(Last Updated On: May 30, 2018)

A minimum of 35% of Terpinen-4-ol is an essential oil industry standard.

Yeah, not quite the talk you’d find on The Bachelor.

But that is stuff you’re gonna have to know to kill off your acne and look like the bachelorettes.

And I’m sure you know this, but for old times’ sake – Chemical treatments will kill your acne but harm you in ways essential oils won’t.

It’s a clear winner, ladies – essential oils for acne.

In case you’re worrying which essential oil to get, don’t. All you need to do is keep reading.

Not only do I reveal the best essential oils for acne; I even tell you why I selected them.

Don’t worry, I didn’t make this up. I reviewed over three dozen oils to come up with my over 10 essential oils for acne.

At A Glance: My Choices For The Best Essential Oils For Acne

First Botany Cosmeceuticals’ 100% Pure Australian Tea Tree Essential Oil. Don’t be put off by the chemical name Terpinen-4-ol. That’s just the active ingredient of tea tree oil and it has great antibiotic properties.

ArtNaturals’ Tea Tree Essential Oil. It works wonders with a face mask.

Apothecary Extracts’ Tea Tree Oil. It can be used against skin tags as well.

Ovvio Oils’ Frankincense Essential Oil (Carterii and Serrata Blend). It’s sourced from plants in Egypt and India. It reduces inflammation and is very soothing.

Essential Oil Labs’ Lavender Essential Oil. Of course, it’s very soothing. Plus, it has anti-oxidant and anti-microbial properties. It can also help with blood pressure.

Changelog of Last 3 Updates
  • May 30, 2018 – Added section – Which is the best anti-inflammatory essential oil?
  • May 30, 2018 – Added section – Is avocado oil good for acne prone skin?
  • ….
  • September 23, 2017 – Article written covering the 13 best essential oils for acne. Helichrysum and lavender oils stood the clear winner.

Tea Tree Oil Review

There have been over 300 modern medicinal studies carried out showing the anti-bacterial properties of tea tree oil.

Tea tree oil has been used for centuries in traditional medicine to cure acne. Click To Tweet

A bit of trivia: The ‘tree’ here is the Melaleuca alternifolia which is a species of tree or tall shrub endemic to Australia. So if you see the term ‘Australian Tea Tree Oil’ anywhere, know that it’s just your regular Tea Tree Oil.

For acute acne, you may add 2-3 drops (NOT MORE THAN THAT) of tea tree oil to a ball of cotton wool and apply directly on the acne site.

Otherwise, use this with a facewash or a carrier oil.

I’ve selected 3 brands of tea tree oil.

01. First Botany Cosmeceuticals’ 100% Pure Australian Tea Tree Essential Oil Review

Don’t worry, Terpinen-4-ol is just the active ingredient of tea tree oil.

It isn’t an add-on chemical.

This is steam-distilled from tea tree leaves.

One study lists Terpinen-4-ol as key to making tea tree oil a good essential oil for acne.

This product conforms to the ISO Standard for Terpinen-4-ol. So, don’t worry, you aren’t getting too much Terp.

Its odor is relatively weak but some users may be put off.

Directions

  • I’d recommend coconut oil as the best carrier for tea tree oil, especially for acne prone skin.
  • You can use it with your facewash or moisturizer as well.

What I Liked

Great anti-bacterial properties

Conforms to ISO standard for Terpinen-4-ol

Can be used with facewashes

Useful against other problems like dandruff, Athlete’s Foot etc

Comes with a stopper so you can easily control the amount

What I Didn’t Like

Odor may put some people off.

If you do get it into your eyes, rinse with water IMMEDIATELY.

If you use contact lenses, remove them before using tea tree oil.

If you keep experiencing vision changes, consult a doctor.

If you’re pregnant consult a doctor before using this.

Oral consumption (swallowing or drinking it) is a big NO.

02. ArtNaturals’ Tea Tree Essential Oil Review

This is also steam-distilled from the tree leaves.

OK, how is tea tree essential oil good for acne?

Its main ingredients are Monoterpenes, Sesquiterpenes and Oxides.

Terpinen-4-ol (remember we discussed this above) is a monoterpene alcohol.

