Skin can be normal, dry, oily, or combination.1 However, skin can also be affected by skin conditions, such as eczema, psoriasis, and acne. Regarding acne, there are many ways to treat the skin condition from both the conventional and the alternative categories.
Listed under the alternative categories are essential oils. Below is an overview of what acne is, as well as a list of some of the best essential oils for remedying acne.
What Is Acne?
Of the many skin conditions that affect individuals, acne is one that is easily recognizable. It happens when hair follicles on the skin become clogged with dead skin cells, bacteria, and oil. The skin condition typically appears on the forehead, face, chest, shoulders, and upper back where sebaceous glands are most common.
As a result of the clogging, pimples, whiteheads, blackheads, red bumps, puss filled lumps, oily skin, and in some cases, scarring appears. Acne scars are deep lesions that are not removed entirely when skin repairs them with new collagen fibers.
Acne happens most often in teenagers, but adults can suffer from it as well. Women who suffer from the skin condition often get flares before their menstrual cycle. With regards to older adults, the onset of acne may mean some other situation is occurring that requires medical attention.
Some conditions contribute to an acne flare such as hormonal changes, medications, oily skin, and stress. Both acne and acne scars can be both physically and emotionally challenging for the sufferer, especially when repeated acne flares happen. There is no “cure” for acne, but it’s a skin condition that can be controlled.2,3
What Are Essential Oils?
There are traditional ways to remedy acne, such use of birth control pills for women, or the use of topical antibiotics, retinoids, or even steroid injections for teenagers in general. However, essential oils are a natural treatment that can reduce the appearance of acne as well.
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The skin is the largest organ, and some conventional products contain toxins that seep into the skin and other organs. The use of essential oils avoids the toxins associated with some traditional products.
Essential oils are natural because they are pure, organic substances derived from flowers, stems, leaves, roots, or bark. Thousands of years before commercial products became the standard for life, essential oils were used by ancient cultures such as the Greeks, Egyptians, Chinese, and Indians for medical needs, beauty, religion, food, and more.
Back then and today, essential oils improve the health of the mind, body, and soul, and when they are used in a massage or a bath, for example, that is known as aromatherapy. You can visit a spa or health club to receive an aromatherapy treatment, or you can give yourself an aromatherapy treatment at home.4
Remedying Acne with Essential Oils
There are a variety of ways to use essential oils, but one of them is topical. Applying essential oils to your skin is a natural way to reduce acne flares. Essential oils are very potent in their undiluted form, however. Therefore, you should always dilute an essential oil with a carrier oil before you apply it to your skin.
Carrier oils include coconut, olive, jojoba, and almond oil.5 For acne, diluting an essential oil or an essential oil blend with coconut oil, for example, is a good choice. Coconut oil is both antibacterial and antiviral, so it fights acne bacteria and reduces dryness naturally with no toxins or additives. Make sure to use organic coconut oil.
For each tablespoon of carrier oil, add a few drops of essential oil or an essential oil blend. With clean hands, apply the mixture to the parts of your skin that are affected with acne. With a clean cotton ball, gently remove any excess that is sitting on your skin.
Always consult with your doctor before using essential oils, especially if you have a severe form of acne. They may determine that a traditional type of acne treatment is more suitable for you.6
However, if you do opt for the essential oil route, some of the best essential oils for remedying acne are highlighted below.
Tea Tree Essential Oil
Tea tree oil, also known as melaleuca oil, is one of the most versatile and popular essential oils in the 21st-century, and it’s one of the best for acne. This is because tea tree oil has antibacterial and antifungal properties that reduce skin irritation and inflammation caused by bacteria. Therefore, it reduces the appearance of pimples, whiteheads, and blackheads.7
Frankincense Essential Oil
This essential oil derived from the Boswellia sacra tree found in Africa. It’s an oil with anti-inflammatory properties that work to reduce excess oil production, soothe irritated skin and reduce the appearance of an acne flare and acne scarring.8
Rosemary Essential Oil
Rosemary oil, which is derived the rosemary plant native to the Mediterranean region, contains antioxidants, and essential nutrients. It also prevents excess sebum production. This makes it a great choice for acne flare-ups. When applied to the skin, mixed with a carrier oil, it can not only clean the skin but hydrate it.9,10
Ylang-Ylang Oil Essential Oil
This is one of the essential oils for acne sufferers because of its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. Derived from the Cananga tree native to Malaysia, the Philippines, and Indonesia, the yellow essential oil is a gentle oil suitable for regulating sebum production and reducing the appearance of oily skin. It’s also good for acne because it’s gentle and soothing.11
Lavender Essential Oil
Like ylang-ylang, lavender essential oil is another of the gentler oils that is soothing and calming for acne flares. One of the most popular essential oils, lavender oil is derived from the lavender plant, which is found across the globe and originates in Europe, Asia, and Africa.
This essential oil has anti-inflammatory, antifungal, and antibacterial properties, and it has one of the most pleasant scents. It not only reduces the spread of bacteria, but it reduces the appearances of oily skin and the bumps and other surface disruptions that happen with acne.12
Cedarwood Essential Oil
Cedarwood essential oil is used for a wide range of health conditions, including skin problems like acne. This is an essential oil found in the wood of cedar trees across North America. It’s suitable for acne because it’s a natural antiseptic that reduces sebum production and the spread of acne bacteria.13
Although there is no cure for acne, you can treat it to reduce or eliminate acne flares. There are many conventional methods available, but essential oils that have antibacterial properties offer a natural alternative that has proven to be effective.
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