Essential Oils: The Powerful Anti-Acne Ingredient You’re Not Using Yet

To someone with acne-prone skin, applying oils to the face sounds like a recipe for a massive breakout. We’re so accustomed to using oil-free moisturizers and makeup, that the mere suggestion of using an oil sounds horrifying. Yet, facial oils aren’t as bad as we’ve made them out to be. In fact, they’re pretty awesome. We’ve already seen how cleansing oils and oil-based cleansing balms can do wonders for skin and the right essential oils can actually help clear up acne.

Celebrity esthetician Angela Caglia recommends essential oils for acne because they are able to treat skin by reducing inflammation without stripping. That’s something we can’t say about a lot of harsh acne treatments, which can leave skin red and flaky. Additionally, essential oils are plant-derived, so they’re typically kinder to skin and the products they’re found in are often natural or organic.

Tea tree oil is one of the most well-known acne-fighting oils thanks to its antibacterial and antimicrobial properties — not to mention its telltale woodsy scent. It can also help to minimize acne scars.

Acne-fighting essential oils don’t end there. Rosemary oil, eucalyptus oil, clary sage oil, clove bud oil, black cumin seed oil, juniper berry oil and even relaxing lavender oil can help improve skin. Tara Pelletier, co-founder of Meow Meow Tweet, says, “Eucalyptus and clove bud essential oils are both antibacterial and antiseptic, which make them great for fighting the bacteria that causes blemishes. Eucalyptus is also anti-inflammatory, so it will soothe the swelling in the blemish, while clove bud oil boosts blood circulation, which will help the skin to heal itself faster, too.”

Pimple-fighting essential oils can be purchased in their pure forms and mixed into a carrier oil, such as jojoba oil, before they’re applied to skin. Or, they can be found in ready-made products. Prefer the latter option? Discover the most effective essential oils for acne by clicking through the gallery.

[ Next: The Best (and Worst!) Acne Treatments, According to Consumers ]