Acne is an incredibly common problem among people of all ages. Chemical treatments, medicated ointments, prescription drugs, drying lotions, facial wash and scrubbing masks are the very common traditional go-to treatment options. However, people prefer to avoid them due to the potentially harsh chemicals that cause allergies, other skin problems, side effects and may even worsen the acne.
Essential oil is a form of beneficial home remedy that dates back to early ancient era. It is found to be effective in fighting off acne, blemishes without any added irritants. As the essential oils are extracted from root, bark, flower, leaf, seed or flower of a plant or tree and then processed, the oil is highly concentrated and thus a single drop can offer amazing benefits.
The myriad benefits of essential oils are a result of their anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and antioxidant properties. They serve as a natural medicine without any side effects. A small drop must always be tested on the skin to check for any reactions before direct application on the skin. Also, the essentials are usually diluted so you are least likely to have any issues due to skin sensitivities.
For those who are looking for a more wholesome treatment of acne, here are some research-backed essential oils that can give you relief.
1. Clary Sage Oil
The Clary Sage essential oil has linalyl acetate (an important ester) that renders it anti-inflammatory properties, helping in reducing skin inflammation. It also helps in regulating excess oil production that causes acne. Moreover, the antibacterial properties help in preventing bacterial formation (bad bacteria Staphylococcus aureus) that results in stress, hormonal imbalance and breakouts. Apply 1-3 drops of the oil directly over the affected area using a clean cotton ball.
2. Tea Tree Oil
One of the best essential oils for acne, tea tree oil has antifungal, antiseptic, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties that help prevent the problem. It reduces lesions and hardly causes any skin discomfort. A 2007 research suggests that tea tree oil is 3.6 times more effective than a placebo that was used and 5.8 times times more effective for overall acne severity. To apply the oil, dab 1-3 drops of oil on cotton ball and apply directly over the affected part or legion twice a day.
3. Juniper Berry Oil
Juniper Berry oil is a very popular essential oil for treatment of acne. Its antimicrobial, antiseptic and antibacterial properties aid in clearing acne, skin detoxification, healing skin conditions and nourishing the skin. Also, it keeps the skin follicles clear of blockage.
A study suggests that this essential oil consists of over 87 different active constituent compounds such as antioxidants, antibacterials, and antifungals. According to a 2005 research published in Pharmaceutical Development and Technology, the antibacterial properties of juniper berry essential oil are truly effective as an anti-acne topical solution.
This essential oil can be used topically by dabbing 2-3 drops over the affected area. Consider diluting the oil in a carrier oil if you have sensitive skin.
4. Rosemary Oil
Rosemary oil is an effective in skin care and helps in nourishing the skin by reducing excess oil on the skin. It has anti-inflammatory properties that relieve acne by reducing the redness. It can be used along with a cleanser, scrub or moisturizer. For application, dab it on a regular basis over the affected area for a clear, firm and toned skin.
5. Clove Oil
Loaded with antiseptic properties, the clove essential oil kills the bacteria living inside the blemish. This potent oil has an earthy, musky scent and antimicrobial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, it is an incredible natural remedy for cystic outbreaks.
6. Sandalwood Oil
Sandalwood oil is really beneficial for reducing acne and breakouts. The East Indian sandalwood is especially useful in treatment of acne and reducing the severity of acne. It is astringent, antiseptic and locks moisture.
A strong and effective herbal antiseptic, it helps in removing the bacteria which blocks the pores. Create a mixture of 2-3 drops of sandalwood oil and carrier oil and then massage with it on your face or affected area twice a day regularly.
7. Basil Oil
Basil oil has antimicrobial properties and this makes it effective for controlling acne. A research published in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science suggests that both holy basil and sweet basil oil and extracts can help in eliminating the bacteria P. Acnes. Basil oil provides deep nourishment to your skin and reduces the microbial activity causing inflammation and skin infections.
Basil oil has linoleic acid (consisting of anti-inflammatory properties) that help in relieving the swelling in the affected area. Mix 2 drops of basil oil with 2 of aloe vera gel and apply it on your face twice everyday.
8. Chamomile Oil
Chamomile oil is an important oil for reducing irritation due to acne breakout. It soothes the skin and works effectively in clearing out spots and blemishes due to acne scars. Put on the oil on a regular basis to get a clear and refreshing skin.
9. Lavender Oil
One of the most common essential oils, lavender oil is popularly used for treating acne breakouts due to its analgesic, antibacterial and antiseptic properties. According to a 2003 study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, inhaling the oil has some significant calming effects as certain types of acne are associated with stress, reducing tension can alleviating breakouts. The lavender essential oil can be applied using a cotton swab on the affected areas. Dilute it with a carrier oil if you have a sensitive skin.
10. Eucalyptus Oil
Eucalyptus oil is a popular essential oil for blemishes. A study suggest that the antibacterial properties of eucalyptus essential oil is effective in eliminating P. acnes, the bacteria responsible for most types of acne. The acne can be prevented by mixing 2-3 drops of eucalyptus essential oil with 2 spoons of unscented lotion for daily application.
