hugely popular in today’s beauty world—and for good reason! It’s a powerful ingredient that deeply cleans skin, drawing out even the most deep-seated impurities. Combined with both Bentonite and White Kaolin clays, this rich mask will help control oil production and target acne, leaving your complexion crystal-clear and purified. 

For more information read our blog "How To Use Clay Face Masks"

Facial Steams & Toners

If you are prone to mild acne. Although steaming alone will not clear comedones (pore blockages) the moisturizing heat will increase circulation, open pores, and make your facial skin sweat. Using a facial steam before cleansing softens and helps release dead skin cells, dirt, bacteria, and other impurities that can cause breakouts.

  • opens pores and allows them to breathe 
  • loosens debris and softens rough skin
  • promotes healthy circulation
  • hydrates skin, giving it a healthy glow

Our Astringent and Problem Skin Blends also make great skin toners for those who should not use facial steams. 

Click here for Herbal Facial Steams & Toners recipes

Bath Salts

Bath Salts

While there is no research about the effectiveness of saltwater as a remedy for acne, it may be helpful for those with body acne.

Salt baths help balance oily skin, help open and clean pores, and may help decrease bacterial that cause acne.

Saltwater will sting on any open area. Be sure the saltwater is completely rinsed off.

For more information read our blog "Organic Bath Salts & Recipes"

Things to Avoid

Harsh Soap Cleansing Products

The detergents used in many commercial soaps and acne cleansing products contain harsh detergents. These harsh detergents strip natural oils which dry out the skin. When oily skin is dry, it can trigger even more oil production, which exacerbates the problem.

Alcohol Based or Skin Drying Products

Many believe that drying out their oily skin will help decrease acne. However, oily skin is actually made worse by skin-drying or alcohol-based products, and harsh soaps or body washes. The chemicals in these products strip natural oils and dry out the skin, which then encourages the oil glands to produce more oil (sebum). It then becomes a vicious cycle.

Comedogenic Ingredients

Comedogenic ingredients, such as mineral oil and other petroleum based ingredients, block pores and can lead to or exacerbate acne.

Popping Pimples

Do not try to pop pimples. Not only will it not help the acne heal, it may actually spread the breakout underneath the skin.

Harsh Laundry Detergents

Pillow cases, sheets, and towels touch your skin every day. Avoid using strong, scented detergents to help reduce irritation and sensitivity. You should also change towels and pillowcases often to help avoid the spread of acne bacteria.



Our face has different zones in which the skin can vary in thickness, texture, pore size and the number of oil-producing glands.

Each zone may have very different needs and require individual attention.

So, what happens if you have multiple facial skin issues, like dryness, oily spots, and blemishes? 

The answer is Multi-Masking . . .  

What is Multi-Masking

Multi-masking is exactly what it sounds like. Instead of applying one face mask over your entire face, you apply different masks to different areas of the face in order to treat multiple skincare concerns at the same time.

For more information please read our blog Multi-Masking and Targeted Application For Combination Facial Skin


Aren't all handmade natural soaps the same? . . .

The answer is NO!

Saying a soap is "handmade" says nothing about quality of the ingredients or the knowledge and skill of the soapmaker!

Natural Organic Dead Sea Mud Soap

Chagrin Valley is not just another soap and skincare company. We are committed to healthy skin, healthy people and a healthy planet.

We are a USDA Certified Organic Company specializing in luxurious, organic, handmade natural soaps and shampoo bars rich in natural glycerin for healthier skin and hair.


It's all about the ingredients! Inspired by our love of nature, we use organic herbs, seeds, flowers, vegetables, fragrant spices, fruits, pure essential oils and purifying clays for their exceptional skincare benefits and to provide natural color, aromatherapy, texture, or gentle exfoliation. Nothing artificial, nothing synthetic, no GMO’s, just natural wholesome ingredients. 

Chagrin Valley's Natural Soap & Shampoo Bars Are...

  • all natural
  • made with USDA Certified Organic ingredients Natural Organic Lemon Lavender Soap
  • handcrafted in small batches using the old-fashioned Cold Process Method
  • made with sustainable and fair trade ingredients
  • certified cruelty-free
  • free of detergents
  • free of synthetic fragrances
  • free of synthetic colors
  • free of artificial preservatives
  • free of artificial foam boosters
  • free of alcohol and petroleum products
  • free of synthetic additives
  • free of GMOs
  • biodegradable
  • mild and nourishing
  • rich in natural glycerin
  • magnificent long-lasting lather
  • cured for 8 to 10 weeks 


Our soap making process uses only natural and organic ingredients. Why add artificial ingredients to a handmade product?

