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Essential Oils and Acne

So you’re bothered with ongoing acne – or someone you care about is!  Acne is considered a “normal” problem in adolescence, yet teens with good digestion and healthy diets do tend to experience less of this problem than some.  Adult acne is generally an indication that either hormones or gut function is out of balance and this needs to be addressed.  What is certain is that the condition is not generally caused by a lack of antibiotics, contraceptive pills or high-dose synthetic vitamin A (eg Roaccutaine).  If the simple strategies outlined here do not resolve the problem, please contact us or make an appointment.

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Essential oils are natures solution for acne-prone skin

How to Use Essential Oils for Acne


Some oils can be applied directly on the trouble-spots.  One drop on a finger-tip and dabbed on the spots or area of concern. Only a few oils are safe for neat or direct application – such as kunzea and lavender; other oils should be mixed with a carrier oil such as jojoba oil, or even coconut oil.
Jojoba oil helps to break up sebum that contributes to pore-blockages. It is also a beneficial carrier oil that boosts skin health by working as a protectant and cleanser.
Generally coconut oil is good for the skin – it hydrates and is able to penetrate your skin on a deeper level than most skin-care products because of its low molecular weight and the way it bonds with proteins.  It may be too thick for some skin types but is generally very soothing.

Face Wash for Clear Skin

This face wash contains probiotics that aid in restoring correct skin acidity, thus counteracting acne-causing bacteria.
Combine the following ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon organic coconut oil
  • 3 tablespoons manuka honey
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 20 drops Rich Earth organic tea tree oil
  • 2 capsules of probiotics

Warm the coconut oil and honey until they are liquid enough to mix together.  Break open the probiotic capsules, empty into the mix, adding the apple cider vinegar and tea tree oil.  Mix thoroughly with a hand blender. Then pour the mixture into a convenient bottle and store it in a cool place.

Natural Acne Scar Diminishing Treatment

For a natural facial treatment for unsightly scars caused by acne, make a paste by mixing the following ingredients:

Wash and dry your face, then apply the paste over the affected area.  Leave for an hour before rinsing off.

The following essential oils have some special skin-healing properties.  Ensure you have them in your skin-care kit.Tea Tree Oil

Some tea tree oil benefits include its antimicrobial and antifungal properties.  Treatments containing tea tree oil are widely available, and they are a common choice among people who self-treat their acne.

Tea tree products do reduce the number of acne lesions – they have antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory activities that are important for the treatment of acne. This is backed up by a study in which the number of acne lesions and their severity were monitored over one and a half months.  The tea tree-treatment  was more than three times more effective than the placebo in reducing lesion count and almost six times more effective in reducing the severity of acne.  This study showed that tea tree oil is an effective and natural treatment for mild to moderate acne. However, skin reactions to some tea tree products are also quite common – often due to inferior or oxidised essential oil, so a good quality, therapeutic grade oil is very important.

To use tea tree as an essential oil for acne, add 2–3 drops to a tablespoon of jojoba oil or a gentle liquid soap (such as castille soap) and apply topically to the area of concern with a clean cotton ball. It can be added to a gentle foaming cleanser or mixed with water in a spray bottle and spritzed on the face (avoiding the eyes) or body.

Lavender essential oil has some very unique properties that make if very beneficial for skin.  Like all essential oils, it has some inherent antimicrobial and antioxidant characteristics.  But it has unique healing properties and scar-diminishing abilities. It soothes and nourishes the skin — treating acne, healing dry skin, and reducing the appearance of dark spots and scars caused by acne. Other benefits of lavender oil include its ability to reduce stress and anxiety – often associated with acne breakouts in adults – as well as its sedating properties that improve the quality of sleep, thereby promoting healthy and radiant skin (because the majority of skin rejuvenating activity is happening while you are asleep!)

The relaxing effect of lavender is best when it is inhaled. This is best done via an aromatherapy burner or vapouriser, but can also be done by mixing with a carrier oil and applying as a chest rub.  Inhaling lavender results in lowering of blood pressure, heart rate and skin temperature, allowing you to feel more relaxed and refreshed.

