Best Essential Oils for Acne & How to Use Them

Quick Answer: Best Essential Oils for Acne

  1. Bergamot Essential Oil
  2. Cedar Wood Essential Oil
  3. Geranium Essential Oil
  4. Juniper (berry) Essential Oil
  5. Lavender Essential Oil
  6. Lemon Grass Essential oil
  7. Myrtle Essential oil
  8. Tea Tree essential oil
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Acne is firm swelling with congested pores which are usually inflamed, infected or tender in the skin.[1] [2] [3]

The skin contains oil glands that secrete sebum that tends to plug the hair follicles opening.

These form blackheads [4] or whiteheads that get swollen and form deeper lumps.

Causes are testosterone hormone which increases sebum production, Bacterial growth in sebum clogged pores, oral contraceptives, steroids. [5]

Symptoms are redness, swelling, pain, scarring, and papules (lumps filled with pus).

Acne occurs during puberty (10 -13 ages). Teenage boys [6] and Women in their 30s are more prone to this problem.

Acne is prevalent in people with oily skin and occurs mostly on the face.

Treatment includes gentle soap wash and cleansers however natural products like Essential oil not only correct acne but moisturize and condition skin and relieves skin from redness and itching.

Essential Oils

Essential oils are volatile strong scented aromatic oils. They are natural plant products that are isolated from flowers, leaf, stems, peels, twigs, and roots of plants.[7] [8]

They are lipophilic in nature containing monoterpenes and sesquiterpines hydrocarbons, alcohols, aldehydes, esters, ethers, ketones, phenols, and oxides.

Essential oils exhibit antimicrobial properties, and extensively used in skincare, congestion, pain, and tonic for the body.

They form core ingredients for aromatherapy and used in bath oils, diffuser, massage blends, orally as tonics, and topically in lotions and cream base.

How Essential Oils Help in Acne

The essential oil contains bioactive components such as antioxidant, and fungicidal, anti-viral.

They are effective in controlling sebum secretion from oil glands in the skin.

Rosemary essential oil has shown antibacterial activity against P. acne due to the presence of 1, 8-cineole, alpha-pinene constituents. [9] [10]

Rat model studies have shown a reduction in sebum production with eucalyptus oil by reduction in the size of sebaceous glands, this effectively controls acne. [11]

Clove basil essential oil reduced acne lesions which were enhanced with Aloe Vera gel. [12]

Patchouli essential oil has been used in the treatment of acne. [13]

Eucalyptus leaf oil and guava leaf oil extract have shown antimicrobial activity against P. acnes [14]

Studies have shown the significant activity of clove essential oil towards Propionibacterium acne. [15]

Clary sage oil controls sebum production and hence reduces acne. [16]

Best Essential Oils For Acne

Essential oils have long been used in the beauty industry and in-home remedies to nourish and supplement skin with nutrients.

They are tonic for the skin.[17] [18]

Lemon essential oil controls the oil glands. Carrier oils such as hazelnut oil are a good base to treat acne.

Jojoba oil and kukui nut oil treats spots and acne conditions. [19]

Listed below are the best essential oils for treating acne.

Bergamot Essential Oil

Bergamot essential oil is expressed from a rind or peel of a small pear-shaped fruit having a small tree. The scent is citrus, sweet and floral. [20] [21]

The oil can be exclusively used for acne problems, a pus-filled abscess. It is Anti-infectious and prevents bacterial infection that causes acne.

Bergamot has antiseptic and healing properties and hence good for treating acne or infected skin conditions.

Linalool present in bergamot oil has effective anti-bacterial properties. [22]

A hot compress of bergamot and Eucalyptus oil can help draw out infection in boils. It can be very useful in stress conditions leading to acne, skin irritations, and redness.

Best way to use: Administered orally as an ingredient of Earl Grey Tea,   topically in massage blends and in aromatherapy in baths (Use a low dilution of bergamot oil as a local wash) or a room diffuser.

Cedar Wood Essential Oil

The essential oil is steam distilled from wood, sawdust, and twigs of Cedar Wood evergreen tree. It has a warm and woody aroma and amber tinge. [23]

The oil is effective for skin conditions like acne due to its Anti-Bacterial, Anti-Septic properties.

It is majorly constituted of alcohols such as atlantol known to be anti-infectious.

It is useful in relieving itching and extremely useful for all types of skin eruptions.

People with severe allergies and in physiological conditions like pregnancy should use this oil with caution.

Best way to use: Administered topically, and in aromatherapy in diffusers and baths.

Geranium Essential Oil

Geranium essential oil is steam distilled from leaves, stalks, and flowers of perennial shrub infused with a sweet and minty aroma. [24]

It is widely used to treat skin problems such as acne, cuts, dermatitis, eczema, etc. The oil is fungicidal pertaining to the presence of 15% esters.

