There’s no doubt that oil is an important component of cooking. It can enhance flavours, balance macronutrients and it can add abundant nutritional value. But, it can also contribute to poor health outcomes and potentially make acne worse.
Healthy Cooking Oils: Oils to Avoid
These oils have high concentrations of Omega 6, which converts into a pro-inflammatory prostaglandin in the body. We need omega 6, however it is abundantly available in our diets so excessive use of oils high in omega 6 can do more harm than good. Avoiding oils that are high in omega 6 (pro-inflammatory) and instead opting for anti-inflammatory oils can be a beneficial way to help mitigate inflammation in the body.
Oils to avoid:
- Canola oil aka rapeseed oil (mostly due to the chemical processing of this oil)
- Corn oil
- Soybean oil
- Sunflower oil (look for high-oleic sunflower oil as a better option)
Healthy Cooking Oils: Oils to Consume
These are the oils I recommend cooking with. The good news is they are widely available, with affordable options available at places like Costco!
1. Organic avocado oil
- High smoke point: Avocado oil has a high smoke point, meaning you can cook at higher temperatures before the oil will start to degrade and release harmful free radicals.
- Some studies have shown that avocado oil can increase collagen production and decrease inflammation. We need collagen to repair damaged skin from acne and inflammation plays a huge role in acne.
2. Extra virgin olive oil
- Source of Omega 3: Omega 3 converts to an anti-inflammatory prostaglandin (hormone-like substance) in the body.
Benefits of BOTH avocado oil and olive oil
These two oils share some gorgeous properties when it comes to skin health:
- Vitamin E: Both oils contain significant amounts of vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant known for its benefits related to skin health.
- Nutrient absorption: Both avocado and olive oil contain fats that aid in the absorption of important micronutrients for skin health like carotenoids and vitamin E.
3. Coconut oil
When it comes to cooking oils, the oil I get the most questions about is coconut oil. We could chat about this for hours, but these are some of the key points you should know when it comes to coconut oil and acne.
The pros and cons of coconut oil
Put simply, saturated fats are made up of different fatty acids. Different fatty acids have different properties that can make them either hurtful or harmful for acne.
Lauric acid: This is one of the medium chain fatty acids that can be found in coconut oil and has actually been shown to kill the bacteria that causes acne, known as P. acnes.
Antioxidants: Some test tube studies have also found coconut oil to be a good source of antioxidants, which are useful in mitigating inflammation. Because acne is an inflammatory condition, antioxidants are a key component of holistic acne management.
One of the main concerns with coconut oil according to the American Heart Association, is that it can raise LDL cholesterol levels otherwise known as “bad” cholesterol. However, coconut oil can also raise HDL cholesterol levels which are touted as the “good” cholesterol. This is a classic example of why most of the time we can’t separate individual foods into good or bad, but instead need to consider them for each individual’s circumstance. For more on coconut oil’s health benefits, I recommend this article!
The verdict on eating coconut oil for acne: Coconut oil has some benefits when it comes to acne that generally outweigh the potential cons. Consume in moderation and incorporate coconut oil as one of the handful of healthy oils in your diet.
Start making the swap to healthy cooking oils one by one and you can know that you’re doing good by your body, and your skin!