Oil Gritting: Is This TikTok Trend the Real Deal for Clear Skin

By Katarina V.| Last updated on March 20, 2024
oil gritting cover
⏱️ 7 min read

Do you ever find yourself binging on blackhead removal TikTok-s like it’s your favorite TV show? Then, let us introduce you to your new obsession — the oil gritting trend.

It’s already huge but growing even bigger, with more and more people experimenting with this technique to achieve that glowy, poreless, and filter-smooth skin in real life.

Ready to give it a try? Read this article first and find out everything you need to know about skin gritting, best gritting products, and easy tips on how to start oil gritting like a pro.

What Is Oil Gritting?

The term refers to a skincare method with a series of steps you can take to deep cleanse your pores and remove blackheads or any sebaceous filaments.

You can fully personalize your routine, but the process typically involves oil cleansing, acid or clay mask, rinsing and cleansing, and facial massage to dislodge grits.

These grits are actually small, grain-like particles that block your pores. Their exact composition is still debated, with some suggesting they are a mix of dead skin and lint, while others believe they are dislodged blackheads.

Once you finish your gritting session, you will be able to see the results immediately, with the grits appearing on your hand as teeny, tiny bugs.

@ipsy It’s 2021. There is no time for blackheads. #skingritting #skincare #selfcare #fyp #fpy #IPSY ♬ original sound – IPSY

NOTE

Gritting has gained massive popularity through social media platforms like Reddit and TikTok, but it is not officially approved by dermatologists, who are still skeptical about its effectiveness and potential for irritation.

What’s the Difference Between Skin Gritting and Cleansing?

The main differences between skin gritting and cleansing lie in the methods and the intended results.

Long story short, skin gritting is a multi-step cleansing technique that targets the skin layers below the surface, while cleansing is a more routine skincare step to maintain skin health and hygiene.

That being said, you should keep in mind that gritting is not a replacement for regular cleansing but can be an additional step if you want to address specific skin concerns.

Skin Gritting Method Explained

From the first time we heard about it, how gritting is supposed to be done has evolved, so now we have different techniques based on specific products used.

Here are the three most popular skin-gritting methods:

#1 Oil-Clay-Oil Method

First, you should cleanse your face with an oil-based cleanser to help dissolve dirt and grime and soften pores.

Then you follow up with a clay mask for about 10 minutes to draw impurities to the surface, rinsing it off afterward and patting your face dry.

In the end, come in with the same oil cleanser to massage your face for 2-3 minutes, which should dislodge the “grits”.

Here’s how to do it:

@agirlwithmind Skin gritting, another sandwich method, is said to be a way of removing the dirt from your pores 😅 This deep cleansing technique will require 2 products: an oil-based cleanser & a clay mask in order to dislodge the grits (from either blackheads, pollution dirt, sebum excess, spf, etc) 💕 #skingritting #sandwichmethod #skincaresandwich #blackheadsremoval ♬ son original – Leïla 🤍

#2 Oil-Acid-Clay-Oil Method

After cleansing your face with an oil-based cleanser, apply an exfoliating acid solution (e.g., BHA) and let it sit for 20-25 minutes.

After that, go straight in with a clay mask over the acid solution and let it set, then rinse it off.

Finally, use the same oil cleanser to massage your face for 2-3 minutes to dislodge the grits.

Here’s a detailed tutorial to help you out:

@dr.mamina If you deal with blackheads, treat yourself to a gentle yet powerful weekly serum + clay mask treatment. By using a serum that contains salicylic acid first, you can make the most out of the clay mask. Then the oil cleanser attracts more oil to help remove the pore contents. #skingritting #philosophypartner @philosophy ♬ original sound – Dr. Mamina Turegano, MD

#3 Oil-Sleep-Oil Method

At night, carry out your PM skincare routine as usual and finish with a coat of face oil.

Leave the oil on overnight for your skin to marinate while you sleep.

In the morning, wash your face using the oil cleansing method.

Best Oil for Skin Gritting

The best oils for skin gritting are typically specially formulated oil cleansers, as they are designed to dissolve dirt and grime buildup on the face while being gentle on the skin.

Some of the most popular options include:

DHC Deep Cleansing Oil

This oil cleanser is well-known for its ability to dissolve makeup, sunscreen, and other impurities on the skin.

It contains olive oil and rosemary leaf oil, which are non-comedogenic and can help soften the skin

TATCHA Pure One Step Camellia Cleansing Oil

Tatcha is a luxury skincare brand that uses Japanese ingredients and traditional beauty rituals.

The Camellia Cleansing Oil is popular for its gentle cleansing properties and the use of camellia oil, which is rich in antioxidants and fatty acids.

Best Clay Mask for Skin Gritting

The best clay product for skin gritting would be a clay mask that is suitable for your skin type and does not cause excessive dryness or irritation.

Some of the most popular clay options are:

Caudalie Instant Detox Clay Mask

This clay mask helps detoxify the skin and visibly minimize pores, while also reducing oil and refining skin texture.

