Your Cart

Discounted Addons

Clarifying Mask (Special Offer)
Clarifying Mask (Special Offer)
$13.98 $27.95

🔥PRIME DAY SALE! Add an extra 10% savings + Free US Shipping over $50: Code: PRIME🔥

Need help choosing the right kit?

Our Skin Profile Quiz can help recommend a kit that best addresses your skin’s unique concerns


Want to order by phone or have questions about our products?

Our skincare experts are here to help 7am-3pm PT Monday - Friday



Sign into your account to track & manage orders or update your account info below.


Facial Cleanser

Ultimate clean, no over-drying

Clearing Tonic

Instant skin rebalancing

Acne Treatment Serum

All-day Protection

Clear Pore Serum

All night pore clearing

Derm-X Cloth

Skin renewing exfoliation

Moisture Complex

Weightless oil-free moisture

Microderm Scrub

Instantly Smoother Skin

Clarifying Mask

Deep down skin detox

Probiotic Complex

Clearer skin from the inside


7 Reasons Why Essential Oils for Cystic Acne Is a Bad Idea

Acne, particularly the cystic variant, is a stubborn skin condition, often causing distress and significantly impacting self-esteem. Across the internet, you'll find various remedies touted as miracle cures for acne. Among these, essential oils for cystic acne have gained popularity. But is this approach as effective as it's often made out to be? This blog post will dive into the realities of using essential oils as an acne treatment and discuss seven reasons why it might not be the best idea.

Also read: How to choose the best acne treatment

Biggest Take-Aways:

  • Despite their popularity, essential oils can often exacerbate acne conditions for reasons such as skin irritation, allergenic properties, and their potential to clog pores.

  • Not all essential oils are suitable for every skin type. Some can cause further inflammation in sensitive skin, while others may disrupt the skin's natural sebum production.

  • It's important to consider the type of acne when seeking treatment. Severe types like cystic acne may not respond effectively to essential oils and may require more targeted treatments.

  • Exposed Skin Care offers a comprehensive skincare routine that effectively manages acne, reducing blemishes and promoting radiant skin health.

Hand holding dropper with flowers as background

Seven Reasons Not to Use Essential Oils for Cystic Acne

Essential Oils Might Worsen Skin Irritation

When using essential oils for acne, it's crucial to consider your skin type and its tolerance. Essential oils are potent, and while some people may not experience any adverse reactions, others with sensitive skin may find that these oils trigger irritation, redness, or even an allergic reaction.

Tea tree, lavender, and rosemary oils, among others, are often suggested for acne due to their antibacterial properties. However, these oils can be harsh, particularly for sensitive skin types. The irritation can exacerbate acne inflammation, making the breakout worse.

Not All Essential Oils Are Beneficial for Acne

The term "essential oil" is broad, encompassing oils from many plants. While some oils, like tea tree oil, have been shown to possess antimicrobial properties that may help fight acne-causing bacteria, others may do little to help your acne or even make it worse.

For instance, lemon oil, often promoted as an acne remedy, is a citrus oil that can cause phototoxic reactions when exposed to the sun. This can lead to further skin damage and exacerbate acne scars. Similarly, peppermint oil might seem beneficial due to its cooling and calming effects, but it can also be overly drying, disturbing your skin's natural oil (sebum) balance and causing more breakouts.

Essential Oils Can Disrupt Your Skin’s Natural Balance

The oily skin type is usually associated with acne breakouts. This has led to the idea that reducing oil on the skin will help treat acne. However, your skin needs a certain amount of sebum to stay healthy, and stripping away this natural oil can trigger your skin to produce even more, leading to clogged pores and more acne.

Face with acne

Essential oils like lavender and tea tree can significantly dry out your skin. While this may initially seem beneficial, the subsequent overproduction of sebum may worsen your acne condition.

Purity and Quality of Essential Oils Vary

The market for essential oils is vast and unregulated. This means that the purity and quality of oils can vary greatly. Some products may be adulterated with synthetic fragrances, fillers, or other oils, leading to skin irritation and acne aggravation.

In addition, some oils touted as beneficial for acne, like rosemary and lavender essential oils, are often sold in blends that might contain acne-triggering oils. Even when used with carrier oil, these blends can still clog your pores and exacerbate acne breakouts.

Essential Oils Don't Address the Underlying Cause of Acne

Acne is often the result of hormonal imbalances, which essential oils can't correct. Hormonal acne is common among teenagers and adults who are menstruating, pregnant, or on birth control pills. In these cases, the use of essential oils won't tackle the root cause of acne and may offer, at best, only temporary relief.

Similarly, cystic acne — a severe type of acne characterized by large, painful cysts or nodules — is often the result of hormonal imbalances and bacteria growth deep within the pores. These factors can't be corrected with the topical application of essential oils.

