Whether it's due to allergies, sensitive skin, or is simply a personal choice, there are plenty of reasons some people avoid traditional acne treatments like drying lotions, medicated ointments, and masks. The best essential oils for pimples, however, can fight off blemishes just as well — and without the addition of questionable and potentially irritating ingredients, at that.
A completely natural alternative to spot treatments that often contain harsh chemicals, essential oils boast powerful, naturally therapeutic properties and can be applied topically. Look for ones that are described as antiseptic, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory — they provide fast relief by reducing inflammation, killing bacteria, and healing the skin.
The most important thing about choosing an essential oil to fight a blemish is to have as much knowledge about the pimple itself. An aggressive pimple with fluid at the surface needs an oil with calming properties, while a stubborn cyst that needs to be brought to a head will benefit most from something stimulating.
Obviously, there’s a lot of science and chemistry that needs to be considered before choosing an essential oil to treat acne. If you're not sure, you should always consult your dermatologist or seek the advice of a certified aromatherapist for safety efficacy. For most people, however, these six essential oils are not only safe, but they're a truly effective, natural way to reduce and prevent pimples.
1To Reduce Blemishes: Tea Tree Oil
Obviously, no list of acne-fighting essential oils would be complete without tea tree oil — an ingredient that's widely adored for its naturally antibacterial, antibiotic, and antimicrobial properties. It basically acts the same way a spot treatment does, by killing germs and bacteria (including strains that are resistant to topical antibiotics), and since it's anti-inflammatory, it rapidly reduces the size of the pimple while also drying out pus. Just apply a drop onto the affected area and follow-up with your favorite moisturizer once it's dried.
2To Treat Cysts and Boils: Clove Essential Oil
With plenty of antiseptic properties, clove essential oil will literally murder the bacteria living inside your blemish. In fact, this oil is so powerful, it deserves a caution label: Since clove is incredibly stimulating, it can literally bring a boil or cyst to a head, which isn't always something you want. With an earthy, musky scent and antimicrobial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial properties, it’s an incredible natural remedy for cystic outbreaks. Instead of merely drying out the affected area, it kills all the nasty stuff that causes inflammation. Barring diet and genetics, this oil has proven incredibly effective for oily skin that’s prone to cysts and boils.
3To Fight Pimples On Oily Skin: Lemongrass Essential Oil
Stimulating to both the skin and the olfactory system, lemongrass essential oil is an awesome addition to a homemade astringent. With a citrusy scent, this fragrant grass is known for its antiseptic and antimicrobial properties that help destroy zits (it's also analgesic, which means it can help relieve pain). Use all over oily complexions to reduce and prevent the appearance of pimples while also revitalizing the skin.
4To Heal Popped Pimples: Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender essential oil is a trusted remedy of aromatherapists to stop bleeding, and its calming effects make it an ideal treatment for popped cysts, pimples, and even ingrown hairs. It's an extremely versatile ingredient — it's soothing, so it can help relieve itchiness and irritation, and it can also heal wounds by cleaning the affected area and repairing the skin. Using the oil directly on open pimples isn't recommended for newbies, however — instead, start by blending with a carrier oil (like coconut or olive oil) before applying topically.
5To Reduce Scarring: Frankincense Essential Oil
Frankincense essential oil, which has sedative properties, is one of the gentlest options on this list, making it a great option for most skin types. It can naturally heal wounds and scars, so it’s ideal for repairing zits that have been popped. It'll also provide relief from dry, irritated skin, so if you use clay masks, it's a great choice for balancing oil production and reducing inflammation. Use by adding twenty drops to two ounces of a nourishing carrier oil, and apply on damp, clean skin.
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