Beauty / Got Adult Acne? These Oils With Ayurvedic Elements Can Help!

Got Adult Acne? These Oils With Ayurvedic Elements Can Help!

Beauty Oct 29, 2019

Adult acne doesn’t need to be a returning nightmare for any South Asian beauty when Ayurveda is available to guide us … so stop popping pimples and read on to learn how oils and Ayurveda address adult acne!

Acne is the unfortunate rite of passage for many a teenager, myself included.  I shudder at my  memories of the colonies of acne scars that remain imprinted on my cheeks and forehead for months at a time. Once I entered my twenties and my skin improved, I thought that acne was would remain a distant memory. I also used birth control pills and felt cosy in the knowledge that my pimples would be kept at bay. I then decided after several years to stop taking the pill and within a few weeks, I saw mysterious bumps … which turned out to be adult acne!

Zut alors! It was like I had forgotten about acne but it did not forget me.


I searched the pharmacies for ways to address the acne, and I quickly realized that the salicylic acid-based products were simply too strong for my skin because over the past two decades it became drier. The deep cleansing foam washes and toners which proclaimed to deliver a squeaky clean only created images of dry, fine lines in my mind. I realized that as an adult I needed to take a nuanced approach to acne, one in which I did not declare war and scrubbed my pimples to annihilation but engaged nonetheless in art de la guerre.

After much reflection, I decided to review the Ayurvedic approach to skin care because this ancient and yet thoroughly modern South Asian system of medicine examines the body as a whole and aims to establish equilibrium between the doshas —  Pitta (fire), Vata (air) and Kapha (water).

Adult Acne
Adult Acne: Even Mindy Kaling can relate with to struggle with adult acne! Photo Credit:

According to  Goop Clean Beauty, “In the case of acne, imbalances in all three doshas affecting digestion, toxin load within the body, and sebum (oil) production cause there to be more acne bacteria on the skin than there would be otherwise.”

Ayurveda is not a one-stop shop where the same arsenal of products are recommended to everyone with adult acne. Kiran Vyas and Marie Borrel in their book Guérir par la médicine ayurvédique, explained that there are some general guidelines that can be used when dealing with acne, namely:

  1. Avoid dairy
  2. Reduce meat consumption
  3. Establish a regular life rhythm in which sleep is prioritized.

Ayurveda takes a holistic approach so over several months these healthy habits will create healthy skin … but what are we to do with the honking zits that take up precious real estate on our faces in the meantime? It’s trite to observe that squeezing the zits into oblivion will leave scars that outweigh the momentary satisfaction of flattening a pimple but luckily Ayurveda’s beauty traditions embrace the power of plants which promote skin health and treat imbalances.

In the midst of my research for gentle acne treatments that diminished pimples and treated scars, I was struck by the strong presence of rose, rosehip, and lotus in many products. I was also intrigued by how oils have gained prominence as a texture and means to deliver plant benefits to heal the skin, in everything from cleaners, serums to hydrators. It’s interesting that when I was a teenager battling acne, oil was treated as the enemy because it could clog pores and emphasize my sebum production. Now, as an adult,  with drier skin (still classified as combination), oils are recognized as an effective way to treat the acne and maintain a supple complexion.


Rose is a classic South Asian beauty ingredient which is included in the Ayurvedic beauty tradition. Every species of rose seduces us with its beauty and scent but its healing properties for the skin frightened rude pimples. I surveyed several websites which extolled the benefits of this lovely flower and below are some key points to remember about the rose, whose beauty belies its strength:

  • Soothes acne because it contains antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties that deal directly with bacteria and irritation.
  • Contains vitamin C which brightens the skin and adds clarity.
  • Helps the skin maintain proper pH balance which lets the complexion reach a calm equilibrium.

The above-mentioned qualities were at forefront of my mind when I decided to try rose-based products and I must say, all of them wowed me:

Korres Wild Rose Makeup Melter Cleansing Oil smells like a lush field that is heaven-scent. The deep yellow oil is mixed with rose petals and you only need a few drops applied to dry skin to loosen the makeup. I like to emulsify the oil with tepid water and I am amazed at how all of my makeup dissipates with minimal rubbing, leaving my skin refreshed after a quick rinse.

