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Peppermint essential oil as a solution for acne?

Peppermint essential oil as a solution for acne?

Acne is a skin condition characterized by the emergence of pimples and blackheads. There are several solutions available to combat the proliferation of acne. While some are invasive, others are gentle and natural. Is this the case with peppermint essential oil? The answer is in this article.

Published July 31, 2023, updated on February 9, 2024, by Manon, Scientific Editor — 4 min read

What exactly is acne?

Primarily located on the face and back, acne is a non-contagious skin condition non-contagious, characterized by the appearance of pimples and blackheads at the level of the hair and sebaceous follicles. Three factors are involved and cause a person to develop acne: excessive production of sebum (hyperseborrhea) or a sebum that is too thick (dyseborrhea), the obstruction of pores by the accumulation of dead cells (hyperkeratosis), and the proliferation of the bacterium Propionibacterium acnes inside 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 hydrolyze the triglycerides in sebum into free fatty acids. These acids are irritating and pro-inflammatory, triggering an inflammatory response. Hormones, particularly androgens, are the main cause of overproduction of sebum by the sebaceous glands, which is responsible for facial seborrhea.

In the fight against acne, more and more people are seeking "natural remedies" to limit the use of products that may not necessarily be kind to the epidermis. Shea butter has often been touted as an alternative for combating acne, but its effects on acne-prone skin are often not well understood.

Combating Acne with Peppermint Essential Oil

Thepeppermint essential oil is a natural oil extracted from the mint variety known as mentha x piperita. It is obtained from the plant's leaves through steam distillation, which allows for the production of a pure oil highly concentrated in active compounds. Already used in antiquity for its medicinal virtues and pleasant fragrance, this oil emits a fresh and herbaceous scent reminiscent of mint. Its composition gives it beneficial properties for acne.

  • The essential oil of peppermint reduces inflammation.

The menthol found in this essential oil inhibits the production of inflammatory molecules such as prostaglandin PGE-2, interleukin-IL-1-β, and leukotriene LTB-4. It can also block calcium channels involved in the production of cytokines and the transmission of pain signals. This has the effect of reducing the sensation of heat and the pain that can be generated by the inflammatory response. Menthone, another compound in peppermint essential oil, has significantly inhibited the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines, including TNF-α, IL-1β, and IL-6. Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, the essential oil is beneficial for soothing itchiness and irritations associated with acne.

  • The essential oil of peppermint combats bacteria.

A study has highlighted the significant antibacterial activity of menthol against both Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria. However, so far, no research has confirmed its specific antibacterial power against Propionibacterium acnes, the bacteria responsible for acne. Although this antibacterial property could be promising for combating acne, it still requires further studies for confirmation.

Therefore, peppermint essential oil is beneficial for soothing the skin by relieving itching and irritation due to its anti-inflammatory properties. Moreover, its antibacterial potential is promising for combating acne, however, its specific effectiveness against the bacteria Propionibacterium acnes remains to be proven.


SAEED S. & al. In Vitro antibacterial activity of peppermint. Pakistan Journal of Botany (2006).

ALANKAR S. A Review on peppermint oil. Asian Journal of Pharmaceutical and Clinical Research (2009).

KEHILI S. & al. Peppermint (Mentha piperita L.) essential oil as a potent anti-inflammatory, wound healing and anti-nociceptive drug. European Journal of Biological Research (2020).

CHEN X. & al. A Natural Plant Ingredient, Menthone, Regulates T Cell Subtypes and Lowers Pro-inflammatory Cytokines of Rheumatoid Arthritis. Journal of Natural Products (2022).


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