Acne & Oils

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

In this post, we will cover the topic of acne as well as blackheads, clogged pores, and acne scarring.  See each section below.


Info on Acne & Oils:

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.

Essential Oil Remedies for Acne:

Blends: ClarifyCleanse, Soft

Singles: Helichrysum, Tea Tree, Geranium, Vetiver, Sandalwood, Lavender, Copaiba, Basil

Carrier oils that help with acne and scarring: AvocadoJojoba, Rosehip Seed


  1. Use a gentle cleansing routine followed by a toner.
  2. Prepare essential oil or blend of your choice.  Dilute 2-3 drops essential oil blend in 5mL carrier of Jojoba with 3 drops macerated carrot root oil added in. 
  3. Apply by gently dabbing the oil onto damp skin (avoid eyes) and allow to soak in for several minutes. 
  4. Use a tissue to dab off any excess. 
  5. Avoid concealer or foundation as much as possible. 
  6. Alternate oils daily or every couple of days for best results.

"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 and Inhalations 

"Use Tea Tree in skin washes for acne. It is also good for the large, inflamed and often painful spots which some women tend to get around the nose and chin in the days preceding menstruation." (2. p. 295-296)

Other 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. 


These unwelcome irritations occur when oil/sebum and debris become blocked in an open pore and begin to oxidize.  Steaming is an excellent way to open the pores and loosen the blockages. Then follow with a proper serum for prevention.

Removal Process:

  • Steaming: Bring a small pot of water to a boil.  Remove from heat and add a drop of Lemon Eucalyptus essential oil to the pot.  Position your head over the pot, cover your head and the pot with a towel, close your eyes, and steam your face until it is warm.  
  • After Steam Rinse: Add one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar (with the mother) to hot water.  Rinse the face or apply a warm compress with this mixture. 
  • Removal: Remove the blackhead if it has softened enough.  Be careful not to damage the skin. Rinse face again with rinse in previous step. 


  • 3.5 Tbs mineral or distilled water
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar (with the mother) 
  • 2 tsp witch hazel
  • 2 drops Bergamot essential oil
  • 2 drops Cypress essential oil

After patting dry the skin, apply this tonic to help prevent further blackhead formation and to loosen established blackheads. 


Mix 1-2 drops of Cleanse into a teaspoon of Jojoba oil (5mL) and massage a small amount into the affected area each morning and night.

Clogged Pores

Blends: Cleanse

Singles: Lemon, Orange, Geranium


Apply 2-4 drops neat to the affected area and then remove with a tissue. 

Acne Scarring

Singles: Helichrysum, Lavender, Roman Chamomile, Geranium, German Chamomile


  • Blend together 8 drops Lavender, 4 drops Geranium, 4 drops Roman Chamomile, and 4 drops Helichrysum. 
  • Dilute by adding 2-3 drops of this blend into a carrier of choice.  Sweet Almond or Jojoba make fantastic carriers for most people. 
  • Apply morning and evening over scarred area after cleansing your face.   

    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