If you have acne you’ll know that stress and anxiety are connected to flare-ups. This may be because cells that produce sebum (the oily substance that mixes with dead skin cells and bacteria to clog hair follicles) have receptors for stress hormones. Researchers believe that an increase in acne may be due to higher levels of sebum that are produced in times of stress; therefore, lavender essential oil has an important place in acne management.

To use lavender oil to alleviate stress, add 3- 5 drops of oil to the diffuser or apply one drop to the finger tips and dab on your wrists, back of neck or temples. Lavender essential oil is one of the few essential oils that can be used directly on the skin – so its a good idea to carry around a bottle so you can apply spot treatments during the day to help in the fight against acne.

A recent study found that clary sage essential oil is an active natural antimicrobial agent. After testing the efficacy of clary sage on multiple drug-resistant bacterial stains, the oil was active against bacteria that lead to skin infections involved in acne breakouts or skin irritation.
A natural ingredient in clary sage reduces skin inflammation and works as a natural remedy for acne and skin irritations. It also regulates the production of oil on the skin, a factor that is often associated with breakouts. Clary sage not only halts the growth and spread of bacteria, it also alleviates feelings of stress and anxiety, and supports hormonal balance.

Research has found that inhaling clary sage oil has the ability to reduce cortisol levels by 36 percent. Cortisol is the body’s major stress hormone, which is involved in provoking acne.  Stress is a major cause of acne in adult women because of the associated increase in cortisol. Clary sage not only lowers cortisol levels, it also has an antidepressant effect, improving mood and alleviating anxiety.

Diffusing 3- 5 drops of clary sage essential oil helps with stress, anxiety, restlessness and insomnia — all associated with acne breakouts. To kill bacteria that is clogging your pores and causing acne, add clary sage to jojoba or coconut oil and massage into the skin.  Or add a few drops to a gentle cleanser, apply with a clean cotton ball.
Buy Clary Sage oil

Oregano Oil

Most people know oregano as an aromatic and flavourful oregano kitchen herb. What most aren’t aware of is that it is one of the most potent natural antiseptic and antibacterial oils known. So for clear skin, you may also want to add it to your medicine cabinet. To spot treat zits dilute the oil before applying it to your skin.  Start with a 5% mix of oregano essential oil in a carrier oil, such as jojoba, macadamia nut or coconut oil (1/2 tsp of oregano oil per 50 mL of carrier oil). Then, dab the diluted mixture onto the trouble spot regularly until your skin clears up.
Buy Oregano essential oil

Juniper Berry

Juniper berry essential oil is well known for its association with detoxification.  With natural antibacterial and antimicrobial abilities, Juniper berry is a popular natural remedy for fighting skin irritations and infections.  It also has mild astringent properties, which means it is a fabulous home remedy for acne and supports your beautiful skin. Detoxifying properties help you to clear the toxins that lead to acne.

Several studies indicate that juniper berry essential oil is a powerful antibacterial agent that fights acne when used topically. This is due to specific compounds that occur naturally in Juniper berry oil, including alpha-pinene, p-cymene and beta-pinene.

Test patch a small area before using Juniper berry as an essential oil for acne.  If your skin is not sensitive to it, you can apply 2–3 drops topically to the area of concern. For sensitive skin, dilute juniper berry with coconut or jojoba oil before topical application.

 Possible Side Effects

These essential oils for acne are generally safe and effective. Remember that they are very concentrated plant extracts – a little goes a long way!

If you have sensitive skin, dilute the essential oils with a carrier oil before applying topically. Also, avoid exposure to direct sunlight when treating acne with essential oils. The UV rays can make your skin more sensitive and may lead to skin irritations or redness.  Reactions and sensitisation to tea tree oil is not uncommon, so it is best to always use it diluted on broken skin. If using any of these essential oils causes skin irritation, do not use that oil;consult with a qualified aromatherapist for the best solution for you.

Final Thoughts

Acne is a sign that something is out of balance.  While these essential oil treatments can help to prevent and minimise breakouts, it is important to address the underlying factors.  A comprehensive health assessment with one of our qualified practitioners is the best approach.

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