14 Best Essential Oils for Acne

What Is Acne?

Did you know acne is the most common skin disease?

And it’s not just teens who suffer. An estimated 70% of Americans suffer with some form of acne related skin problem; that includes plenty of adults.

But most over the counter products make skin dry, which can make you zit problem even worse. The alcohol in these products closes pores before the bacteria can be killed, creating cysts and making it harder to remedy the issue.

Essential oils for acne work in other ways so that you can reduce the inflammation and help clear out those clogged pores.

Why Do I Have Acne and What can I do?

Acne explained in a nutshell:

The skin’s pores are connected to oil glands sitting below the skins surface and these glands produce an oily substance called sebum. A canal connecting the pores and the glands is called a follicle; and within the follicle, dead skin cells are carried to the surface by sebum. When the follicle of a skin gland gets blocked, a pimple is formed.

Most acne or pimples are located on the face, neck, chest, back and shoulders. Although acne is not classified as a serious health threat it has many problematic side effects such as scarring, and lowering confidence and self-esteem.

What are the main causes of acne?

Acne has a variety of causes including:

  • excess oil production
  • clogged pores
  • bacteria
  • hormones
  • diet
  • stress
  • genetics.

Certain medications such as lithium, corticosteroids and birth control pills can exacerbate acne too.

How Can Essential Oils Help?

Although many people who battle with acne turn to prescription medication or severe chemical treatments, these products and procedures are frequently invasive, ineffective, and come along with a mass of unwelcome and worrying side effects.

Fortunately a natural and holistic alternative can be found in treating acne with essential oils. The best oils for acne probe skin have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties which are excellent fighters and preventers of pimples with no dangerous side effects.

Some essential oils are also wonderful stress relievers which is terrific news, being that stress is both a result, and a cause of acne.


List of Acne Fighting Essential Oils


1. Clary Sage Essential Oil

clary sage essential oil

Clary sage is a reliable essential oil for pimples and should be an active part in your acne-fighting regime. As yet another resilient EO in the war against acne, clary sage essential oil reduces skin inflammation, relieves stress and its antimicrobial properties destroy acne causing bacteria and prevent skin infections.

Clary sage has also been proven to reduce sebum production, assists in unclogging pores and effectively removes bacteria from blemishes and pustules speeding up healing time.

Don’t just take this on good faith, there are scientific findings to back all this up! A study available in Advances in Dermatology and Allergology tested the strength of clary sage on various drug-resistant strains of bacteria, and discovered that the oil was found to successfully fight the bacteria that lead to acne breakouts.

You can find my favorite clary sage essential oil here.


2. Juniper Berry Essential Oil

Derived from the small, fresh or dried berries and needles of the juniper plant species, this acne-fighter is proof that dynamite really does come in small packages.

Yet another marvelous essential oil for acne; juniper berry increases circulation, detoxifies, and is a well-known healer of a variety of skin conditions. Research has stated that more than 87 different active constituent compounds are found in this essential oil including all sorts of healing antioxidants, antifungals and antibacterial qualities. Due to the oils specific compounds, including alpha-pinene, p-cymene and beta-pinene, when applied topically to the skin, juniper berry has been proven to have favorable and promising anti-acne activity. Juniper berry oil is also full of cleansing extracts which remove free radicals from the skin thereby promoting healing.

I highly recommend using this juniper berry essential oil for your acne.

3. Neroli Essential Oil

In clinical trials conducted by the Pakistan Journal of Biological Sciences, it was reported that neroli essential oil killed various bacterial and fungal varieties due to its antimicrobial and antioxidant qualities. The wonderful thing about this spicy-citrusy oil in combating acne, is that it can be used on all skin types (dry, oily, sensitive, mature) due to its gentle antiseptic properties.

Enlarged pores are a frequent side effect of having acne-sensitive skin and fortunately neroli oil minimizes the appearance of pores and smooths the surface of your skin. Not only is this oil gentle and non-drying in its ability to clear skin and fight off blemishes, but it is also wonderful at healing dark spots and the scars that can occur post-breakout. A multi-tasker at heart, neroli oil is able to simultaneously control the skin’s natural oil production while using its bacteria-attacking and astringent characteristics to prevent breakouts from appearing.

You can find a great deal on neroli essential oil here.

4. Bergamot Essential Oil

This revitalizing, citrus-based essential oil with its stress-reducing and antibacterial characteristics make it a wonderful component to your acne-fighting regime. Applied directly, bergamot essential oil reduces blemishes and pimples, promotes skin growth and healing, and minimizes old acne scars – all of this makes it an excellent essential oil for acne.

