The struggle and frustration of acne and its marks are real. No matter how well you take care of your skin, you may still end up developing those ‘tiny demons’ on your face, especially if you have oily skin. Sometimes, the situation turns even worse when we try to get rid of them quickly with synthetic acne-busting cosmetics or OTC acne medications. So, it is always best to go natural with ingredients like clove essential oil for curbing the zits and getting flawless skin. Do you want to know more about it? Let us take a closer look at why and how to use clove oil for treating acne.
What is Acne?
Acne or acne vulgaris is the most common type of skin problem experienced by Americans (1) and more than 75% of women across the world suffer from it. When the tiny pores (openings of hair follicles) on the skin get blocked by dead cells, excess sebum, dirt, bacteria, etc., pimples are developed. Repeated pimples may eventually give you acne. Most commonly found on the face, neck, chest, shoulders, back, etc., acne can affect any age group. Though not life-threatening, it is a long-term skin condition that may even turn severe and painful. It may also affect your self-esteem and lead to emotional distress over time. While non-inflammatory acne like blackheads and whiteheads can be eliminated completely with certain treatments and remedies, inflammatory lesions, such as papules, pustules, nodules, cystic acne, etc. may result in permanent scarring of the skin.
Causes of Acne
There are multiple factors and aspects that are associated with acne. Below we have listed the causes of acne to help you understand better: (2)
- Hormonal imbalance
- Improper diet
- Insufficient sleep
- Poor lifestyle
- High levels of stress
- Environmental pollution
- Lack of skin exfoliation
- Use of comedogenic cosmetics
- Intake of certain medications like corticosteroids, birth control pills, etc.
What is Clove Essential Oil?
Clove oil is a highly beneficial essential oil obtained from the clove tree (Syzygium aromaticum). The tropical plant is mostly found in Southeast Asia and a few other parts of the world too. The pale yellow colored oil with a strong, spicy scent is primarily extracted from the dried aromatic flower buds of the tree through hydrodistillation. But you can also find it in the market derived from other parts of clove trees like leaves and stems. Clove oil contains Eugenol, a natural compound with numerous pharmacological activities, which contributes to its unique dental healing characteristics (3). In fact, the oil has also long been used as a natural remedy for pesky acne, pimples, and other skin infections due to its potent antimicrobial properties.
Why Use Clove Oil for Treating Acne?
Clove oil comes with loads of benefits for our skin and hence, it is recognized as a magic solution to bank on for acne. It infiltrates deep into the skin and deals with the problem in a soothing manner. Following are the potential benefits of using clove oil for acne treatment:
- It exhibits strong anti-inflammatory properties that help in reducing acne-related redness, swelling, and itchiness (4).
- The oil combats several bacteria including the one responsible for acne (P. acne) with its antibacterial as well as antimicrobial properties (5).
- Eugenol in the oil has antiseptic qualities that facilitate the treatment of various skin infections and prevent them from reoccurring.
- The analgesic properties of clove oil help in providing instant relief from the pain and itchiness caused by severe acne (6).
- Being rich in antioxidants, the oil fights against free radicals and reduces oxidative stress in the body. This aids the treatment of acne-prone skin by repairing damaged cells and tissues.
- Regular use of clove oil not only heals acne but also fades away the marks and scars left behind it.
How to Use Clove Oil for Treating Acne?
Clove oil alone can impact acne positively. But instead of using in the purest and highly concentrated form, it is important to be mixed with some other ingredients that enhance its soothing sensation. Try using clove oil in the following way for treating acne effectively:
1. Clove Oil with Olive Oil
Mix clove oil with virgin olive oil and apply the mixture to the affected area of your skin with a cotton ball. Massage gently and let it dry for 20-25 minutes before washing it off with plain water and an oil-free cleanser. Use this remedy daily to see a noticeable difference within a few weeks. Being a natural antibacterial agent, virgin olive oil also helps in driving acne-causing bacteria away while keeping the pores unclogged and nourishing the skin intensely.
2. Clove Oil with Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is known for its great antibacterial and antiseptic properties. It is also quite soothing and moisturizing for our skin. Therefore, mix coconut oil and clove oil in equal quantity and apply the mixture to the troubled parts of your skin with the help of a cotton ball. Wait for 15 minutes and then, wash it off as it dries. Regular use of this will banish your acne and improve your skin texture as well.
3. Clove Oil with Moisturizing Lotion
You can even combine clove oil with the moisturizing lotion (non-comedogenic) that you use daily on your skin. Add a few drops of the oil to a small amount of your moisturizer and massage your skin with it gently by following a circular motion. Practice it daily to see significant differences in your skin and experience less inflammation. It also unclogs skin pores and destroys acne-causing bacteria to prevent further breakouts.
4. Clove Oil with Foundation
If you apply makeup frequently, do not forget to add a few drops of clove oil to your regular foundation. When you will remove your makeup at the end of the day, there will be less itching and your skin will appear more flawless. However, do not include clove oil in your makeup base regularly.
Make sure that you prepare and apply your DIY clove oil remedies for acne carefully. As a general rule, you can use 10 drops of any other ingredient for every drop of clove oil.
Precautions for Clove Oil Acne Treatment
As the skin type of every individual is different, it is necessary to take the approval of a dermatologist before using clove oil for treating acne. Here is a proper guide to using the oil effectively for the best results:
1. Mix It Up
The most important rule when you are using clove oil is to never use it alone. It is very strong in nature and can cause a burning sensation to your skin. In some cases, it may even aggravate your acne condition too. So, mix it up with carrier oil(s) every time before applying to the skin.
