Top 5 Essential Oils for Acne Prone Skin

October 29, 2017 12 min read 0 Comments

Top 5 Essential Oils for Acne Prone Skin

By Kali Kushner


When it comes to treating acne, admittedly, some or most of us have been desperately trying to find ways and solutions that could help solve this pesky skin problem. We’ve tried everything from Accutane to different skin care products, change our diets and lifestyle, yet none of them seems to work out.


You may also be wondering how putting oil can benefit your skin condition when it’s supposed to aggravate the oiliness of your skin. Well, not all! Some essential oils are non-comedogenic and do not clog the pores.


Everyone’s also been raving about essential oils since they have been introduced by the company Young Living. Many or most people have reviewed about these oils and their uses as well as benefits. These lovely oils took to social media their claims of being beneficial on your skin – some may love it, some may loathe it while some are undecided whether to try these things. There may be some oils that are suitable for your skin, while there are some that may not work the same way you expect them to.


Nowadays, essential oils have been popular when it comes to therapeutic use, especially aromatherapy. These oils have been considered as alternative medicine. Here’s a few information about essential oils and its purpose/benefits on our skin, particularly on acne.



These oils are usually compounds that were extracted from plants in which the oil catches the plant’s scent and flavor (essence). Essential oils are often obtained either by distilling (steam or water) mechanical methods such as cold pressing. 


The plant extracts obtained by these essential oils have a history in traditional folk medicine and they are also studied in modern medicine for their benefits. Some of the properties of essential oils may treat skin conditions, particularly acne, which is almost everyone’s skin concern. It’s best to consult your dermatologist first should you want to try applying essential oil in treating your acne and ask for any recommendations.


These oils are typically excellent options to use when treating acne, believing that they are beneficial for our skin and stress hormones.


They have uplifting and relaxing properties that have been used for cosmetic purposes for many years. Pure types of essential oils benefit the skin in some ways that they offer clear-looking complexion, reduce signs of aging and give your skin that radiant glow. They are cheaper than your serums bought at some aesthetic clinics or beauty oils at boutiques.




Mostly, essential oils have been used for practicing aromatherapy, as mentioned above – it may either be inhaled, digested or topically applied. Their chemicals can interact with your body in some ways: they can be absorbed by applying with heat or on different areas of your body; its aromas can be inhaled, stimulating areas of the limbic system (a part of your brain that plays a role in emotions, behavior, sense of smell and even long term memory).


These oils are considered to be an effective, natural solution in treating acne compared to typical drugstore spot treatments such as creams and serums. Essential oils naturally regulate oil production, hydrate your skin, alleviate stress and balance your hormones while helping you achieve clear glowing skin. Essential oils can be used as a spot treatment together with carrier oils (i.e the main oil often used as base oil to dilute the essential oil such as jojoba, sweet almond oil, avocado oil, rosehip oil and a lot more)







Essential oils have been known for their widespread use on aromatherapy and they also claim to have health benefits in the sense that they treat some of the common health problems: stress, anxiety and depression, headaches and migraines, sleep and insomnia, inflammation, etc.


Apart from treating health and skin problems, many people also use essential oils for freshening up their home and laundry, some use them as a natural scent in homemade cosmetic products and high-quality natural products. Some have also suggested that these essential oils provide a safe and environmentally friendly alternative mosquito repellent like Citronella or Lemongrass oil. 




1) Hydrate – Examples of hydrating oils include natural coconut or jojoba oil. Coconut oils contain healthy fatty acids improving lipid content of your skin and moisturizing it whereas the jojoba oil maintains the moisture all day compared to most water-based moisturizers and it also stabilizes natural oil production of your skin.


2) Reduce inflammation – One of the carrier oils that would be great for reducing skin inflammation is the Grapeseed oil since its linoleic acid helps in soothing and nourishing the skin. Lavender essential oil would also work for reducing inflammation as it inhibits bacteria from infecting your pores and regulates over secretion of sebum, plus its amazing scent.


3) Fade scars – Aloe Vera and carrot seed essential oil make a great team for fading scars with its properties. The aloe vera oil is considered to be an anti-irritant that soothes the skin and stimulates new healthy skin growth. The carrot seed essential oil, on the other hand, rejuvenates the skin while fading scars and improving the skin’s tone.


 4) Control breakouts – Need something to help fight your acne? You’ve got tea tree and rosemary essential oil as your company. Tea tree oil is known for being a great acne spot treatment as it dries out the infected pore without instilling any harsh chemicals. Rosemary oil helps by reducing dermatitis, oily skin and acne with its antimicrobial and antiseptic qualities. 



Applying essential oil directly on your face to treat acne can be tricky and unsafe as it could backfire by causing an allergic reaction. Mixing these oils into a comedogenic substance like coconut oil can also worsen your acne rather than improving it. The best way to apply it? Use a 2% to 3% dilution ratio (10-12 or 15-18 drops of essential oil per one ounce of carrier oil).


