Should I Use Essential Oils for Acne?

Due to the current rise in interest in natural medicines and holistic healing options, essential oils have become super popular and, honestly, kind of trendy. If you hop on Pinterest, you will probably see a half-dozen posts about the powers of essential oils in every category you click, especially if you pop onto the beauty or health sections.

Even skincare companies are hopping on the essential oil bandwagon, adding in natural ingredients and oils to help sell their products to those looking to bypass harmful additives and carcinogens. No matter where you shop or what sites you choose to scroll through, you will, at some point see some information on essential oils.

Should I Use Essential Oils for Acne?

Are Essential Oils Good for Acne

Seriously, you can even grab them at Walmart on your late night ice cream run. They are everywhere.

The recent surge of popularity may cause you to wonder if essential oils are just another trendy, meritless health fad or if there is some weight to their usage. The answer is a bit of a yes and a no.

Many essential oils have incredible benefits, especially in helping with skin issues, but do not live up to the hype that many social media influencers and multi-level market salespeople place on them. Essential oils are not miracle problem solvers that will replace every step of your daily routine.

They cannot fix every single health concern and may not work for you at all. What they are, though, is a powerful tool that, when used correctly and safely, can potentially give some great benefits to your skin and body.

5 Best Essential Oils to Use for Acne

Oregano Essential Oil

If you like Italian food, chances are you are a fan of oregano. The green stuff appears in countless sauce and soup recipes globally and is a bit of a kitchen staple in many homes. If you crave clear skin just as much as you crave spaghetti, you may want to give oregano oil a spin.

A natural antiseptic and antibacterial agent, oregano oil can wipe out any germs hiding on your skin before they cause irritation, making it a great spot treatment for acne. To use it, mix a few drops into a bit of your choice of carrier oil.

Carrier oils are base oils that dilute stronger essential oils to make them safe for topical usage. Some essential oils can be irritating if you use them undiluted and can even burn your skin so it is important to always use a carrier oil when directed. Sweet almond, jojoba, coconut, and olive oils are all fantastic carrier oil options that are wallet friendly and beneficial for your skin.

Pick your favorite carrier, mix in a few drops of oregano oil, then apply it with a cotton pad or swab to any stubborn zits and let it soak in. Oregano oil is pretty awesome, just be sure to stick to the plant version for cooking. Most essential oils are not safe to eat or drink and can cause some pretty serious health issues and discomfort; save the oils for your skin!

Tea Tree Essential Oil

One of the most popular and widely used essential oils is tea tree oil. From scalp cleansing to piercing care, people seriously love this stuff. Tea tree oil is an amazing spot treatment due to its antimicrobial, antibacterial, and antibiotic properties.

It is said to even be able to help fight off topical antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria, making it a super choice for those more stubborn breakouts. Like oregano oil, tea tree can cause irritation if used directly on the skin and should be mixed with a carrier oil.

This stuff is extremely strong and dries out pus and oil around zits so be sure to moisturize well after using it to keep your skin healthy. Redness is common with tea tree oil, as is mild stinging when used as a spot treatment, especially on cystic acne spots, but if you experience intense discomfort or persistent symptoms, discontinue use.

Some people are allergic to tea tree oil so be sure to patch test twenty-four hours before you use it on your face, too.

Though only laser treatment can fully remove acne scarring, there are tons of products that can reduce the appearance, size, and depth of the breakout remnants. Like any scar, keeping the skin around the trouble area moisturized and soothed is key in promoting healing and lightning.

Oils like lavender, frankincense, chamomile, and myrrh are all known to improve the appearance of scarring. As an added bonus, those same oils all help aid in cell regeneration, making them awesome for everyday topical skin use.

Many people use rosehip or jojoba oil as the carrier oil to help with acne scarring due to their nutrient rich and emollient nature, too, for an added double layer of beneficial goodness. Just mix in some of the essential oil and use it as you would any moisturizer or lotion. This blend is also quite good for stretch marks or other scars, too!

For clogged pores and the resulting breakouts, you need to treat your skin for bacterial invaders. When your pores are clogged with dead skin and sebum, they quickly become a breeding ground for bacteria. When germs like Propionibacterium acnes begin to wiggle their way into your skin, you will begin to break out.

These types of bacterial acne spots spread quickly and can be painful and red due to your body’s inflammatory response to the bacteria’s presence. In a laboratory study, patients who suffer from acne based around bacterial sourcing found great results using a selection of oils including thyme, cinnamon, rose, and rosemary.

All of these oils offer anti inflammatory and antibacterial benefits, helping squelch breakouts and soothe sore, irritated skin.

Rosemary Essential Oil

Rosemary oil, especially, is an amazing product to have on hand in case of a sudden breakout. A popular herb worldwide, rosemary has been used for centuries in cooking and medicine. Said to soothe digestive issues, improve memory and cognitive function, and relieve aches and pains, rosemary oil is a powerful anti inflammatory.

Since inflammation is a big part of why acne is such a pain, having a selection of helpers to take down redness and discomfort is key in treatment. As a pair of added bonuses, rosemary oil also can help reduce oil production which aids in preventing clogged pores and the spread of bacteria, as well as improve circulation which can help reduce the appearance of acne scarring and help heal existing bumps.

Mix with a carrier oil to use and apply regularly for a gentle, effective acne treatment.

Bergamot Essential Oil

Commonly used in fragrances and candles, bergamot oil has a bright, citrusy aroma that is super appealing and invigorating. An anti inflammatory like many other acne treating oils, bergamot also has the added benefit of being a great mixing oil.

Creating a blend of essential oils allows you to target specific skin care concerns in one move, eliminating the need for multiple complicated steps while travelling or on the go. Just mix your selected oils, add in some bergamot for added anti inflammatory goodness, then add a carrier oil to make it skin friendly.

Use it as you would any other oil blend! Some good options are bergamot, lavender, and rose for a great smelling acne scar lightening blend or bergamot and tea tree for a powerful spot treatment.

Clary Sage Essential Oil

Clary sage is a lesser known but still amazing essential oil for acne fighting. A lighter oil, clary sage is more skin friendly than tea tree and oregano, making it a better choice for those with sensitive skin. It should still be mixed with a carrier oil but runs less risk of being irritating or overly drying.

Clary sage carries all of the anti inflammatory benefits of other essential oils while also offering a potential solution to hormonal acne sufferers. When you are stressed or your body feels unhealthy, you produce a hormone called cortisol.

Cortisol causes dermal redness and irritation and is believed to have direct ties to those who suffer from hormonal acne. When used topically, clary sage oil can help to reduce the levels of cortisol within the body by up to thirty-six percent!

When mixed with other antibacterial oils like juniper berry, it can create a powerful yet soothing blend that is both fragrant and relaxing while also being effective.


Essential oils are an amazing asset to have in the battle for clear skin. From anti inflammatory treatments to skin softening emulsions, these oils can really help clear up bumps and scarring. As an added bonus, many of them smell pretty great too, giving a little bit of perfumery to your skin care time.

Be sure to always use a carrier oil unless explicitly told otherwise by a medical professional for your safety and research any interaction possibilities before creating your own blends. If you love natural skincare, essential oils very well may change your life… or at the very least your skin!