2. Do a Patch Test
Facial skin is very sensitive and you should not apply anything to it without testing on other body parts. So, always do a patch test before you start. Apply it to a small part of your body like on the wrist or behind the ear and wait for 24 hours. If there are no adverse reactions (irritation, itchiness, redness, burning sensation, swelling, allergies, etc.), you can go ahead and apply it to your face.
3. Wash It Off Fast
Clove has a very strong essence that can make your skin itchy, red, and sore (with a burning sensation) if left on the skin for a long time. So, make sure that you wash off clove oil with cold water after 15 to 20 minutes of application. After washing it off, simply pat your skin dry with a clean soft towel and apply a soothing lotion.
Other Benefits of Clove Essential Oil
The goodness of clove oil is not at all limited to acne treatment. Researches say that the ingredient has many other benefits for our health and appearance. Here we go:
- Clove oil is a potent natural antimicrobial agent that kills staph bacteria in liquid culture and biofilm (7).
- It exhibits antifungal properties that may inhibit the growth of several fungi with environmental origins (8).
- Eugenol in it is effective in treating fungal infections like athlete’s foot, oral thrush, and vaginal yeast infections caused by Candida albicans (9).
- The antibacterial activity of clove oil helps in killing a variety of bacteria that are responsible for various respiratory infections like pneumonia, influenza, etc. (10)
- The oil acts like fluoride in preventing dental erosion caused by acidic beverages, which again keeps oral cavities at bay (11).
- It is a topical anesthetic that reduces pain as significantly as benzocaine does (12).
- Clove oil may give you relief from chronic itching to a great extent (13).
- People with anal fissures may consider this oil as a reliable treatment option (14).
- Being toxic to the cancer cells, clove oil may aid cancer treatment naturally (15). It not only stops the growth of cancer cells by increasing cell death but also disrupts cell division to prevent further spreading of the disease. (16)
Acne is formed when the tiny pores on our skin get blocked by dead cells, excess sebum, dirt, bacteria, etc. It is most commonly found on the face, neck, chest, shoulders, back, etc., and is caused by a number of factors including hormonal imbalance, heredity, bad diet, insufficient sleep, poor lifestyle, stress, and so on. Clove oil is known to be a highly effective natural solution for pesky acne. It is a pale yellow-colored essential oil with a strong, spicy scent that is extracted from the dried aromatic flower buds, leaves, and stems of the tropical clove tree through hydrodistillation. When it comes to treating acne, the oil infiltrates deep into the skin and deals with the problem in a soothing manner with its potent anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antimicrobial, antiseptic, antioxidant, and analgesic properties. The highly concentrated clove oil should always be combined with other carrier oils (virgin olive oil, coconut oil, etc.), moisturizing lotion, or makeup foundation for the treatment of acne. Doing a patch test before use and a fast wash-off after the application is also important for ensuring optimal safety. Apart from acne, clove oil also helps in treating bacterial infections, fungal infections, oral cavities, chronic itching, anal fissures, and even certain types of cancer.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How Do You Use Cloves for Acne?
Apart from clove essential oil, the spice clove itself can be used for the spot treatment of acne. Just mix a fine powder of clove with an equal amount of honey and apply it once to your acne every day until there are noticeable changes.
Is Clove Oil Good for Oily Skin?
Clove oil has been found to be a natural astringent that regulates the production of sebum in oily skin while eliminating the excess oil already present in it. You need to use a combination of clove oil and witch hazel once every day for this purpose.
Can Clove Oil Burn Your Skin
If your skin is sensitive, clove oil may not be suitable for you. Keeping the oil on your sensitive skin for too long may eventually cause itchiness and a burning sensation.
- “Acne: Tips for Managing“, AAD.org
- “What Causes Acne?“, Healthline.com
- “Is Clove Oil Effective for Toothache?“, MedicalNewsToday.com
- “Clove Extract and Eugenol Suppress Inflammatory Responses Elicited by Propionibacterium acnes in Vitro and in Vivo“, ResearchGate.net
- “The Antibacterial Activity of Clove Essential Oil Against Propionibacterium acnes and Its Mechanism of Action“, ResearchGate.net
- “Analgesic Effect of the Aqueous and Ethanolic Extracts of Clove“, NCBI.nlm.nih.gov
- “Antimicrobial Effect of Clove and Lemongrass Oils against Planktonic Cells and Biofilms of Staphylococcus aureus“, Pharmacy.mahidol.ac.th
- “Antifungal Activity of Essential Oils Against Fungi Isolated from Air“, NCBI.nlm.nih.gov
- “Study of Anticandidal Activity of Carvacrol and Eugenol in Vitro and in Vivo“, PubMed.NCBI.nlm.nih.gov
- “Antibacterial Activity Evaluation of Selected Essential Oils in Liquid and Vapor Phase on Respiratory Tract Pathogens“, NCBI.nlm.nih.gov
- “Efficacy of Specific Plant Products on Microorganisms Causing Dental Caries“, NCBI.nlm.nih.gov
- “The Effect of Clove and Benzocaine Versus Placebo as Topical Anesthetics“, PubMed.NCBI.nlm.nih.gov
- “Effectiveness of Topical Clove Oil on Symptomatic Treatment of Chronic Pruritus“, PubMed.NCBI.nlm.nih.gov
- “Clove Oil Cream: A New Effective Treatment for Chronic Anal Fissure“, PubMed.NCBI.nlm.nih.gov
- “Anticancer Potential of Syzygium aromaticum L. in MCF-7 Human Breast Cancer Cell Lines“, NCBI.nlm.nih.gov
- “Clove Extract Inhibits Tumor Growth and Promotes Cell Cycle Arrest and Apoptosis“, NCBI.nlm.nih.gov