It is also rich in alcohols such as citronellol (up to 45%) and geraniol (up to 25%) rich in antiseptic and anti-infectious properties.

Geranium is a skin tonic and balances too dry or too oily skin. It helps in opening skin pores and cleanse oily complexion. [25]

Best way to use: Used topically in creams and as bath oils.

Juniper (berry) Essential Oil

The essential oil is steam distilled from berries of an evergreen shrub with small flowers. The oil has a woody, sweet-smelling fresh aroma. [26] [27]

Juniper essential oil is primarily used for acne treatment. It is a great detoxifier.

The oil is rich in alcohols and Oxides such as Borneol, Geraniol and Caryophyllene respectively exhibiting antiseptic, anti-infectious properties [28].

Juniper has an added advantage of being a blood purifier and hence stimulating blood circulation in the body. Therefore it is a good treatment for acne.

The use of juniper oil is contra-indicated for a person with kidney disease and in pregnancy.

Best way to use: It can be taken orally and in bath oils.

Topical Acne Mask: the basic mask (green clay 60g and cornflour 15g ), take 15g basic mask mix, add 5 ml water; to this add 1 drop each of Juniper, Patchouli, Lavender, Chamomile essential oil, make a smooth paste, apply for 15 minutes and rinse with water.[29]

Lavender Essential Oil

Lavender essential oil is steam distilled from flowering tops of an aromatic green woody shrub having violet flowers.

The oil has a sweet, floral scent. [30] [31]

The oil is essentially important for the treatment of acne problems. It is rich in Anti-Microbial, Anti-Septic, and Antitoxic properties [32] active ingredient for acne like linalool and alpha-pinene. [33]

Lavender oil inhibits bacteria that causes skin infection, soothes the skin, and helps to balance the over secretion of sebum (this is because oily tends to be prone to acne).

People having low blood pressure and in pregnant women must be cautious while using the oil as it can be sensitizing.

Best way to use: The oil is administered topically and in baths.

Steam treatment for acne: [34] Pour chamomile, Clary Sage, Thyme Linalol, lavender oils, 2 drops in a bowl of steaming water. Lastly, wash face with cold water.

Lemon Grass Essential oil

The essential oil is distilled from finely chopped aromatic perennial lemongrass.  Lemongrass essential oil has a fresh grassy-citrus scent. [35]

The oil is scientifically proven to be Bactericidal, fungicidal, and antiseptic. It contains 60%- 80% aldehydes, most active being citral, which is anti-infectious and has calming properties.

The oil can irritate sensitive skin, and a person with auto-immune disorders and children below age 2 must be cautious.

Best way to use: Administered in aromatherapy as a diffuser, baths, and topical application.

Myrtle Essential oil

Myrtle essential oil is steam distilled from white blossoms and twigs of the evergreen bush. It has a fresh, herbal scent and an orange tinge.

The oil primarily treats acne and is safe to use. The oil is rich in (45%) oxides that is cineole, rich in Anti-Septic properties and is Anti-bacterial. [36]

Best way to use: Administered topically in creams, diffuser, and baths.

Tea Tree essential oil

The tea tree essential oil is steam distilled from leaves and twigs of a shrub having needles like leaves and purple flowers. It has a spicy and warm aroma. [37] [38] [39] [40] [41] [42]

The oil has Anti-Fungal, Anti- Infectious and bactericidal properties pertaining to high constituents of alcohol such as terpenen-4-ol (29-58 %).

It is active against bacteria causing acne [43]

A patch test is advisable because the oil can cause sensitization.

Best way to use: Administered in baths and topical applications.

Precautions While Using Essential Oils

Essential oil must not be used in large dosage, less is more! Always dilute them in a carrier oil before use.

Always perform a patch test on the inside arm to look for allergic reactions like itching, redness, and sensitivity from oil.

Essential oils should not be used especially in the first trimester of pregnancy and for children below five years of age.

Keep essential oil in a dark, cool place and in tightly capped bottles to increase their shelf life.

The contact of essential oil should be avoided for sensitive skin areas such as inner ear, eye, and mucous membranes.

Avoid sun exposure immediately after the use, due to increased photosensitivity of skin to the sun.

Final Words

Essential oils are qualitatively effective for skin problems such as oily and dry skin, aging and wrinkles, acne, abscesses.

These oils are anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and are biologically active anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral.

They have alcohols and ketones rich in these bioactive properties.

Essential oil when used in right dosage controls sebum production and control bacterial growth in the skin.

They clear scars, reduce inflammation, itching, and redness in the skin and moisturize it.

So next time you find a pimple, get ready to bring it down with essential oils as your shield!

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