Bergamot oil has been reported to contain antimicrobial properties by the Journal of Applied Microbiology, and acne-suffers will be relieved to know that when applied directly, bergamot oil has the power to stop the growth of acne-causing bacteria.

Experts have stated that inhaling bergamot oil lowers stress and anxiety levels, thereby reducing stress that triggers acne in those prone to skin breakouts and blemishes.

Here is a fabulous bergamot essential oil on amazon.

5. Tea tree Essential Oil

I can’t sing the praises or write sufficient accolades to do the power of this essential oil justice in fighting acne. This ancient Aboriginal healer has been used along the east coast of Australia for centuries; and with its anti-fungal, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties it’s not difficult to understand why.

Tea tree essential oil is by far my most recommended essential oil for acne and many other types of skin infections. Used diluted and topically on the skin, there is no greater natural antiseptic for skin conditions. Inflammation and swelling of the skin is greatly reduced, sebaceous glands on the skin are unblocked, whiteheads, blackheads, pimples, pustules and other blemishes are dried out and pores are disinfected as a result of using tea tree oil.

A study conducted by the Department of Dermatology at Camperdown, New South Wales, Australia’s Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, confirmed that tea tree oil was 5.8 times more successful than a placebo when it came to the lessening the severity of acne symptoms. Other research has concluded that tea tree oil and a common acne medication, benzoyl peroxide, were reported in clearing up acne equally as effectively, with tea tree oil having less skin discomfort. High-fives all round for this acne-warrior.

You can find a wonderfully priced tea tree oil here.

6. Patchouli Essential Oil

A jack-of-all-trades in the skin department, patchouli oil is well known for its powerful benefits regarding acne prone skin (both oily and dry), and its wondrous abilities of keeping complexions healthy and vibrant.

A natural and holistic antiseptic, astringent and anti-fungal option, patchouli essential oil is an acne-fighting wizard and does wonders for old, stubborn acne scars and soothes inflamed, current pustules too.

A study conducted in 2013 researched the antibacterial activity of patchouli and discovered that it was as successful at treating acne as some antibiotic drugs. With its cell-rejuvenating and anti-inflammatory properties, patchouli oil is a fantastic essential oil for acne and a wonderful addition to any skin care routine.

Get yourself some patchouli oil here, or try an easy to apply pre-diluted roll-on from Plant Therapy.

7. Lavender Essential Oil

lavender essential oil for acne

Lavender essential oil is a soothing oil that is ideal for battling acne on sensitive skin, and assists in reducing inflammation and blemishes.

A study published in the Journal of the Medical Association of Thailand concluded that lavender oil has a significant relaxing effect on the central nervous system, autonomic nervous system and mood responses when inhaled. This is extremely helpful as many studies have concluded that some acne is associated with stress and tension; meaning that lavender can prevent stress-related breakouts, facilitate a good night’s sleep, decrease blood pressure and even calm down existing skin inflammation.

With its antimicrobial, analgesic and antioxidant characteristics, lavender oil on acne soothes, nourishes and moisturizes dry skin, lightens dark spots and reduces the appearance of acne scars.

An absolutely fantastic fine-grade and organic lavender oil can be bought here.

8. Rosemary Essential Oil

Rosemary is usually associated as being an herb sprinkled generously on roast vegetables, but this wooded, evergreen herb is an excellent essential oil for acne.

Acting as an antiseptic and an anti-inflammatory agent, rosemary oil reduces excess sebum, destroys bacteria, calms red, puffy skin, unclogs pores and improves blood circulation that assists in an even complexion.

Used by Greeks, Hebrews and the ancient Egyptians, this oil has recently been examined by researchers from Taipei Medical University in Taiwan. The study concluded that the compounds found in rosemary are effective in countering bacteria that aggravate inflammation, irritate skin and clog skin cells.

A tried and tested rosemary oil can be purchased here.

9. Oregano Essential Oil

oregano essential oil

This aromatic spice is well-known for its flavor in many Italian dishes, but used in oil form, is also a powerful tool against acne and other skin conditions.

Oregano essential oil’s antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and antiseptic properties make it a fine healer in treating and preventing acne. Used topically in diluted form it reduces red, puffy skin and is an excellent disinfectant and wound healer.

A research paper published in 2011 in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology confirmed the wound-healing properties found in oregano oil. The clinical studies discovered that when using oregano extracts, bacterial infections were prevented, wounds healed faster and scars where diminished in appearance.

