If you have greasy or acne-prone skin, slathering on more oil may not seem like a smart plan. Contrary to conventional wisdom, many essential oils actually control excess facial oil and help treat pimples. Some of them work by balancing your skin's oil production, while others tone, soothe and tighten skin. Essential oils are potent, so you'll only need a few drops to make your own grease-fighting treatment.
Tea Tree and Rosemary Oil
Most essential oils can irritate the skin when applied directly, but tea-tree oil is mild enough to use without diluting it. Tea-tree oil has astringent properties, so it's often used to treat oily and acne-prone skin. A 1990 study conducted at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital suggests that a 5-percent tea-tree oil treatment may even fight acne as effectively as 5-percent benzoyl peroxide. Additionally, a clinical trial reported by NYU Langone Medical Center found that tea-tree oil fought acne lesions more effectively than a placebo treatment. Rosemary essential oil has antibacterial, antiviral and antiseptic properties. It helps balance oily skin and treats pimples, including blackheads and whiteheads.
Lavender and Neroli Oil
Lavender oil tones the skin, reduces inflammation and promotes healing. It's useful as an acne treatment and a remedy for an oily scalp. Like tea-tree oil, lavender oil is gentle enough to use directly on the skin. Neroli is an essential oil that's derived from orange blossoms. It's useful as a toner and skin cleanser. To make your own toner with these oils, fill a spray bottle with lukewarm water. Add a few drops of lavender and neroli oil, then shake well. Spray the solution on oily skin several times per day.
Cedarwood and Fennel Oil
Cedarwood oil comes from the bark of the cedarwood tree and is used to normalize both oily and dry skin. Dermatologists also use it to treat acne and other skin conditions, such as rashes, eczema and oily scalps. Fennel essential oil balances oily skin without drying it out. It stimulates circulation and acts as a toner. To safely apply these oils to your skin, combine 10 drops of cedarwood or fennel oil with 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil. Rub the mixture into your skin and don't wash it off. Do not use cedarwood or fennel oil if you're pregnant.
Grapeseed and Other Oils
Grapeseed oil regulates your skin's natural oil production. It also contains vitamin C and other antioxidants, which may help brighten skin. Many over-the-counter skin treatments and serums contain grapeseed oil. Ylang-ylang oil also balances oily skin, and its antiseptic properties treat acne. Patchouli oil is useful as a skin toner and acne treatment. It has a very powerful scent, however, that some people may not enjoy. Peppermint oil controls oil production, stimulates blood flow and reduces inflammation; avoid using peppermint oil if you're pregnant.
Melissa King began writing in 2001. She spent three years writing for her local newspaper, "The Colt," writing editorials, news stories, product reviews and entertainment pieces. She is also the owner and operator of Howbert Freelance Writing. King holds an Associate of Arts in communications from Tarrant County College.