sesame oil and seeds for rosacea

As with all things related to rosacea, there are different opinions about oil cleansing for rosacea. For example, some Reddit users do it with a pure carrier oil, while others prefer to use a foaming oil cleanser or use oil cleansing as the first step in their double cleansing routine (1, 2).

But despite the different approaches to oil cleansing, the anecdotal evidence suggests that it can be beneficial for rosacea.

So, in this article we’re going to look at:

  • The main benefits of cleansing for rosacea.
  • How to do oil cleansing without irritating rosacea-prone skin.
  • Oil cleansing products to add to your routine.

Note: this post contains affiliate links and I earn a commission (at no additional cost to you) if you use them to make a purchase.


Oil cleansing is the use of a pure carrier oil (or a foaming oil cleanser) to clean the face. Because it is oil-based, oil clean cleansing doesn’t disrupt the skin barrier, which is often compromised in rosacea. As such, oil cleansing can help the appearance of rosacea skin.

In fact, if done with the right nourishing oils, oil cleansing may actually help to restore the skin barrier.

Overall, the benefits of oil cleansing for rosacea are:

  • It doesn’t strip the skin: when you apply oil to your skin, it binds to sebum. So, when you wipe off the oil cleanser, this lifts off the dirt and makeup from your face, without ruining your skin barrier.
  • Soothes the skin: by using nourishing oils you are actually feeding your skin with anti-inflammatory essential fatty acids, antioxidants and other ingredients that support skin health.


sunflower oil in a jug

When choosing a cleansing oil, it may be helpful to pay close attention to the oil’s linoleic acid content.

This is because linoleic acid is essential for skin barrier function. There is also some research suggesting that linoleic acid deficiency may contribute to inflammatory skin conditions like acne. 

So, if pimples are one of your rosacea symptoms, oils rich in linoleic acid may provide added relief.

1.    Rosehip oil

  • Rich in antioxidants, particularly beta-carotene, which is converted to vitamin A.
  • A very good source of linoleic acid (about 54%). 
  • Non comedogenic and very light weight. 
  • Balances uneven skin tone.

2.    Jojoba oil

  • Has low levels of linoleic acid but high amounts of wax esters (98%). Wax esters are also one of the main components of sebum. As such, jojoba is one of the few oils that is most similar to our natural oil. 
  • Helps to regulate sebum production.
  • Non-comedogenic and lightweight.

3.    Squalane oil

  • Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.
  • A hydrogenated form of squalene (which the skin produces). Compared to squalene, squalane is more stable and ideal for skin care products.
  • Has emollient and hydrating properties that keep the skin supple and moist.
  • Usually derived from plant sources like olives, sugar cane or rice bran.
  • Lightweight and non-comedogenic.

4.    Sweet almond oil

  • Studies have shown that almond oil can smoothen and rejuvenate the skin. 
  • Has higher amounts of oleic acid (62%) and less linoleic acid (14%)
  • Contains vitamin E.

5.    Grapeseed oil

  • One of the most antioxidant-rich oils for the skin. 
  • High linoleic acid content that ranges from 66 – 75.3% of total fatty acids (source).

6.    Oat oil

  • Contains 36 – 46% linoleic and 28 – 40% oleic acid.
  • May boost the production of ceramides, which are lipids that help to keep moisture in the skin, while also protecting the skin from external elements (source). Basically, without ceramides, the skin barrier doesn’t function properly.

7.    Sesame oil

  • Contains a balanced mixture of linoleic acid (39 – 59%)  and oleic acid (35 to 54%).
  • Topically, sesame oil has been found to reduce pain, soothe skin and reduce inflammation of blood vessels.

8.    Sunflower oil

  • Considered a good source of linoleic acid (44 – 75%).
  • Has been shown to improve hydration without causing redness (source).
  • Has properties that have been shown to assist in repairing the skin barrier.

Before I wrap up this section, a quick note about castor oil: although it’s a popular option for oil cleansing, it has astringent properties that could be too drying for rosacea skin.


When oil cleansing rosacea-prone skin, please keep the following tips in mind:

  • choose a pure carrier oil, cleansing oil or cleansing balm.
  • oil cleanse once a day.
  • if you wear makeup, then make sure to oil cleanse at night.

As for how to use cleansing oils and balms, simply follow the manufacturer’s instructions. If you’re using a pure carrier oils, the follow these steps:

  • Pour a generous amount of the oil onto the palms of your hands.
  • Rub your palms together to warm the oil.
  • Massage the oil onto dry skin. Gently massage it in for 30 seconds to a minute.
  • Saturate a soft microfiber cloth with warm water. Squeeze out the water and use the cloth to wipe the oil from your face. NOTE: the combination of warm water and a soft cloth may be too irritating for delicate rosacea skin. If that’s the case for you, then you’ll be better off using one of the cleansing oils listed in the next section.
  • Follow up with a very gentle foaming wash or micellar water to remove any oil residue that was left behind.


1. Dear Klairs Gentle Black Deep Cleansing Oil

bottle of dear klairs oil cleanser

This K-Beauty brand has a huge cult following in the skincare community and this cleansing oil is one of the reasons why. With soothing oils like jojoba, sesame and black currant, this is a very lightweight cleanser that doesn’t leave the skin feeling dry.

Based on some of the reviews, this product leaves a bit of a residue. So, it might be more suitable for drier skin types .


2. DHC Deep Cleansing Oil

bottle of DHC cleansing oil

Completely fragrance-free, this is a no-fuss yet effective formula that combines gentle surfactants with olive oil, rosemary leaf oil, and vitamin E. A soothing combo for clean and refreshed skin.


3. Iunik Calendula Complete Cleansing Oil

cleansing oil from iunik

Unlike some oil cleansers that might have lots of different surfactants and preservatives, this one is mostly natural.

The luxurious blend of calendula oil, sunflower seed oil and ylang ylang flower oil, calms the skin. And according to one user, this is even effective enough to remove water proof mascara.


4. Clean It Zero Cleansing Purifying Balm

jar of cleansing balm

If you tend to wear heavier makeup, then a cleansing balm will give you more cleaning power. This particular one combines evening primrose oil, gotu kola, licorice, aloe and other botanicals into a luxurious experience.

One thing to note is that it does have fragrance, which can be irritating.


5. Cocokind Oil to Milk Cleanser

cocokind oil to milk cleanser

The main active ingredients in this cleanser are oat kernel oil, oat extract, baobab seed oil and lactobacillus ferment (a probiotic). Oats are known for soothing even the most irritated and sensitive skin, while the probiotic supports the skin’s microbiome and encourages the growth of friendly skin bacteria.

Overall, a very moisturizing cleansing formula. However, do note that there is 0.1% essential oils from geranium and chamomile oils. If you are particularly sensitive to essential oils, then this is one to skip.



To make your own oil cleanser for rosacea:

  • start with your favorite carrier oils.
  • use one oil or a max of three (to keep measurements simple!).

Some oil combinations to consider using are:

  • rosehip and jojoba oil: 50% of each.
  • rosehip, jojoba and squalane oil: 33% each.
  • oat and rosehip oil: 50% of each.
  • grapeseed, rosehip and jojoba: 33% of each.


Overall, oil cleansing looks promising for rosacea. However, if you’re going to use a store-bought cleansing oil or balm, then you’ll have to pay close attention to the formulation.

Look out for added preservatives, colorants or fragrance that may be irritating.

I hope this article helped you understand all the different ways in which you can add oil cleansing to your rosacea skin care routine!

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