How To Use Basil For Acne Treatment

Basil is a very well known herb that is commonly used all over the world to flavor culinary dishes.

But, its uses extend beyond that.

For centuries it’s been highly regarded for its medicinal properties, and in the areas where it originates, it’s frequently used to treat a wide variety of illnesses and ailments.

Acne is one of the common complaints that it’s used to treat.

In this article, we’ll take a look at how to use basil for acne, and the scientifically proven properties it has that make it a great natural treatment.

What Is Basil?

How To Use Basil For Acne Treatment

Over 160 different varieties of basil are known to exist in the world.

But, most varieties of basil that are used for culinary purposes are cultivated varieties of sweet basil.

Sweet basil is also used for medicinal purposes, as are African basil, and holy basil (tulsi). All of these have been studied for the treatment of acne.

Originating in India, holy basil is called the ‘queen of herbs’ in Ayurvedic medicine and is regarded as an ‘elixir of life’ because of its potent spiritual and medicinal properties.

In modern times, science has started to prove the considerable health benefits of basil. Common health problems that basil can be used to help treat include:

  • Asthma
  • Diarrhea
  • Arthritis
  • Dysentary
  • Gastric disorders
  • Cardiac disorders

It can also be used for the treatment of a number of skin diseases, including acne (1).


How Does Basil Help Acne?

Scientific studies have shown that sweet basil, holy basil, and African basil are all effective at treating acne and pimples.

This is largely because of their ability to kill bacteria, but they also have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that could help as well.


The antibacterial properties of basil are due to the essential oil that can be taken from it, which contains linalool, estragole, eugenol, limonene, sabinene, cineole, and myrcene.

Studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of basil essential oil in killing a range of bacteria, but importantly it has shown a significant effect against P. acnes, the acne causing bacteria.

In one study, sweet basil, holy basil, and hoary basil were all compared in their ability to kill P. Acnes. The results showed that sweet basil oil had the greatest effect, while hoary basil was ineffective at the concentrations tested (2). 

In another study, African basil was used, with 2% and 5% solutions showing greater ability to kill P. Acnes over a 4 week period than a 10% solution of benzoyl peroxide, which is a commonly prescribed topical medication for acne (3). 

When combined with the best Aloe vera gel for face care, the ability of African basil oil to treat acne is enhanced with studies showing a greater effect than 1% Clindamycin, an antibiotic used for acne treatment (4).


Basil contains phenolic compounds such as rosmarinic acid that give it antioxidant properties (5).

This is useful for the prevention of acne breakouts as it can help to prevent oxidative damage to sebum in the skin, caused by exposure to the sun's UV rays.

This is considered to be one of the crucial stages in the formation of acne as the damaged sebum helps to provide the breeding ground for the acne bacteria to thrive.


Basil has anti-inflammatory properties largely due to the linoleic acid and eugenol that it contains. Its anti-inflammatory effects are comparable to well known over the counter medications like aspirin and ibuprofen (1).

Your body's inflammatory response to the bacterial infection is a key stage in the formation of the painful swellings that are recognized as acne, and topical application of basil paste or essential oil could help to reduce this response.


How To Use Basil For Acne

There are a number of effective ways to use basil as a natural remedy for acne. Here are some remedies you can try:

Basil Essential Oil And Aloe Vera Gel For Acne


Directions For Use:

1. Purchase a jar of Aloe vera gel and a bottle of essential basil oil.

2. Get a small bowl and put 2 teaspoons of the gel into it.

3. Mix 2 drops of the essential oil into the gel using a spoon.

4. Apply the Aloe vera and basil oil mixture to your face using a brush or your fingers.

5. Use twice a day for the best results.


Basil Tea Toner For Acne

fresh basil leaves

Directions For Use:

1. Get 30 fresh basil leaves.

2. Boil a kettle of water.

3. Pour 1/2 a cup of boiling water.

4. Pour the water into a blender.

5. Add the basil leaves.

6. Blend until it is smooth.

7. Allow the mixture to cool for approximately 15 minutes.

8. Pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer and collect the fluid in a bowl.

9. Use a cotton pad to apply the basil toner to your face after cleansing twice a day.

10. Put the liquid in a small bottle with a lid, and keep in the fridge for future use.


Yogurt And Basil Face Mask For Acne

Greek yogurt in a glass jars with spoons on wooden background

The probiotic bacteria in yogurt can help against an acne infection (6).

Directions For Use:

1. Get 20-30 fresh basil leaves and a carton of organic yogurt.

2. Crush the leaves into a paste using a pestle and mortar.

3. Place the basil leaf paste into a small bowl.

4. Add 1 teaspoon of organic yogurt to the bowl and mix together well.

5. Apply the mixture to your face.

6. Leave the mixture on your face for approximately 20 minutes before washing it off again.

7. Use as often as you wish.


Basil And Neem Face Mask For Acne


Neem leaves have antibacterial (7) and anti-inflammatory properties (8) that make it useful for the treatment of acne.

Directions For Use:

1. Get 20 fresh basil leaves and 20 fresh neem leaves.

2. Place the leaves in a blender with a small amount of water.

3. Blend into a paste.

4. After washing your face, apply the paste to your skin.

5. Leave the face mask on for about 15 minutes before washing again.

6. Use this face mask every day to get clear skin.


Basil And Oatmeal Face Mask For Acne


The anti-inflammatory properties of oatmeal have seen it used in scientific studies to successfully treat a number of skin conditions, including acne (9).

Directions For Use:

1. Get 30 basil leaves and a packet of oatmeal.

2. Place the basil leaves in a blender with a small amount of water.

3. Blend into a paste.

4. Put the paste into a bowl.

5. Cook the oatmeal as described on the instructions on the packet.

6. Add the oatmeal to the bowl of basil paste and mix together using a fork or spoon.

7. Allow the mixture to cool until it's comfortable to leave on your skin.

8. Wash and dry your face.

9. Apply the mixture to your face using your fingers.

10. Leave it on your skin for approximately 15-20 minutes

11. Wash your skin with water and pat dry with a towel.

12. You can use this every day as part of your skin care routine.


Side Effects And Precautions

  • Using basil essential oil on your skin is safe and without side-effects for most people, but it's always a good idea to do a quick patch test before applying it to your face. Put a small amount on the back of your wrist and leave for 20 minutes to see how your skin reacts.


Final Thoughts

A number of varieties of basil have proved to be effective for the treatment of acne, including sweet basil, African basil, and holy basil.

This makes it a very good choice if you’re looking for a natural treatment that has a high chance of working for you.

It’s particularly worth trying the Aloe vera and basil oil combination, as this has been demonstrated in scientific studies to be a method of treatment with enhanced ability to kill the acne causing bacteria.

Have you tried basil for acne? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.

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