Adult Acne
Adult Acne: Korres Wild Rose Makeup Melter Cleansing Oil. Photo Credit:

After washing my face, I like to tone with a skin softener to pick up any specks of cleanser that I inadvertently did not rinse off. At this point, I wanted to continue with the clarity and break the rose theme to test how roses work with other plants. I tried Shiseido Revitalising Treatment Toner because it contains olive leaf and witch hazel extracts which are renowned for their soothing and  astringent qualities, respectively.  I was careful to use a fresh cotton pad and ensured to dab the surface to avoid irritating the pimples with a careless, violent rub.  This product softened my skin and left it prepared to receive the rose-gold treatment.

Adult Acne
Adult Acne: Shiseido Revitalizing Treatment Toner. Photo Credit:

Prior to applying a serum, I apply a pre-serum step which is designed to enhance the impact of subsequent products. It’s easy to dismiss such a step as wasteful and unnecessary until you try the Dior Prestige La Micro-Huile de Rose Universal Regenerating Micro-Nutritive Concentrate. The gorgeous glass jar displays an oil filled with thousands of small pink micro pearls which contain 20 micro-nutrients essential to the skin’s strength and beauty, including minerals, trace elements, omega-3, and vitamin E.  As you massage the micro pearls into the skin (as demonstrated in the accompanying booklet), you are transported to a lush valley in France which is scented with Rose de Granville and your skin literally starts to glow.

Adult Acne
Adult Acne: Dior Prestige La Micro-Huile de Rose Universal Regenerating Micro-Nutritive Concentrate. Photo Credit: Dior.

If I am following the ritual in the morning, I focus on adding vitamin C because I want brighter skin and antioxidant protection as I face pollution from traffic, air vents and nature itself. I love shaking the Korres Wild Rose 15% Vitamin C Brightening Serum so that the wild rose oil mixes with the rest of the product. I then add a several drops to my clean palms and massage it into my face and neck.  At this point my skin is literally glowing — not glistening because the oils are absorbed easily by the skin and create a supple finish.  The oilier parts of my skin are never clogged, and I can apply subsequent products without fear of looking like a broken oil tanker.

Adult Acne
Adult Acne: Korres Wild Rose 15% Vitamin C Brightening Serum. Photo Credit:

At night, in particular when I have break-outs, I love to apply the Clarins Lotus Face Treatment Oil which is designed specifically for oily or combination skin. This oil relies on the 100% pure plant extracts such as those from the lotus to refine the skin. Lotus in the Ayurvedic tradition is appreciated for its astringent quality and ability to improve skin texture. My pimples understand that the sheriff is in town when I massage this treatment oil into my face and neck.

Adult Acne
Adult Acne: Clarins Lotus Face Treatment Oil. Photo Credit: 

At night, when my skin is not inflamed by pimples, I switch to a hydrating oil so that I can wake up to plump skin. I adore Burt’s Bees Complete Nourishment Facial Oil because it contains rosehip oil. The rosehip seeds come from rose bushes and are teeming with skin benefits.  This oil contains vitamins A and C which fade scars; linolenic acid which hydrates; and vitamin E which acts as an anti-inflammatory. It is amazing to see how even “derivative elements” of the rose bush beautify the skin, like the petals of the flower.


Adult Acne
Adult Acne: Burt’s Bees Complete Nourishment Facial Oil. Photo Credit:



As a teenager, I lost my love for the colour pink because that colour was reserved for the spots on my face. I now look at rose-based products and have happy, pink thoughts because this plant and its derivatives, work gently to heal the skin, and in concert with other plant ingredients, to quietly diffuse the ill-effects of adult acne. Ayurveda does not always provide the direct, quick answer but its wealth of knowledge ensure that as we proceed to beauty problem resolution we are beautified both on the inside and out.




Meena Khan

Meena Khan


Meena (@meenalaregina) always loved the idea of exploring the non-conventional idea of beauty. Having grown up as a pimply chubby teenager, she wanted to see the change in the world that best reflected your uniqueness as well. Her well-received collection of blogs where she tries on various beauty p...