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How to use essential oils for rosacea

Learn how these natural remedies may help calm redness and potentially soothe your skin.

Curology Team Avatar
by Curology Team
Updated on Aug 23, 2023 • 9 min read
Medically reviewed by Erin Pate, NP-C
Essential Oil Released from Dropper
Curology Team Avatar
by Curology Team
Updated on Aug 23, 2023 • 9 min read
Medically reviewed by Erin Pate, NP-C
We’re here to share what we know — but don’t take it as medical advice. Talk to your medical provider if you have questions.

Living with the redness, inflammation, and sensitivity that come with rosacea can be challenging. While you may likely need medical treatment to manage your rosacea, incorporating natural remedies into your skincare routine may also offer additional support. Essential oils have gained attention for their soothing properties and potential to alleviate rosacea symptoms.

Here we’ll explore some soothing essential oils that may help manage the discomfort associated with rosacea. It’s important to note that individual responses to essential oils can vary, and it’s always recommended to consult with a dermatology provider before incorporating them into your routine. Let’s get into it!

Understanding rosacea 

Rosacea is a common chronic inflammatory disease that affects over 5% of people globally, with higher rates observed in adults aged 30-50, females, and individuals with fair skin. This skin condition is characterized by several distinct features, including recurrent flushing, persistent redness (erythema), visible blood vessels (telangiectasia), and papules or pustules on the nose, chin, cheeks, and forehead.¹

Prompt diagnosis and treatment are important in managing rosacea effectively and preventing potential complications. Without timely intervention, there’s a risk of permanent scarring, persistent redness, and even eye complications.²

Understanding the causes of rosacea is still an area of ongoing research. Although the exact cause remains elusive, several factors are believed to contribute to its development. These factors include genetic predisposition, immune reactions, microorganisms such as Demodex mites, and environmental factors like exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation.³

If you have rosacea, consider consulting with a healthcare provider who can evaluate your condition and provide an appropriate diagnosis and a solid treatment plan

What are essential oils?

Essential oils are highly concentrated extracts derived from plants through mechanical pressing or distillation methods. These oils retain the natural aroma and flavor of the extracted plant.⁴

Essential oils are used in various products, including food flavoring, soaps, lotions, and insect repellents. They may possess various properties such as antimicrobial, antiviral, antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant effects. These properties contribute to their potential health benefits, and is why they have gained popularity as complementary or alternative methods alongside traditional medicinal treatments.

While essential oils are derived from natural sources, they can be very potent and irritating when misused. When using essential oils, always dilute them correctly, follow recommended usage guidelines, and perform patch tests before applying them to your skin. You should also consider your sensitivities and consult with a healthcare professional about whether they might be appropriate for your skin.

Essential oils for rosacea and how they work 

Essential oils such as citron, tea tree, and evening primrose oil have shown promise in soothing rosacea symptoms.

Citron essential oils

Derived from the Yuzu fruit (Citrus junos Tanaka) found in Korea and Japan, citron essential oil offers a potential solution for managing rosacea symptoms. Bursting with antioxidant phenols and flavonoids, the Yuzu fruit is renowned for its beneficial properties.

Citron essential oil contains a rich blend of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that can help calm inflammation and relieve rosacea-prone skin. One study revealed that this essential oil effectively suppressed the production of rosacea mediators. This suggests that citron essential oil could serve as a beneficial complementary therapy for rosacea, supporting the reduction of inflammation and overall symptom management.⁵

Tea tree oil

Tea tree oil may offer a natural remedy for managing rosacea. Packed with over 100 different components, tea tree oil has gained recognition for its potential effectiveness against Demodex mites, which may contribute to rosacea development. Tea tree oil may help alleviate rosacea-related inflammation and redness by targeting these mites.⁶

Tea tree oil also has antimicrobial properties, enabling it to combat various microorganisms, including bacteria, fungi, and parasites. Its anti-inflammatory properties further contribute to its potential effectiveness in managing rosacea.⁷

A study investigating the combination of Permethrin 2.5% gel with tea tree oil found promising results in treating rosacea. This combination demonstrated good efficacy and safety by reducing Demodex mite populations and improving clinical symptoms associated with rosacea.⁸

Evening primrose oil

Evening primrose oil, derived from the evening primrose plant’s seeds, offers numerous benefits for the skin, including potential relief for rosacea symptoms. This natural oil contains Gamma-linolenic acid, a valuable component known for its positive effects on the skin.

