Does Micellar Water Clog Pores? Can It Cause Acne?

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Micellar Water is pretty great. But is it the magic elixir that can replace your entire line of skincare products? Micellar Water is said to be able to act as a make-up remover, cleanser, toner, and moisturizer.

But does it deliver?

If you have an oily complexion or have acne-prone skin, you know that the skincare regime you follow and the products you use are incredibly important. They can make the difference between clearer, healthier skin and exacerbating your skin problems.

So does micellar water clog pores? Can micellar water cause acne?

Yes, micellar water can clog pores in certain people with oily skin. These clogs can lead to acne and breakouts.

In this article, we’ll take a look at the relationship between micellar water and acne, and what you can do to minimize clogged pores and acne.


What is Micellar Water?

Bioderma Micellar Water

Although Micellar Water  has gained a lot of notoriety lately, it has actually been used in France since the early 1900s. At that time, tap water was harsh on the skin and not always easily accessible. As technology (and indoor plumbing) improved, it fell out of favor, to be replaced by fancy new products.

After all these years, it’s made a comeback.

Micellar water is a multi-use cleansing product made of micelles (tiny balls of cleansing oil molecules) suspended in soft water.

We all know that water and oil don’t usually mix. But micelles are so microscopic that you don’t notice them and micellar water just looks like regular water.

It looks the same and has the same viscosity of water, but it has a slightly different texture on the skin.

Micellar water is also marketed as the perfect travel beauty product for when running water is not readily available. Micellar water has been formulated so you are able to cleanse and hydrate without having to use water.

How Does Micellar Water Work?

The micelles in micellar water are attracted to dirt and oil. They are able to draw out impurities without drying out the skin, like traditional soaps and cleansers.

When a cotton pad with micellar water is wiped across the face, the micelles adhere to the cotton while pulling makeup, dirt, and other impurities.

They do this without drying and stripping the skin of natural oils.


Do I need to wash my face after using micellar water?

L'Occitane Micellar Water

Micellar water can be used as a facial wash, light makeup remover, toner, and moisturizer on its own. (Note, though, that micellar water will not remove water-proof makeup and heavy foundation).

So if you are somehow caught out without running water and need a quick fix, this will do the trick. But is not meant to replace all of your skincare products and be used in that way, all the time.

Micellar water can be a great first step addition to your skin care routine, before you use facial cleanser and toner, then moisturizer.

If you want to know the difference between micellar water and toner, check out our article micellar water vs toner.

Should I use micellar water if I have oily skin?

So you might be thinking to yourself – if micellar water is basically water with little balls of oil, should I be using it if I already have oily skin?

Micellar water not only cleanses, removes dirt and sebum, but hydrates, without stripping away the natural oils in the skin, which is important.

If you have combination, oily or acne-prone skin, you might be wondering why it’s so important to retain oils when that’s what you are trying to get rid of.

Skin, regardless of your skin type, actually needs oil. Without it, your body will overcompensate for the missing oils by producing even more oil! And this is what can clog pores and contribute to breakouts.

It was commonly thought that alcohol, because of its oil drying properties, was good for oily skin. Alcohol removes oil, tightens pores, and was thought to help get rid of the bacteria that causes acne and breakouts.

But using alcohol to control oily skin, breakouts, and acne has since been widely dismissed by dermatologists because it can in fact make the situation worse.

Astringents containing alcohol  were among those products that became really popular for a few years, but have since fallen out of favor.

The idea was they would dry out excess oil, which seemed to make sense at the time. Only later was it discovered that the alcohol was too drying and potentially damaging. It caused more susceptibility to environmental exposure and resulted in overproduction of oil to make up for the shortage.

It made oily skin problems worse.

Does Micellar Water Clog Pores?

If you have no access to running water, it’s much better to use micellar water to clean your face and give it some hydration, than to do nothing.

BUT you should not use micellar water as a permanent substitute for washing your face.

The ingredients used in some micellar waters can leave a surface residue on the skin which can act as a film. This film can block pores and disrupt oil production, especially for those with oily skin or prone to acne.

Can micellar water cause cane?

Yes, it can, particularly if you’re using a formula that’s not right for your skin.

The good news is that because of its super popularity, you can now get micellar water in so many more different varieties that target specific skin types! It is now made for dry , and sensitive skin , and even micellar water to remove waterproof make-up .

They also now make micellar water, especially for oily and acne-prone skin.

Here are just a few of those products:

Also note that using expired micellar water doesn’t help. Keep it fresh!

Final Thoughts

Does micellar water clog pores? It can if you are using it on its own, all the time, particularly with the wrong formula. 

If you decide to use micellar water, make sure you choose a micellar water that is formulated for your skin type and introduce it as a part of your skincare regimen. Don’t just replace your entire skin care regime with it. If you follow this advice, you should not have any issues with clogged pores.

Just remember, everyone’s skin is different. It might take some trial and error to see where or if micellar water belongs in your daily skin care routine. If in doubt, consult your dermatologist or esthetician to find a skin care solution that’s right for your skin.

L'Occitane 3-in-1 Micellar Water Makeup Remover, 6.7 Fl Oz
  • The micellar water is perfect for...
  • Eyelids and lips
  • Simply wipe over the skin with a cotton...
  • Country of origin is France
  • English (Publication Language)

Written by Kayla Young

Kayla is the founder of LuxeLuminous. She has worked professionally in the tanning industry for years. She has been interested in esthetics since childhood, and has tried every hair, skin, and makeup product ever produced (more or less).