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25 Best Essential Oils for Acne (Health Expert List)


If countless treatments can’t seem to rid your acne, it might be time to try essential oils. Made from different parts of plants, many essential oils are packed with nourishing skincare benefits.

What Causes Acne?

Acne is a common skin condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It occurs when hair follicles become clogged with oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria. Several factors contribute to the development of acne, including:

  1. Excess Oil Production: The sebaceous glands produce too much sebum, which can clog pores.
  2. Dead Skin Cells: When dead skin cells accumulate on the skin's surface, they can combine with oil and block hair follicles.
  3. Bacteria: Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes) bacteria can thrive in clogged hair follicles, leading to inflammation and acne lesions.
  4. Hormonal Changes: Hormonal fluctuations, particularly during puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause, can trigger acne.
  5. Diet: High-glycemic foods, dairy products, and other dietary factors can exacerbate acne in some individuals.
  6. Stress: Stress can increase the production of hormones that stimulate oil production, leading to acne breakouts.
  7. Genetics: A family history of acne can increase the likelihood of developing the condition.

Essential Oils for Acne

If you're interested in using essential oil for acne, you might be onto something. Essential oils can be useful remedies for different acne types and every phase of acne, from prevention to fading the appearance of scars. However, it's always a good idea to meet with your dermatologist or perform a patch test before experimenting with any type of oil so you can find the best essential oil for acne.

Essential oils have a dense oil composition, which might cause clogging of the pores in some people. It's always best to combine your organic oil with carrier oils such as Jojoba Oil or Rosehip Oil (one of the best carrier oils for acne-prone skin and scars) to effectively dilute the essential oils without interfering with their efficacy. This dilution process will also help reduce the chance of skin irritation. A good rule of thumb is three drops of concentrated oil to a tablespoon of carrier oil.

What essential oils help acne?

For your benefit, we’ve listed down 14 of the best essential oils for acne.

1. Helichrysum Essential Oil

Helichrysum comes from a small flowering plant with clusters of yellow flowers. This acne-fighting oil is clarifying and soothing for the skin to promote a healthier-looking complexion. It can also be used to fade scars.

This oil is also used in skin care products as the oil has a fresh fragrance also fade acne blemishes.

Scent Profile: Earthy and sweet

2. Organic German Chamomile Essential Oil

Show your skin some love with this organic oil. German Chamomile oil is super-soothing for sensitive skin, flare-ups and acne-prone complexions.

Scent Profile: Sweet and herbaceous

3. Manuka Essential Oil

Manuka oil is perfect for soothing sensitive skin and acne breakouts to ensure a smooth, blemish-free complexion.

Scent Profile: Herbaceous, earthy and slightly balsamic

4. Organic Tea Tree Essential Oil

Organic Tea Tree oil helps to cleanse complexions of impurities and excess oils, which can help to control acne and breakouts. Tea tree oil is usually used as a blend on the face. The oil of tea tree is also blended with aloe vera and honey for a perfect face mask.

Scent Profile: Herbaceous and earthy

5. Bergamot Essential Oil

Bergamot oil is commonly used to uplift moods but this zesty essential oil purifies oily skin and clears acne.

Scent Profile: Sweet, tangy and slightly citrusy

6. English Lavender Essential Oil

English Lavender oil for acne can clear your pimples. This calming oil moisturizes skin and reduces acne for a clear complexion. Bonus point! It’s also suitable for all skin types and is the best essential organic oil.

Scent Profile: Floral, comforting and slightly sweet

7. Egyptian Geranium Essential Oil

The Egyptians have long used geranium to beautify their skin. Egyptian Geranium oil keeps your skin rejuvenated and rosy by reducing breakouts and irritations.

Scent Profile: Sweet and floral with refreshing fruity notes

8. May Chang (Litsea Cubeba) Essential Oil

Bright, zesty, and energizing, May Chang oil is often used to cleanse impurities and acne from oily skin. Also known as Litsea Cubeba, it has the added benefits of relaxing the mind.