You can either use less or more of these essential oils, but it’s mostly recommended to start with a small amount then adjust the ratio depending on your skin’s sensitivity. You may also concoct your own facial oil by blending several essential oils or just using one as a spot treatment for your acne.




Choosing/shopping for essential oils? Make sure that their bottle reads 100% pure essential oil so that you receive maximum purity and effectiveness without extra yucky pimple. Mixing more than 4 essential oils together at one time is unwise or not recommended as you will lose the effectiveness of these oils.


There are many company brands claiming that their essential oils are pure or of medical grade. Given these, the quality and composition of these oils can vary greatly. So, be sure to check these following criteria when choosing or purchasing high-quality essential oils


1) Purity – Does it only contains aromatic plant compounds? No additives or synthetic oils? 


2) Quality – Is it chemical-free? Was it extracted through distillation or mechanical cold pressing? 


3) Reputation – Does it come from a brand that produces high-quality products?




1) Tea Tree Oil - Tea Tree oil is the most common type of essential oil for acne as this is useful for killing bacteria and fungi. It helps reduce acne since this oil has antibacterial properties. This oil can also be used for open wounds as it helps make the healing process faster. Shops such as The Body Shop are some of the brands that use Tea Tree oil as part of their main ingredient for their product(s). 


This essential oil contains natural antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties with fresh piney like scent that is responsible for killing off fungus, bacteria and reducing allergic skin reactions without over-drying or irritating your skin.


2) Lemon – The oil coming from the peel of this citrus fruit is said to help in fighting inflammation as well as free radicals that contribute to acne and photoaging, which is why this essential oil is also good for acne. Aside from its skin benefits, lemon oil can also be mixed with other essential oils to help with weight loss and it also helps strengthen the immune system. 


3) Lavender - This is another great essential oil for acne as its antibacterial, antimicrobial, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties provide numerous healing benefits for acne. Lavender oil also aids in regenerating new skin cells and reduce redness from acne and acne scars as well as making the skin tone smooth and even. 


This essential oil works for aromatherapy, treating anxiety, depression as well as stress and balances out hormones that are linked to acne. Lavender is also considered to be a sedative as it enters the brain and interacts with the amygdala and hippocampus, calming these areas that are linked to emotion.


*To use for Aromatherapy: Dab a few drops on the insides of your wrists or on your neck and inhale it throughout the day when feeling overwhelmed or in need of a clear mind. 2- 3 drops should be plenty.


4) Lemongrass Oil – This oil is extracted from a topical grassy plant that is often used in cooking and medicine. Lemongrass essential oil is known for its powerful scent, often found in soaps and other personal care products. Although this plant has been traditionally known to treat digestive problems and high blood pressure, the lemongrass has many potential health benefits such as relieving stress, anxiety and depression, which is why this essential oil is also good for acne prevention.


5) Clary Sage – The Clary Sage essential oil is considered to be extremely effective in regulating oil on the skin, containing an ester called linalyl acetate (responsible for reducing inflammation and soothing skin from irritation). According to a study conducted by Advances in Dermatology and Allergology, this plant is an active natural antimicrobial agent wherein it showed that clary sage was tested on multiple drug-resistant bacterial strains and effective in fighting off the bacteria which can cause infection, skin irritation or even acne breakouts. This means that Clary Sage can be considered a good essential oil for acne.


The aroma of this plant is similar to a typical garden sage, only that it has a slightly more earthy, even sweet or nutty tone and less herbal.


This plant has been proven great for aromatherapy uses as they reduce feelings of stress and anxiety while supporting our hormonal balance, specifically our estrogen levels and reducing cortisol. (based on The Journal Of Phytotherapy Research).Clary Sage essential oil is extracted by steam distillation from the plant’s leaves and buds of salvia sclarea plant, its therapeutic benefits are mostly for women as it helps regulate a woman’s menstrual cycle, calms the painful cramps and balance out hormones.


6) Cinnamon – Mostly, when we hear the word cinnamon, one thing that automatically pops into our mind is that it’s for baking. Well, cinnamon can also be used as an ingredient for essential oil – useful for aromatherapy.Cinnamon essential oil has a warm, sweet aroma, extracted from the bark of the cinnamon tree.


This oil is said to offer a variety of health benefits: it treats cough, colds and constipation, relieves stress and pain, fights off the infection, improves your digestion and acts as a repellent against insects.


7) Oregano – Oregano? For treating acne? Some of you may be wondering how it is possible for this plant to treat skin conditions such as acne. Oregano essential oil has been proven to reduce acne due to the antibacterial properties that can be found in this plant. The high antioxidant levels in oregano work to boost one’s immune system, preventing bacteria to easily overgrow.


The oregano oil simply comes from the leaves and shoots of an oregano plant and is made by air-drying the leaves and shoots which is then extracted and concentrated by steam distillation once they are dried.


This oil has been tested to work better than most antibiotics for its flavonoids and phytochemicals, when either applied topically or ingested. You can use this essential oil for acne, colds or even when you’re cooking a dish.


