The Skincare Benefits Of Oregano (& How To Add It To Your Routine)

Many of us are searching high and low for skin and hair treatments that are free of harmful chemicals. Lots of beauty products on the market today use ingredients that irritate the skin — and they do more harm than good. That's why we have sought out other options such as essential oils to purify our skincare routine. Among the most useful essential oils for the skin is oregano oil. The same plant which is used in delicious pasta sauce and tasty Italian vinaigrettes can also thoroughly cleanse our skin, leaving it with fewer bacteria and more antioxidants.


Oregano oil is extracted from the leaves of the oregano plant (Origanum vulgare). It can be used in numerous ways including food, cleaning supplies, and supplements. The essential oil is potent with both carvacrol and thymol (via dōTERRA). These chemicals have extreme cleansing properties as they are antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal agents. Because of this, oregano essential oil — along with thyme essential oil — is known to be the best household cleansing agent of all the essential oils. Keep in mind that oregano essential oil has a very high phenol content. A little of this stuff goes a long way. Caution should be taken when handling the oil and it should always be diluted when it is applied topically.


Oregano oil is rich in antioxidants

As mentioned before, one of oregano essential oils' best properties is that it is rich in antioxidants. According to the Mayo Clinic, "Antioxidants are substances that may protect your cells against free radicals." Oxidative stress, which is caused by free radicals, speeds up the aging process and contributes to skin texture changes like wrinkles and sagging. Oxidative stress can be a difficult thing to avoid because free radicals are created from the process of normal cell metabolism which allows them to build up and wreak havoc in the body, causing changes to the skin and even leading to certain diseases in some cases. They are also present in air pollution and other environmental factors.


In a 2017 study published by Molecules, it was found that oregano oil combats oxidative stress. The compounds in the oil can be used as a health-promoting substance in the prevention of chronic diseases and accelerated aging linked to oxidative stress. By adding oregano oil to your skincare routine, it's possible that you can heal your cells and slow down the aging process by reducing the appearance of fine lines and protecting your natural collagen and elastin fibers.

It has powerful antibacterial properties

The advantages of using oregano oil on your skin don't stop with protecting it from free radicals. Among oregano oil's most-loved properties is its ability to fight against the most antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria. It is the best essential oil for hindering bacterial growth and dealing with a myriad of bacterial issues you may have on your skin and scalp.


As told by Healthline, "The Staphylococcus aureus bacterium is one of the most common causes of infection, resulting in ailments like food poisoning and skin infections." Skin infections that are brought on by this bacteria don't only include the staph infection, it may also create infected hair follicles that create boils and painful rashes. Thankfully, research has shown that oregano oil may be successful in fighting this bacteria and others. Still, much more research needs to be done to find out exactly how effective the essential oil can be.

Oregano oil's antiviral properties

Oregano oil's antiviral properties can be useful for the skin as well. As many as 3.7 billion people under the age of 50 struggle with the common viral infection, HSV-1, which often leads to painful cold sores, as estimated by the World Health Organization. Though drugs such as acyclovir are usually used to treat this promptly, oregano oil and its primary active component, carvacrol, have been shown to efficiently inhibit acyclovir-resistant HSV-1, as shown by a 2020 study published in Molecules. Unrelated to skincare, they also strongly inhibit human rotavirus, murine norovirus, bovine viral diarrhoea virus, and respiratory syncytial virus.


Cold sores and HSV-1 have no cure, but there are a variety of treatments that help prevent flares so your skin stays clear. Currently, prescription pills or creams are most often used to help the sores heal quickly, but oregano essential oil has shown a lot of promise too. Some even swear by it like, mzpatriciamarie on TikTok, who takes oral capsules of black seed oil and oregano oil to treat her HVS. It's also suggested that applying oregano oil directly onto the skin, diluted with a carrier oil, can drastically reduce the size and redness of cold sores, as per Healthline.

Oregano oil's antifungal properties

Oregano oil is a potent antifungal agent because of its high levels of thymol and carvacrol. Thymol and carvacrol inhibit fungal cell's biofilm formation and growth, according to a study published in the 2020 edition of Molecules, which also says it "can be an effective alternative to currently used antifungal medications ... which have high toxic potential." Fungal infections are both extremely common and treatable. Infections you've likely heard of such as jock itch, athlete's foot, and yeast infections are all caused by fungus.


"Candidiasis is a fungal infection caused by a yeast called Candida" as reported by the Cleveland Clinic. This infection forms when there is an overgrowth of the yeast. It can appear anywhere on the body, including on the face, lips, and inside the mouth (oral thrush). In addition to prescribed treatments, thymus and carvacrol have been shown to have strong antifungal properties against all strains. To use oregano oil as a treatment against fungal infections, The Candida Diet suggests, using a liquid tincture or soft gels to add oregano oil into your supplement routine.