Scent Profile: Herbaceous and citrusy

9. Juniper Berry Essential Oil

Juniper Berry is a soothing and cooling oil with cleansing properties that clear up acne breakouts, irritations and sensitive skin.

Scent Profile: Fresh, herbaceous and woody, with a spicy gin-like aroma

10. Clove Bud Essential Oil

Used for its cleansing properties, Clove Bud oil reduces acne and calms skin. It can be diluted with any carrier oil for topical application.

Scent Profile: Warm and spicy with slight earthy notes

11. Thyme Essential Oil

Herbaceous Thyme oil for acne is a natural remedy for cleansing oily skin, while reducing the occurrence of breakouts. It is also great at cleansing the scalp to promote voluminous hair.

Scent Profile: Herbaceous and sweet.

12. Rosemary Essential Oil

In lab tests, Rosemary oil for acne reduces acne. Rosemary oil can also be used to decrease redness and puffiness, which is helpful when treating cystic acne.

Scent Profile: Herbaceous

13. Oregano Essential Oil

Using Oregano oil for acne as a spot treatment can be an effective way to clear up pimples and prevent future breakouts. So if you’re wondering “is oregano oil good for acne?” the answer is a resounding “yes!”

Scent Profile: Herbaceous and earthy

14. Organic Peppermint Essential Oil

Organic Peppermint oil for acne has healthy properties and may control oil production which can lower the occurrence of pimples. It's most suitable for dry, itchy skin types as it provides relief from dry skin.

Scent Profile: Minty and sweet

15. Roman Chamomile Oil

The compound azulene in Roman chamomile is known to increase moisture content in the skin. It also has health based properties. Diluted in a carrier oil, your favorite essential oil is known to keep the skin healthy. Those allergic to chamomile family of plants must avoid this oil.

Scent Profile: Herby, sweet and fruity

16. Sandalwood Oil

Sandalwood paste and sandalwood oil are both used in skincare. Its use in Ayurveda is well documented. The properties of the oil are used to soothe the burning sensation due to acne. When applied to the skin it is one of the best essential oil to combat the underlying causes associated with acne.

Scent Profile: Sweet and Woody

17. Clary Sage Essential Oil

Clary sage oil for skin is used to regulate sebum secretion. It achieved this due to the compounds linalyl acetate and geranyl. People with oily skin type can use this oil to reduce acne. A drop of these plant oils mixed with a few drops of carrier oil is massaged on the face to dry out your skin, thus making your skin healthier.

Scent Profile: Herbaceous and floral

18. Frankincense Oil

The role of frankincense oil in skin care is limited, but it is used by those with oily skin to reduce the occurrence of acne.

Scent Profile: Sweet balsamic

19. Geranium Oil

This oil has alkaline properties that have a balancing effect on the skin. It removes the acidic content and maintains a stable moisture level in the skin. Because of this property, geranium oil is used in the manufacture of soaps and other skincare products.

Scent Profile: Strong herbaceous

20. Neroli Oil

Although seldom used in skincare, neroli oil has good properties and when combined with other oils balance the sebum content on the skin. The compound citral in the oil is good for skin care.

Scent Profile: Bitter, floral and citrusy

21. Lemon Oil

Derived from the peels of lemon, this oil has powerful health related properties that fights acne. It is also used to reduce hyperpigmentation. It is also oil that is rich in Vitamin C and boosts immune system.

Scent Profile: Strong lemony

22. Lemongrass Oil

With good health based properties, lemongrass oil not only removes the dead skin, but also tightens the pores, thus maintaining skin elasticity.

Scent Profile: Light lemony

23. Cinnamon Oil

The presence of the ingredient cinnamic acid makes cinnamon oil a powerful skincare agent. It is applied on pimples and cysts to eliminate it quickly. Dilute it with a carrier oil and treat acne naturally. Common carrier oils for cinnamon are olive and jojoba.