8) Thyme – You often see this thing being used in the kitchen for spicing up dishes such as pasta. But little do you know it can also be good for treating acne.Thyme essential oil is useful and effective in fighting off bacteria that may be causing acne as well as germs that cause eye infections. Note: Never use or apply this essential oil on the eye area.


9) Rosemary – It’s not just good for adding flavor to your potatoes and chicken, but also for treating that pesky acne as well. Rosemary has been shown to destroy the P. acnes and ease the redness and puffiness with its anti-inflammatory properties. This oil is good for revitalizing your skin and reduce excess oil.


Rosemary is also great for improving circulation which helps in firming and toning the skin while promoting that glow on your skin tone. It reduces the stress as well by actively reducing the cortisol levels in our saliva and bloodstream. Aside from these, it is an extremely versatile type of oil since you can also use it for your hair care routine, healing or fixing indigestion, improving oral health, boosting the immune system, treating respiratory problems and improving your cognitive function.


10) Bergamot – When you’re the type of person who’s obsessed with skincare routine, Bergamot essential oil may be one of the most useful oils that you can have. This fruit’s oil extract improves both your mood and your skin’s health with its anti-inflammatory properties (reducing swelling and shrinking pimples).


The oil from this fruit has antiseptic and antibacterial effects, according to Dr. Trevor Cates, a naturopathic doctor in California.Bergamot essential oil regulates sebum secretion and promotes wound healing and regeneration.


11) Juniper Berry – This plant may sound or seem new to some of us. The oil from juniper berry is known to have or offer health benefits: detoxification, increasing circulation, increasing urine elimination, healing skin conditions and antiseptic properties. This is another type of effective essential oil that anyone can consider including in their skincare routine to reduce acne breakouts. You can simply dilute this essential oil with coconut or jojoba oil to reduce irritation prior to applying this oil topically.


12) Peppermint Oil – Another excellent essential oil for acne would be thePeppermint essential oil. This oil is effective for warding off any acne-causing bacteria. Not only is this oil effective, it smells great as well. This type of essential oil has been applied both cosmetically and medicinally for thousands of years, its uses being traced back to ancient Egypt.


13) Ylang Ylang – What is so great about ylang-ylang, you may ask? This oil has wonderful healing properties in the sense that it regulates moisture and oil balance as well as reduce redness and inflammation. Apart from that, ylang-ylang acts as a relaxant and aphrodisiac (a food, drink or drug that stimulates sexual desires). Not only does this flower smell great, it also regenerates skin cells and beneficial in terms of anti-aging as it reduces fine lines, making your skin look plump and youthful.


14) Frankincense – this is similar to that of the tea tree essential oil because of its antibacterial properties. It can also be used as a toner for someone who has acne-prone skin. Frankincense essential oil also possesses anti-inflammatory benefits and is responsible for encouraging new cell growth, making it suitable for aging skin and scar appearance reduction.


15) Neroli – This essential oil helps in encouraging cell rejuvenation and is suitable for anti-aging and fading stretch marks. Neroli essential oil can make any aged skin appear youthful and radiant and balances oil production without over-drying your skin. 


16) Rose – The rose is not just a rose for nothing as it also has amazing benefits on your skin. The Rose essential oil moisturizes and contains both antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory compounds. It is also useful for treating skin conditions such as psoriasis and dermatitis.


17) Patchouli – Another essential oil that works great for anti-aging is patchouli essential oil. This oil is responsible for encouraging new cell growth and makes your skin appear radiant with more elasticity. More than that, the patchouli essential oil is known for its anti-bacterial, antiseptic and antifungal properties, meaning that it treats skin conditions such as dermatitis, acne, psoriasis and eczema.


18) Orange Blossom – When you hear the word orange blossom, just imagine you’re in a tropical island because that’s most likely its scent. The orange blossom essential oil brightens up your face when you feel like being dull.


19) Chamomile – Last but not least is the Chamomile essential oil. Aside from its healing properties as a beverage, this oil can also be applied as an oil to treat eczema and rosacea, plus it doesn’t cause irritation on your skin.




Essential oils can cause irritation, dermatitis and even burns when applied topically or directly on the skin. This is one of the precautions one must remember when using these types of oils as a spot treatment for any skin or health condition.


Also, it is best to avoid prolonged exposure or excessive use of these oils as they lead to the risk of adverse effects such as increased blood pressure and heart rate.


Before using any type of essential oil, it would be best to do a patch test first to test if you have any allergic reactions. These oils can also be toxic if ingested or used internally and are not to be confused with essential fatty acids (edible dietary oils).


Essential oils are also not to be used in the humidifier, CPAP machine or any breathing device (by that, we mean nebulizer and inhaler). Many of us are unaware of the potential risks of these essential oils while using these things in wellness, beauty and cleaning routines.


*When using essential oils, it is still best to consult your healthcare provider or dermatologist first or do a patch test on a small part of your skin to make sure that you are not allergic to the product. You can also mix essential oils with a carrier oil or distilled water and put in a glass spray bottle or roller bottle for easier application. 

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