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  • Lindsay Alexander

9 Essential Oils for Acne

Updated: Apr 21, 2019

Oh acne... that dreaded nasty red bump that shows up front and center right before a first date no less. There's an essential oil for that #taeoft. In fact, there are several, but here are our top choices.


Acne is a common condition, especially among teenagers.  It is caused by the hair follicles on the skin that become clogged. Pores on the skin are connected to oil glands located just beneath the skin. These glands produce sebum which carries dead skin cells to the skin's surface.


When it comes to fighting acne and other epidermal issues, there are countless essential oils that can be used. The following are just a few options and what they can best be used for.

Typically, both the dead skin cells and the sebum are excreted through the pores. However, when the follicle becomes clogged, the dead cells and sebum are stuck and bacteria grows which causes the follicle to swell and forms a pimple.

Although acne most prevalent in teenagers and young adults, it can develop at any age. It’s estimated that 80% of individuals between the ages of 11 and 30 have experienced an acne breakout.



Over-the-counter and prescription acne treatments are highly prevalent in today's market.  Most acne related outbreaks are relatively moderate and using essential oils for treatment is effective and affordable.


For those who are more discerning about what is put in and on our bodies, many of the over-the-counter and prescription remedies contain ingredients that are intended to prolong shelf life and, among other things, can have an adverse effect on our health.


Knowing what your acne treatment consists of and the fact that it is naturally derived offers unparalleled peace of mind that you are not subjecting your body to chemicals and other synthetic materials.


Using essential oil for pimples is a natural and convenient acne remedy. There has been an increasing amount of scientific research in recent years that demonstrates the effectiveness of the use of essential oils for acne treatment.


Best Essential Oils for Acne


The most effective oil for acne is unique to each individual.  Depending on skin type and sensitivity, one oil or combination may be more beneficial than another for each individual. The following list contains the most common and effective essential oils for both healing and preventing blemishes and pimples.



Melaleuca (Tea Tree Oil) for Acne

Tea tree essential oil, or melaleuca, has been highly researched and well-documented to be effective on acne-prone skin. This oil has been clinically shown to reduce the number and severity of pimples and blemishes when applied daily for 45 days.


Results of another study confirmed that using tea tree essential oil for acne has no adverse side effects and does not increase the risk of becoming resistant to acne-causing bacteria.


Tea tree is one of the most popular essential oils for reducing clogged pores that result in pimples and blackheads.


The most effective mixture is 2-3 drops of tea tree essential oil with ½ tsp of carrier oil. Using a cotton tipped swab dab directly on the blemishes up to 3 times daily.


Lavender Essential Oil for Acne

A 2013 study tested the effectiveness of lavender essential oil on a type of bacteria commonly found in pimples, the results showed that diluted lavender oil inhibited bacterial growth.


To use lavender oil as a treatment add 5 drops of lavender essential oil to 1 Tsp. of witch hazel. Shake gently to blend. Using a clean cloth, dab the mixture on the pimples and let dry. This can be done up to 3 times a day.


Lavender oil works quite well on acne scars. By applying 2-3 drops directly on the scarred skin and massaging gently with your fingertip and repeating 3 times a day for 3 days, you should see a significant reduction of scarring activity.


Lavender can dry-out the skin so it's a good idea to put in a few drops of your regular moisturizer (like coconut oil) and use them together if you want drier (but not too dry) skin. Experiment.


Oil of Oregano for Acne


Scientific research shows that the key ingredient in oregano oil is carvacrol which has potent, antimicrobial properties which help to break down the membrane wall of fatty acids which deprives many types of bacterial growth, including those that contribute to pimple formation.


To use oregano oil for acne treatments, use an equal amount of oregano essential oil and almond or jojoba carrier oil, dab the mixture on with a cotton-tipped swab just before bed.


Frankincense Oil for Acne

The use of frankincense oil for acne is a long-standing practice. There are numerous well-documented studies of frankincense essential oil's anti-inflammatory  and healing properties, dermatological practitioners consistently recommend frankincense to help heal minor blemishes and as a skin moisturizer.


In recent years, frankincense essential oil has also been found to contain antibacterial properties.


It's most effective use is during a pimple outbreak, mix 10 drops of frankincense and 5 drops of lavender essential oil in ½ cup of lukewarm water. Dip a clean cloth with the mixture and gently press onto the blemishes both upon waking and just before bed.


Frankincense is also very effective for acne scars.



Peppermint Oil for Acne


Using peppermint oil for acne is a traditional remedy for acne-prone skin. New research has reported that peppermint essential oil is effective for numerous strains of acne-causing bacteria.

One of the most effective applications of peppermint oil for acne is to add it to unscented lotion or glycerine soap. Using this on a regular basis may help prevent acne outbreaks.


Eucalyptus Oil for Acne


Eucalyptus is a well-researched essential oil for the treatment for acne breakouts. Several clinical-based studies indicate that the antibacterial properties of eucalyptus essential oil  are highly effective in eliminating the bacteria responsible for nearly all kinds of acne.


Preventing acne with eucalyptus oil is as easy as adding 3-4 drops of eucalyptus essential oil to 2 teaspoons of unscented lotion for daily application.


Lemon Essential Oil for Acne


Lemon essential oil is well known for its highly effective antibacterial properties. In clinical trials, lemon essential oil has long been proven effective against some of the most common strains of bacteria.


Since lemon oil can irritate raw blemishes, it is an ideal treatment for whiteheads and other pimples that stay beneath the skin. Combined with its use as an effective skin exfoliant, it makes for one of the top essential oils for acne prone skin.


You can also use lemon essential oil for acne scars. Lemon essential oil has also been shown effective for acne scars and improve skin tone.


Lemon essential oil is photosensitive, so refrain from exposing that area to the sun.

There are so many ways to use lemon oil it warrants its own post - check it out here!


Rosemary Oil for Acne


Combining Rosemary with other essential oils is ideal for cystic acne. Research has shown that the top three properties of rosemary essential oil are its antioxidant, antimicrobial and pain relieving benefits.


In clinical trials, rosemary essential oil has been to aid in pain reduction for patients with rheumatoid arthritis due to its ability to penetrate deep below the skin's surface.


A common combination for cystic acne is mixing 5 drops each of rosemary essential oil, eucalyptus essential oil and tea tree essential oil with 1 teaspoon of carrier oil.


Practitioners have found this blend of essential oils an effective treatment for hormonal acne treatment.


Geranium Essential Oil for Acne


Geranium essential oil has strong antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, both important for treating acne.


In 2012 a study conducted using geranium essential oil was proven to significantly inhibit the growth of five different strains of bacteria. It's also been shown to act like a common anti-inflammatory drug.


Oil blends containing geranium essential oil may be particularly good for the treatment of pustules as it is shown to ease inflammation and thus reduce the amount and production of pus.


Create a night gel by mixing Geranium oil with aloe vera and applying it at bedtime.


Kick acne to the curb, naturally. Your skin will love it, your body will thank you by operating the way it was meant to.


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