Sesquiterpenes may be more powerful against acne than benzoyl peroxide, which is the medical benchmark.

Directions

  • I would recommend jojoba oil as a carrier.
  • You can add this essential oil (4-5 drops) to your acne face wash. Or to your facemask.
  • Do not get carried away and get it into your eyes, nose or mouth.

What I Liked

 Great anti-bacterial properties.

 Can be used with facewashes/facemasks.

 Useful against other problems like lice.

 Comes with a stopper so you can easily control the amount.

What I Didn’t Like

If you do get it into your eyes, rinse with water IMMEDIATELY

If you use contact lenses, remove them before using tea tree oil

If you keep experiencing vision changes, consult a doctor

If you’re pregnant consult a doctor before using this

Oral consumption (swallowing or drinking it) is a BIG NO-NO

03. Apothecary Extracts 100% Pure Tea Tree Oil Review

This is produced by steam-distillation of tea tree leaves.

This brand has less than 5% Cineole and more than 35% Terpinen-4-ol, which is an important industry standard.

A Gas Chromatography report proving this may be obtained on demand from the manufacturers.

Directions

  • Jojoba oil would be my recommendation for a carrier oil.
  • You can combine this with Aloe Vera gel and honey to create your own cream.
  • Aloe vera is known for stimulating collagen production, which reduces scars. So, this cream is a good essential oil-based solution for acne scars.

What I Liked

 Great anti-bacterial properties

 Can be used with facewashes or gels

 Useful against other problems like skin tags

What I Didn’t Like

 If you do get it into your eyes, rinse with water IMMEDIATELY

 If you use contact lenses, remove them before using tea tree oil

 If you keep experiencing vision changes, consult a doctor

 If you’re pregnant consult a doctor before using this

 Oral consumption (swallowing or drinking it) is a BIG NO-NO

Frankincense Essential Oil Review

Frankincense was one of the gifts The Three Wise Men gave to Jesus. Frankincense Essential Oil is known as The King of Essential Oils.

The key properties of Frankincense that will help it clear your acne are – anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, astringent and soothing.

04. Ovvio Oils’ Frankincense Essential Oil (Carterii and Serrata Blend) Review

This product combines extracts from Boswellia carterii (from Egypt) and Boswellia serrata (from India).

It contains boswellic acid which has anti-microbial properties.

It will also help with stress, anxiety, blood pressure and several other problems.

Directions

  • Many people like using Jojoba Oil as a carrier. You may even use water as a carrier.
  • You can use this product with a face wash or with a carrier oil.
  • Be very careful to not get this into your eyes. If you do, immediately rinse your eyes with water and consult a doctor.
  • There are users who advocate using 3% frankincense for your eyes but I wouldn’t suggest it.

What I Liked

Anti-inflammatory

Anti-microbial

It’s a well-known astringent essential oil which helps tone skin and shrink pores

Relaxing odor

Useful for other problems like asthma, anxiety, blood pressure etc

What I Didn’t Like

A few users report allergic reactions. If you do experience hives, a rash, difficulty breathing or swollen skin, CONSIDER IT A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. 

Frankincense oil has a blood-thinning property. If you are scheduled for surgery please stop taking it and report it to the doctor concerned

Lavender Essential Oil Review

So…what makes lavender EO such a good anti-acne essential oil?

Who hasn’t heard of Lavender’s soothing quality?

Reduced stress prevents acne.

Lavender oil also has anti-bacterial and anti-oxidant properties.

05. Essential Oil Labs’ Lavender Essential Oil Review

The Lavandula angustifolia (English Lavender) plant is steam-distilled to get this oil.

The plants are sourced from a sustainable farm in Bulgaria.

It comes with a stopper so I could pour myself a few drops without spilling.

This product can also help relieve tension, relieve pain and help blood circulation.

Directions

  • Coconut oil is a good choice of a carrier oil for Lavender oil.
  • It may be used with a face wash of your choice.
  • As always, do not get carried away by the soothing scent and apply it directly to your skin or try to consume it.