11. Lemongrass Oil
Lemongrass essential oil is a great addition to a homemade astringent. Having a citrusy scent, this fragrant grass is commonly used due to its antiseptic property which work against acne. Its analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties relieve pain and reduce severity and discomfort.
Use all over oily complexions to reduce and prevent the appearance of pimples while also revitalizing the skin. When it is used in a facial steam, its antimicrobial properties help in eliminating bacteria trapped in follicles.
12. Frankincense Oil
One of the mildest options, Frankincense essential oil is loaded with sedative properties and thus serves as a good choice for almost all skin types. It has a natural ability to heal lesions so it is ideal for soothing acne.
If you use clay masks, it is a great choice for balancing oil production and reducing inflammation. It relieves dry, irritated skin. You can prepare and store a mixture of 20 drops of oil to 2 ounces of a nourishing carrier oil. Apply it on the affected area to get a clearer skin.
13. Bergamot Oil
Bergamot oil is a citrus-based essential oil with antibacterial properties. It is mainly known for treating skin inflammation. Many studies suggest that it has antimicrobial and antibacterial properties that help prevent acne.
It helps in removing impurities, eliminating excess oil, opening clogged pores, and disinfecting skin. Mix and store 5 drops of bergamot oil with 7 drops of tea tree oil, 1 spoon liquid castile soap and three quarters of distilled water. Wash your face with the mixture twice everyday.
14. Oregano Oil
Oregano oil is not just a flavoring ingredient but also contains high amount of phenol and this is why it has strong disinfectant properties. It is an excellent essential oil with antibacterial properties, making it useful for acne and achieving a clear skin. Moreover, a study suggests that carvarol has powerful antimicrobial properties.
If not diluted well, it can result in severe skin irritations as it is a bit toxic. Make sure you dilute it using a carrier oil (jojoba oil or almond oil) before use. Just dab the mixture over the affected area of the skin with cotton swab.
15. Geranium Oil
Geranium essential oil occurs has strong antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties that are crucial for treatment of acne. According to a research in 2012, geranium essential oil was effective in significantly reducing growth of 5 different strains for bacteria.
While examining for anti-inflammatory activity on an animal model, geranium essential oil was discovered to function similar to a common anti-inflammatory drug. This essential oil may even relieve inflammation and reduce the amount of pus.
16. Korean Fir Oil
Korean Fir oil shows antibacterial activity against P. acnes and reduces several inflammatory signs that are seen in acne. A research finds that this essential oil demonstrates a great antibacterial activity against Staphylococcus aureus also.
It is recommended to put a few oil drops in a carrier oil and then apply it directly to the skin. A cotton ball ensures that the oil is concentrated on the affected area without being wasted or spread onto unwanted areas.
17. Grapefruit Oil
The mixtures of essential oils for skin that is vulnerable to acne usually contain grapefruit essential oil as a major ingredient. Apart from its nerve-soothing aroma, the research indicates that a valuable benefit of this oil is its antibacterial properties. This makes it an effective topical agent for naturally healing the lesions.
18. Peppermint Oil
Peppermint essential oil is a traditional, natural remedy for skin problems. The latest research says that peppermint essential oil is found to be effective against different strains of bacteria that belong the the family of acne-causing bacteria.
Moreover, its refreshing minty aroma adds to the appeal of using peppermint essential oil for acne. The best way of using peppermint oil for acne is by adding it to an unscented lotion or glycerine soap. If used regularly, it may help in preventing acne outbreak.
If you’re looking for a gentle acne treatment, try soap made with peppermint and rosemary essential oils.
19. Lemon Oil
Lemon essential oil has valuable antibacterial properties. It has shown strong antibacterial activity against some of the most common strains of bacteria. Lemon oil is ideal for whiteheads and other kinds of pimples which occur beneath the skin. That’s because lemon essential oil might irritate raw blemishes or open wounds.
Apart from its antibacterial property, it is commonly known as an effective skin exfoliant. This makes it one of the top essential oils for acne-prone skin. T can also be used for acne scars. The lemon essential oil also helps in removing dead skin and improving skin tone.
20. Jojoba Oil
A study finds that jojoba oil is effective in treatment of acne as a carrier oil as well by itself. According to a 2012 study, a clay jojoba oil facial mask is effective in healing skin lesions and mild acne. The participants who applied jojoba oil masks 2-3 times every week significantly reduced their inflammation, acne and lesions. Another study discovered that jojoba oil works as a herbal drug for reducing acne symptoms.
Yet another theory of jojoba essential oil as an effective acne treatment is that jojoba oil signals your skin to balance itself. A wax ester of jojoba oil resembles human sebum. Overproduction or blockage of sebum (waxy, oily substance on skin) can result in acne. So when jojoba oil is applied, your skin gets the signal that it does not need to produce more sebum.
Jojoba oil is non-comedogenic to an extent and it has healing properties. So it may help some people with acne when used for washing and moisturizing the face. The jojoba oil can be used as an in-shower treatment, cleanser, clay mask, makeup remover and moisturizer.