Is Elemi Oil The Philippines’ Answer To Tea Tree Oil?

Oil coming from a glass dropper

Elemi Oil is an open secret in the skincare and cosmetics world—top luxury brands quietly insert it into their products that firm, tighten, and cleanse. But it’s time for this underrated essential oil to step out of the shadows and claim the spotlight.

Beauty oils are like fashion trends. They come and go. At one point, people were rubbing olive oil on their faces. Then, beauty enthusiasts saved their spending money for the magical benefits of argan oil. And let’s not forget the big tea tree oil movement in the nineties and early aughts. 

Many people tout Elemi Essential Oil as the new tea tree oil, but read on to learn why this is a misnomer. Elemi Oil is not the "next" anything; it’s a skin super ingredient in its own right.

Where does Elemi Oil come from? 

The Pili Tree is native to the Philippines, particularly in the Bicol Region. The tree actually produces two types of oil—Pili Oil, which is from the fruit, and Elemi Essential Oil, which is from the bark. Both offer different benefits and both are incredibly rare. Farmers require 1,500 to 3,500 fruits to come up with a liter of oil, while the tree can only be tapped responsibly for oleoresin every five to six years.

It’s unknown when Filipinos began integrating Elemi Oil into their lifestyle. Anthropological evidence, however, shows that the Chinese used it for religious purposes as early as the 7th Century. Numerous reports chronicle how Magellan introduced it to Europe and the Middle East during the 15th Century.  

Throughout history, Elemi Oil has been used as personal and home perfume, on top of many other therapeutic promises. 

How does Elemi Oil help the skin? 

This essential oil is renowned for its anti-aging properties. It firms and tightens the skin, clarifies the skin tone, and minimizes the appearance of pores. It also helps even out the complexion, reducing dark spots caused by sun damage and acne.

Elemi Oil is antibacterial, antifungal, and antiseptic, making it an effective skin-cleansing agent. Moreover, it balances the skin’s natural oils while reducing excess sebum. Because of these features, you can also use this essential oil to manage acne issues. 

Beyond its physical benefits, however, Elemi Oil helps calm the senses, improve one's mood, and reduce stress. It also enhances focus. Since anxiety is a primary cause of acne—oil glands produce more sebum when you’re distressed—consider diffusing or applying Elemi Essential Oil to specific pressure points on your body to alleviate unease.

Where can I find skincare products with Elemi Essential Oil?

Philippine-based skincare brand Pili Ani has been highlighting the power of Elemi Oil globally since 2016. If you want to integrate Pili Ani oils in your skincare regimen, consider starting with these products:

Pili Ani Gentle Facial Cleanser

The beautiful gilded bottle may say “gentle,” but don’t think that makes it any less effective. As you read earlier, Elemi Oil is antibacterial and antiseptic (it’s also analgesic, but that’s for a different story). The Elemi Oil-infused Pili Ani Gentle Facial Cleanser has a low PH, making it ideal for almost all skin types. It wipes off grime and deep-seated residue while still keeping the skin moisturized and hydrated.

Pili Ani Purifying Toner 

Like all other Pili Ani products, this toner is free from SLS and parabens. It removes excess oil and debris without leaving your skin dry. Its Elemi Oil content will help smoothen your complexion and balance out your skin’s natural oils. 

Shop our Gentle Facial Cleanser and Purifying Toner.

Pili Ani Hydrating Mist  

Yes, it does what other hydrating mists do, which is to create a base for and set your makeup and freshen you up throughout the day, but it also protects your skin from external aggressors, thanks to Elemi Oil’s anti-pollution properties, enriched by antioxidants. 

Pili Ani Hydrating Mist 80ml

Shop our Hydrating Mist here.

Want to find out more about Pili Oil, another core ingredient of Pili Ani's products? Click here!