Acne is a common skin condition. The pores in the skin become clogged and this leads to pimples and inflamed, infected abscesses. Acne tends to develop in teenagers due to an interaction between hormones, skin oils and the bacteria, which lives on and in the skin and hair. During puberty, the sebaceous glands in the skin become more active and produce excessive sebum. Often dried sebum, flaked skin and bacteria collect in the pores of the skin blocking them and preventing sebum to flow as it should. If the blockage is incomplete a blackhead will appear and if it is complete a whitehead appears. Bacteria will grow in the blocked pores and further irritate the skin. The irritated blackheads and whiteheads produce the skin eruptions that are commonly known as acne pimples. If the infection and irritation in the pimple gets worse an abscess may form.
The skin is an organ of elimination for the body. If there are too many toxins in the body and the kidneys, lungs and intestines become overloaded with more wastes than they can eliminate, some of these may be filtered out through the skin. Other factors which can make one more prone to develop acne include allergies; a diet high in fats; preservatives; sugar; pesticide and herbicide residues; dehydration; emotional problems; environmental pollution; too much exposure to the sun; heredity; hormones; oral contraceptives; poor hygiene; weakened immunity and stress.
When dealing with acne it is necessary to clear up any infection; stimulate lymph flow and blood circulation; reduce the amount of sebum as well as reduce the waste products and toxic substances deposited on the skin. A diet rich in fresh vegetables and whole grains; an adequate daily intake of water; plenty of fresh air and exercise and a skin care routine which incorporates essential oils and hydrosols can all be helpful.
When choosing essential oils to add to your skin care routine you would look for oils that have anti-inflammatory, astringent and balancing properties. Oils with anti-inflammatory properties that will help reduce painful irritation and swelling include Roman and German chamomile, clary sage, frankincense, helichrysum; lavender and patchouli. Oils with astringent properties to help control the oiliness of the skin include cedarwood, frankincense, geranium, juniper, lavender, neroli, palmarosa, and rosewood. Oils with balancing properties that may help to normalize oil production while they improve the condition of the skin include geranium, helichrysum, lavender, palmarosa, rosemary and sandalwood. Oils with antiseptic properties include niaouli, petitgrain, palmarosa, patchouli and tea tree.
It is important to keep the skin and everything touching it very clean. Cleanse the skin twice a day and have a facial once a week. After cleansing the skin use a toner made with essential oils or a hydrosol. To make a toner using essential oils add 25 drops of essential oil to 100ml distilled water or hydrosol. These can be misted onto the skin from a spray bottle or dab on the skin with a cotton pad and left to air dry.
In her book Hydrosols, the Next Aromatherapy, some of the hydrosols Suzanne Catty suggests for acne include cedarwood, cypress, juniper, neroli, peppermint, Roman chamomile, rosemary, sandalwood and yarrow.
A facial oil can be made up using 30ml of Jojoba as a base to which you would add 6 drops of your essential oil blend. This is then applied sparingly to the face twice a day.
A stronger dilution blend can be made up to dab on individual spots. Add 8 drops of lavender and 7 drops of tea tree to 15 ml of jojoba. This should only be used for short periods of time.
The Merck Manual of Medical Information Merck Research Laboratories 1997
Roberta Wilson, Aromatherapy for Vibrant Health & Beauty, Avery Publishing Group, Garden City Park, New York 1995
Suzanne Catty, Hydrosols, The Next Aromatherapy, Healing Arts Press, Rochester, Vermont, 2001
|Blend 1||Blend 2||Blend 3||Blend 4|
|1 drop of Chamomile||2 drops of Neroli||4 drops of Lavender||3 drops of Cedarwood|
|3 drops of Palmarosa||2 drops of Palmarosa||1 drop of Tea Tree||1 drop of Helichrysum|
|3 drops of Petitgrain||2 drops of Rosewood||2 drops of Clary Sage||4 drops of Petitgrain|