Evening primrose oil has shown remarkable effects on restoring and improving the skin barrier. It has been reported to restore defective epidermal skin barriers, normalize excessive transepidermal water loss, and improve the skin barrier in both healthy individuals and those with atopic dermatitis. These properties make it a promising candidate for enhancing the skin's protective function. Its nourishing properties help maintain the skin’s moisture balance and alleviate common concerns associated with these conditions.⁹

In the context of rosacea, oral supplementation of Gamma-linolenic acid has shown promise as an additional therapeutic option when combined with minocycline treatment.¹⁰ This suggests that the Gamma-linolenic acid found abundantly in evening primrose oil could potentially contribute to managing your rosacea symptoms.

It’s important to keep in mind that these essential oils will only benefit your skin when they’re used properly.

Best practices: How to use essential oils for rosacea 

When using essential oils for rosacea, following certain best practices is important to ensure safety and effectiveness. 

Here are some guidelines to keep in mind:

Avoid certain essential oils: Patient surveys have identified peppermint and eucalyptus essential oils as ingredients that can potentially cause flare-ups in rosacea. Avoid these oils to minimize the risk of adverse reactions.¹¹

Dilute essential oils: Essential oils should be diluted before applying them to your skin. Mix them with a carrier oil, such as jojoba oil or almond oil, at a recommended dilution by a dermatology provider. This helps reduce the risk of skin irritation and sensitivity.¹²

Perform a patch test: Before applying any essential oil to your face, perform a patch test on a small skin area to determine if you have any adverse reactions or sensitivity to the oil.¹³

Avoid your eye area: Be cautious when applying essential oils near the eye area, as they can cause irritation. It’s best to avoid direct contact with the eyes and consider using alternative products specifically formulated for the delicate eye area.¹⁴

Keep in mind that essential oils may work differently for some. Individual responses to essential oils can vary, and what works for one person may not work for another. It’s important to monitor your skin’s reaction and adjust usage accordingly. 

Common practices for treating rosacea 

Essential oils should be used as complementary therapy to medical treatment for rosacea, and it’s important to consult with a dermatology professional first to ensure their safe and appropriate usage. The main rosacea treatments your dermatology provider may recommend include both general recommendations and prescription medication.

General recommendations

To effectively manage rosacea, start by identifying and avoiding symptom-exacerbating triggers, such as UV light, spicy foods, weather changes, and alcoholic beverages. Choose pH-balanced skin cleansers that are gentle and formulated for sensitive skin to maintain the natural balance of your skin and help prevent irritation. Also, don’t forget to apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30 to shield your skin from harmful UV rays.¹⁵

Avoid skincare and cosmetic products that may irritate your skin. Look for gentle formulations without harsh chemicals or fragrances. If persistent redness is a concern, consider using cosmetics with green pigment to help neutralize the appearance of redness.¹⁶

By incorporating these recommendations, you can minimize triggers, protect your skin, and manage the persistent redness associated with rosacea. 

Topical treatment

Topical treatments play a significant role in managing rosacea symptoms. Your medical provider may recommend various creams specifically formulated to target redness and acne-like bumps associated with rosacea. These include ivermectin, azelaic acid and metronidazole.¹⁷

It’s important to consult with a medical provider for a proper treatment plan tailored to your specific concerns. By working closely with your healthcare professional, you can develop an effective skincare routine to manage your rosacea symptoms effectively.

