Think rosemary is just for flavoring your focaccia bread and roasted potatoes? Think again. Rosemary oil is also a powerful ally when it comes to your skin health.
Rosemary oil for skin is extracted from the leaves and flowers of the aromatic evergreen plant, and it has a variety of anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antioxidant properties.1 In fact, rosemary oil may be able to improve the health and appearance of skin by stimulating blood circulation and cell renewal—fighting different types of acne, boosting hydration, and improving skin texture.
Wondering how to incorporate this simple yet powerful ingredient into your skincare routine? Read on as we show you how to use rosemary oil for skin concerns like aging, breakouts, discoloration, and more.
What are the Benefits of Rosemary Oil for Your Skin?
Rosemary oil isn’t just a heavyweight when it comes to cooking—it’s also used in traditional medicine the world over.1 In fact, it’s part of the same family as many other aromatic herbs, such as basil, mint, lavender, sage, and thyme.
What do all these plants have in common (besides being delicious)? They all contain large amounts of compounds known to have health and beauty benefits, including:
- Phenolic acids
Rosemary is especially high in a type of phenolic acid called rosmarinic acid. This substance has proven antibacterial, antiviral, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties, making it a naturally-occurring skincare superstar. Luckily, it’s not part of the list of ingredients that cause acne or falls in line with clean beauty ingredients that are “safe” but not effective.
Let’s take a closer look at just a few of the rosemary oil benefits it can provide your skin.
#1 Regulation of Sebum Production
Troubled by acne breakouts? You probably know that one cause is excess oil production. Sebum (skin oil) is essential for healthy skin, but too much can clog pores and create a breeding ground for bacteria.2
Thanks to its astringent and antibacterial effects, rosemary oil can help balance oily skin and reduce acne by:
- Dissolving oil residue
- Unclogging blocked pores
- Increasing skin hydration, which can help calm overactive sebum glands3
- Killing bacteria that contribute to acne breakouts
#2 Free Radical Protection
One of the most important factors in maintaining healthy skin is reducing free radical damage. Free radicals are unstable molecules that are generated in the body by exposure to:
These microscopic menaces hurt your skin health at the cellular level, damaging your DNA and causing breakouts, wrinkles, sagging, dark spots, and more. Luckily, your body has a tool to fight this invisible foe: antioxidants.
Antioxidants neutralize free radicals and stop them from harming your cells. You can obtain antioxidants through your diet, supplements, and topical treatments, including rosemary oil. In fact, several studies in both animals and humans have found that rosemary extracts are effective at reducing inflammation and skin irritation caused by free radicals.5 If you see it in your non-pore-clogging SPF products, you’re in safe hands.
#3 Acne Scar and Dark Spot Healing
For many people, the scars and discolorations left behind by breakouts are almost as bothersome as the acne itself. Fortunately, rosemary oil has several properties that can help:5
- Regrow healthy cells – By stimulating blood flow and increasing cell turnover, rosemary oil may be able to fade acne scars and dark spots and replace them with healthy, revitalized cells.
- Calm the skin – Rosemary’s anti-inflammatory property can fight redness, puffiness, and irritation, making acne breakouts less painful and noticeable.
- Support healing – The antibacterial and antifungal properties provided by rosemary can help keep your skin clean, meaning fresh breakouts heal faster and are less likely to scar.
#4 Reduced Inflammation
If you have a sensitive skin type or a condition like eczema or rosacea, you know how frustrating it is to deal with red, itchy, or flaky skin. Luckily, rosemary oil may help in several ways:
- Fights eczema – Research on mice has shown that rosemary oil can significantly reduce lesions caused by atopic dermatitis.5
- Reduces irritation by increasing hydration – Rosemary oil can lock in moisture, prevent dryness, and increase elasticity.3 This can improve your skin’s barrier function, making it more resistant to irritation and inflammation.
- Protects against UV damage – Research has found that rosemary supplements can help protect the skin from redness caused by UV radiation.6
Tips for Adding Rosemary Oil to Your Skincare Routine
Rosemary oil can be a useful addition to your skincare regimen, but as with any essential oil, it may cause irritation. Here’s how to apply rosemary oil safely:
- Use a carrier oil – Carrier oils are used to reduce the strength of essential oils to prevent irritation. Some skin-friendly favorites include argan oil, sunflower oil, grapeseed oil, or hemp oil. In general, adults should dilute essential oils to 2-4% strength before applying them to the skin. That means roughly 3 to 6 drops of essential oil per teaspoon of carrier oil.
- Do a patch test – Apply a small amount of diluted oil to a small area of your skin, such as the inside of your elbow. Wait for 24 hours and watch for reactions such as redness, itching, or swelling.
- Try incorporating rosemary oil into your skincare products – Another way to dilute rosemary oil is to add a drop or two to a non-comedogenic moisturizer or serum. Don’t mix the oil into the whole container, since essential oils can have a shorter shelf life than other products. Instead, dispense about a teaspoon of your preferred moisturizer into your palm and add a drop or two of rosemary oil.
Soothe Your Skin with Clean Skincare from CLEARSTEM
If you’re looking for a simple ingredient that can add a boost to your skincare routine, rosemary oil might be just what you need. Its remarkable benefits can help with everything from calming redness to fighting bacterial imbalances in the skin.
Our acne-fighting and anti-aging products combine plant-derived remedies along with the latest breakthroughs in stem cell research to reduce breakouts while moisturizing and firming the skin. With CLEARSTEM, you can get refreshed, clear skin naturally and safely—without hormone disruptors or any other harmful ingredients you don’t want to put on for body care.
Take our skincare quiz today to discover the products your skin is craving.
- Future Science. Rosmarinus officinalis L.: An updated review of its phytochemistry and biological activity. https://www.future-science.com/doi/pdf/10.4155/fsoa-2017-0124
- Cleveland Clinic. Sebaceous Glands. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/body/24538-sebaceous-glands
- Pharmaceutics. Rosemary essential oil-loaded lipid nanoparticles: in vivo topical activity from gel vehicles. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5750654/
- Saudi Journal of Biological Sciences. Antimicrobial activity of certain natural-based plant oils against the antibiotic-resistant acne bacteria. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6933203/
- Plants. Rosemary (rosmarinus officinalis l., syn salvia rosmarinus spenn.) and its topical applications: A review. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7284349/
- Food and Nutrition. Skin photoprotective and antiageing effects of a combination of rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) and grapefruit (Citrus paradisi) polyphenols. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4931025/
- Interdisciplinary Toxicology. Carvacrol and rosemary oil at higher concentrations induce apoptosis in human hepatoma HepG2 cells. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26109899/
- Journal of Medicinal Food. Rosmarinus officinalis extract suppresses propionibacterium acnes–induced inflammatory responses. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3624774/