Get oregano essential oil here.

10. Chamomile Essential Oil

Most well-known for its gentle, soothing qualities, chamomile essential oil is a go-to remedy for reducing inflammation, irritation and redness brought on by acne and breakouts.

When applied directly to the troublesome area, chamomile oil’s antibacterial qualities help reduce the visible signs of infected pores and the swollen red bumps that acne is notorious for.

Not only a wonderful preventer of blemishes and a fighter of existing acne, chamomile is also excellent at lessoning and lightening scars from previous outbreaks.

Chamomile oil can be applied directly as well as added to a daily face wash for noticeable results.

If you’re in need of chamomile oil you can pick up this incredible German chamomile oil from Amazon.

11. Lemon Essential Oil

lemon essential oil for acne

Lemon oil’s cleansing and purifying qualities put it on the list of excellent essential oils for acne.

Incredible for oily skin, which frequently occurs concurrently with acne, lemon oil is a whiz at reducing excess sebum by balancing overactive sebaceous glands; and thereby ensuring that pores are not clogged.

Applied topically this citrus wonder also helps dry out white heads and pimples and the astringent properties of the oil help shrink enlarged pores and exfoliate dead skin cells. Much like many other citrus essential oils, lemon oil has an antibacterial property that fights acne-causing bacteria and with long-term use can even help soften scar tissue.

A 2008 study confirmed that citrus essential oils are able to destroy two different types of acne, namely, Propionibacterium acnes and Staphylococcus epidermidis.

Follow this link to purchase an organic lemon oil that I highly recommend.

12. Eucalyptus Essential Oil

tee tree essential oils for nerve pain

This familiar, minty smelling oil has analgesic, anti-fungal, antiviral and antibacterial qualities that make it a reliable trooper in fighting the frustrating and painful effects of acne, blackheads and blemishes. Using eucalyptus oil directly on acne-effected areas can help to reduce oil production, as well as speed up the skin’s healing process. With its renowned antibacterial qualities researchers concluded in the journal of BioMed Research International, that eucalyptus oil helps in efficiently managing the spreading of acne.

For those wondering where to find a reliable eucalyptus oil brand, look here.

13. Lemongrass Essential Oil

Filled to bursting with vitamins A and D, lemongrass oil is a highly recommended essential oil for acne.

This refreshing and invigorating oil is an all-round super oil for skin and can greatly assist with the symptoms associated with acne.

Being that it is a natural astringent, lemongrass assists in making pores look smaller, as well as reducing excess oil production.

The International Journal of Aromatherapy concluded that lemongrass is a successful remedy in managing acne. Reducing inflammation, unclogging pores, eliminating bacteria as well as diminishing and lightening acne scars, lemongrass oil gets a big nod of approval and gratitude from acne-suffers.

Try this brand of lemongrass for your acne!

14. Basil Essential Oil

basil essential oils for neuropathy

Not only does this versatile essential oil nourish the skin but its antimicrobial quality keeps the skin free from bacteria, germs and other microbes that are the pesky culprits of infections and inflammations. As we all know, prevention is better than cure, and for this reason basil is a helpful and valuable essential oil for acne. The International Journal of Cosmetic Science published an article reporting that the extracts found in basil are capable of successfully destroying P. acnes bacteria and basil oil was concluded as being a valuable component in caring for acne prone skin.

Having trouble sourcing a reliable basil oil? Take a look here.


Essential Oils for Acne Blend Recipes


Clean and Clear Blend

  • 4 Tbsp (2 oz.) – Jojoba Oil
  • 5-10 drops – Vitamin E Oil
  • 10 drops – Frankincense Essential Oil
  • 5 drops – Lavender Oil
  • 5 drops – Jasmine Essential Oil
Instructions: Mix all ingredients and pour it a dark bottle to avoid the oxidating of the oils. For easier application use a roller bottle. Apply four to five drops every morning and every night.

Acne Scar Reducing Cream

  • 2 Tbsp (1 oz.) Shea Butter or Coconut Oil
  • 2 Tbsp (1 oz.) Jojoba Oil
  • 10 drops Frankincense Oil
  • 10 drops Lavender Oil
  • 5 drops Lemongrass Oil
  • 5 drops Tea Tree Oil

Instructions: Mix all ingredients in a 2oz glass jar. Apply every evening to the affected areas to lessen acne scars. Results generally take a few months depending on the severity of the scars.

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