When you're fighting the good fight against annoying acne breakouts, your instinct is probably to de-grease at all costs. The idea of adding oil to your face is crazy right? While it seems counterintuitive, essential oils for acne treatment are actually a thing.
When used topically, "most essential oils work due to their anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties," says Sejal Shah, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist in New York City. "Some can also reduce excess oils on the skin." To get the most skin-clearing bang for your buck, look for basil oil, orange oil, sandalwood oil, or tea-tree oil, which is the most studied for its acne-fighting powers, says Shah.
But there are some caveats. "It's important to keep in mind that essential oils for the treatment of acne have not been rigorously tested," says Shah. In other words, while there is some evidence that oils can fight p. Acnes bacteria and help reduce inflammation, it's not as reliable as the well-tested over-the-counter acne treatments.
Secondly, oils can end up causing a lot of irritation if you have sensitive skin. "Find out the potency of your oils before using them. Pure essential oils can be very potent and irritating to the skin and may even burn the skin," Shah says. Lavender, peppermint, tea tree, and ylang-ylang oils are the most likely to cause an allergic reaction.
Rather than using pure essential oils for acne, dilute them in a gentler carrier oil like shea butter or coconut oil. "The general rule of thumb is 10 to 12 drops of the essential oil for every ounce of carrier oil," says Shah. "If your skin is more sensitive, you can use less drops." Secondly, do a test spot on the inside of your arm where the skin is delicate (just like it is on your face). If you don't have any issues, you're good to pat your homemade mixture on as an acne-fighting face oil. (We also love this pimple mud to help clear up acne, straight from the Women's Health Boutique!)
If being an at-home skincare mixologist sounds too complicated, just look for oil-boosted serums and moisturizers with the ingredients above to help keep things clear.
The article Here's What You Need To Know About Using Essential Oils To Treat Your Acne originally appeared on Women’s Health.