The presence of acne on the skin can be a source of irritation and discomfort for those affected. Natural remedies exist to alleviate this skin condition. Is rosemary essential oil one of them? Let's discover this together in this article.
Is rosemary essential oil effective against acne?
Acne, what is it?
Primarily located on the face and back, acne is a non-contagious skin condition non-contagious, characterised by the appearance of spots and blackheads at the level of the pilosebaceous follicles. Three factors are involved in a person developing acne: excessive production of sebum (hyperseborrhoea) or a sebum that is too thick (dysseborrhoea), the obstruction of pores by the accumulation of dead cells (hyperkeratosis) and the proliferation of the bacterium Propionibacterium acnes within the follicle.
Indeed, when this bacterium is present in very large quantities, it creates an oxygen-free environment conducive to its proliferation. It secretes enzymes into the hair follicle and sebaceous gland that hydrolyse the triglycerides in sebum into free fatty acids. These are irritating and pro-inflammatory, causing an inflammatory reaction. Hormones, particularly androgens, are the main cause of overproduction of sebum by the sebaceous glands, which is responsible for facial seborrhoea.
In the battle against acne, an increasing number of individuals are seeking "natural remedies" to limit the use of products that may not necessarily be kind to the epidermis. Shea butter has often been suggested as an alternative to combat acne, but its effects on acne-prone skin are often not well understood.
Rosemary essential oil: a solution against acne?
The essential oil of rosemary is primarily composed of several key constituents, such as 1,8-cineole, α-pinene, camphor, and borneol. These compounds are characterised by their low molecular weight and they are liposoluble, which allows them to penetrate the cytoplasmic membrane. Thus, α-pinene and borneol, present in rosemary essential oil, will exert their anti-inflammatory activity. α-pinene acts by inhibiting the nuclear translocation of NF-kappa B and reducing inflammatory markers, while borneol suppresses the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines. Notably, a study has shown that these components of rosemary essential oil have inhibited inflammation induced by Propionibacterium acnes via the inhibition or suppression of cytokine production.
An additional study has shown that rosemary essential oil exhibits high sensitivity and significant antibacterial activity against Propionibacterium acnes. This observation can be explained by the fact that camphor and borneol present in the essential oil inhibit Gram-positive bacteria. These compounds may hinder the growth and multiplication of bacteria by disrupting their metabolism. However, specific information on this subject is limited. Furthermore, camphor and borneol can alter the permeability of the bacterial cell membrane, thereby disrupting their function and leading to their elimination.
Rosemary essential oil, with its anti-inflammatory properties, is capable of alleviating skin inflammation caused by acne. Moreover, its antibacterial activity specifically targets Propionibacterium acnes , making it a valuable asset in the fight against this skin condition. Thus, rosemary essential oil can be an effective ally in soothing and treating inflammation related to acne.
How to use rosemary essential oil?
Therosemary essential oil should ideally not be used undiluted and should be diluted in case of topical application to avoid potential irritations or dermatitisTo combat acne spots on the facial skin, incorporate a few drops of camphor rosemary essential oil into your skincare routine. You can also add two drops of this essential oil to your regular face mask.
FU Y. & al. Investigation of antibacterial activity of rosemary essential oil against Propionibacterium acnes with atomic force microscopy. Planta Medica (2007).
OJEDA-SANA A. M. & al. New insights into antibacterial and antioxidant activities of rosemary essential oils and their main components. Food Control (2013).
WINKELMAN W. Aromatherapy, Botanicals, and Essential Oils in Acne. Clinics in Dermatology (2018).