It can help to reduce inflammation

Inflammation normally appears due to an injury or internal illness. Think: If you scratch your skin hard with your fingernail, the area will turn red and a little puffy in response to the injury. This type of inflammation is easily treatable and normally goes away in a short period. Chronic inflammation, however, is not so easy to deal with. This symptom can lead to a host of issues including some diseases, according to Healthline. No matter which you are dealing with, inflammation of the skin may possibly be treated by oregano oil.


As we know, oregano is full of antioxidants, which help reduce inflammation. It's also potent with thymol and carvacrol which also have anti-inflammatory properties. As reported in a 2018 study published in Molecules, "[Essential oils] obtained from O. vulgare significantly inhibited the levels of the inflammatory biomarkers ... on activated-primary human neonatal fibroblasts. These findings suggest that the EOO have anti-inflammatory properties."

It promotes collagen synthesis

Collagen is an important structural protein that keeps our skin elastic, strong, and able to withstand stretching, as noted by Harvard T.H. Chan, our bodies naturally make their own collagen by turning amino acids in our diet into protein via fibroblasts. However, through excess sun exposure, smoking, and alcohol — as well as not getting enough sleep and exercise — our collagen production is diminished. This means that we start seeing fine lines, wrinkles, sagging, and discoloration from the lack of collagen in our face and all over our body.


There are many ways that you can restore collagen in your face and body with supplements. Oregano oil, with its inherent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, is known to promote collagen synthesis by stimulating fibroblasts to activate collagen production. The antioxidants present can also prevent cellular damage that accelerates the aging process. By using oregano in your skincare routine, you can potentially reduce the appearance of aging and prevent new lines and discoloration.

Use it as a spot treatment for pimples

Oregano essential oil has the strongest force against the bacterial and fungal causes of acne compared to other essential oils. It easily kills the organism causing the breakout and heals the skin with its antioxidants. Using oregano oil as a spot treatment may clear up these acne outbreaks and prevent future flare-ups. For a spot-treated topical application of oregano oil, mix one part essential oil with 10 parts of carrier oil or water.


Oral antibiotics for acne have many painful and unsightly potential side effects. Oregano oil could be an effective alternative, especially for those who have developed antibiotic resistant acne. According to a 2018 study published in Molecules, "Essential oils (EO's) present a natural, safe, efficacious and multifunctional alternative treatment ... Antimicrobial activity screening of these oils showed oregano to exhibit the strongest antimicrobial activity with a minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) ..."

Oregano oil may heal wounds

Centuries ago, oregano was used by people to treat a range of ailments, and it did so effectively. As explained by the University of Iowa, "The ancient Greeks and Romans used the leaves as an antiseptic and for treating skin sores, aching muscles, stomach aches, coughs, colds, and other respiratory diseases, and Oregano tea with wine for treating snake bites." Today we know that oregano oils' active compounds play a large role in treating and protecting against a multitude of infections and in accelerating the healing process. 


You may apply oregano oil diluted with water or a carrier oil onto the skin to help protect small cuts. Taking oregano oil supplements would also allow a person to make use of its antibacterial effects. Although more research needs to be completed on oregano oil's wound-healing effects. However, as history and current studies show, there is a good case for using this oil on your skin to fix something as small as a scrape or even as large as "killing off methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)."

How to add oregano oil to your skincare routine

Adding oregano oil to your skincare routine isn't difficult. The first step, of course, is knowing where to get it. For everyone, this oil won't be readily available at your nearest grocery store. Typically, oregano oil is a specialty product that is sold at specialty stores. The easiest way to find it is online, through a reputable seller. Alternatively, you can make it on your own by simmering sprigs of oregano with your choice of carrier oil. Remember that oregano oil and oregano essential oil are not the same. Oregano essential oil is a concentrate that provides potent drops of essential oil to be mixed with a carrier. Do not eat or topically apply essential oils without diluting them first. 


The second step is knowing what you want to get out of it. Whether you are looking to combat fine lines, acne, sagging, redness, or infection, oregano oil can help. Depending on what you are looking to treat, there are a variety of ways in which the oil can be applied. For a full face, using oregano oil as a serum or lotion, two parts jojoba oil or olive oil can be combined with one part oregano essential oil. The Tisserand Institute provides a helpful chart to show how many drops of essential oil should be added to a container to create a solution ranging from .5% to 5%. As always, patch-test your products to make sure they won't cause irritation.