Patchouli Oil: The Aromatic Wonder for Skin [History, Uses and Skin Benefits]

Do you have a particular perfume that you love so much? I am talking about the kind of perfume that has the ability to cling to your skin even after hours and hours of activities outside. Chances are, that perfume contains patchouli oil!

Apart from being largely popular in the perfume industry, did you know that patchouli oil can do wonders to your skin?

Stick around to know more about this aromatic oil — and how you can reap its benefits for that achievable fantastic skin!


What Is Patchouli Oil?

Patchouli Oil: The Aromatic Wonder for Skin [History, Uses and Skin Benefits]- Pretty Blooming

Patchouli oil is extracted through steam distillation from the dried leaves and young twigs of Pogostemon cablin Benth (patchouli plant), indigenous and native to the Philippines. 

This oil is one of the critical essential oils extensively used in creating perfumes. It has long-lasting and strong fixative properties — meaning, when used in a perfume concoction, patchouli can make the perfume last longer by preventing rapid evaporation. 

A prominent characteristic of this oil is its heavy, woody, earthy, and camphoraceous odor — said to be the more powerful than any other essential oil. Patchouli oil often gets a bad rep because of its overpowering scent, but in controlled amounts, the oil's signature scent can add depth to perfumes.

Apart from the perfume industry, studies have shown that patchouli oil possesses anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, anti-bacterial, antifungal, and antidepressant properties.

Interesting Facts About Patchouli Oil

The patchouli plant traces its roots in the Philippines. It was first described in 1837 as Mentha cablin Blanco from the Philippines by Francisco Manuel Blanco in Flores de Filipinos (Flora of the Philippines).

As early as AD 420-589, patchouli was introduced into China for medicinal uses. It was later cultivated in the Guangdong Province of southern China around the 11th century. However, it is not clear when the Philippines' plant reached China. 

In Chinese medicine, the patchouli herb has been used for centuries with other drugs for treating cold, nausea, diarrhea, dermatitis, vomiting, abdominal pain, headache, fever, dampness, and to stimulate

In India, in ancient times, the leaves of the patchouli plant had been primarily used as an insect repellent to keep insects away from garments.

The herb became familiar in Europe in the 1840s through imported Indian shawls associated with the characteristic patchouli odor. 

As an essential oil, usage of patchouli in this form was not reported in any culture in the world. More recent studies starting in the early 2000s have detailed the different uses and efficacy of the essential oil.

Different Uses of Patchouli Oil

Though not as versatile as its fellow essential oils, here are the general known uses of this oil:

  • As dandruff or oily scalp treatment
  • Hair strengthener
  • For massage balms
  • Natural perfume
  • For cleaning products

The oil is also used in aromatherapy as its antidepressant properties lift the mood of those who inhale it. The smell is emotionally balancing and grounding, which makes this oil the right choice for when meditating. Using a diffuser for this oil evenly disperses the vapors so that it can enter the respiratory system more gently.

Skin Benefits of Patchouli Oil

We are now entering the most exciting part of this post! After knowing all these things about patchouli oil — how it's not made only to smell good, we will now talk about the skin benefits this oil has to offer.

​Reduces Inflammation

The typical reaction of our body when we refer to inflammation is swelling of the skin. Parts of our face can swell due to allergic reactions, insect bites, or other types of allergens. 

Several studies have found that patchouli has anti-inflammatory properties. So, if you find yourself in one of these messes, grab some diluted patchouli and apply it to the affected area for quick relief. 

​Fights ​Acne

A study has found that patchouli oil could disrupt biofilms and virulence factors produced by disease-causing bacteria. By disrupting these factors, bacteria lose their chance to infect effectively. 

Incorporating patchouli into your routine can help keep C. acnes away, which is the bacteria that contribute to the infection of pimples.

​Minimizes Signs Of Aging

A study from not long ago showed how patchouli oil could help reduce wrinkle formation and increase collagen production. Fewer wrinkles and more supple skin from the collagen creates a vibrant and healthy glow — which patchouli can provide.

How to Use Patchouli Oil

If you are incredibly sensitive to scents, patchouli oil must be used sparingly to reap its benefits. But, if you find the smell of this oil pleasant, then incorporating it to your existing products or DIY projects will be a breeze! You can mix it with your moisturizer, toner, serums, or facial wash by adding a few drops.

If you opt for a DIY recipe, here is a DIY facial foam wash that includes patchouli. Adding patchouli to your facial wash or cleanser is beneficial since this way, you are reaping its antibacterial properties.

​Foaming Face Wash Recipe

Enough to fill in a 16 oz (~500ml) soap container/dispenser.

How To Prepare and Use It?
1. Mix the ingredients in a bowl. Stir well.
2. Pour in a glass soap dispenser.
3. To use:
  • AM: Wet your face, put 2-3 pumps of soap in your hand or on a konjac sponge. Work the sponge in circular motions and rinse with cold water.
  • PM: Remove your makeup thoroughly and repeat the cleaning method from above. 
Note: Avoid your eyelids. You don’t want to get soap or essential oils in your eyes. Pat dry and continue with applying your toner. Finish with serum and moisturizer.

​Is Patchouli Oil Safe?

Extensive study and long-time use of patchouli oil prove that it is safe to use on the skin. However, we must always take precautions when using essential oils. As with all essential oils, diluting patchouli oil in a carrier oil is a must! There are no ifs or buts about it. Read this guide on dilution so you can be sure to dilute your essential oil adequately.

Always perform a patch test when using a new oil. Dilute a small amount of the EO in a carrier oil and place a drop of it on the inner area of your elbow. Leave it on for 24 hours, and observe the skin for any reactions.

Patchouli Oil: The Aromatic Wonder for Skin [History, Uses and Skin Benefits] - Pretty Blooming

For safety purposes, it is not advised for pregnant and breastfeeding women to use essential oils without consulting medical professionals.

For children and the elderly, it is highly advised to contact your physician or doctor before using oils. Self-treatment of chronic diseases by applying patchouli oil may also hold serious consequences without professional advice.

How to Choose Patchouli Oil

In choosing your patchouli oil, remember not to buy patchouli oil from food stores. Apart from these reminders, here are the things you should look for when choosing your patchouli oil:

  1. 100% essential oil
  2. Therapeutic grade
  3. Steam-distilled
  4. Undiluted
  5. Unadulterated​

I highly recommend Plant Therapy's patchouli oil. I trust this brand for this oil because they produce oils that are pure, unadulterated, and manufactured for therapeutic purposes and not only for the smell. Plus, it comes at such a reasonable price!

Patchouli Oil: The Aromatic Wonder for Skin [History, Uses and Skin Benefits]- Pretty Blooming

Final Thoughts

There is more to what meets the eye — should I say nose for this case. Patchouli oil is not just for the perfume industry to enjoy. This oil is so much more than just a perfume fixative.

The various properties contained in the patchouli oil are quite promising. With proper use and setting precautions, you can make use of mother nature's gift to our skin extracted to this patchouli oil!

Thank you for stopping by! I hope you enjoyed reading the post as much as I did writing it.

Have you used patchouli oil before? Do you have any DIY recipes to share about this oil? Share in the comments below!

Stay tuned and take skin care 💋

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Source:  Much of the information I shared with you today came from this article about patchouli written by Murugan and Livingstone, and published in the peer-reviewed journal "Current Science." The entirety of what they wrote is available in the link provided, so you can check it out if you crave for more info!


The Information on this website has not been evaluated by FDA and is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. The content is for educational purposes only and not intended to substitute medical advice. You should seek the advice of your health care practitioner before undertaking any health changes. 


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