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The Best Essential Oils for Acne

Acne... the one thing in the world we all wish did not exist. Unfortunately, it is a part of life that can be difficult to control without the proper understanding of how the skin works, and how to treat the problem. What we need to remember is that acne is a normal bodily function, that millions of people around the world deal with.

With no thanks to social media and advertising, we are made to believe that acne is this unattractive, dirty, and uncommon irritation that appears on the faces of people with poor hygiene. Well, let me be the first one to tell you that this is not the case. It is normal to have breakouts.

Most people experience it throughout their lives, whether it's because of puberty, pregnancy, hormonal changes, environment changes, dietary changes, or simply just stress.

I am going to assume that the reason why you are reading this article is that you are struggling with acne and it is starting to affect your confidence. I understand this completely as I struggled with horrible hormonal acne several years ago. It completely took over my life, and how I interacted with people.

At the time, I was living in a different country and had just started a new job. I did not want to make friends, hang out with anyone at lunch, go out after work, or leave my house on weekends -- all because I did not want the people around me to see the breakouts that had taken over my cheeks. Feeling insecure is extremely tough to overcome, especially when your insecurities are exposed and open for the world to see. 

How to Manage Your Acne

Acne is a skin irritation that opens up a confusing world of treatments, contrasting information, and various opinions. Some people claim that there is one secret product with super-acne-fighting powers that will clear up your skin on the first day. Well, as amazing as that sounds, it simply is not true for everyone.

Did you know that the average time it takes for skin to replenish itself is around 28 days? What this means is that if you start using a new product on your skin, it will take a minimum of 28 days to see any sort of results.

Many skin experts recommend trying out a product for three whole months before making conclusions about them. Everyone's skin situation is completely different and must be treated uniquely to the individual. That being said, there are definitely actions you can take to reduce the inflammation of the skin, treat scars, and decrease the oil production of the skin which causes breakouts.

One of the things I wanted to avoid when I was struggling with acne, was paying to go see a dermatologist. This is something that can be very expensive, and from stories, I have heard, sometimes not effective. Just like any health concern, it can take time to find the right treatment for your unique case, so if you do not have health coverage, repeatedly paying for a doctor's appointment to try out different prescription medications can be tough on the wallet.

I do believe that dermatologists have incredible knowledge about the skin and specific treatments for unique cases. However, if you are not in a financial position to pay for one, you may want to consider trying out more natural and affordable solutions to see if they can help relieve the overall inflammation of your skin.

Essential oils have been studied and researched to see whether their properties can have a positive effect on treating acne breakouts. I have outlined some of the best essential oils for acne in the rest of the article. 

How to Use Essential Oils for Treating Acne

It is important to first discuss how essential oil for acne should be used. Essential oils are potent and powerful. They should not, under any circumstance, be used directly on the skin without a carrier oil to dilute them, or a tool to lessen the intensity of the oil. The following application processes are safe for an essential oil to be used on the skin if done correctly.

Topical Application

Essential oils can be used topically. However, they should always be diluted first. An easy way to do this is to mix about 2-3 drops of the essential oil, with around 10-12 drops of a carrier oil. A great carrier oil to use for the face is jojoba oil. Jojoba oil has properties in it that mimic the properties of sebum (the natural oil found in our skin). What this means is that your skin will already be familiar with the properties of jojoba oil therefore, not throwing off your skin cycle. The compounds of jojoba oil are non-comedogenic, which means that it will not clog your pores and cause acne breakouts.

Spot Treating

Spot treating pimples can be effective with essential oils for acne-prone skin. Listed below will be my recommendations of which essential oils can be safely used for spot treatment. When spot treating pimples with essential oils, the safest way to do so would be to mix 1 drop of the essential oil, with 3 drops of the carrier oil, and dip a cotton swab into the mixture, to then apply to the area of the skin. Skin irritation can occur if essential oils are used without diluting them first. It is always important to test the mixture on a patch of your skin (like arm or hand) before applying it to your face to ensure no irritation will occur.

Steam Facials

This is my favorite way to use essential oils for my breakouts! Treat yourself to a steam facial. A great way to do this is to boil water and pour it in a bowl with a couple of drops of your desired essential oil. Place your face about six inches away from the water, and let the steam penetrate and hydrate the skin. To intensify the experience, cover the bowl of hot water with a towel, and then put your head underneath the towel to trap the steam from escaping. 

Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil (TT) is probably one of the most popular essential oils for treating acne. Many studies have been done to experiment with the idea that tea tree oil could cure acne. I am here to tell you that it is not going to be your secret cure-all product to clear your skin, however, there is research to suggest that it can definitely help to improve it.

TT oil has been known for its antimicrobial and antibacterial properties, which is why spot treating with a diluted version of TT oil could be helpful in clearing up acne breakouts from oily skin. TT essential oil can be drying to the skin, which is rumored to also help reduce blemishes on the skin. Like other acne spot-treatments, TT oil can help dry out the breakout if you have oily skin, and kill the bacteria causing the inflammation.

This essential oil can act as a substitute for over-the-counter treatments like salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide if you are sensitive to these ingredients. TT oil will not be as effective as salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide, however, you may see some results from using it as a spot treatment. 


Frankincense essential oil has been nicknamed the "King of Oils" for the skin. Frankincense has been known for its skin-tightening, cell regenerative, and antibacterial properties. Boswellic acid is an active ingredient found in Frankincense, which has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties. Anti-inflammatory ingredients are very helpful when treating acne since acne is an inflammatory response from the body reacting to an infection or bacteria.

Another great benefit of Frankincense, and probably the most promising result of using Frankincense essential oil, is its ability to help reduce the appearance of scars. Spot treating your scars with Frankincense oil consistently may show results as soon as 1 month after continued use. Dilute this essential oil with a carrier oil like jojoba, and gently rub it into the area you wish to treat. 


Something incredibly important to bring up is the effect that stress has on the skin. Stress can be extremely damaging to the skin. Trust me when I say that stress makes your breakouts worse. It's very difficult to not stress about the condition of your skin, but stressing about it will wreak havoc on your face. Being conscious of your stress levels will be beneficial to treat your skin.

One of the best essential oils for acne would be lavender... and not for topical application -- but to ease your stress. This is major! Your mind-set is so important when it comes to taking care of yourself. Use lavender oil in your diffuser to relieve your stress, calm down, and get a good night's sleep. Believe me, once you stop stressing about your skin, it will start to get better. Sometimes by doing less, you're doing more. 

Remember, Your Acne Does Not Define You 

If I could make any sort of impact with this article, I hope you are at least able to take away this. Your acne does not define you. You are not loved for what appears on your face, but what projects from within you. As much of a burden having skin troubles can be, it is so important to know that you are your own worst critic!

You will always be hypersensitive to the blemishes on your face because you will think that they are the only thing people are looking at. Guess what? That is not the case. Your peers will be looking at the distinguishing features of your face, like your eyes, mouth, and nose... not the condition of your skin. And if they are, who cares! Just like how you are sitting there worried about what they think of your blemishes, they are probably doing the same about themselves. Oftentimes people are more worried about themselves than the people they are talking too... it's a selfish reality of our world.

Try not to stress about your skin. Your breakouts will come and go, but what remains the same is the incredible person that you are. If you have acne-prone skin, there are actions you can take to reduce the overall inflammation of your breakouts. As important as it is to be gentle with your face, it is also just as important to be gentle with yourself. Your perspective about your breakouts is a thousand times worse than the way others see it. It is always good to get a doctor's opinion about what could be causing your breakouts. It could be as simple as stress -- or as complicated as imbalanced hormones. If your acne-prone skin is causing you to feel self-conscious, isolated, or depressed, it would be in your best interest to get a professional opinion about steps you can take to treat your breakouts. 


What essential oil is good for acne?

Tea Tree oil is one of the best essential oils for acne. It is known for its antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties. TT essential oil is a great go-to spot treatment to dry out and reduce the overall inflammation of a pimple. TT oil should not be used all over the face, or without diluting it first. Irritation can occur if TT oil is not diluted before application.

Does tea tree oil help acne scars?

Tea Tree essential oil may help with scars, however, an oil like frankincense essential oil will be the best option to help reduce the appearance of scars. Frankincense oil can help lighten hyperpigmentation left behind from breakouts.

How to use essential oils for the skin?

You should always dilute your essential oils with a carrier oil like jojoba oil before applying them to your skin. Ensure the oils you are using are 100% pure to ensure quality and effectiveness. Steam penetration is also an effective way to use essential oils for treating breakouts. 

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