Scent Profile: Sweet and spicy

24. Wintergreen Oil

Wintergreen oil shares similar properties with peppermint oil. However, wintergreen is rarely used in treating acne or skincare in general. It contains methyl salicylate which has a soothing effect on the skin.

Scent Profile: Sweet, minty and woody

25. Ylang Ylang Oil

Ylang ylang is used for its balancing effect on the skin and inhibition of skin pigmentation. It is applied to fade acne scars and treat acne. It is also used to remove makeup which has the potential to aggravate the skin and make acne worse.

 Scent Profile: Rich, floral and fruity

How To Use Essential Oils for Acne

Essential Oil Acne Spot Treatment

To treat active and stubborn acne, you can use essential oils as a spot treatment. Simply dilute the oil with a carrier oil (such as coconut oil or almond oil) then dip a cotton swab into the mixture and gently apply it onto the acne spot.

Customize Your Favorite Moisturizer

You can also use your favorite moisturizer to dilute your essential oils. After cleansing your face, add a few drops of essential oils onto a dollop of your usual face cream, mix it together and then massage gently into the skin.

As A DIY Face Toner

Mix 12 drops of the concentrated organic oil of your choice with 2 oz of witch hazel in a spray bottle. Spritz onto the face as often as needed to keep the skin hydrated and cleansed.

DIY Spot Treatment

If you're looking for a natural way to treat acne, look no further than your kitchen cabinet. Tea tree and rosemary essential oils are two powerhouse ingredients that can be used to make a DIY spot treatment.

To make the spot treatment, mix together 1 teaspoon of tea tree oil and 1 teaspoon of rosemary oil. Add 10 drops of the mixture to a cotton ball and apply it to the affected area. Leave it on for 10 minutes before rinsing it off with warm water.

You can use this treatment up to twice a day until you see results. Together, these two oils make a potent spot treatment that can help clear up acne quickly.

DIY Recipes Using Essential Oils for Acne

Recipe #1 - Tea Tree Oil Acne Spot Treatment


  • 1 teaspoon of carrier oil (jojoba oil or coconut oil)
  • 2-3 drops of tea tree essential oil


  1. Mix the carrier oil and tea tree essential oil in a small bowl.
  2. Dip a cotton swab into the mixture and apply it directly to the acne spots.
  3. Leave it on overnight or for a few hours before washing your face.


  • Tea tree oil has antibacterial properties that help kill acne-causing bacteria.
  • Jojoba oil moisturizes the skin without clogging pores.

Recipe #2 - Lavender and Frankincense Acne Mask


  • 1 tablespoon of raw honey
  • 2 drops of lavender essential oil
  • 2 drops of frankincense essential oil


  1. In a small bowl, mix the raw honey with lavender and frankincense essential oils.
  2. Apply the mixture evenly to your face, avoiding the eye area.
  3. Leave the mask on for 15-20 minutes.
  4. Rinse off with warm water and pat your face dry.


  • Honey has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that help soothe acne-prone skin.
  • Lavender oil reduces redness and inflammation.
  • Frankincense oil promotes healing and reduces acne scars.

Recipe #3 - Rosemary and Lemon Oil Toner


  • 1 cup of distilled water
  • 1 tablespoon of witch hazel
  • 5 drops of rosemary essential oil
  • 5 drops of lemon essential oil


  1. In a spray bottle, combine distilled water, witch hazel, rosemary, and lemon essential oils.
  2. Shake well to mix the ingredients.
  3. After cleansing your face, spray the toner onto a cotton pad and gently wipe it over your skin.
  4. Use this toner twice daily for best results.


  • Rosemary oil has antimicrobial properties that help cleanse the skin.
  • Lemon oil acts as a natural astringent, tightening pores and reducing oiliness.
  • Witch hazel soothes and tones the skin.

