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The Truth About Essential Oils for Acne

There is a lot of misinformation around essential oils for acne. We encourage you to read on to find out how to use them responsibly.

Here is the honest truth: essential oils alone will not get rid of your acne. In fact, some essential oils can even be unhealthy for your skin if used improperly.

However, essential oils in small quantities, and paired with other effective acne-fighting ingredients, can aid with killing bacteria and calming inflammation, and thus help cure acne.

We recommend using acne products that include essential oils such as tea tree oil and sage extract.

But we do not recommend using essential oils with carrier oils on your own. Using products that use gentle amounts of these essential oils matched with other active ingredients can ensure that you don't unintentionally damage your skin.

Lavender next to an essential oil bottle

Essential Oils You Can Trust (as Ingredients)

Let's be clear: We aren't anti-essential-oils. We're just pro-using-essential-oils-correctly.

If you purchase pure essential oils then apply them to your face, even with a carrier oil, you can damage your skin and cause further redness, bumps, and irritation.

Essential oils are best used for treating acne as ingredients in products that also offer other, healthy, research-backed ingredients.

So, instead of seeking out essential oils, seek out products that use essential oils in a responsible way.

No Single Product Will Cure Your Acne Alone

Acne has various causes.

In order for acne to form, there must be a perfect storm of inflammation, excess oil production, acne-causing bacteria, and clogged pores.

Many products may treat one of those issues. But if you're going to get rid of your acne, you will need to treat all of those causes simultaneously.

Essential oils are often used for their anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, but bacteria and inflammation reduction only resolve a few of the many causes of acne.

You need multiple ingredients that come at acne from all angles.

For example, we at Exposed Skincare use essential oils in our products, but also many other high-quality ingredients from both scientific and natural sources.

Plus, we only chose to include essential oils that have enough scientific literature backing them up. Many essential oils are unfortunately only supported by anecdotal evidence, so we didn't include them in our products.

There are also some essential oils, such as lavender essential oil and Frankincense oil, that do have healing properties, but they are extremely fragrant, so we left those out as well.

Let's go over the essential oils that we can vouch for, and we'll explain why we trust them.

Tea Tree Oil

In a 2017 study, researchers found that those who applied tea tree oil to their skin experienced significant blemish reduction over just 12 weeks. Other studies have also demonstrated that tea tree oil is, in fact, an effective treatment for acne-prone skin.

Tea tree oil is a fabulous essential oil not just for acne, but also for overall skin health and wellness.

Tea tree oil works for acne for two main reasons:

  • It can penetrate the skin and kill bacteria.

  • It is also a natural anti-inflammatory.

But as studies have demonstrated, tea tree oil works best when used consistently, and when used in conjunction with other effective, acne-fighting ingredients.

As we said earlier, acne has various causes, so it also needs various solutions.

Various essential oils, powders, and dried plants on a table

Acne Treatment Serum with Tea Tree Oil

The Exposed Skincare acne treatment serum uses tea tree oil as one of its main ingredients to disinfect the skin and treat blemishes.

The Exposed Skincare Acne Treatment Serum

The serum also has ingredients like benzoyl peroxide and green tea extract. These ingredients are powerful together because as the benzoyl peroxide treats acne, the green tea and tea tree oil calm the skin and prevent further inflammation.

That not only prevents more acne in the future, but also offers a holistic and gentle way to promote skin health in general.


Before and after images of Exposed Skincare results
Emily said that because of Exposed, her skin "has never looked and felt so healthy!"


Sage Extract

Various studies have shown that sage can work as both an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant.

There is also evidence that sage can lighten your skin, and thus potentially treat acne scars or sun spots around your face.

As an anti-inflammatory, sage can prevent irritation and redness. It can even combat the dryness that may come with starting a new acne treatment.

Dried sage in a bowl

Sage Extract Facial Cleanser

Salicylic acid is tough on acne, but it can dry out your skin or cause irritation (and thus, more acne) if it isn't paired with other natural ingredients.

That's why we use sage extract in our facial cleanser, along with salicylic acid and Pro-Vitamin B5 for optimal skin health.

 Exposed Skincare Facial Cleanser

Conclusion: How to Use Essential Oils for Acne? Be Very Careful.

Natural products like essential oils are quite in style right now, but just because they are natural, that does not mean that you don't need to be careful about what you put on your skin. There are plenty of things in nature that can be hurtful, especially in excess.

Life is about balance. By using products that were designed to include both the benefits of nature and science, you can take advantage of both without using either in extremes.

So before you slather your face up in essential oils, consider first seeking out products that use the benefits of essential oils without overdoing it.

To learn more about our kits, click here. We've designed them to not only work against acne, but also to promote your overall skin health, keeping it hydrated, clear, and clean.