How to Use Peppermint Oil for Acne?

Peppermint is one of the commonly used and widely popular species from the genus Mentha.

The fresh leaves of peppermint (mentha+pepperita) are available throughout the year and usually used in herbal teas or flavoring the food items and in skincare products.

This aromatic herb is native to Asia and Europe and popularly used for its abundance of health benefits. The common uses include flavoring breath mints, food, candies, refreshing teas, and essential oils.

Peppermint has several chemical compounds like limonene, menthone, and menthol which is the reason behind it several beneficial properties.

Is Peppermint oil good for acne?

Yes, to a certain degree peppermint can help to reduce inflammation caused by acne. It cleanses, soothes and has a cooling effect on the skin. [01]

Though it has strong anti-microbial properties, peppermint can’t fight the ‘propionibacterium acnes’ – an acne-causing bacteria. So, you shouldn’t rely on peppermint alone to treat the acne. [02] [03]

How does it work?

Acne is caused by the clogging of skin pores by skin flakes and skin oil where ‘P. acnes’ proliferate.

As per the American Academy of Dermatology, acne is the most common condition of the skin in the United States.

Though it is not a potentially harmful condition, it can cause emotional distress in some cases.

Peppermint essential oil may help to relieve the symptoms of acne to a certain extent.

Peppermint has several active compounds that are responsible for the medicinal properties of peppermint essential oil.

Menthol is one of the primary compounds that acts as a cooling agent when applied to the skin and helps to reduce the pain. [1.1]

Apart from its pain-relieving properties, mint has strong anti-bacterial action against the various bacteria like S. aureus, E. coli, S. epidermidis, S. pyogenes, and C. albicans, etc. [2.1]

The anti-microbial activity of peppermint can help to control the growth of P. acnes.

However, there is no sufficient evidence that peppermint essential oil can successfully combat the propionibacterium acnes infection and more studies needs to be carried out to see its efficacy.

Anti-bacterial properties of peppermint oil make it a best natural alternative for clearing the acne. When used with eucalyptus oil it can yield better results.

To use the peppermint oil for acne, you need to mix it with a carrier oil or distilled water and then apply it over the acne.

Before you use any alternative remedies, always perform a patch test to see if you are allergic to it or not. If you find rashes after a patch test, consult the healthcare provider.

Peppermint oil recipe for acne-prone skin:

  • Take 3 to 4 drops of peppermint essential oil.
  • Add 1 to 2 drops of eucalyptus essential oil.
  • Mix both with 2 to 3 tablespoon of distilled water.
  • Clean your face and apply over acne.
  • Keep it for an hour and wash it off.

Shop for the peppermint essential oil on Amazon.

Risk factors to consider

Though the topical application of peppermint oil is generally considered safe, it may cause an allergic reaction in some cases.

Always consult the physician before applying anything to acne, especially when you are using alternative remedies like essential oils.

To test whether you are allergic to peppermint oil or not, consider applying a drop of oil over forearm or elbow and wait for 15 to 20 minutes.

If you feel itching or see the development of rashes then you need to avoid the peppermint oil application over your skin.

Side effects of ingesting peppermint oil

Generally, small does of peppermint oil in the supplements are considered safe but taking heavy dose can cause severe harm to the health of person ingesting the peppermint oil. [04]

You should always discuss the outcome of ingesting peppermint essential oil with your healthcare provider.

Combining ingestion of peppermint oil with another medicine can inhibit the body’s function of metabolizing the medicines and ends into the side effects.

Possible side effects of peppermint oil include:

  • Nausea & vomiting
  • Mouth sores
  • Acid reflux
  • Anal burning
  • Diarrhea

Peppermint Oil FAQs

Does peppermint oil clog pores?

No. Generally, peppermint oil is used in minute quantity by diluting with distilled water or carrier oil. At such a diluted level, comedogenic effects of peppermint oil are equivalent to the zero.

When used in diluted form and due to its astringent properties peppermint essential oil does not clog pores.

Is peppermint oil an astringent?

Herbalist consider peppermint oil have an astrigent properties. Due to its cooling action o skin and astrigent properties, peppermint oil can help to normalise sebum production and can be used over oily, acne-prone skin. [05] [06]


Bottom Line:

Peppermint essential oil is considered safe to apply over the skin and it can help reduce the aches, cleanses the skin and creates the cooling sensation.

But, in spite of its strong anti-bacterial action, there is less evidence that it can help to get rid of acne alone. You should consider this alternative treatment along with other medications after consulting your doctor.

[01] [1.1] Sundstrup, E., Jakobsen, M. D., Brandt, M., Jay, K., Colado, J. C., Wang, Y., & Andersen, L. L. (2014). Acute effect of topical menthol on chronic pain in slaughterhouse workers with carpal tunnel syndrome: triple-blind, randomized placebo-controlled trial. Rehabilitation research and practice, 2014, 310913. doi: 10.1155/2014/310913
[02] [2.1] Orchard, A., & van Vuuren, S. (2017). Commercial Essential Oils as Potential Antimicrobials to Treat Skin Diseases. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM, 2017, 4517971. doi: 10.1155/2017/4517971
[03] Zu Y, Yu H, Liang L, Fu Y, Efferth T, Liu X, Wu N. Activities of ten essential oils towards Propionibacterium acnes and PC-3, A-549 and MCF-7 cancer cells. doi: 10.3390/molecules15053200
[04] Nath, S. S., Pandey, C., & Roy, D. (2012). A near fatal case of high dose peppermint oil ingestion- Lessons learnt. Indian journal of anaesthesia, 56(6), 582–584. doi: 10.4103/0019-5049.104585
[05] Hoffman D. The complete illustrated holistic herbal. Rockport, MA: Element Books Inc., 1996.
[06] Bove M. An encyclopedia of natural healing for children & infants. New Canaan, CT: Keats Publishing, Inc., 1996.