Mixing Your Own Acne Treatment Formula With Therapeutic Essential Oils
You may not know it, but blends of essential oils can be one of the most effective ways to treat acne, both for youths and adults. Acne is a result of a combination of conditions allowing the growth of bacteria within the dermis. This combination, including changes in oil secretion and hormonal balance, is perfectly addressed by the right combination of therapeutic quality essential oils. Here’s a look at which essential oils address each condition, and how to properly blend them to most quickly and effectively clear up an acne condition.
Most essential oils have known antiseptic (topical antibacterial) effects. The most popular is tea tree; this oil has been broadly researched for this activity. It has even been tested directly in comparison to popular over-the-counter acne treatments, being equally as good without any other therapeutic ingredient. If desired, it can be dabbed on breakouts at full strength — though this should not be done over large areas. Other very effective antiseptics, particularly when combined together, are Egyptian geranium, lemongrass and palmarosa. If you’re only using one of these oils, choose tea tree; otherwise, any two or more should work effectively.
Myrtle essential oil may be the single oil most often specifically recommended by aromatherapy practitioners for acne treatment. Myrtle has a powerful antiseptic action, plus other important effects. It may create a balance of natural skin oils; if the skin is too dry, it can stimulate production, if it is too oily, it can decrease production. Myrtle is also thought to balance hormones, both on a cellular and systemic level. This balancing of hormones may be directly related to balancing skin oil production. Myrtle too can be dabbed on the skin at full strength without harm for many people, though it may be most effective at a 5-10% concentration in a carrier.
Rosewood is considered balancing in nature, limiting overproduction of sebum. It is included in many skin care preparations, naturally supporting healthy skin conditions. Rosewood itself is not strongly antibacterial, and will be best blending with one or more other oils for a synergistic effect. Excellent choices are geranium and lemongrass, two very effective, gentile antiseptics that work especially well together. Rosewood, geranium and lemongrass together in a carrier (which we’ll discuss in a moment) would be a very effective combination. A note regarding rosewood: the rainforest in Brazil has been decimated by its over-harvesting. Consider getting this oil from a known ethically harvested source, or even better, sourced from India, which is producing a very high quality oil.
Lavender is found in many blends for its soothing, anti-inflammatory and regenerative action. Perhaps even better would be spike lavender, sort of lavender’s more strongly antiseptic cousin. Myrrh has a host of therapeutic actions for the skin, the most well-known being antiseptic and anti-aging (a good choice for inclusion in an adult acne formula). Sandalwood is excellent for adults where the skin is dry, yet still acne prone.
You may find other sources discussing the use of citrus oils, particularly lemon and bergamot. While these oils can be highly effective, their topical use on the face doesn’t make sense due to their photo-toxicity. Once applied, they will make that area of the skin hyper-sensitive to sunlight for the next day or two. As there are so many other excellent choices, use of citrus oils for acne care should be avoided altogether.
When creating a blend for both treatment of current outbreaks and prevention of further ones, you’ll mix your select essential oils into what are called “carrier oils”. The carriers we’ll chose have therapeutic anti-acne properties themselves, and will create an incredibly effective formula when combined with the essential oils. There’s no need to be concerned with clogging of pores, or exacerbating an over-oily condition. Any of these carriers can be used alone, or all can be blended together: tamanu nut, virgin coconut (may need to be warmed before becoming liquid for blending), and grapeseed. You’ll find testimonials for both tamanu and coconut alone for acne treatment; tamanu is also considered to stimulate healing of acne scars too, and grapeseed is simply a light oil with natural astringent properties.
Creating you blend is a simple process: chose up to 4 essential oils and measure them into an empty bottle. Create a blend with a total of around 5% essential oil concentration: 1 milliliter, or 20 drops, of essential oil in each ounce is a 3% concentration — 7 drops of essential oil in each ounce is 1%. This means you can use around 35 drops total (from a standard glass eyedropper) of essential oils in each ounce of base. You may want to measure the number of drops per ml using a measuring pipette.
On to the recipes! These are the number of drops of essential oil in one ounce of carrier. To make two ounces, simply double the number of drops. So for your base, mix equal parts of virgin coconut, tamanu and grapeseed oils (or just tamanu and coconut, if you don’t mind the thickness). For teenage acne, use 14 drops each tea tree, spike lavender and myrtle. For adult acne with oily skin, use 9 drops each myrtle, tea tree, rosewood and lavender. For adult acne with dry to normal skin, use 7 drops each tea tree, spike lavender, rosewood, myrrh and sandalwood. Please feel free to adjust these recipes, depending on your intuition and the oils you have on hand. Using 3 or more of any of these essential oils together in the carrier oils mentioned should produce effective results for nearly any acne condition.
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