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  • Ylang Ylang Essential Oil


    Ylang Ylang 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.

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

    Ratings Breakdown

    Ylang Ylang RatingsScore
    Side Effects1.21
    User Recommended37.5%
    P. acnes Susceptibility1.19
    Editor Rating2.50
    Table Key: Green is Good , Red is Bad

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    Ylang-Ylang Essential Oil

    Ylang-Ylang Flowers

    Source: The flowers of the Ylang-Ylang Tree (Cananga odorata).

    Type of Treatment: Naturopathic Medicine: Essential Oil.

    How it Works: Ylang-Ylang essential oil is primarily used in aromatherapy applications.  It is also sometimes blended with other essential oils for topical applications.


    Ylang-Ylang essential oil is distilled from the flowers of a tropical tree (Cananga odorata) that is native to South-East Asia.  Well known for its potent floral scent, ylang-ylang oil is used in a variety of applications, particularly aromatherapy and perfumery.

    In traditional herbal medicine, ylang-ylang oil was used extensively in topical treatments for skin and hair problems.  The oil was also to have calming and anti-pyretic (anti-fever) properties.  It has been widely claimed that ylang-ylang oil has a positive effect on skin tone and can improve oily skin.

    The Ylang-Ylang tree is a rapidly growing tree in the Annonaceae family and can reach heights of over 30 feet (10 m).  The flowers of the Ylang-Ylang Tree are large and abundant.  A mature tree can produce over 200 pounds of flowers per flowering, which yields around 10 oz of ylang-ylang essential oil.  The Ylang-Ylang Tree is now widely cultivated in regions around the world with moist, tropical climates.

    The Ylang-Ylang Tree may also be known as: Alang-Ilang, Cananga Tree, Canangium odratum, Flower of Flowers, Fragrant Cananga, Ilang-Ilang, Kenanga, Macassar-oil Plant, Perfume Tree and Unona odorantissimum.

    Composition of Ylang-Ylang Essential Oil

    Chemical Composition of Ylang-Ylang Essential Oil

    Ylang-Ylang essential oil is a light yellow liquid that is oily and highly pungent.

    There are actually several grades of Ylang-Ylang essential oil, which are generated from sequential extractions (essential oil can be extracted from the Ylang-Ylang flowers up to 4 times).  The most sought after is the top grade, which is produced by the first distillation.  A lot of commercially available Ylang-Ylang oil is actually blend of the top 2 or 3 grades.

    The primary component of Ylang-Ylang essential oil is linalool, which is also abundant in the essential oils of lavender, coriander and basil.  Ylang-ylang essential oil is also rich in caryophyllene, Germacrene D, p-methylanisole, geranyl acetate and benzyl benzoate.

    There is substantial deviation in the exact composition of Ylang-Ylang essential oil depending on the source and the grade.  Ylang-Ylang oil tends to be one of the more complex essential oils, with over 100 different compounds present in meaningful amounts.

    Ylang-Ylang Essential Oil in Acne Treatment

    Freshly Harvested Ylang-Ylang Flowers

    Ylang-Ylang essential oil is commonly blended with other essential oils for topical use in the treatment of Acne vulgaris.  Ylang-Ylang oil may have some antibacterial properties, and some of its primary components are known to be toxic to Propionibacterium acnes bacteria (eg. linalool and Germacrene D).

    Ylang-ylang has also been claimed to regulate sebum production, although this claim has not been fully substantiated.

    Related Articles

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

    Additional Information

    Clove @ Wikipedia
    Linalool @ Wikipedia


    1. Young. 2011.Essential Oils Pocket Reference.
    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. Gaydou, et al. 1986. Composition of the Essential Oil of Ylang-ylang (Cananga odorata Hook Fil. et Thomson forma genuina) from Madagascar.
    5. Gaydou, et al. 1988. Multidimensional Data Analysis of Essential Oils. Application to Ylang-ylang (Cananga odorata Hook Fil. et Thomson, Forma Genuina) Grades Classification.
    6. Bowles, et al. 2003. The A-Z of Essential Oils.
    7. Stashenko, et al. 1996. HRGC/FID/NPD and HRGCMSD Study of Colombian Ylang-Ylang (Cananga odorata) Oils Obtained by Different Extraction Techniques.
    8. Sacchetti, et al. 2005. Comparative evaluation of 11 essential oils of different origin as functional antioxidants, antiradicals and antimicrobials in foods.
    9. Hammer, et al. 1999. Antimicrobial activity of essential oils and other plant extracts.
    10. Wei, et al. 2007. Antioxidant activities and volatile constituents of various essential oils.
    11. Hongratanaworakit, et al. 2006. Relaxing effect of ylang ylang oil on humans after transdermal absorption.
    12. Janssen, et al. 1986. Screening for antimicrobial activity of some essential oils by the agar overlay technique.
    13. Kubu, et al. 1992. Antimicrobial activity of green tea flavor components and their combination effects.

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