ACNE and How Aromatherapy Can Help

  • Feb, 06 , 21
  • Martina Steege

Acne is a condition that a lot of us have experienced at some point (teenager/adult or both). I never really found any good explanations regarding acne and its causes, until I got certified in aromatherapy. I learned that there are essential oils with anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that can help your skin heal fast and effectively.


So what exactly is Acne? It is a progressive skin disease in which the sebaceous glands of hair follicles are clogged with oil from the skin (sebum) and dead skin cells. It is diagnosed with the appearance of characteristic whiteheads, seborrhea (increased oil-sebum secretion), blackheads, pimples, oily skin, and occasional scarring of the skin on the cheek, forehead, chin, and back. These are the places on the body with the densest population of sebaceous follicles. There are a few factors that can cause acne:

  • Sebaceous glands and sebum
  • Cell proliferation
  • Bacteria

Sebum is an oily, waxy substance produced by your body's sebaceous glands. It coats, moisturizes, and protects your skin. Excess sebum is often associated with enlarged pores, a tendency toward follicle congestion and an oily T-zone. The problem may also be the type of oil. Thicker oil does not leak on to the surface quite as easily as thinner oil. What triggers this excess sebum? In both sexes, testosterone is secreted into the body and enters into the sebaceous gland where an enzyme converts testosterone into di-hydrotestosterone which in turn stimulates sebum formation in the sebaceous glands. Because this enzyme (5-alpha reductase) is sensitive to hormone levels, it goes into overdrive, causing an excess production of sebum when testosterone levels escalate. This is noticeable during puberty.


Studies have shown that linoleic acid (an essential fatty acid that is part of the barrier lipid layer) is deficient in people with acne. Bacteria in the follicle excrete a lipase enzyme to break down the sebum triglycerides into fatty acids and glycerol. The sebum is used as a food source and the free fatty acids are just waste that irritate the lining of the follicle. Inflamed lesions may also result in adult acne, whereby the follicle wall ruptures, forming a papule. If the break in the follicle is close to the surface, it results into a pustule. Deeper ones are called nodules.


Acne is not always easy to treat as it has to do with stress, diet, improper home care and damaging/aggressive skin products. I think it is essential to look at all the factors that could contribute to acne. Skin products with natural ingredients that have anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties are one way to calm the skin.

Here are some ingredients that should be part of your skin care if you experience acne. Aloe Vera, which has a natural pH of 4.3, is an excellent plant for skin. Aloe contains aloin (a natural sun screen), salicylic acid and magnesium (pain relieving effect). Essential oils for German Chamomile has cicatrisant (skin healing) and anti-inflammatory properties as it is high in alpha-bisabolol (Sesquiterpenol), and chamazulene (Sesquiterpene). Lavender is renowned for its ability to heal the skin, due to its portfolio of properties (anti-inflammatory, pain relieving, antiallergic and broad spectrum antimicrobial activity). Its essential oil is high in linalol (Monoterpenol) and linalyl acetate (Ester). Calendula is an anti-fungal herb used both, internally and externally for fungal infections. Its key constituents are flavonoids, triterpenes, saponins, salicylic acid, mucilage and resin.