Recipe #4 - Clary Sage and Aloe Vera Gel Moisturizer


  • 2 tablespoons of aloe vera gel
  • 4 drops of clary sage essential oil


  1. In a small bowl, mix aloe vera gel with clary sage essential oil.
  2. Apply a thin layer of the mixture to your face after cleansing and toning.
  3. Gently massage it into your skin until fully absorbed.
  4. Use this moisturizer twice daily for balanced, hydrated skin.


  • Aloe vera gel soothes and hydrates the skin.
  • Clary sage oil helps regulate oil production and reduce inflammation.

Recipe #5 - Evening Primrose and Rosehip Oil Serum


  • 1 tablespoon of evening primrose oil
  • 1 tablespoon of rosehip oil
  • 3 drops of tea tree essential oil
  • 3 drops of lavender essential oil


  1. Combine all ingredients in a dark glass bottle with a dropper.
  2. Shake well to mix the oils.
  3. Apply a few drops of the serum to your face and gently massage it in.
  4. Use this serum as part of your nighttime skincare routine.


  • Evening primrose oil and rosehip oil are rich in essential fatty acids that nourish the skin and reduce inflammation.
  • Tea tree and lavender oils have antibacterial and soothing properties.

Recipe #6 - Chamomile and Witch Hazel Face Mist


  • 1 cup of distilled water
  • 1 tablespoon of witch hazel
  • 5 drops of chamomile essential oil


  1. In a spray bottle, combine distilled water, witch hazel, and chamomile essential oil.
  2. Shake well to mix the ingredients.
  3. Spray the mist onto your face throughout the day to refresh and soothe your skin.


  • Chamomile oil reduces redness and inflammation.
  • Witch hazel tones and calms the skin.

Alternative Treatments for Acne

While essential oils are a popular natural remedy for acne, several other alternative treatments can also help manage and reduce breakouts:

  1. Herbal Remedies: Herbs like witch hazel, green tea, and aloe vera have soothing and anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce acne.
  2. Dietary Changes: Adopting a low-glycemic diet and reducing dairy intake can help some individuals manage acne.
  3. Probiotics: Probiotics can help balance the gut microbiome, which in turn can improve skin health and reduce acne.
  4. Zinc Supplements: Zinc has anti-inflammatory properties and can help reduce acne severity when taken as a supplement.
  5. Light Therapy: Blue light therapy can kill acne-causing bacteria and reduce inflammation.
  6. Acupuncture: Acupuncture can help balance hormones and reduce stress, which may improve acne.


Essential oils are great for self-care routines. However, we should also take care and follow caution when using them to keep ourselves and loved ones safe from its side effects. Generally essential oils are safe, but a few guidelines must be followed to avoid any adverse effects. Also, the oils are different, made up of different compounds. Some people may be allergic to certain compounds while others may be allergic to others. Concentrated oil must be bought after careful deliberation. Here are a few guidelines to keep in mind.

  1. Read the label and instructions to make sure you’re using the oil correctly.
  2. While buying essential oils be wary of the terms fragrance oil, perfume oil and natural identical oil.
  3. The term pure essential oil can be widely seen on the bottles. These maybe made from substandard sources.
  4. Ensure that you are not allergic to any ingredients or compounds in the oil.
  5. Make sure to dilute the essential oil in a carrier oil for safe application.
  6. Do not add too much of the oil in the diffuser.
  7. Avoid using essential oils of sensitive areas like the eyes and nose.
  8. Don’t apply it on broken skin either unless it’s mentioned on the bottle or label.
  9. Keep it out of reach of kids and fur kids.
  10. Do not diffuse the oil near kids and pets. Consult a doctor before doing so.
  11. Some oils may make you sensitive to sun damage, so be sure to load up on SPF.
  12. Check the label to see if the oil is photo-toxic.
  13. Always do a small patch test before topical application.
  14. The common unwanted effects caused by essential oils up on topical application are rashes, redness and swelling.
  15. If you show signs of irritation, stop use and consult a health professional.
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