What I Liked

 Relieves stress and reduces sebum production

 Anti-bacterial property

 Antioxidant property can also help reduce acne

 Can also be used to treat hair loss (Alopecia areata) and canker sores

What I Didn’t Like

 A few users report irritation of skin

 If consumed orally will lead to constipation and headaches

 Keep out of the reach of pre-pubescent children because it will affect their hormonal activity

 It is reported to slow down the Central Nervous System so stop using if you will undergo a surgery and also report it to the doctor

06. First Botany Cosmeuticals’ Kashmiri Lavender Essential Oil Review

Commercially available lavender oil tends to be from Bulgaria, Hungary and France.

Kashmiri lavender oil is less popular as far as commercial production is concerned.

However according to at least one study lavender oil sourced from Kashmir is as good as (if not better than) the more popular choices like English, French and so on.

As far as acne is concerned, this hits the mark. I feel that almost every user will agree it’s good at ridding you of acne.

It’s also good for soothing headaches, skin care and so on.

On the aroma however people are more likely to agree to disagree. I personally think it’s just right; some users however may find it too weak.

Directions

  • For acute acne, you may apply 2-3 drops directly on the affected area.
  • Otherwise, dilute it in a carrier like jojoba oil. Mix 5 drops of lavender oil in a cup of jojoba oil.
  • For acute headache/stress, likewise, you may apply 1-2 drops directly on your temples, wrists, ball and sole of your feet and your nose (to get the aroma mainly).
  • Otherwise use it in a diffuser (5-10 drops) or in a warm bath (again 5-10 drops). Increase or decrease the amount as per your requirement.

What I Liked

 Good for acne.

 Kashmir Lavender is at least as good as other kinds of lavender oil commercially available.

 Good for soothing stress and headaches.

 Can be used as an insect repellent.

What I Didn’t Like

 Some people may have liked a stronger aroma.

Rosemary Essential Oil Review

Rosemary oil is mainly discussed in kitchen talk, to make salads and so on.

But Rosemary Essential Oil has anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and astringent properties which prevent acne. It also has an antiseptic property that can reduce acne.

07. Maple Holistics’ Rosemary Essential Oil Review

It is made by steam-distilling the Rosemary officinalis.

For those in the know, this is probably of the gentler ‘Verbenone’ chemotype hence its herbal scent.

Speaking of scents, rosemary oil typically has a powerful scent.

The scent is pleasant, kind of woody, but strong. If you don’t like a strong scent this may not a good choice for you.

Apart from acne, this oil can prove useful in hair care. It can help you deal with baldness and itchy scalp.

It comes with a stopper so you can easily avoid wastage.

Directions

  • This essential oil is quite potent and I’d recommend you dilute it in a carrier always.
  • For acne, use jojoba oil as a carrier. Mix 5-10 drops of rosemary oil in a cup of jojoba oil.
  • Decide the exact number of drops as your temperament; that is, use only as much as does not cause any unpleasant sensation on your skin.
  • For hair loss, you can use olive oil as a carrier.
  • You can also use it to make your own bath bomb.

What I Liked

 Anti-Inflammatory

 Anti-oxidant

 Astringent

 Antiseptic

 Can be used with shampoos to encourage hair growth and reverse dry scalp

What I Didn’t Like

 Some users may be put off by its scent.

 If you mistakenly swallow it call 911. Oral consumption can cause kidney damage, convulsions or even death.

 It may cause dermatitis.

 If you are allergic to it you may experience an asthma attack.

Peppermint Essential Oil Review

Peppermint oil has anti-inflammatory (due to the cooling effect of menthol) and a weak anti-bacterial property.

Uniquely, peppermint oil inhibits production of a hormone called 5-alpha reductase. Reduced production of that hormone hampers sebum production, preventing acne.

08. Essential Oil Labs’ Peppermint Essential Oil Review

It’s good for dealing with acne but be sure to not use too much.

The ‘cooling’ sensation you feel from peppermint essential oil can easily become sensitizing if you use too much of it.

That will hurt your acne breakouts even more.

That ‘cooling sensation’ can also help relax muscles, give relief from inflamed sinuses and act as an energizer.

It’s also the sharp cool fragrance that makes it such a good bug repellent.

Directions

  • If you have acne, I’d suggest not applying peppermint essential oil directly.
  • Mix equal parts of Vitamin E oil and jojoba oil in a cup. This is the base.
  • In the base put 3-8 drops of peppermint oil.
  • For sinuses and cold I’d recommend diffusing the oil.
  • For muscle ache and so on, you can use sweet almond oil as the carrier.

