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How to use essential oils for skincare

by Alasdair Walker |

How to use essential oils for skincare 

Essential oils have benefits beyond just being used for aromatherapy. Essential oils can be used in a skincare routine—but it is very important to know which essential oils can be safely used on the skin and how to dilute them properly before application. Essential oils can be used as part of a regular skincare routine, as well as to treat skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, acne, inflammation and dry skin. 

When it comes to using essential oils in your skincare routine, safety is crucial. Using the wrong essential oils or not following safety guidelines to dilute the oils can result in serious skin reactions and even chemical burns. 

Safety: Diluting Essential Oils for Skin Application

Dilution is the most important factor when it comes to using essential oils in your skincare routine. Essential Oils contain highly concentrated properties of the plant that they are derived from, so they should never be applied directly to the skin due to their volatile nature. Direct application of essential oils onto the skin can cause irritation, an allergic reaction or even chemical burns. Essential oils must be diluted into a carrier oil before application to the skin, due to how highly concentrated they are on their own—and there are different dilution rates to follow for each application use. Essential oils can be diluted in carrier oils that are full of essential fatty acids, antioxidants, anti-inflammatory compounds and skin-healing vitamins such as coconut, almond, jojoba, olive and avocado oil. For facial applications of essential oils, it is recommended to dilute the essential oils to 1% in the carrier oil—this translates to just a few drops of the essential oil added into the carrier oil. 

When it comes to skincare, it’s important to know what type of skin you have and how to properly treat the type of skin concerns you have. Not all essential oils are going to be beneficial for all skin types—look for your skin type or concern below to see which essential oils you can benefit from adding to your skincare routine! 

Essential Oils for Dry & Sensitive Skin

Frankincense

Frankincense essential oil is sourced from the Boswellia sacra tree and has a sweet, woody scent—it is one of the most universally used essential oils. