July 22, 2011
Essential Oil Facials for Acne-Prone Skin
Despite the idea that you're putting oil on your face to alleviate acne, it's been shown that essential oils, combined with the right carrier oils, can truly support a reduction in breakouts.
So what are the crucial combinations? A mildly astringent base oil -- or one with its own antibacterial properties, as we'll see -- and essential oils which are both antiseptic and anti-inflammatory.
- Hazelnut oil is astringent, mild, and well tolerated by all skin types. It softens skin without feeling greasy, and moisturizes by preventing moisture loss.
- Grapeseed oil is also a great base for acne care, with similar properties. It has a slightly greater nutrient content than hazelnut, being high in antioxidants.
- Tamanu oil is a master of skin cell regeneration. It can be used in conjunction with Hazelnut, grapeseed, or alone. It supports healing of a variety of skin conditions, including acne and acne scarring. It's really an excellent choice as a healing base.
- IF you really, really are not wanting to use a base oil, liquid Aloe Vera can be used as your "carrier" for the essential oils.
And, as for the essential oils:
- Tea tree oil of course is probably the most often recommended oil for the 'antiseptic' portion of a formula, though it doesn't seem to work for everyone. We recommend at least blending it with other essential oils, unless of course, you've tried it and it works well for you :) There's research that has shown it seems to be about the same in terms of efficacy as benzoyl peroxide -- or at least a 5% solution of each resulted in the same amount of acne reduction. But we think one can do better....
- Myrtle essential oil is highly antiseptic, smells nicer, and may be balancing to the hormones at the skin level. By many therapists, it is the "go to" essential oil for acne care, and can be dabbed on "neat" (you have to judge this for yourself if it's too strong or not). Using Myrtle in some way is our first recommendation to anyone using essential oils for the first time for acne care.
- Spike Lavender essential oil is both antiseptic and anti-inflammatory. It's an excellent "cleansing" essential oil, and is a component of many recommended acne treatment formulas.
- Lavender essential oil, also astringent, is antiseptic, relieves pain and swelling, and speeds healing time. It also balances the sebaceous glands, and calms the nervous system, which both contribute to acne breakouts. It really does double-duty in reduction of inflammation, while acting as an antiseptic.
- Blue Tansy essential oil calms swelling and redness deeply and quickly. Apply as a spot treatment to active blemishes, cuts, scrapes, and bug bites to take out the redness and shrink the swelling to practically unnoticeable overnight. It can be included in formulas in very small amounts to reap the benefits of its inflammation-reducing properties.
With acne-prone skin, it is tempting to use harsh chemicals that strip the oil off of the skin, as a necessary part of controlling oil. Not so.
Try this at-home facial for acne-prone skin, and be amazed at how much your skin adores the healing oils!
Step1: Cleanse the skin using Hazelnut oil and/or Grapeseed oils. If you are currently experiencing a breakout, or if you have signs of sun damage, add in some Tamanu oil to help regenerate the skin. Loosen dirt and debris with a gentle circular motion, and wipe off the oil with a clean cloth or cotton pad.
Step 2: Exfoliate using the following gentle scrub/mask.
- 1 tbsp Oatmeal, ground finely in a coffee grinder or with a mortar and pestle.
- 1 tsp of the Hazelnut-Grapeseed-Tamanu oil blend
- 1 tsp honey (antibacterial, yummy, and sticky)
- 1 tbsp or more water (to the consistency of applesauce)
- 15 drops Wild Lavender essential oil
- 1 tsp Bentonite clay (optional if you have active blemishes or very deep pores, omit for dry skin)
Mix with a spoon and apply to the face, avoiding the eyes and lips. Gently exfoliate the skin with tiny circles, and when the mixture is relatively even, let dry for 5-10 minutes. Once dry, rinse with tepid water and pat dry.
Step 3: Tone and Moisturize in one step. Place a few drops of Lavender oil in your palm with one pump (.5-1ml) of the Hazelnut/Grapeseed-Tamanu blend. Massage gently into the face and neck.
Optional Night Spot Treatment: Use a couple drops of Blue Tansy oil atop your moisturizer at night to reduce inflammation and redness in active blemishes. (Use at night because it has a rich blue color, as the name implies.)
If you're needing extra strength support, once during the day, and once in the evening, use one or more of the essential oils mentioned above, also as spot treatment. An example formula may be: equal parts Tea Tree, Myrtle, and Lavender, at up to 10% in either the carrier oil formulation (Hazelnut at 100%, a blend of Hazelnut and Grapeseed, or either of these two with about 1/4 Tamanu oil). This is really pretty strong. If you're simply prone to acne, follow the rest of the procedures described here, and...
Your skin will GLOW with regular use of this method.
As a person with acne-prone skin, I attest to the soothing and healing qualities of this process. Within one week, doing this treatment twice, and cleansing with warm water, then toning/moisturizing with oil in between, I saw visible improvement in my skin's clarity, texture, and moisture balance (aka no shiny T-Zone by 2 o'clock). After a month of treating my skin carefully like this, I am make-up free, and enjoying a natural complexion without the use of harsh scrubs and cleansers. The Tamanu and Lavender have been helping to clear up my scars!
If you wear makeup, it is necessary to do the cleansing and exfoliating steps to avoid any stray makeup staying put under your oil, particularly at the jawline and hairline.
As you feel more confident wearing your skin, maybe apply eye makeup if you want to, but let your skin show off its health and radiance!