It’s perfect for combination skin, but it will work for drier skin too if you follow up your gritting session with proper aftercare.

Youth To The People Superclay Purify + Clear Power Mask with Niacinamide

If you have stubborn impurities, this mask is your go-to for skin gritting. You can use it to target specific problem areas, like your nose or your chin.

However, don’t overdo it if you are prone to breakouts and irritations, because it might be a bit too harsh for your sensitive skin.

What Are the Benefits of Oil Gritting?

Skin-gritting fans report on several skincare benefits of this method, although it’s important to note that individual experiences may vary.

Here’s what we’ve found to be the reported pros of skin gritting:

Reduction in Blackheads

One of the primary goals of skin gritting is to reduce the appearance of blackheads.

The massaging action loosens and expels blackhead plugs from the pores, leading to a clearer complexion.

Improved Skin Texture

By removing dead skin cells and excess oil, skin gritting can improve the texture of your skin, leaving it smooth and soft.

Increased Absorption of Skin Care Products

By erasing impurities from your pores, skin gritting can help your skin absorb skin care products more effectively, making them more potent.

Glowy Skin

Clearer pores and improved skin texture contribute to an overall healthier appearance, with your skin glowy from all the oils it soaked in.

NOTE

The effectiveness of oil gritting for skincare is a topic of debate, as there is no definitive scientific evidence supporting its benefits.

Are There Any Risks or Downsides to Skin Gritting?

If you have sensitive, naturally oily, or acne-prone skin gritting might not be your skincare holy grail, and here’s why:

Irritation

Oils, acids, and masks used for skin gritting can irritate your skin, especially if you’re dealing with a specific skin condition or a chronic skin disease.

Disruption of the Skin Barrier

Using harsh products can disrupt your skin’s natural lipid barrier, leading to dryness, irritation, and increased sensitivity.

Micro-injuries

Frequent or aggressive massaging can cause micro-injuries, such as broken capillaries and micro-cuts, which may lead to hyperpigmentation.

Over-exfoliation

Excessive use of exfoliating acids can cause over-exfoliation, which may lead to inflammation and irritation of your skin.

Skin Gritting Common Questions and Concerns

If you’re prepping for your first gritting session, these are the lessons you definitely don’t want to skip.

Read on to find the answers to the most common gritting questions and potential concerns:

How Often Can I Oil Grit?

There is no official recommendation for how often to perform oil gritting, as it is not a medically approved method.

@drjennyliu Have you heard of this? #oilgritting #skincaretrends #skincaretips #dermreacts #skincare101 #dermatologist #sebaceousfilament #skincarehacks ♬ original sound – Dr. Jenny Liu

However, considering the potential risks and the fact that most methods include drying ingredients like clay masks and exfoliating acids, you should be very careful not to overdo it.

Here are some basic rules:

  • For normal to dry skin types, do it once a week as a method of regular pore care, but if dryness leads to sensitivity, consider doing it once a month
  • For sensitive skin, you should completely avoid gritting, or reduce your sessions to only once a month.
  • For acne-prone, rosacea, dermatitis, eczema, or psoriasis, you should be extra careful to avoid potential risks and consult a dermatologist before trying this method on your skin.

NOTE

If you notice inflammation, broken capillaries, or excessive dryness after oil gritting, it’s best to reduce the frequency or avoid the practice altogether.

How Do I Know If What I’m Seeing Is a Grit?

To identify if what you’re seeing is a “grit” during skin gritting, consider the color, shape and texture of the particle.

A true grit will be black or gray on one end and relatively clear, yellow, or white on the other. This is because the top of a blackhead darkens in contact with oxygen.

Also, grits are typically small, long, thin, or bulb-shaped. They are also waxy and can be flattened with your finger.

Are There Any Aftercare Rules for Gritting?

If your skin feels irritated, apply a soothing product with nourishing ingredients to help calm any redness or inflammation.

Also, if you’ve done skin gritting during the day, apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30 to protect your skin from UV damage.

How Can I Reduce the Risk of Inflammation?

Choose mild, non-irritating products — cleansers, clay masks, and oils — that are suitable for your skin type. Avoid harsh or drying ingredients that can cause irritation.

Also, try to limit the use of exfoliating acids to once a week or less, and avoid using them if you have sensitive skin.

Massage your face gently during the oil gritting process, avoiding excessive pressure that could cause irritation or broken capillaries.

When you’re done gritting, apply a hydrating moisturizer to replenish your weakened or damaged skin barrier.

The Bottom Line

The viral oil gritting trend is a mixed bag. Skincare influencers and enthusiasts swear it’s the real deal, while dermatologists are more wary and skeptical.

If you’re interested in trying it, make sure to choose the right products and methods for your skin type. Follow the rules and always listen to your skin.

However, if you have sensitive, acne-prone, or rosacea-prone skin, it’s a good idea to consult a dermatologist or maybe wait for some new, derm-approved trend to pop up.

Cover image source: Freepik

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