Essential oils for oily skin – clear skin, the natural way.

by Alison Angold CIDESCO ITEC

Oily skin, is when the surface of the skin is shiny, due to too much oil being produced. An oily skin can be more prone to spots and blocked pores, however, it doesn’t necessarily mean you will experience them.

Whatever type of an oily skin you have; an oily sheen on your skin, or the odd spot or pimple, using essential oils for oily skin in this instance, can help to balance the skin.

Essential oils for oily skin

Typically, citrus oils are very good at treating oily skin, as they act as an astringent, however there are other useful oils to.

  • Cypress
  • Grapefruit
  • Tea Tree
  • Juniper
  • Lemon
  • Mandarin
  • Orange
  • Petitigrain

Why do I have an oily skin?

An oily skin is producing too much oil. Our skin secretes an oil called sebum. Sebum is very beneficial as it naturally moisturises our skin and gives us protection. Sebum, along with sweat, creates an anti-bacterial layer on the skin, called the acid mantle. The acid mantle gives us protection from bacteria, and other external invasion, that may cause spots, breakouts, dry and sensitive patches. So we do need sebum being produced.

However, as an oily skin will have too much sebum being produced, you will experience an oily shine, that often appears through make-up and because of the excess oil being produced, you may be more prone to breakouts, spots and blackheads, as the pores will become blocked more easily.

The production of the excess oil, is out of our control as it is happening from within. However because essential oils, have the ability to penetrate to the lower layers of the skin, they can be very effective at treating the source of the problem.

Active products, such a retinol are very good at treating oily skin, however natural essential oils have great benefits too.

All the information you need to determine your SKIN TYPE here.

Essential oils for oily skin

Each essential oil has a variety of properties or therapeutic actions. The properties that we want to look for for treating oily skin are; Astringent, Balancing, Depurative & Refreshing.

These properties mean that the skin can be cleansed of excess oil, the production of oil can be balanced within the skin, impurities can be removed, if the skin is prone to breakouts and blocked pores, and the skin is refreshed, as often oily skin can look dull.


This is such a good clearing and purifying oil!  It is known as a depurative oil, which means it gets rid of excess liquids in the body – so particularly good for controlling oil in the skin and hugely helpful with excessive sweating too. 

(Do not use during pregnancy)


A citrus oil that acts as an astringent for dull, oily and acne skin, meaning that it constricts the cells of the skin and absorbs any excess oil to clear the skin. Grapefruit is also a really uplifting oil and nice to add to a facial oil for massage. 

(Be aware that grapefruit is photo toxic. This means that you should avoid sunlight whilst it is on your skin.) 

Tea Tree

Tea Tree is antiseptic and anti-inflammatory and one of the very few oils that you can use neat on the skin. Use a cotton bud to dab a small amount of tea tree oil directly onto a spot or pimple. The antiseptic and bactericidal properties of tea tree, means it will reduce the amount of bacteria in the area, and minimise inflammation, so the spot will heal faster and look less angry.


A detoxifying oil, good at cleansing blocked pores (blackheads) and helping to clear excess oil from the skin. It also has antiseptic properties, so will help prevent spots occurring.

(Do not use during pregnancy, or by those with kidney issues)

Juniper berry branch with leaves and fruit
Juniper berry


A refreshing citrus oil that works well on any type of seborrheic conditions, which means it cleanses and controls the oil being produced. It is detoxifying, so good for breakouts, spots or acne, as well as being refreshing, so uplifts a dull skin.

(Avoid direct sunlight if applied topically)


Mandarin is an astringent, so helps to contract and tighten the skin’s tissues, not only controlling the production of oil, but also tightening the skins tissues, to help close enlarged pores. Excessive oily skin can often have open pores, as the oil being secreted, can stretch the opening of the pores.

(Avoid direct sunlight if applied topically)


Refreshing, uplifting and brightening for dull, oily skins. It is also a detoxifying oil, so helps to cleanse pores and ease skin congestion.

(Avoid direct sunlight if applied topically)


Petitgrain is a lesser known citrus oil, that is a tonic for greasy skin and hair. It will help strengthen the skin and help cleanse excess oil.

Blending essential oils for oily skin

The best way to use essential oils for oily skin, is to blend and use a facial oil.

I know that you probably recoiling in horror at the thought of using an oil on your already oily skin!! However, this oil, that I am suggesting you use will NOT make you any more oily!! Using the correct base oil, along with suitable essential oil, will actually help balance and treat your skin.

(This article contains affiliate links and as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases)

Facial oil blends

Create a blend by using a small, amber, glass bottle;

The bottles must be tinted, so the oils do get affected by light or heat. Using bottles with a dropper is also useful, as it allows you to control the amount you are using. Small bottles are ideal, as you do not need to use much oil, for each application and you can change your blend regularly if want to.

You must use a carrier oil, to mix with your essential oils. Jojoba oil is ideal on oily skin, as it can help to dissolve sebum, thus preventing blocked pores, and excessive oiliness. Rosehip oil is a good alternative, as it is a lighter oil, that is easily absorbed and nourishing too.

Use 2 drops of essential oil per 5 ml of carrier oil. I would suggest using a combination of 2 essential oils, as more can be overwhelming in a small blend.

  • Cypress & Grapefruit
  • Juniper & Lemon
  • Orange & Petitgrain
  • Mandarin & Tea Tree

How essential oils work for oily skin

Essential oils are the pure oils that are extracted from flower petals, leaves, fruit or herbs, and are so fine and pure that they have the ability to penetrate through the skin’s surface.

Because of this, they can get to work at a much deeper level of the skin, than a lot of other skincare ingredients. Most skincare products that we use only sit in the very top layers of the skin – which is needed – but the fact that essential oils can penetrate further, means they will have more of a beneficial effect on various skin conditions we may experience.

Essential oil products for oily skin

Blending your own essential oil products is great for treating your oily skin, however you can also try out these wonderful products for oily skin.

E’spa, Decleor and Neals Yard, are among my favourite skincare companies that base their skincare on essential oils and aromatherapy.


Fine out more about TONING here.

Facial Oil



However you decide to use essential oils for oily skin, they are a great way of reducing the amount of oil being produced, while nourishing and protecting your skin for the future. Chose a whole range of aromatherapy products or just add in one or 2 to your normal routine.

About the Author
Alison Angold is a fully qualified (certified) beauty therapist, massage therapist and aromatherapist from the UK. She has over 25 years experience in this industry and has worked in a variety of beauty salons, spa’s as well as running her own successful beauty and massage business. Her career has allowed her to treat many, many clients, with skincare concerns, medical conditions, and a whole variety of other ailments and issues, that has enabled her to work closely with essential oils, prescribing specific blends for these clients to help with these conditions. Her qualifications in the use of essential oils and aromatherapy, allow her to share this knowledge with others, in a safe, reliable way.

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