Can You Use Rosemary Oil For Acne?

Rosemary is commonly used as a culinary herb that’s very popular in Italian cuisine, and many people will have tried it with lamb.

But, it also has a long tradition of use in herbal medicine. It appears in both Roman and Greek mythology, and they used it for its healing powers, as well as in religious rituals.

It produces a popular essential oil that has a range of claimed health benefits, including the ability to treat acne.

In this article we’ll take a look at the evidence to support the use of rosemary oil for acne, and how to use it as a part of your skin care routine.

What Is Rosemary Essential Oil?

rosemary for acneRosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) is a perennial herb that originates from the Mediterranean countries, but can also survive cooler climates and can now be found throughout temperate parts of the world.

Like many other herbs, it’s related to the mint family and has a similar appearance to lavender, with small flat leaves that resemble pine needles.

Rosemary oil is produced by steam distillation from the leaves of the plant.

It’s often used as a fragrance and burnt as incense, and it can also be found in shampoos, soaps, and cleaning products.

The health benefits of the oil also contribute towards the popularity of its use.

It’s a very popular oil in aromatherapy as a mental stimulant, and to provide relief from sinusitis problems and congestion.

It also has a use as a part of traditional medicine in a number of places in the world where it’s used in natural remedies for:

  • Respiratory problems
  • Headaches
  • Vaginal infection
  • Muscle pain
  • Indigestion

It can also be used for skin complaints, including acne.


Is Rosemary Oil Good For Acne?

There aren’t any scientific studies that have looked at the effectiveness of using rosemary oil for acne treatment on human patients.

However, there are studies that have looked at its antibacterial effect against the acne bacteria, and its ability to suppress P.acnes induced inflammation.

Let’s take a look at some of the properties of rosemary essential oil that could help in the treatment of acne.


Studies have demonstrated that rosemary oil is capable of inhibiting the inflammatory response that is caused by the acne bacteria in vitro and in vivo (1).

The oil contains rosmarinic acid, carnosol, and carnosic acid as three of its major constituents, and these suppress the production of interleukins thatat have a key role in inflammation.

This is very useful for the treatment of acne as the inflammation of the skin is one of the defining features of the condition.


Scientific studies have examined the effect of rosemary oil on P. acnes in the laboratory. These have demonstrated that it does kill the acne causing bacteria (2).

It contains the compounds cineole, camphene, camphor, and pinene, known antibacterials that are thought to give it this ability.


The monoterpenes that comprise the majority of compounds in rosemary oil give it antioxidant properties (3). When applied to the skin this could be useful in the treatment of acne.

One of the most important stages in the formation of the condition is thought to be the oxidative damage that is caused to sebum in the skin's pores after it's exposed to UV light (4).

Applying topical antioxidants could help to prevent this.


How To Use Rosemary Essential Oil For Acne

The first time you use a new essential oil it is advisable to try it at around a 2% solution. A carrier oil or water can be used to dilute it.

Here are some recipes for you to try:


Tea Tree Oil And Rosemary Oil And Avocado Oil For Acne

Tea tree oil has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties and has been proven in scientific studies to reduce acne (5).

Directions For Use:

1. Get a bottle of 100% tea tree oil, a bottle of rosemary oil, and a bottle of organic, cold-pressed avocado oil.

2. Measure 1 teaspoon of avocado oil into a small pot or container.

3. Add 1 drop of tea tree oil and 1 drop of rosemary oil.

4. Mix together.

5. Use your fingertips or a small brush to apply the oil mixture to your face.

6. Use daily.


Rosemary Oil And Grapeseed Oil For Acne

One of the benefits of grapeseed oil is that it’s low on the comedogenicity scale. So it’s unlikely to block your pores. It also contains linoleic acid which has scientific evidence to support its ability to reduce acne lesions (6).

Directions For Use:

1. Purchase a bottle of the best grapeseed oil for skin and a bottle of rosemary essential oil.

2. Measure 1 teaspoon of the grapeseed oil into a small container.

3. Add 2 drops of rosemary oil and mix together.

4. Spread over the acne infected area using your fingertips or a suitable brush.

5. You can use this each day.


Rosemary Oil And Aloe Vera Gel For Acne

Aloe vera is very soothing for the skin and makes a good carrier for essential oils.

Directions For Use:

1. Obtain the best Aloe vera gel for acne and a bottle of rosemary oil.

2. Get a bowl and scoop 1 tablespoon of the gel into it.

3. Add 6 drops of the essential oil and mix together.

4. Spread it onto your skin gently with your fingers.

5. For the best results you should continue using this each day.


Side Effects And Precautions

  • Before using rosemary oil on your face you should check to make sure you are not allergic by applying a small amount of the diluted oil to the back of your hand and waiting for approximately 20 minutes to observe the effect.
  • Pregnant women should avoid using this oil (7).


Final Thoughts

While there isn’t the conclusive evidence that scientific studies looking at the effects of rosemary oil on acne patients would provide, there is good reason to believe that it could be effective.

Its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory action against the acne causing bacteria have been demonstrated.

This makes it a promising essential oil to try for acne treatment.

However, without further study its use is still experimental, so you have to consider that before making a decision.

Have you used rosemary oil for acne breakouts? What are your thoughts?

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