Washing With Oil Cured This Beauty Editor’s Cystic Acne—And Now You Can Get Her Secret Formula

Fight fire with fire ... er, oil with oil.

When formulated oil cleansers hit the market five or so years ago, they were met with a mixture of curiousity and disbelief. After decades of using products that specifically touted their “oil-free” status, consumers were wary of slathering themselves with oil lest they break out in pimples or look “greasy.”

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Eventually, skincare lovers warmed up to the trend. Now facial oils are a mainstay in any beauty-obsessed girl’s vanity to help soothe itchy skin and hydrate a parched complexion. But if that’s all you’re using them for, you’re missing out—surprisingly, facial oils seem to be able to do the impossible: fight signs of aging, moisturize, and even cure chronic acne.

When Jasmine Garnsworthy discovered the beauty superpowers of natural oils, she knew she had to spread the wealth. That’s why she created her line of natural oil treatments, The Buff. Keep scrolling to learn about how one secret oil cured Garnsworthy’s painful cystic acne, and how to decide which facial oil is right for you.

OK, you say that you dealt with horrible cystic acne when you moved to NYC—but your skin is amazing! Tell us what happened.

I’ve always had blemish-prone, oily skin, but after high school, it really stopped giving me too much trouble. When I moved to NYC from Australia however, my skin reverted to its spotty teenager days and I spent months battling chronic cystic breakouts. For the uninitiated, these aren’t just aesthetically displeasing, they’re damn painful! Antibiotics, harsh creams and prescription cleansers did nothing to help the issue either, and after multiple expensive visits to the dermatologist, I decided to take things into my own hands.

I started researching online, chatting with other experts, and chatting with beauty pros I luckily have access to through my job as a health and wellness editor. This process inspired me to clean up my beauty regimen and reconsider my diet. I tossed out all my synthetic skin care and makeup products and replaced them with natural alternatives. The biggest thing I changed was adding jojoba oil to my routine—I’d slather my face with the stuff each night before bed, and in the morning if I didn’t have meetings and could work from home. In a matter of weeks, my skin improved dramatically. It was around this time that I also learned of tamanu oil—a solution used by Polynesian women for generations to accelerate wound healing and treat acne and scars. The combination of both products really helped with the breakouts and the residual marks.

This experience motivated me to create The Buff. We now have three products: A jojoba oil-based Blemish Elixir, a Customized Face Oil, and a Customized Body Oil. Each sells for $36 for a pretty sizable 120ml/4oz bottle.

We love the idea of blending up your own facial oil—can you give us a few examples of blends and which skin issues they help with?

Each Customized Face Oil and Customized Body Oil blend are personalized based on the customer’s skin type and concerns and then packaged in a monogrammed bottle. As a general rule, facial oils should be lighter than body oils, while drier skin also needs heavier, more occlusive oils.

Acne-Prone & Oily Skin

For acne-prone skin, we look for oils that can help regulate the skin’s sebum production, like jojoba oil. Jojoba mimics the skin’s own oil product, and can literally curb your own sebum production. At the same time, it’s noncomedogenic and antibacterial, which make it ideal for oily skin. Because of these properties, jojoba is also able to penetrate the skin easily, delivering important nutrients where they’re needed while also acting as a protective barrier over the skin to lock in moisture. I like to mix this with a little tamanu oil, which is also amazing against acne and the formation of acne scars. It has something called Calophyllolide, a natural neo-flavonoid that has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties and Calophyllic, which is healing. Grapeseed and argan oil are another two favorites for acne-prone skin.

Dry Skin & Fine Lines

When it comes to dry, prematurely aging skin, reach for heavier, more occlusive oils like avocado oil or sweet almond oil. I prefer to use noncomedogenic and antibacterial oils, like argan or jojoba, as the base for any face product so that it doesn’t trigger a breakout–and in fact, helps to fight them. Argan also has a high concentration of antioxidants and wrinkle-delaying vitamins A and E that can help protect and repair damaged skin, while also delivering nutrients to prevent further dryness and irritation. It also happens to be light and quick-absorbing, so perfect for both the face and body. Chia seed oil is another favorite ingredient for dry skin. It’s absolutely packed with skin-loving saturated fatty acids, which not only help to support healthy skin cell membranes but also fight the harmful (and aging!) impact of free radicals. Studies show that chia seed oil is one of the richest botanical sources of omega-3s on the planet. It’s a powerful topical emollient and also anti-inflammatory. Chia’s an amazing potential solution to help prevent and treat itchy, dry skin.

How do you use The Buff oils? 

I recommend applying the facial oils each night to clean skin. You can also mix a few drops with your moisturizer! As for the body oils: Massage into slightly damp skin as soon as you get out of the shower for best results.

What’s your personal favorite combo of oils?

As someone with oily skin, I love jojoba oil, which makes up 100 percent of our Blemish Elixir. I also have a jojoba-based Customized Face Oil blend that I made for myself with grapeseed oil and maracuja oil—both of which are super lightweight and fast to absorb, but rich in antioxidants and vitamin C and can brighten the complexion.

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Michelle Pellizzon
Michelle Pellizzon is a certified health coach, holistic nutritionist, NASM-certified PT, healthy living expert, and the U.S. Senior editor of Sporteluxe. When she's not writing, you can probably find her running the trails of the Santa Monica mountains, trying to meditate, or searching for the best coffee in LA.