Treat rosacea with Curology

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Get your personalized skincare routine with Curology

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With a personalized approach, Curology offers expert-developed skincare to address your unique rosacea concerns. Our dermatology providers will work with you to create a personalized treatment plan tailored to your specific needs. Don’t let rosacea hold you back—take advantage and claim your offer* now so you can start your journey towards clearer, healthier skin today.

FAQs

What essential oils reduce redness?

Essential oils such as tea tree oil, citron oils, and evening primrose oil have properties that can help reduce redness, inflammation, and acne-like bumps associated with rosacea.

How do I heal my rosacea naturally?

While it’s important to consult a dermatology provider for a tailored treatment plan, some initial approaches include avoiding triggers, using appropriate skincare products, and using essential oils like tea tree oil, primrose oil, and citron oil may be considered.

Is tea tree oil OK for rosacea?

Yes, tea tree oil is generally considered safe and has shown the potential to improve rosacea symptoms. However, it’s advisable to consult with a dermatology provider to determine the appropriate usage and potential interactions with other treatments.

• • •

P.S. We did the homework, so you don’t have to:

  1. Farshchian, M. and Daveluy, S. RosaceaStatPearls. (2023, April 19).

  2. Farshchian, M. and Daveluy, S. Rosacea. StatPearls. Ibid.

  3. Farshchian, M. and Daveluy, S. Rosacea. StatPearls. Ibid.

  4. National Institutes of Health (NIH). Essential Oils. (2022, February 17).

  5. Jeon, H.W., et al. Citron Essential Oils Alleviate the Mediators Related to Rosacea Pathophysiology in Epidermal Keratinocytes. Ann Dermatol. (December 2018).

  6. Savla, K., et al. Tea tree oil for Demodex blepharitis. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. (2019, June 9).

  7. Savla, K., et al. Tea tree oil for Demodex blepharitis. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. Ibid.

  8. Ebnayamin, E., et al. The efficacy and safety of permethrin 2.5% with tea tree oil gel on rosacea treatment. J Cosmet Dermaol. (June 2020). 

  9. Kim, J.H., et al. A Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial of Gamma Linolenic Acid as an Add-on Therapy to Minocycline for the Treatment of Rosacea. Ann Dermatol. (December 2020).

  10. Kim, J.H., et al. A Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial of Gamma Linolenic Acid as an Add-on Therapy to Minocycline for the Treatment of Rosacea. Ann Dermatol. (December 2020).

  11. Del Rosso, J.Q. and Baum, E.W. Comprehensive medical management of rosacea: an interim study report and literature review. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. (May 2008).

  12. Antonelli, M. and Donelli, D. Efficacy, Safety and Tolerability of Aroma Massage with Lavender Essential Oil: an Overview. Int J Ther Massage Bodywork. (2020, February 26).

  13. Sindle, A. and Martin, K. Art of Prevention: Essential Oils - Natural Products Not Necessarily Safe. International Journal of Women’s Dermatology. (June 2021).

  14. Farrar, A.J. and Farrar, F.C. Clinical Aromatherapy. Nurs Clin North Am. (December 2020).

  15. Farshchian, M. and Daveluy, S. Rosacea. StatPearls. Ibid.

  16. Farshchian, M. and Daveluy, S. Rosacea. StatPearls. Ibid.

  17. Farshchian, M. and Daveluy, S. Rosacea. StatPearls. Ibid.

Erin Pate is a board-certified Family Nurse Practitioner at Curology. She earned her Masters of Science in Nursing at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, FL. *Cancel anytime. Subject to consultation. Results may vary.

• • •
Our medical review process:We’re here to tell you what we know. That’s why our information is evidence-based and fact-checked by medical experts. Still, everyone’s skin is unique—the best way to get advice is to talk to your healthcare provider.
Curology Team Avatar

Curology Team

Erin Pate Nurse Practitioner, NP-C

Erin Pate, NP-C

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