Overuse of Essential Oils Can Lead to Skin Sensitization

Many people might think that using essential oils more frequently will accelerate their acne-healing process. However, essential oils are incredibly concentrated, and overuse can lead to skin sensitization. This means your skin can develop a reactive response, such as redness, burning, or acne breakouts, even if you didn't previously react.

Man touching his sensitive face

For example, using tea tree oil several times daily can potentially damage the skin's barrier and cause more harm than good. So, even when essential oils help reduce acne, they must be used cautiously.

Essential Oils Can Lead to the Development of Resistant Bacteria

The antimicrobial properties of certain essential oils, such as tea tree oil, might seem beneficial in fighting acne. Still, the possibility of developing antibiotic resistance is a genuine concern. Bacteria on the skin can potentially become resistant to these oils over time, making the acne even harder to treat.

Benefits of Using Exposed Skin Care for Acne Management

When managing conditions such as acne, it's crucial to have a reliable skincare routine. Exposed Skin Care, known for its unique blend of science and nature, offers a comprehensive range of products that target acne naturally and effectively.

Exposed Skin Care Basic Kit

Here are some benefits of Exposed Skin care:

  • Cleanser and Face Wash: Enriched with antimicrobial and antioxidant ingredients, the facial cleanser effectively washes away acne-causing dirt and oil on the skin's surface. It helps prevent acne lesions and overgrowth of bacteria, leaving your skin refreshed.

  • Clearing Tonic and Moisturizer: After cleansing, restoring your skin's balance is essential. Exposed Skin Care's Clearing Tonic and Moisturizer are imbued with anti-inflammatory properties and moisturizing agents to hydrate dry skin and calm inflammation.

  • Spot Treatment: For stubborn acne blemishes, their spot treatment, formulated with potent essential oils like oregano oil, clary sage essential oil, and rosemary essential, can help speed up the healing process. Remember to dilute the essential oil with a carrier oil and one should avoid applying oils directly to the skin.

  • 30-Day Routine: Regular use of these products for 30 days can help significantly reduce acne blemishes and treat cystic acne, leading to radiant skin. Remember, treating your acne is a journey that requires consistency and patience.

Give your skin the treatment it deserves with Exposed Skin Care and unlock the path to healthier, more radiant skin.


In the realm of skincare, acne is one of the most commonly encountered issues, often leading to a quest for the best treatments and solutions. While essential oils may appear as enticing natural remedies, their application for acne, especially cystic acne, is not as straightforward as it may seem. Sensitivities, skin type, and the very nature of these potent oils can often compound the problem, potentially causing skin irritations and even exacerbating the acne condition.

Instead, a more comprehensive and consistent approach, such as using a targeted skincare routine with products like those from Exposed Skin Care, can help manage acne more effectively. A regular regimen of washing your face, clearing pores on the skin, and using a suitable face or body wash can help to remove dead skin cells, control oil on the surface of the skin, and manage acne blemishes.

Products with antimicrobial ingredients like geranium oil can address skin infections causing acne and enhance overall skin health. Thus, to maintain a radiant complexion, it is essential to understand your skin's unique needs and ensure it receives the best care possible. In the end, the journey to acne-free skin may require patience, consistency, and a deep understanding of what truly works for your skin.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Can I use essential oils to treat my cystic acne?

A: While some people may temporarily relieve acne symptoms by using certain essential oils, these oils do not address the root cause of acne and can potentially cause skin irritation or other adverse reactions. Therefore, they might not be the best solution for cystic acne.

Q: Are there essential oils that can help reduce acne scars?

A: Some essential oils, such as lavender and frankincense, are often promoted for their potential to help with scarring. However, limited scientific evidence supports these claims, and these oils can cause skin irritation or other side effects.

Q: What is the best way to use essential oils for acne?

A: If you choose to use essential oils for acne, it is crucial to dilute them properly with a carrier oil, like almond oil or jojoba oil, to avoid skin irritation. However, remember that while these oils may provide temporary symptom relief, they won't address the underlying causes of acne.

Q: How often should I apply essential oils to my acne?

A: Overusing essential oils can lead to skin sensitization and potential damage to the skin's barrier. Therefore, limiting their use to once or twice a day at most is recommended and always properly diluted.

Q: Can I mix different essential oils to create a more effective acne treatment?

A: While some essential oils are touted for their synergistic effects, mixing different oils can increase the risk of skin irritation or other adverse reactions. Sticking to one oil that suits your skin type and doesn't cause any adverse reactions is better.

Q: Can essential oils help with oily skin?

A: While some essential oils, like lemongrass oil and tea tree oil, might help to control excess oil production, overuse can lead to dryness and trigger even more oil production, leading to potential acne breakouts. Maintaining a balance and not stripping your skin of its natural oils is crucial.

Q: Are essential oils a good option for all types of acne?

A: Acne can be categorized into different types, including blackheads, whiteheads, papules, pustules, and cysts, with different underlying causes. While some types may respond temporarily to the antimicrobial properties of certain essential oils, others, especially severe types like cystic acne, may not.