Lavender is an herbal botanical with a world famous scent and rich history, giving it a special place in aromatherapy and holistic medicine. Lavender oil use dates back to ancient Egypt, where it was used for bathing and scenting the air. During the Middle Ages, lavender oil was used as a strewing herb to cover the floor of one’s home to deter germs, insects, and bacteria.
This lovely purple bloom comes from a flowering plant in the mint family, and has a distinctly crisp, fresh, and soothing floral aroma. We incorporate it into a range of Puristry products, but its benefits extend far beyond fragrance alone. Lavender can be used to target a variety of skin concerns, including acne. That’s why you’ll see organic Lavandula Angustifolia – aka lavender oil – used in every single skin care product in our collection.
Lavender’s natural chemistry makes it a powerful tool for acne prevention. It calms active breakouts, and also helps to heal past blemishes and the associated discoloration left behind.
Lavender Oil for Acne Prevention
Lavender oil can be incorporated into your daily routine to keep breakouts from surfacing and developing in their earliest stages. It exhibits antifungal and antibacterial biological activity, meaning that when applied topically, it reduces the scope and severity of acne causing bacteria. Studies have shown that highly concentrated lavender oil can even reduce staph infections. For this reason, it’s sometimes referred to as a natural antibiotic.
While acne can’t be chalked up to bacteria alone, it’s certainly a central contributing factor to the development of a cyst or comedone. Put simply, an acne lesion forms when bacteria combines with dead skin cells and excess sebum to form a plug that blocks the pore, causing inflammation. Daily application of lavender oil for acne can remove the bacterial factor from this acne-causing trifecta, dialing back the conditions that would normally prompt a pimple to form.
Lavender also derives some of its preventative properties from its high content of Vitamin A. Vitamin A is a key component in the battle against acne. It prevents dull and congested skin by encouraging collagen production, increasing skin cellular turnover, and protecting skin from damaging free radicals
PRO TIP: Avoid applying lavender oil directly to skin. Essential oils should always be diluted in carrier oils or H2O to avoid rashes and skin irritation. You can find lavender oil diluted in carefully formulated ratios in Puristry’s Flower Water Toner and Nopal Cactus Cleanser. Our Flower Water Toner incorporates lavender oil into a rose and calendula hydrosol base (both healing skin conditioners that promote wound healing). And our Nopal Cactus Cleanser incorporates lavender oil into a formula that cleanses without stripping, relying on the benefits of hydrating organic aloe water and Vitamin E packed prickly pear extract.
Lavender Oil for Calming Active Breakouts
Lavender oil can be a healing remedy for blemishes that have already developed, or are at the stage of active inflammation. Lavender is perhaps best known for its soothing and calming properties (which is why it’s so popular in essential oil diffusers and spas). Armed with this key benefit, lavender oil applied to a red or inflamed active blemish can speed up recovery, reduce the circumference or redness, and pump the brakes on pain and itching. Research has indicated that lavender also acts as an antispasmodic, making it an effective agent for de-accelerating inflammation and swelling in capillaries (meaning that it helps reduce redness).
Lavender oil is also full of Vitamin E, a skin emollient that protects the lipid barrier and helps skin hold in hydration. Often how successful you are at beating active blemishes comes down to how balanced your lipid levels are, and lavender oil can help balance your dermis to get you to the sweet spot (just enough oil, but not too much).
The other key point here is that lavender oil is a natural analgesic. This means that it actively reduces pain and sensitivity when applied topically (which is why it’s often used for neck and back pain, or as a massage oil for serious stiffness). When your active breakout isn’t itching or stinging, you’re less likely to attack it with ruthless picking and squeezing, which is ultimately a big NO that will leave you with exacerbated inflammation and potential scarring.
Side note: Inflammation is often framed as a side effect of acne, but sometimes it can go hand-in-hand with acne and indicate other underlying issues. Hop over to our Lavender Oil Deep Dive to read more about how lavender can aid and treat your inflammation (acneic and otherwise).
Lavender Oil for Healing Past Blemishes
So the drama has subsided, and your monstrous cyst has come and gone at long last. Unfortunately, you may be left with some serious post-blemish discoloration and scarring. In this situation, lavender oil can be a life-saving fix. When applied to wounds, research has shown that lavender oil can effectively speed up healing and decrease the time it takes for scarring to fade. The presence of vitamin E means that it speeds up tissue repair at the cellular level, encouraging new skin cells and tissue to replace the old, damaged layers.
Lavender oil also contains Vitamin C, which is a key vitamin for beating acne scarring. An antioxidant known to brighten the skin and treat dark spots and sun damage, vitamin C improves pigmentation and skin texture. Within the context of lavender oil, it works in tandem with Vitamin A and E (plus the list of other antiinflammatory and antibacterial benefits).
The takeaway? Lavender oil is good for more than just fragrance. It can help you in your acne journey from preventative care to post-spot treatment.
Want more natural acne treatment advice? Jump over to our blog post on Witch Hazel!