What I Liked

 Anti-inflammatory.

 Anti-bacterial.

 Relieves stress.

 Helps conditions like indigestion, headache etc. Can be used to repel bugs.

What I Didn’t Like

 If you use too much you may experience an unpleasant sensation on your skin.

 Some users report allergic reactions like flushing.

Helichrysum Essential Oil Review

Steam-distilled from the ‘Everlasting Plant’, Helichrysum oil is very effective at reducing acne.

It is astringent, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and anti-oxidant.

Helichrysum has a high concentration of diketones which are effective in reducing acne.

09. First Botany Cosmeceuticals’ Helichrysum Essential Oil Review

First let’s talk about the scent.

Helichrysum essential oil typically has a strongish fruit-like or herbaceous scent.

While I like the scent in this essential oil from First Botany, some users may have preferred a stronger scent.

Coming to its utility against acne, I think almost all users will agree it’s good against acne.

It may take some time to show results but you will get relief from acne for sure.

This product can help with other problems like arthritis (for arthritis use it with lavender oil using coconut oil as a carrier).

Directions

  • I would recommend coconut oil or sweet almond oil as carrier oils.
  • If you’re using almond oil, it’s better to make sure you aren’t allergic to almonds.
  • The wise folks over at the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology warn that it is possible for skin contact to lead to an anaphylactic attack.

What I Liked

 Astringent.

 Anti-inflammatory.

 Anti-microbial.

 Anti-oxidant.

 High concentration of diketones heals acne scars without harming skin.

 Also good at managing arthritis pain.

What I Didn’t Like

 Don’t use directly!

 The fragrance may be weaker than what some users expect.

Lily Flower Essential Oil Review

Lily Flower Essential Oil is astringent and anti-inflammatory. Click To Tweet

Lily flower oil is also very good at healing scars without being too harsh on your skin. As I will explain later, this is important in saying bye bye to acne.

10. BioFinest’s Lily Flower Oil Review


So, how good is BioFinest’s lily flower essential oil for acne?

Quite good, as it turns out.

  • It can moisturize your skin without making it too oily.
  • It can heal scars without being harsh on your skin.

Both are important for seeing off acne.

Apart from acne it’s known for being a good moisturizer. Especially if you have dried cuticles.

Lily flower essential oil will also come in handy if you have bags under your eyes.

Finally, it also works as a fabric softener.

Directions

  • Calendula oil is a good carrier. Lily essential oil is very potent so mix 2-5 drops in a cup of calendula oil.
  • Lily flower oil has an enjoyable floral scent and is a good candidate for diffusion.

What I Liked

 Astringent

 Anti-Inflammatory

 Heals acne scars

 Can also be used deal with dry cuticles, baggy eyes and as a fabric softener.

What I Didn’t Like

 Do not use this if you are pregnant or lactating

 Better to avoid if you are using beta blockers

 Stop using if you get a headache

Cypress Essential Oil Review

Steam-distilled from the Cupressus sempervirens, Cypress Essential Oil is astringent, anti-microbial, anti-oxidant and stress-relieving.

It is a diuretic so it helps your body flush out toxins, which helps control and prevent acne.

11. Plant Therapy’s Cypress Essential Oil Review

Each batch is GCMS (Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry) and organoleptically tested.

So, how is cypress essential oil good for acne?

Well, it reduces inflammation and calms down your skin which would be welcome relief if you’ve got outbreaks.

Apart from acne, what other benefit can cypress essential oil provide?

Well, for one, it is a good sedative, that is it will help you overcome stress and relax.

Also, believe it or not, topical use of cypress essential oil may also help you deal with varicose veins.

Directions

  • I’d recommend fractionated coconut oil for a carrier for acne.
  • If you want to use it for issues like varicose veins use sweet almond oil or olive oil as carrier.
  • If you want to relax, diffuse it.

What I Liked

 Anti-inflammatory.

 Astringent.

 Anti-microbial.

 Anti-oxidant.

 Stress-relieving.

 Flushes out toxins.

