There’s no denying that more and more, people are intrigued with all things natural and organic. People are fascinated with the spoils of the earth and all the goodness that comes with it. Plants are lauded for their healing and medicinal benefits. Though the use of plants for healing of diseases or disorders is not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), many naturalists and herbalists praise the power of plants for healing. One of the best ways to reap the benefits of plants is through the use of essential oils. I’m not here to convince you who or what you should believe when it comes to essential oils. Obviously if you’ve gotten this far in my post, you have to believe a little bit in the power of herbs and plants-in particular, essential oils. Essential oils can play a prominent role in your skin regimen and help with skin issues you may encounter.
Essential oils comes from the word “quintessential oils”. Essential oils are the product of an extraction process either by water or steam, or expression (e.g. cold pressing) to isolate the “essence” of the plant. Most plants are extracted by steam distillation while mostly citrus plants are extracted from cold pressing.
Essential oils in plants have 4 main purposes:
- to attract pollinating creatures like bees & butterflies
- to help ward off allelopathy (or plant competition) to prevent other plants from growing within its area
- to serve as a defensive compound against animals
- to protect the plant from deterioration (by antimicrobial, antifungal, and antibacterial methods).
If a plant does all of that for itself, then of course it can transfer those same great qualities in its essential oils! There are a number of essential oils that can help with many ailments such as fevers, depression, inflammation, gas, menstrual cycles, coughs, and colds, stress and anxiety, and even enhancing your libido. Essential oils are largely available online for purchase. Be sure to look for therapeutic grade essential oils if you are interested in creating healing oil blends or tinctures. Below are 8 essential oils that you can use to help with skin issues:
Frankincense. Frankincense is widely known as one of the gifts given to baby Jesus from the wise men. It was used historically for perfume, medicine, and even makeup. Frankincense helps with scarring and stretch marks. It can be applied on wounds to protect from infection, and may help to reduce the appearance of wrinkles.
Lavender. Lavender has been used for centuries, and was used by the Ancient Greeks and Romans to help purify their skin. Phoenicians, Arabians, and Egyptians used lavender as a perfume. Lavender has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antimicrobial properties. It helps to form scar tissue which is essential for the healing of cuts, bruises, and burns.
Carrot seed. Carrot seed essential oil is taken from the seeds of the wild carrot plant. Though carrot seed oil is used as a stress buster, it also has key skin healing properties. It is helpful with boils and other skin disorders. It also helps to revitalize the skin’s appearance.
Geranium. Germanium is close in scent to roses. It can be used to speed up healing of wounds and other skin problems such as burns. It can also help eliminate the appearance of dark spots and scars by improving blood circulation just below the surface of the skin.
Neroli. Neroli oil is extracted from the flower blossoms of the bitter orange tree. It was commonly used as a fragrance in ancient times but also known as a healer of the mind, body, and spirit. It helps to regenerate skin by helping it keep its elasticity and suppleness. It also helps with the appearance of scars, and is antiseptic and a disinfectant.
Sandalwood. Sandalwood oil is one of the oldest fragrances in the world and is extracted from wood from matured Sandalwood trees. It has long been respected as a sacred oil and is used in many religious ceremonies. It is excellent at handling bruises and wounds. Sandalwood also helps scars to heal faster.
Ylang Ylang. Ylang ylang oil is extracted from the flowers of the Ylang Ylang tree found in Asian rain forests and in the South Pacific. The oil from the ylang ylang tree helps prevent infects of wounds and sores. It helps regulate the production of sebum to keep hair and skin from over or under producing sebum from the sebaceous glands. It also helps with irritation and redness.
Tea Tree. Tea tree oil is extracted from the tea tree plant (Melaleuca alternifolia), which is native to Australia. It has a long history in Australia for treating various skin conditions. Tea tree has antifungal, antibacterial, and antiviral properties. It has been used to clean wounds and prevent infections. It has been studied and shown to have a positive affect on acne, similar to benzoyl peroxide, without the side effects.
All of the oils mentioned are for topical use only. It is not recommended that you ingest any of these oils. It is also recommended that you dilute the oils in a carrier oil before use. A carrier oil is typically a vegetable or nut oil. Carrier oils are used to dilute other oils or absolutes that otherwise would not be safe to be added directly to your skin. Be sure to conduct spot tests before using any of the oils to make sure no irritation will occur. A safe amount is about a 2% dilution, though this can vary by essential oil. For 1 fl oz of carrier oil, a 2% dilution is about 12 drops. Great carrier oils to start out with are:
- Jojoba oil
- Sweet almond oil
- Grapeseed oil
- Apricot kernel oil
- Argan oil
These oils are not too heavy or comedogenic (pore-clogging) and will likely be the most agreeable with most people’s skin types. Though essential oils have amazing benefits in many areas, I wanted to focus on their benefits particularly with skin care. Based on your preferences, you can create your own blends based on your skin type. Below is a recipe that you can use for a calming skin oil treatment. You can use it as a mask or moisturizer. Enjoy!
- February 29, 2016
- Tiffany A