Essential Oils for Acne


For many, the word ‘acne’ brings back horrid memories of their teenage years, when they tried every trick in the book to get rid of the ugly marks on their face – in vain! Acne is an unwanted part of an already angst-ridden adolescence, especially at an age when appearances matter more than anything else. Unfortunately for some, their acne continues through adulthood, and makes an appearance during hormonal fluctuations. While there are many ways to counter this problem, one of the most effective (and most pleasant) includes the use of essential oils for acne.

There are natural ways of healing acne and one of the most popular these days being the use of essential oils. Besides avoiding the harsh chemicals in acne products, there are many other advantages for choosing essential oils over drug store acne treatments:

  • Essential oils don’t add to the number of chemicals you’re already applying on your skin in the form of makeup and other products.
  • They don’t pollute the water or the environment.
  • They don’t have harsh side effects as compared to OTC creams
  • Using essential oils ensures that you are using the real thing; many brands which claim to be ‘natural’ still use many chemicals in their products.
  • Essential oils often offer more long term relief than store bought treatments, which work only for a short while before the acne resurfaces
  • Many essential oils also have properties that help in preventing acne in the first place

Since there is a wide gamut of essential oils available out there, it can be confusing to identify the ones that are suited to your current purpose, i.e. getting rid of acne. Here is a list of the 10 best essential oils for acne, all of which have benefits that extend beyond acne treatment.

10 Best Essential Oils for Acne

1. Tea Tree Oil – This is possibly the most popular essential oil used to treat acne. Tea Tree Oil is extracted from the Australian Tea Tree plant and its popularity for acne use is mainly due to its anti fungal and anti bacterial properties along with being able to regulate oil production in skin. It is recommended to combine tea tree with a base carrier oil like coconut oil or olive oil before use. For severe breakouts, it can be dabbed on directly on the area with a cotton bud, though this is better avoided for sensitive skin.

2.  Lavender Oil – Lavender oil is very popular in aromatherapy, since it’s aroma is known to be relaxing and stress relieving. Lavender oil also calms the skin and works well for mature skin. The ideal use of lavender oil for acne is in daily use as it helps to prevent breakouts. It also reduces sun spots, scars and blemishes. It can be applied straight from the bottle, but in small quantities. People with sensitive skin are better off using a carrier oil with it.

3. Carrot Seed Oil – Carrot seed oil is an essential oil that is different from the carrot carrier oil. This essential oil is rich in Vitamin C and has repairing properties for the skin. It rejuvenates the skin and dissolves the excess oil produced by the glands. Apply a little toner on the face first. Dilute the essential oil with a carrier oil and rub a little between the fingers to warm it up before application.

4. Geranium Oil – Geranium essential oil is considered quite the wonder oil when it comes to skin care, it takes care of a host of problems besides acne. The oil is extracted from the leaves and stems of the Geranium flower. It is anti bacterial and anti inflammatory and can prevent breakouts even before they happen. Besides, it also regulates sebum production and is a natural astringent. Geranium oil is also good for mature skin, improving elasticity and reducing wrinkles.

5. Neroli Oil – Neroli Oil is extracted from the flowers of the bitter orange tree and is perfect for oily skin as it is antiseptic and controls the production of too much oil. It is also ideal for sensitive skin and acts as a natural toner. For mature skin, it smoothens lines and helps in cell regeneration. Neroli needs to be used with a carrier oil base like sunflower oil. It is expensive so needs to be used with caution.

6. Bergamot Oil – Bergamot oil is extracted from the fruit of the Bergamot tree and has a fresh, revitalizing aroma. It is anti bacterial, antiseptic and a disinfectant, which are essential properties for any acne treatment. Bergamot controls oil production but it may dry out greasy skin, so using a toner first is preferred. It needs to be mixed with a carrier oil like coconut or olive oil before using.

7. Rosemary Oil – Rosemary oil is extracted from the leaves of the rosemary plant, the same one that gives us the kitchen spice. Rosemary oil has anti inflammatory properties which help to deal with the effects of a breakout along with lightening skin. It is full of anti oxidants that make the skin glow and appear youthful by firming and toning skin.

8. Sandalwood Oil – Sandalwood oil is an essential oil that has been used in Ayurvedic medicine. It is extracted from the Sandalwood tree and is considered a base note essential oil. It has antiseptic properties, and prevents an acne breakout by killing off the bacteria at the start. It has a pleasing fragrance and is best used by diluting with a carrier oil like jojoba oil.

9. Frankincense Oil – Frankincense oil is extracted from the Boswellia tree. This oil is anti bacterial and anti inflammatory, along with being a natural astringent. This helps to decrease the pores, which reduces the effect of a breakout making it perfect for people with skin prone to acne and pimples. It also promotes cell regrowth, making it a good anti ageing solution to firm skin and reduces the occurrence of wrinkles. Frankincense oil needs to be diluted in a carrier oil before using.

10. Roman Chamomile Oil – Roman Chamomile oil is extracted form the heads of the flowers of the roman chamomile plant. It has anti inflammatory properties and is said to stop bacteria growth in its tracks, preventing an acne breakout. Some experts recommend mixing this oil in your regular skin lotion, while the ideal form of usage would be to dilute it in a carrier oil like coconut oil before use.

As with any other skin care regime, it is advised to first apply a small amount of the essential oil on your skin to test your skin’s sensitivity to it. Remember that while these are natural oils, they are safe for topical application and can be toxic if ingested. If you have naturally sensitive skin prone to allergies and breakouts, be particularly cautious before using any of the essential oils. Some may not be suitable for pregnant women, and they also need to be kept away from children and pets. 

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