What I Didn’t Like

 Don’t use if you are pregnant

 May irritate sensitive skin. Do a patch test before starting a cypress regimen

Lemon Essential Oil Review

It is anti-microbial, anti-oxidant and exfoliant.

12. Plant Therapy’s USDA certified Organic Lemon Essential Oil Review

It is cold-pressed from the lemon fruit peel.

So, how does lemon essential oil help with acne?

It has effective antioxidants.

Antioxidants can retard the growth of lesions and scars.

That means this essential oil is good for acne scars.

What other benefits may lemon essential oil offer?

Sinus problems occur when your sinuses get inflamed.

Lemon essential oil is anti-inflammatory. So it stands to reason lemon essential oil can help with sinusitis.

The oil is also very hydrating making it good for your skin in general.

However there is a catch. Lemon essential oil is known to be phototoxic.

So if you apply it on your skin, you’d be well-advised to avoid sun exposure for a couple of hours.

It goes without saying that you should apply it diluted in a carrier.

It has some p-Cymene content but not too high.

But you should be careful to store this in a dark place to prevent further p-Cymene production.

More on this later.

Directions

  • For acne you can stick with jojoba oil as a carrier.
  • For sinuses I’d recommend using olive oil.
  • Coconut oil is also good as a carrier.
  • Try to limit sun exposure after applying lemon essential oil. Remember to use sunscreen.
  • It’s got a strong scent and suitable for diffusing.

What I Liked

 Anti-microbial.

 Anti-oxidant.

 Exfoliant.

 Anti-inflammatory.

 Also good for dealing with sinusitis, maintaining skin health and in laundry.

What I Didn’t Like

 It can cause photosensitivity. So DILUTE IT TO A CONCENTRATION OF NOT MORE THAN 2% before topical use. Also better to avoid sunlight after you use it.

Sweet Orange Essential Oil Review

Its key acne-fighting properties are anti-microbial, anti-oxidant (due to high limonene content), anti-inflammatory and stress-relieving.

13. Plant Therapy’s USDA certified Organic Sweet Orange Essential Oil Review


The oil is cold-pressed from the fruit peel.

So, how is sweet orange essential oil good for acne?

Well, the peel has long been used to relieve acne by just rubbing on the affected area.

The powerful anti-inflammatory property of sweet orange essential oil is a big deal because of growing evidence that inflammation is a key component of acne.

How else can sweet orange essential oil be beneficial?

If you peel an orange, you will notice a naturally sweet aroma.

That’s no fluke; that’s the aroma of the essential oil.

Generally the essential oil, being concentrated, yields a stronger scent than if you just peel an orange which may not be to your liking.

However I feel this particular offering from Plant Therapy has a nice scent that should be relaxing and not irritating.

Apart from that it’s good for skin health in general. At the very least it will moisturize your skin well.

You can use it with Epsom salt, baking soda and so on to make your own bath bomb.

Directions

  • For acne I would go with jojoba oil as a carrier. Mix 2-6 drops of sweet orange essential oil in a cup of jojoba oil.
  • For skin in general you can use hemp seed oil as carrier. You can add Epsom salt as well and apply on your skin.
  • This is a good candidate for diffusion although some users may feel the fragrance dissipating too fast.

What I Liked

 Anti-microbial.

 Antioxidant.

 Anti-inflammatory.

 Stress-relieving.

 Can improve skin health and help you relax.

What I Didn’t Like

 May be irritable to certain skin types. Always do a patch test before starting on a regimen.

 Being a citrus oil it’s phototoxic. While you’re using this, limit sun exposure for, say, 2 hours after application and always use sunscreen.

So how do Essential Oils cure our acne?

Well, acne is caused by your pores getting blocked. Oil and something called sebum clog your pores.

The clogged pores create an environment where acne-causing bacteria can thrive.

Acne sites also experience inflammation.

You will remember how I kept talking about the oils having properties like astringent, anti-inflammatory and so on.

Well, this is the 411 of why those properties are so crucial.

An anti-bacterial property will kill off acne-causing bacteria directly.

An anti-inflammatory property will reduce inflammation typical to acne sites.

An astringent property will tone your skin, shrinking your pores and reducing space for acne-causing bacteria to grow.