 "Are All Handmade Soaps The Same?"

"12 Reasons to Use Natural Soap"

Although many people benefit from natural herbal facial steams, they are not appropriate for everyone.

Steam facials should not be used for those with cystic acne or rosacea and heat and sweating can often irritate eczema.

For folks who have extremely sensitive, damaged skin or who are prone to developing tiny broken veins or capillaries, herbal steams can be irritating and should be avoided unless suggested by a health-care provider.

People with health conditions such as asthma or heart trouble should consult their physician before doing facial steams. If you have sensitive or allergy-prone skin, you should always do a skin patch test before using any new herbal product.

Just like you should not sit too long in a steam room, you do not want to facial steam too long or too often. Listen to YOUR skin! A word of caution-- If you feel light-headed or woozy during steaming, stop at once.

For more information read our blog, "How To Use Our Organic Herbal Teas For Facial Skincare"

Whether you call them "face oils" or "facial serums," nourishing, unrefined organic oils can moisturize, soothe and help restore natural balance to facial skin. 

While many people, especially those with oily or acne-prone skin tend to shy away from oil-based moisturizing, it can be a very important step in daily skin care. An organic facial oil helps to increase the moisture content in the skin and prevent further moisture loss.

Organic Argan Face Oil SerumIf you have oily skin, nourishing organic oils can help mimic the natural skin sebum which in turn sends signals to oil-producing cells that say, "Hey my skin is moisturized so stop producing oil." 

Using products created to "dry out" oily skin will actually trigger the oil glands to increase oil production, which only exacerbates the oily skin problem. A wholesome moisturizer helps balance skin oil production.

If you have dry skin an organic facial oil made from unrefined botanical oils creates a protective but breathable barrier that slows moisture evaporation and thus helps lock in moisture.

Natural Organic Facial Serum OilIf you have irritated skin a facial oil can help calm inflammation and soothe red irritated skin.

It is especially important for those (like me!) with maturing skin to keep your face adequately moisturized to help with fine lines and wrinkles. 

The main thing is to make sure that you are using the right kind of moisturizer.

The most nourishing face oils are those made with unrefined, certified organic plant-based oils.


Unrefined oils are either cold-pressed or expeller-pressed.

They are minimally processed without chemicals under temperature-controlled conditions.

Minimal processing ensures a nutrient-rich, high-quality natural oil.

USDA Certified Organic means the botanical oils are free of synthetic additives, pesticides, and preservatives. 


Stay away from petroleum-based products that contain mineral oils that clog your pores and cause breakouts.


Please read our blog, "Organic Facial Oils" or more information. 

How Does a Facial Cleansing Oil Work?

A cleansing oil works its magic in two simple ways . . .

  1. oil dissolves oil
  2. skin with balanced oil production is happy skin

1. The concept of the oil cleansing method is rooted in one of the most basic principles of chemistry, “like dissolves like.”

Natural Facial Cleansing OilSince water does not dissolve oil, if you wash with water you need some sort of soap or detergent. Think of soap as the middle-man that helps bring oil and water together so that the dirt and grease on your skin can be easily rinsed away.  

Oils are what chemists call lipophilic, meaning that they are naturally attracted to other oils, including the excess skin oil (sebum) that causes breakouts and the oil by-products found in most makeup.

Even if you use water-based makeup, throughout the course of a day the makeup will mix with your natural facial oil.

A facial cleansing oil will dissolve away the dirty oil and makeup from your face and replenish it with clean, nourishing oil that protects and moisturizes throughout the day. 


2. Using some good, natural, organic oil on your skin actually slows down its own oil production to maintain balance.

There is a huge misconception that using any oil on your face only creates more oil, more breakouts and leaves an oily residue. For years commercial skin care companies have told us we need to remove the oil from our skin, especially our faces.

The problem is that drying out your facial skin actually stimulates increase oil production--which is the opposite of what you are trying to achieve.

