Frankincense essential oil for treating acne

You may know that I’ve started to use essential oils in my skin care, including them in my anti-acne, anti-aging DIY moisturizer.

One of my favourites is frankincense. If the name frankincense sounds familiar, it’s because of the three wise men of biblical fame, who packed this along to give to baby Jesus (along with its biblical buddy myrrh, which is also an essential oil that I use).

Anyway – there’s so many essential oils to choose from… why did frankincense make the cut for my DIY moisturizer? What’s so special about it?

It’s the King of Oils

Frankincense king of oils, great for skin and acneFrankincense is generally regarded as one of the most beneficial essential oils out there. It’s sort of considered a bit of a heal-all… the “King of Oils”.

Hey, if it was good enough for baby Jesus, it’s good enough for you!

When people talk about the different benefits of essential oils, they derive their alleged uses from the scientific properties of that oil. These are properties such as being anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, anti-bacterial, and so forth.

Frankincense has a lot of different properties, and therefore a lot of different all around health uses. But here are the benefits that directly relate to reducing acne and improving skin appearance:

It’s Super Anti-Inflammatory

If your acne is red and swollen, or your skin red and blotchy… then… well… that’s called inflammation! And since frankincense is powerfully anti-inflammatory, it’s going to do you a favour to prevent acne and make it go away quicker.

Another benefit is that if your acne is physically painful, it will help reduce the discomfort.

Powerful Anti-Aging Properties

Frankincense anti-aging properties
Omg, it’ll, like, totally turn back time

One of the properties of frankincense is that it’s cytophylactic. This means that it promotes the skin’s regeneration of healthy cells, keeps them turning over properly, and also protects the existing cells and tissue.

This keeps your skin looking healthy and vibrant, and also prevents skin from clogging and leading to acne and whiteheads.

Frankincense is also very astringent, meaning that it tightens and tones. It tightens pores and lifts the skin, which reduces the appearance of wrinkles and lines.

Incredible Wound & Scar Healer

Other properties of frankincense are that it’s both cicatrisant and vulnerary, which basically means it helps heal wounds. This means it’s going to help acne lesions heal quickly and any resulting scabs and red marks will also be on their way out faster than normal.

I can attest that since I’ve started using my DIY moisturizer, if I do get a pimple (usually at that time of the month!) any scabs or red marks really have healed in record time. I assume this is in part due to the frankincense.

Facilitates Healthy Digestion

Frankincense promotes healthy digestion
Heeeeeeyy! Alright!

A dysfunctional digestive system can contribute to body wide inflammation that can then show up on your skin. Frankincense has properties that stimulate stomach acid, bile, and peristaltic action.

This helps you move food through your system in a healthy way, reducing overall bodily inflammation.

Promotes Healthy Hormones

Frankincense helps regulate the healthy production of estrogen, as well as promotes a healthy, regular menstruation cycle.

This is not only good news for reducing PMS symptoms, but also combatting that most annoying menstrual symptom of all….. hormonal breakouts!

Relieves Stress and Anxiety

Smelling frankincense essential oil relieves stress and anxietyAfter using it for the skin directly, this is my second favourite use for frankincense.

Frankincense is very good for reducing stress, anxiety, and creating a feeling of peace and relaxation. Smelling it can promote deep breathing and a sedative effect which helps you sleep.

We all know that stress is a huge culprit in breakouts, so this has direct skin benefit. I mean, it’s no cure for all your worries, but it’s certainly nice.

I like to put a few drops of it with some other “bedtime” oils (like lavender, ylang ylang, and chamomile) in my diffuser before going to sleep.

Before I had a diffuser, I just put a drop or two on a paper towel and stuck it near my pillow.

Other Benefits

Other reported benefits of frankincense include preventing gas, combatting respiratory issues, healing oral and dental issues, and promoting healthy body circulation.

The Practicalities of How to Use It

Frankincense can be applied topically or inhaled. It can also be taken internally if you get a food grade one like from Doterra.

Remember that essential oils are very powerful! They need to be properly diluted when applied topically (and used internally).

Please read my article about how to use essential oils with instructions on dilution. Frankincense is actually one of the ones that can be used on skin directly without dilution, but I don’t really recommend it.

For skin benefit, you want to put a few drops in whatever you are using to moisturize with – preferably an oil or a DIY moisturizer! Try not to make it so that the frankincense makes up more than 2% of the total concoction.

Also read my essential oils article for advice on which brands are good (Aura Cacia, or Doterra if you have money burning a hole in your pocket), and other important info for using them correctly so you get the most skin benefit.


Frankincense doesn’t have any reported side effects, although it is apparently toxic in high doses and concentrations. So that’s a good reason to dilute it.

It’s also not recommended for pregnancy, because it does have a toning effect on the uterus.

And finally… always be really careful and do your research before using essential oils on kids or pets.

Have you used frankincense before?