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  • Sandalwood Essential Oil


    Sandalwood oil is an essential oil. Essential oils are mixtures of natural compounds that are extracted from plants. Essential oils contain molecules that the source plant uses to defend itself against diseases, parasites and predators. Essential oils can have anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and/or analgesic properties.

    Sandalwood oil is generally used as a topical acne treatment, although it may also be used in aromatherapy applications. Essential oils tend to be best suited for the treatment of mild to moderate acne symptoms (Acne Types 1-2).

    Overall, Sandalwood oil is rated as a Mediocre treatment for acne. Users report that, Sandalwood oil is Somewhat Effective for improving acne symptoms and that this medication tends to have Mild side effects.

    Ratings Breakdown

    Sandalwood RatingsScore
    Side Effects1.82
    User Recommended50%
    P. acnes Susceptibility2.13
    Editor Rating1.50
    Table Key: Green is Good , Red is Bad

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    Sandalwood Essential Oil

    Sandalwood (Santalum album) Leaves and Flowers

    Source: Several species in the genus Santalum.  Essential oil is most often produced from the species Santalum album.
    Type of Treatment: Essential Oil -Naturopathic Medicine
    How it Works: Sandalwood essential oil may have antibacterial and/or anti-inflammatory properties that may help improve acne symptoms.  Sandalwood is also commonly used in aromatherapy applications.  However, there is little evidence that any of these sandalwood based treatments are effective in treating acne.


    Sandalwood oil is produced from the wood of several species of closely related trees in the genus Santalum.  Sandalwood has a long history of use in naturopathic and ayurvedic medicine, as well as in cultural and religious rituals.  The wood of the Santalum species have a rich and and long-lasting fragrance that has been valued for centuries.

    Sandalwood trees grow naturally throughout central and southeast Asia, Australia and the Pacific Islands.  Harvesting generally involved cutting down the entire tree.  The combination of their high-value and slow growth rate has caused Sandalwood trees to become a threatened species in some regions.  Therefore, it is important to purchase Sandalwood products that have been produced by sources that utilize sustainable practices.

    Composition of Sandalwood Oil

    Primary Components of Sandalwood Essential Oil

    Sandalwood essential oil is composed largely of two closely related molecules, alpha-santalol and beta-santalol.  These molecules are the source of sandalwood’s rich fragrance.  Most sandalwood oil is composed at least 80-90% santalol.

    Sandalwood Oil in Acne Treatment

    Chipped and Powdered Sandalwood

    Sandalwood oils are not frequently used in the treatment of acne vulgaris.  While sandalwood is popular for aromatherapy applications, it is not a common ingredient in essential oil preparations for topical use.  Studies have indicated that sandalwood oil may have some mild anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial activity.  However, very little research exists about the specific relationship between sandalwood oil and acne.

    Related Articles

    An Overview of Naturopathic Medicine in Acne Treatment
    An Overview of Essential Oils used in Acne Treatment
    What causes acne?

    Additional Information

    Sandalwood @ Wikipedia
    alpha-Santalol @ Wikipedia


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    2. Lawless. 1995. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils: The Complete Guide to the Use of Oils in Aromatherapy & Herbalism.
    3. Bremness. 1994. The Complete Book of Herbs: A Practical Guide to Growing and Using Herbs.
    4. Doran, et al. 2010. Variation in heartwood oil composition of young sandalwood trees in the South Pacific (Santalum yasi, S. album and F1 hybrids in Fiji, and S. yasi in Tonga and Niue).
    5. Brand, et al. 2007. Comparison of oil concentration and oil quality from Santalum spicatum and S. album
      plantations, 8–25 years old, with those from mature S. spicatum natural stands.
    6. Bowles, et al. 2003. The A-Z of Essential Oils.
    7. Sindhu, et al. 2010. Santalum album Linn: A Review on Morphology, Phytochemistry and Pharmacological Aspects.
    8. Ochi, et al. 2005. Anti-Helicobacter pylori compounds from Santalum album.
    9. Kulkarni, et al. 2011. Antihyperglycemic and antihyperlipidemic effect of Santalum album in streptozotocin induced diabetic rats.
    10. Setzer, et al. 2009. Essential oils and anxiolytic aromatherapy.
    11. Kim, et al. 2005. Aromatic constituents from the heartwood of Santalum album.

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