Sebum-producing cells have stress-receptive receptors. A soothing property would reduce stress and reduce sebum production.

An anti-oxidant property probably helps reduce acne by destroying free radicals which help acne develop.

Acne tends to leave behind scars even after it has been eliminated. So we’ll also be looking at scar-healing.

Exfoliant so there will be no dead skin cells accumulated on your skin to cause acne.

Well that was a looong list…

Yeah, it was, and you know I won’t leave you hanging.

Of course, you’re free to choose any oil you want but I’d suggest you start out with

ArtNaturals’ Tea Tree Essential Oil
There have been over 300 modern medicinal studies carried out showing the anti-bacterial properties of tea tree oil.

It is rich in sesquiterpenes, which are thought to be more effective against acne than even benzoyl peroxide.

It should not be sensitizing for you.

It doesn’t stain clothes.

Generally speaking it’s helpful for skin and hair care. It can prove effective against various issues like eczema and dandruff.

It can also be used to repel bugs.

How can you best use it?

For acute acne, put 4-6 drops of tea tree oil on a cotton pad or swab and apply directly to the affected area.

Otherwise mix 5-10 drops of the tea tree essential oil with one cup of jojoba oil (carrier) and apply the mixture.

If you like another oil better try mixing your choice with 3-4 drops of tea tree oil to make your own acne essential oil blend.

I think the blend will yield better results than the single oil.

For dandruff mix 4-8 drops of tea tree oil with your shampoo.

To repel bugs, mix

  • Equal parts of water and witch hazel (the mixture will be the total amount of spray so measure accordingly).
  • Add 15-20 drops of tea tree oil in that.
  • Put the entire thing in a spray bottle.

 

Other than topical application is there any other way essential oils can help with acne?

Indirectly, yes.

It turns out that stress and lack of sleep increases sebum production…which of course leads to acne.

So, in addition to topical treatment, you can try diffusing relaxing essential oils like lavender oil or sweet orange oil to relax and try to sleep.

For an all-day experience, you can use lava beads.

 

Is avocado oil good for acne?

Avocado oil is moisturizing, can stimulate collagen synthesis and may reduce inflammation.

Moisturizing will be useful if the natural moisturizer called sebum is excessively reduced while dealing with acne; collagen synthesis helps remove acne scars and the anti-inflammatory property can soothe the inflammation acne causes.

So it may seem avocado oil is a good choice for acne prone skin.

However, with acne, you should always consider the effect on pores and that is where avocado oil falls short, in my view.

Avocado oil being comedogenic (can clog pores) is not a good choice for acne prone skin. Click To Tweet

 

You promised a list of what NOT to do with essential oils…

  1. All the oils discussed here are undiluted oils. Undiluted essential oils are extremely strong. ON NO ACCOUNT SHOULD YOU USE UNDILUTED ESSENTIAL OILS WITHOUT A CARRIER!
  2. For your skin, you may take at most 8-10 drops and massage them all over. However, it’s always better to dilute essential oils in a carrier or a facewash.
  3. Never drink these oils or get them into your eyes, nose or ears.
  4. Essential oils are extremely reactive to sunlight. Left exposed to sunlight, they may start forming p-Cymene (para-Cymene). That makes skin itch. So essential oils should be stored in dark bottles away from sunlight.

 

Which is the best anti-inflammatory essential oil?

There is no one ‘best anti-inflammatory essential oil’.

Essential oils that are anti-inflammatory generally work best against specific kinds of inflammation.

For example Rosemary EO suppresses Propionibacterium acnes (acne bacteria)-induced inflammation.

On the other hand an essential oil-based mouthwash was found to be very effective against gingival inflammation. So, anti-inflammatory depends on what kind of inflammation you’re dealing with.

 

Which is the best carrier oil for acne?

This is another of those questions there’s no one answer to.

In my opinion, when you choose a carrier oil for acne-prone skin, you should focus on two issues

Its effect on sebum.

How well it acts as a carrier.

This article in Cosmopolitan quotes GP Rabia Malik as saying that Jojoba oil is light and has a molecular structure very similar to sebum.

It also helps the essential oil penetrate deep into skin.

That makes it the best carrier oil for acne prone skin.

Here endeth the lesson of acne and essential oils!

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