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Although research suggests that essential oils may have some health benefits, it is important to remember that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not monitor or regulate the purity or quality of these. A person should talk with a healthcare professional before using essential oils, and they should be sure to research the quality of a brand’s products. A person should always do a patch test before trying a new essential oil.

Many people with acne look for alternatives to over-the-counter or prescription treatments to alleviate their symptoms. Some may consider trying essential oils.

This article will examine the essential oils that may be beneficial for acne. It will also look at how to use essential oils and the potential health risks of doing so.

Acne occurs when a mixture of dead skin cells and sebum blocks the pores of a person’s skin. This causes inflammation of the areas surrounding the pores.

Scientists know that the overproduction of sebum, which is an oily secretion the skin produces, often causes acne.

There is also some evidence to suggest that certain groups are more likely to develop acne, including:

  • people with a family history of acne
  • adolescents
  • people who are menstruating
  • individuals experiencing stress

Some common symptoms of acne include:

  • papules, which are small, flushed bumps on the skin
  • pustules, which are similar to papules but contain white or yellow pus
  • whiteheads
  • blackheads
  • scarring on the skin
  • flushing around the affected areas
  • cysts

Some people may feel self-conscious about their acne. However, it is important to remember that scientists have not found any reliable evidence to confirm that essential oils may reduce acne.

Learn more about natural acne treatments for dark skin here.

Recently, scientists have become interested in the healthcare potential of some natural oils. This is because some evidence suggests that essential oils have antimicrobial effects.

Essential oils are concentrated extracts from raw plants. Different plants produce different essential oils.

Manufacturers sometimes sell these oils in their pure form. Other times, they dilute them in a carrier oil.

There are two main ways to extract essential oils. Steam or water distillation involves pushing steam or water through the plant material, which extracts the oils. Cold pressing involves squeezing the plant, which forces it to release its essential oils.

Learn more about essential oils here.

Some essential oils may benefit acne-prone skin. However, it is important to note that there is limited evidence to confirm this.

Below are some essential oils for a person to consider.

Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based and correct at the time of publication.

Medical News Today follows a strict product selection and vetting process. Learn more here.

Gya Labs Bergamot Oil

Pricearound $8
Quantity0.34 fluid ounces (fl oz)
Usestopical and aromatherapy

One recent animal study suggests that bergamot oil could decrease the amount of oil that hamsters produce in their skin.

However, it is unclear whether bergamot oil would affect humans in the same way or whether these effects would reduce acne symptoms.

Plant Therapy Oregano Oil

Pricearound $8
Quantity0.33 fl oz
Usestopical and aromatherapy

Some people suggest that oregano oil could improve acne. This is because oregano oil has antimicrobial properties that destroy or inhibit microorganisms, such as bacteria, that can make acne worse.

However, there is little direct evidence to suggest that oregano oil alleviates acne.

Scientists indicate that the antimicrobial properties of oregano oil may inhibit Cutibacterium acnes(formerly Propionibacterium acnes) and Staphylococcus epidermidis, two types of bacteria associated with acne.

The study also found that oregano oil reduced acne-related inflammation in mice.

However, no research currently shows that oregano oil could reduce acne in humans.

Learn more about the benefits of oregano oil here.

Cliganic Jojoba Oil

Pricearound $20
Quantity16 fl oz
Usesfor hair, face, and body

One 2012 study provides some evidence to suggest that jojoba oil may help relieve acne symptoms. When people regularly used a clay mask infused with jojoba oil, there was an improvement in mild acne symptoms.

However, it may be the clay mask, rather than the essential oil, that led to these effects.

Learn more about jojoba oil for acne here.

Other oils

Some people suggest that many other essential oils could help with acne, including:

A 2020 study suggests that rosemary and tea tree oil showed antibacterial effects against certain antibiotic-resistant bacteria associated with acne.

However, scientists do not yet know whether similar results would occur on a person’s skin, where many other chemicals could interact with these oils.

Learn more about tea tree oil for skin here.

The two main methods of using essential oils are inhalation and topical application.

People can use essential oil diffusers, sprays, or oil droplets in their rooms. Alternatively, vapor rubs and steam baths allow people to inhale essential oils in a more localized way.

People can also apply essential oils topically by massaging them into their skin. However, people should not use essential oils directly on the skin. They must always dilute them with a carrier oil, such as olive or almond oil.

Doctors also warn people not to ingest essential oils, as this could cause organ damage and potentially lead to dangerous interactions with medications. A 2012 case report explains how an individual almost died from ingesting peppermint oil.

Learn about essential oils for aromatherapy here.

Essential oils derive from natural products, so some people believe them to be completely safe. However, essential oils do carry some risks like other natural products — even when people use them properly.

For example, some people may have allergic reactions to certain essential oils. For this reason, people using essential oils for the first time should do a patch test to see if they experience any adverse effects, which may include:

Some people report experiencing nausea and headaches from inhaling certain essential oils.

A 2015 literature search into the therapeutic use of essential oils stated that high exposure to some oils could lead to serious health problems. These oils include:

  • sage oil
  • hyssop oil
  • thuja oil
  • cedar oil

Learn more about essential oils and asthma here.

Acne treatment will vary depending on factors such as:

  • acne type
  • location of acne
  • a person’s age
  • the treatments an individual has already tried
  • whether scarring or dark spots remain on the skin

Dermatologists may suggest using topical treatments, including a retinoid, benzoyl peroxide, or azelaic acid.

They may also prescribe oral or topical medications or a combination of the two.

Learn more about acne and its treatments here.

Individuals may benefit from consulting a dermatologist at any time. They do not have to wait until their acne becomes severe. Sometimes, the earlier a person seeks medical advice for their acne, the more effective the treatment.

Here are some common questions relating to acne.

What essential oils are good for acne?

Early studies show that essential oils may help to treat acne. However, further research is needed to determine this.

Is tea tree oil good for acne?

There is some evidence to suggest that tea tree oil may aid acne treatment. A 2018 study combined tea tree with bee propolis and aloe vera and found it more effective than the topical antibiotic erythromycin.

Can you put essential oils on your skin?

Yes. Typically, individuals inhale essential oils, but they may also apply them to the skin. However, essential oils have the potential to aggravate the skin. Individuals should avoid using them on broken, inflamed, or irritated skin.
Additionally, a person should avoid sensitive areas, such as the eyes, ears, and mouth.

Many people use essential oils to help treat acne as an alternative to medications.

However, although some evidence suggests that certain essential oils could help with acne, scientists have much more work to do in this area before they can draw any firm conclusions.

It’s a good idea to talk with a doctor or a dermatologist before using essential oils for acne.