Organic-Facial-Cleansing-OilOur facial cleansing oil is formulated with a blend of organic oils and herbal infused oils that will balance sebum production and bind with the existing oil to unclog pores and cleanse impurities. 

Using pure, organic oils whether to cleanse or simply moisturize will help balance sebum (natural skin oil) production, protect skin and keep it soft, smooth, and hydrated.

For more information please read our blog, "What Is A Facial Cleaning Oil? How Do I Use It?"

Remember, the skin is the body's largest organ
and it needs to breathe as part of its
important role in maintaining overall health!


Well, first of all, it's an all-natural product. Commercial lotions are NOT. Our Whipped Shea Butters only contain the ingredients that they need. Creams and lotions created in a lab often clog pores, aggravate acne, trigger allergic reactions, and make skin feels heavy and greasy. 

The organic oils and butters we use do NOT contain petroleum based chemicals (Mineral Oil, Petrolatum, Paraffin), chemical emulsifiers (DEA, MEA, TEA), chemical preservatives (Parabens, Urea),  Propylene Glycol, artificial colors, or synthetic fragrances. 

No Preservatives

Lotions have a very high water content. Once water is added to make a lotion, it is almost impossible to create an all natural product and still keep the bacteria and mold out. 

No Alcohol or Petroleum Ingredients

Natural Organic Skin Care No PreservativesHave you ever noticed that when you use your body lotion your skin never stays moist and you find yourself going back to the lotion bottle over and over? 

Look at the ingredients. Often times water is the main ingredient. Commercial lotions often contain isopropyl alcohol and/or mineral oil. Both of these actually are very drying to your skin. The alcohol gives a temporary sense of coolness due to evaporation.

Mineral oil is found in lotions, soaps, baby oil, cosmetics, and motor oil. Mineral oil is a clear, liquid oil with no scent and will not spoil. It is very inexpensive because it is produced as a byproduct of the distillation of gasoline from crude oil. It is great for oiling your wooden cutting boards--but not your skin. Mineral oil does not penetrate to soften.  It is difficult to absorb, coats your skin and clogs the pores. If you would like to have healthy skin, stay away from mineral oils, animal fat, petroleum, and synthetic oil based skincare. 

No Propylene Glycol

Commercial creams and lotion often contain propylene glycol, which acts as a “humectant, preservative or stabilizer. Commercial skin-care products are stored and shipped and must have a very long shelf-life. Propylene glycol helps the fragrance, consistency and product appearance to remain attractive throughout its long life. 

While the FDA has categorized propylene glycol as "Generally Recognized as Safe," and some say that 

Your Natural Cream Has So Many Uses

We know that natural body butters make great moisturizing body creams. But here are some other ways we have used these balms and butters:

  • Get rid of those cracked heels 
  • Gently massage into very dry areas on your face
  • Soothe and smooth skin after shaving
  • Add a dollop to your hot bath water instead of using synthetic bath oils
  • Massage some into your cuticles to soften them
  • Massage into your lips for a great all natural lip balm


What Are Pure Essential Oils?

Natural Essential Oil Skin Care

Have you ever enjoyed the scent of a fragrant flower or herb? The fragrance comes from potent, aromatic compounds called essential oils.

These natural compounds are found in the flowers, stems, seeds, bark, roots, fruits, and other parts of plants. It often requires several pounds of a plant to produce a single bottle of essential oil.

Essential oils not only give plants their unique scents but also help lure plant pollinators and protect plants from insects and other predators.



Pure Essential Oil Skin Care


The chemical composition of essential oils may provide valuable psychological and physical aromatherapeutic benefits for some people. 

It is important to note that to be a true essential oil, the oil must be isolated from the plant material by physical means only.

Essential oils are NEVER extracted using solvents.

Although synthetic fragrances or "nature identical" oils are available at a much lower cost, only natural plant essential oils will provide the botanical benefits.


Be careful that the essential oil-containing products you purchase for topical use are mixed with the correct medium.

Essential oils are soluble (dissolve) in alcohol and carrier oils. However, they are insoluble (do not dissolve) in water or water-based liquids like hydrosols, milk, aloe, or even witch hazel (which contains a small amount of alcohol). 

When mixed with a water-based ingredient the molecules of the essential oil will float in tiny droplets on the surface (think of oil droplets on the surface of water). Those droplets can behave like undiluted essential oils on your skin and cause irritation. 


