There’s a lot of talk about the purported benefits of essential oils but are they, well, essential when it comes to your skin care concerns? You’re likely familiar with aromatherapy, but there are also essential oil uses that are recommended as part of your skin care routine. For example, you may have heard that essential oils for acne can work magic on your skin. But, let’s get real…do they really work? We’re not here to spread rumors—only the facts—so it’s time to dive into whether or not essential oils can do anything for acne.
DO ESSENTIAL OILS WORK FOR ACNE?
Let’s cut to the chase—do essential oils work for acne? The short answer is yes! The longer answer is, it all depends on the essential oil in question. Curious as to which essential oils could work on acne-prone skin? Below, we’re sharing four essential oils for acne.
ESSENTIAL OIL #1: TEA TREE OIL
One of the most talked about essential oils for acne-prone skin is tea tree oil—also known as melaleuca oil—which comes from steaming the leaves of the Australian tea tree, according to the Mayo Clinic. In fact, a study from the International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents found evidence that suggests over-the-counter acne treatments formulated with tea tree oil are a common choice amongst those self-treating their acne.
So, why is this essential oil so popular? Well, per the Mayo Clinic, topical application of tea tree oil is believed to be antibacterial, leading it to be a trending ingredient for acne products. However, it’s important to keep in mind that tea tree oil takes longer to work on acne than other popular alternatives like benzoyl peroxide, per the American Academy of Dermatology, and that some individuals can become allergic to the oil.
ESSENTIAL OIL #2: ROSEMARY OIL
Aside from tea tree oil, rosemary oil may also help in isolated incidents of an acne breakout. A study from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) found that applying rosemary essential oil to Propionibacterium acnes severely diminished the length, width, and height of the bacteria. So, topical application of rosemary oil could help with the appearance of your acne!
ESSENTIAL OIL #3: LAVENDER OIL
Love the smell of lavender? You’re in luck, because this essential oil can be used to help with the appearance of acne—though not in the way you would think. Increased stress factors—including lack of sleep and a proper diet—could be a factor in the development of acne breakouts and their severity, per a study from the NIH. This is where lavender essential oils come into play. Inhaling lavender has been shown to have a relaxing effect, according to a study from the NIH, which could help calm and soothe your senses when stress levels are running high. See the connection?
Editor’s tip: Looking for other ways to keep your stress levels low? Consider trying 10 Yoga Poses to De-Stress with This Weekend.
ESSENTIAL OIL #4: CLARY SAGE OIL
Last but not least, clary sage oil can also keep your mood in check. A study from the National Center of Biotechnological Information (NCBI) found that clary sage oil has a calmative effect, meaning it may very well help when stressful circumstances are presenting in your life.
WHAT ABOUT ESSENTIAL OILS FOR DRY SKIN?
Acne isn’t the only skin issue that essential oils have been used to help with. There’s also talk of essential oils being beneficial for soothing parched skin. Sound too good to be true? Here’s the scoop on essential oils for dry skin: the NCBI lists cassie, frankincense, elemi, and neroli among essential oils that are used to help with dry skin.
HOW TO USE ESSENTIAL OILS FOR SKIN
If you’ve decided to use essential oils in your skin care routine, there’s something important you should know: To use essential oils topically, you can use skin care products formulated with the oils or apply diluted oils to your skin. Essential oils that haven’t been diluted are not meant to go directly on your skin and could be unsafe.