Acne & Oils

Acne is one of the top three reasons why people seek the help of a dermatologist.

Acne is graded into four levels of severity:

  • Mild - usually includes comedones with a few mild pustules.
  • Moderate - many comedones and pustules with a few small nodules but no scarring.
  • Severe - many pustules and nodules with marked inflammation and scarring.
  • Very Severe - also includes sinus tracts with many deeply located nodules.

For essential oils to be effective against acne, they need to have antiseptic, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, citratrisant, keratolytic, and antiscarring properties.  (Keratolytic agents help remove the hardened comedone)


"Treating acne tissue with helichrysum in dilution has proven more effective than the use of any other essential oil."

-Jeanne Rose, The Aromatherapy Book: Applications & Inhalations


Copaiba has shown promise to treat acne.  In a placebo-controlled study, 10 volunteers applied a copaiba 1% gel (1% essential oil, 99% carrier oil) twice a day for 21 days.  There was a significant reduction in acne where the copaiba was applied. (Buckle, 272)

Another study was a controlled study on 28 volunteers with acne.  Treatment was daily for 8 weeks using orange (citrus sinensis) and basil (ocimum basilicum).  The result was a 43% to 75% reduction in lesions. (Buckle, 272)

According to Davis the most helpful oils include Lavender and Tea Tree which are both bactericidal.  Lavender is soothing and healing and promotes the growth of healthy new skin.

Davis also states that the condition may appear to get worse initially but encourages you to continue treatment for possibly many weeks or even months.

This article: Using Essential Oils to Treat Acne recommends LavenderTea Tree and Lemongrass as good essential oils to use for acne.

This article: Use Essential Oils for a Natural Acne Remedy recommends lavender, geraniumsandalwood, jasmine, lemonpatchoulichamomilerosewood and eucalyptus to help with acne control.

This article: Essential Oils to Help Combat Acne and Scarring highlights BergamotLavender and Tea Tree.

Oils for Acne: Helichrysum, Tea TreeGerman ChamomileJuniperLavenderClarifyCedarwoodCloveEucalyptus RadiataFrankincenseResistanceLemonLemongrassPatchouli, CleanseBreezeRosemarySpearmintThyme, Vetiver
Application ideas: Apply oil of choice on location.
Carrier oils that help with acne and scarring are AvocadoJojoba, Rosehip Seed

Useful Recipes:

Acne Mask

Dry Mask Mixture - keep in a jar, ready to combine later.

    • 2 oz Green Clay
    • 3 teaspoons cornflour
When ready to use:

Blend all ingredients together to form a smooth paste and leave on the skin for fifteen minutes. Rinse off and dab the face with a tissue. (Worwood, 120-121)


Use a very small amount of the oil to massage the milia (white head) at night. This will allow it to be reabsorbed by the body. (Worwood, 128)

{Please be aware to not use bergamot during the day as the essential oil is phototoxic and will cause your skin to burn in the sunlight}

No Soap Face Wash

  • 1 cup coconut oil
  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 20 drops Lavender essential oil
Mix together and store in a glass jar. 

To use: Rub on face (avoiding eyes). Wipe off with a dry cloth. Then wipe again with warm, damp cloth. (

  1. Buckle, Jane. Clinical Aromatherapy Essential Oils in Healthcare, Edition 3. (2015) p. 272
  2. Davis, Patricia. Aromatherapy an A-Z. (2000) p. 21
  3. Price, Shirley and Price, Len.  Aromatherapy for Health Professionals, Fourth Edition(2012). p. 191, 244
  4. Worwood, Valerie. The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy. (1991). p. 120-121, 128