While there’s no shortage of over-the-counter remedies for acne, some harsh topicals can actually cause further irritation, making acne worse in the long run. If you're looking for a gentle, natural remedy for acne, many of the best essential oils for acne are potent enough to kill acne-causing bacteria, calm inflammation, and even help fade post-acne marks.
A lot of different things can contribute to acne, including internal factors like hormones, diet, and stress — but the occasional breakout can even be attributed to something as simple as your dirty cell phone. While essential oils can't treat the underlying conditions behind acne, they're great to have on hand as a spot treatment when breakouts do pop up. And who wouldn't rather smell like a flower than benzoyl peroxide?
Essential oils do take a bit more work that your usual over-the-counter acne treatment, since most of them can't be applied straight out of the vial. You'll need a carrier oil — meaning a gentle oil that you can use to dilute your essential oils. Jojoba oil makes a great one because it mimics your skin's own sebum and provides light hydration without clogging pores.
Using essential oils as an acne spot treatment is extremely cost effective, so there’s no excuse not to give these popular remedies a try.
1. Tea Tree Oil Is Widely Recognized For It's Antibacterial Properties
Tea tree oil is an effective acne treatment because it boasts antibacterial and anti-fungal properties that are known to reduce inflammation. You only need a small amount for it to kill acne-causing bacteria deep within your pores.
To get the most out of it, mix several drops of tea tree oil with 20 to 40 drops of witch hazel and apply to affected areas of the skin using a cotton ball once or twice a day – you can leave it on for several hours, or as long as overnight. If you’re suffering from breakouts across your body, you can even add a couple of drops to to a bath. Sensitive skin types can benefit from adding approximately a teaspoon of jojoba oil to the mixture.
2. Lavender Essential Oil Can Calm Inflammation & Help Relieve Stress
Lavender essential oil is a good choice to soothe an inflamed complexion, and it can even speed up the healing process of post-acne marks. Topical results aside, lavender oil is known for its stress-reducing properties, so it’s perfect for anyone who experiences breakouts when they’re feeling frazzled.
Try combining a few drops with about a half a teaspoon of jojoba or almond oil and applying to the skin a couple of times a day.
3. Oregano Essential Oil Contains A High Concentration of Phenol
While it may be known more as a pizza spice than an effective treatment for acne, pure oregano oil is also a killer spot treatment because it contains a high percentage of phenol, an organic compound with powerful disinfectant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Since it’s a powerful oil, it should be used judiciously (about 2-3 drops) and always diluted in a carrier oil like jojoba, olive, or coconut before being applied to the affected areas up to twice a day. This is definitely one of those oils where a patch test is strongly recommended — tingling is normal, red skin is not.
4. Bergamot Essential Oil Is Believed To Help Post-Acne Marks Fade Faster
While it’s a popular component in many fragrances, bergamot oil has a reputation for promoting skin cell turnover, making it excellent at fading post-acne marks and speeding up the healing time after a breakout. And like lavender essential oil, bergamot can also reduce stress and anxiety that can lead to the production of sebum.
Simply take five drops of the oil mixed with about a teaspoon of your favorite carrier oil and apply to the affected area. When treating scarring, remember that consistency is key (twice a day) if you want to see results.
5. Rosemary Essential Oil Is A Popular Home Remedy For Cystic Acne
Rosemary essential oil should be a part of your collection because of its antioxidant, antimicrobial, and pain relieving properties, as well as its ability to reduce excess oil, redness, and puffiness. All of these attributes have made it a popular remedy for painful, cystic acne.
Mix five drops of rosemary with one teaspoon of a carrier oil. This can also be beefed up by adding other acne-fighting essential oils, such as tea tree oil, since blends are extra-effective at treating cystic acne.
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