Did you know that essential oils have a long history of use for treating wounds, ailments, and enhancing beauty? Each essential oil imparts specific properties that make it unique and extraordinary—one may zap acne in its tracks, while another provides the skin with an antioxidant boost. There’s an essential oil for every skin type so let’s break down a few of my favorite essential oils for acne.
3 Best Essential Oils for Acne
Also known as tea tree oil, the benefits of Melaleuca are countless. But when it comes to treating acne and oily skin, we’re all about its skin-supporting antibacterial properties [source]. These benefits and more are what make it a great choice for treating minor cuts and scrapes.
It also has natural antifungal abilities [source], which is why it features heavily in anti-dandruff hair products—a couple of drops added to your weekly coconut oil mask is a great way to condition hair and cleanse your scalp. Who doesn’t love a multipurpose product?
The history of melaleuca and its healing abilities goes way back. Its purifying benefits were first discovered by the indigenous people of Australia [source]. The leaves and bark of the tree were used to speed up healing and detoxify minor wounds.
While melaleuca is highly effective, it also has a high risk of causing irritation and allergic reactions of the skin. So when in doubt, remember that a little goes a long way, and the use of a carrier oil to dilute it is recommended.
Lavender essential oil is well-known as a multipurpose essential oil and is frequently used in skincare formulations. In fact, research has found that lavender can help promote collagen synthesis [source], making it beneficial for wounds, acne, and more! It can be used on all skin types and is a great essential oil to use in soaps, lotions, serums, and spot treatments.
What sets lavender essential oil apart from others is its versatility and the fact that it can be used by just about anybody. It happens to contain antioxidant properties as well [source]. Antioxidants do a lot to heal and protect skin. One of the main ways they do this is by helping to defend skin cells from harmful free radicals which cause damage, resulting in premature aging—not the look we’re going for!
Lavender is frequently used in formulations for dry, itchy skin, and when diluted with coconut oil, it creates a beautifully simple body oil that may be beneficial when dealing with skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.
Acne and large pores can be difficult to treat, but with lemongrass essential oil, they don’t have to be. This bright, citrus-like essential oil contains the potent anti-inflammatory [source] and antioxidant properties [source] of the herb species that can help support skin health and overall skin appearance. It also makes a great astringent skin toner!
Like melaleuca, lemongrass essential oil is antibacterial [source], making it a good option for eliminating any acne-causing bacteria on the skin. It’s a great oil for cleansing and purifying the skin.
Along with its antimicrobial abilities, lemongrass essential oil has natural anti-inflammatory abilities [source] that are just as important for helping to get rid of some of the bad acne side effects. When skin gets inflamed because of a zit, it is then more likely to leave scars (aka, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation).
If you can tackle inflammation as soon as it starts, you’re doing some super helpful things for your skin—it’s no lie that inflamed pimples hurt. We all know the feeling of a deep and painful zit, right? It’s this same inflammation that encourages hyperpigmentation to form and leaves a tiny reminder of where a zit once was.
(As always, read labels and dilute concentrated oils before applying them to the skin to avoid harmful reactions—you’ll definitely want to dilute lemongrass essential oil! Here’s a list of carrier oils you can use for every skin type.)
Melaleuca Acne Mask with Clay
When it comes to the clay mask itself, this is one of my favorite face masks to use—ever. Aztec clay and apple cider vinegar are already a potent combo for detoxing and improving the health of the skin [source], [source], and adding a skin-supporting essential oil like melaleuca takes it to the next level.
I know, I know, you’re probably thinking that apple cider vinegar is a little too strong for skin. Shouldn’t I just use water instead? Actually, raw ACV is the perfect thing to mix Aztec clay with, and here’s why: unlike filtered ACV, raw ACV has the ‘Mother’ included in it (the cloudy stuff floating around), and it’s amazing for your skin’s microbiome [source].
Yes, it is acidic, but when it’s combined with the more alkaline Aztec clay, they basically neutralize each other and create a perfectly pH-balanced clay mask.
Using raw ACV also ensures that your mask is super smooth and easy to make. I’ve made the mistake of trying to use water before and ended up with a lumpy, unusable mess! Read on for my favorite DIY Clay Acne Mask recipe to promote clear, glowing skin. I love to use it as a spot treatment, too. Just dab a little where needed, and wipe away after 15 minutes.
By using this base recipe, you can personalize it by adding a skin-specific essential oil, which I love. Always remember that a little essential oil goes a long way. Too much can be irritating and defeat the purpose of using it!
Why is this? Well, when essential oils are processed from plant parts (whether it’s leaves, roots, bark, seeds, anything!), all of the amazing benefits become very highly concentrated in the resulting essential oil product. When it comes to essential oils, it’s easy to underestimate how potent they really are. So while one drop doesn’t necessarily sound like a lot, it’s the perfect amount to help you get the results you want without overdoing it.
I hope you’ll enjoy this DIY Melaleuca & Clay Acne Mask as much as I do. Drop me a comment if you do, and let me know your favorite essential oils to customize it with.
Melaleuca & Clay Acne Mask
- Small bowl
- Combine activated charcoal, clay, and probiotic powder in a small bowl.
- Add ACV to make a paste. It’s okay to use more when needed to get a smooth paste.
- Add essential oil and stir. With clean fingers, spread over your face and let sit for 15 minutes.
- Rinse with cool water and apply moisturizer.
This post was medically reviewed by Dr. Jennifer Haley, a board-certified dermatologist with extensive experience in medical, cosmetic, and surgical dermatology. Learn more about Hello Glow’s medical reviewers here. As always, this is not personal medical advice, and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.
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