What Are Essential Oils? (Much more detail)

Go to our Blog Pages and click "Essential Oils" in the category section on the left to read a lot more information on essential oils. 

If you are pregnant or under a doctor's care for any medical condition, please consult your healthcare provider before using essential oils.

Pregnancy & Children: We do not provide information on the safety of essential oils during Pregnancy or for use in Children because the available information is very ambiguous and often contradictory. If you’re interested in using essential oils during pregnancy or with young children please do your own research and consult your doctor, midwife, or health care professional before use.


Related Articles

The Nitty Gritty of Exfoliation

The Nitty Gritty of Exfoliation

It may surprise you, but I have never been obsessed with skincare products. My skin care regimen consisted of a shower with soap and water--and I was done! If you would have told me 10 years ago that I would soon be massaging myself with sugars, salts and pulverized beans, I would have politely disagreed. But my skin now thanks me each and every day!

How To Use Clay Face Masks

How To Use Clay Face Masks

Clay facial masks are an easy and inexpensive way for both men and women to pamper themselves and invigorate their skin. Creating an application technique that works for your skin will get you one step closer to a beautiful complexion.

Multi-Masking and Targeted Application For Combination Facial Skin

Multi-Masking and Targeted Application For Combination Facial Skin

Our face has different zones in which the skin can vary in thickness, texture, pore size and the number of oil-producing glands. Not surprisingly, each of these zones may have very different needs and require individual attention. Applying the same clay face mask everywhere may not help treat the different needs of your facial skin zones, and can possibly aggravate the skin in certain areas.

Bamboo Charcoal in Skin Care

Bamboo Charcoal in Skin Care

Because of its natural ability to draw out dirt and debris from deep inside pores, activated bamboo charcoal has become a key ingredient in many skincare products. Bamboo is one of the most sustainable resources available. When harvested responsibly, bamboo can renew itself for generations without synthetic fertilizers, herbicides or pesticides.

Customer Tips for Help Me Choose Natural Products For Oily Skin and Acne

Rhassoul & Yoghurt soap

The essential oil blend has a warm, spicy, sweet and uniquely fragrant aroma and adds its own skin nourishing properties

"The Rhassoul & Yoghurt soap is great for my pre-teen daughter’s oily skin."

-Kristina, Sweden

Neem & Tea Tree

Tea tree helps heal infections and skin disorders and fights acne without causing dryness or other side affects of modern day acne treatments

"...I cannot say enough good things about the Neem and Tea Tree bar. I love it as a complexion soap, it totally helps with clearing blackheads and cystic acne..."

-Brandye, Illinois

Sea Salt & Seaweed

The minerals in sea water, also found in mineral-rich sea salt, promote healthy skin

"... I have suffered with oily/cystic acne/pores type skin. After a few washes with this soap my pores alone have shrunken DRAMATICALLY!!..."

-Karen, Tennessee

Adzuki Bean Complexion

For my extremely dry yet acne prone skin I seem to have settled on the organic Adzuki bean soap which is like a miracle in a bar!!!

-Elisabeth, Vermont

Medical Disclaimer

The content and information on this website, provided by The Chagrin Valley Soap & Salve Company, is for educational purposes only and is in no way intended and should not be construed as medical advice to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or health condition. The information regarding folklore or health-related benefits of certain ingredients is for educational purposes only. The information provided is not intended to prescribe or be taken as medical advice.

The information provided is not meant to substitute the advice provided by your personal physician or other medical professionals. Do not use the information found on this website to self-diagnose any medical conditions or treat any health problems or diseases. If you have medical concerns regarding yourself or your family you should seek the advice of qualified, licensed health professionals. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This notice is required by the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.

Read our Full Medical Disclaimer. 




People with severe allergies--please note: If you have severe anaphylactic-type reactions to ANY of the ingredients in ANY of our products, please do not buy our products. We have dedicated soap rooms and product rooms that are kept meticulously clean, but we cannot guarantee against possible cross-contamination of individual ingredients.

Chagrin Valley Soap & Craft is not responsible for any individual reaction to any particular ingredient. Each product description on our website includes a complete list of ingredients. People with sensitivities to any listed ingredient should not use the product. In case you are in doubt always try an allergy patch test and if at any time irritation occurs, discontinue use of the product.