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10 June 2022 / Caitlin Devlin

The best essential oils for treating acne

These soothing, cleansing oils can help you to achieve clearer, brighter skin.

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The right oils may not make this stubborn skin condition vanish entirely, but they can significantly lessen its appearance.

Essential oils can benefit skin in a number of ways. They can deeply cleanse pores, cure fungal infections, heal imperfections, and even reduce wrinkles.

One of the most common ways that essential oils are incorporated into skincare is in the treatment of acne, eczema, and other inflammatory skin conditions.

The essential oils on this list all boast properties that can calm skin, clear up redness, and reduce the appearance of acne.

Bear in mind that essential oils are potent natural products. As such, they should always be diluted with a carrier oil before they are applied to skin, and they should never be applied to open wounds – so avoid spots or rashes that have been picked or are bleeding. It’s also safer to patch test the oils and assess the reaction to skin before using.

Different people and different skin types will have different reactions to each oil, so it’s important to experiment and discover what works for you.

Basil oil

Basil oil has been found to have beneficial anti-inflammatory effects in studies from 2012 and 2017. These anti-inflammatory effects soothe any redness and inflammation around the affected area and help to reduce the appearance of acne.

Learn more about the benefits of basil essential oil.

Cedarwood oil

A study in 2016 found that cedarwood oil can reduce inflammation and redness, making it a perfect acne treatment. The oil is also antifungal, an extra benefit that can keep fungal infections at bay.

Learn more about the benefits of cedarwood essential oil.

Coriander seed oil

The antibacterial properties of coriander seed can help to prevent acne and blackheads by deeply cleansing skin and getting rid of unwanted bacteria. Coriander seed oil is also rich in antioxidants, which protect skin and keep it looking youthful.

Garlic oil

Garlic oil has both strong anti-inflammatory and strong antimicrobial properties, helping to reduce the appearance of acne and also attack harmful bacteria. Furthermore, a study in 2014 demonstrated strong antifungal properties in garlic oil that can help to clear up infections.

Geranium oil

Geranium oil has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, reducing redness and inflammation around areas affected by acne. Its fragrant scent is also a natural deodorant, helping to mask personal odour.

Learn more about the benefits of geranium essential oil.

Gurjun oil

Anti-inflammatory and antiseptic gurjun can help to reduce the appearance of acne on the skin and also prevent infections. Gurjun oil also has astringent properties, increasing the elasticity of the skin and reducing wrinkles to give us a more youthful appearance.

Woman with a towel on her head looking in the mirror.

Choose carrier oils that are nourishing to your skin, such as almond or neem.


Lemon oil

Lemon oil’s powerful astringent properties have been found to shrink tissue around areas affected by acne and reduce inflammation. Lemon is also a powerfully antibacterial oil, deeply cleansing skin. Make sure to only apply steam distilled lemon oil to skin to avoid phototoxic effects.

Learn more about the benefits of lemon essential oil.

May chang oil

May chang oil has the ability to reduce excess perspiration on the skin, which can prevent acne flare-ups. It’s also antibacterial and antifungal, deeply cleansing pores of harmful bacteria.

Melissa oil

Melissa oil is considered anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antifungal, and so is often sued to treat acne and eczema. It is also known to fight against several strains of the herpes virus and so can even help to clear up cold sores.

Myrtle oil

A study in 2018 found that myrtle oil can reduce signs of acne on the skin as well as get rid of excess sebum, and oily substance found on the surface of the skin. It is also an astringent, tightening skin and making us appear more youthful.

Sage oil

Sage’s anti-inflammatory properties have made it another popular treatment for acne and eczema. It is also antibacterial and antifungal, acting as a powerful natural face wash.

Learn more about the benefits of sage essential oil.

Tea tree oil

A study in 2017 documented tea tree’s anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial effects and found that they were able to significantly reduce the appearance of acne. Tea tree is generally known as a healing oil, helping skin to recover from infections and flare-ups.

Learn more about the benefits of tea tree essential oil.

If you’re looking for a way to deeply cleanse skin using essential oils, check out this guide to oil cleansing.

Shop our essential oils here.

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