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The best essential oils for acne-prone skin

Unless you live under a rock, you know that a pop-culture wave of essential oils has left an oily slick across our great country.

I’ll admit that I was a little suspicious of the trend, until a friend of mine diffused lavender oil in her home. I was immediately hooked on the chill vibe of the scent, and the experience got me wondering if essential oils are more than just hype. Since I struggle with oily and acne-prone skin, I was particularly interested in oil-junkie claims that essential oils can clear up even stubborn acne.

As it turns out, those pop-culture claims actually have some merit. “For those who have acne, putting oil directly on the skin can be a daunting thought,” says dermatologist Dr. David Bank of the Center for Dermatology, Cosmetic and Laser Surgery. “It might seem unlikely, but there are natural oils that are beneficial for those with acne.”

More: How to wash your face without a drop of water (and why)

If you’re curious to try the essential oil trend on your acne-prone skin, Bank suggests adding one of the following oils to your regimen.

1. Tea tree oil

According to Bank, tea tree oil has disinfecting and soothing qualities that can aid in the battle against acne. “It yields results with less itching, scaling or irritation on the skin,” he explains. You can use the oil sparingly as a spot treatment on red and inflamed patches of skin without fear of drying.

2. Extra virgin olive oil

Seriously? Yes, you can rub extra virgin olive oil directly on acne-prone areas of your skin to reduce acne and minimize scarring. “For optimal results, it is best to use high-quality, pure olive oil, which has the greatest amount of polyphenol,” Bank says. “Polyphenol is the key ingredient to extra virgin olive oil’s curing powers.”

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3. Lavender oil

“Lavender oil is a must-have in your acne treatment regimen,” Bank says. The delicious-smelling oil of the lavender flower contains anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties, which speed up cell turnover and reduce the number and severity of breakouts. He cautions that you should dilute lavender oil to limit irritation if you have sensitive skin.

4. Rosemary oil

If your main complaint is oily skin rather than patches of acne, rosemary oil might be the perfect treatment for you. According to Bank, you can massage the oil directly on your skin to promote a radiant skin tone. “It doesn’t fade spots but can help promote a toned complexion overall,” he says.

After chatting with Dr. Bank, I decided to try out tea tree oil on a stubborn spot of inflamed skin, and I was very pleased with the results. Just as Bank promised, the oil reduced inflammation without drying. Have you ever had luck with essential oils on your acne-prone skin?

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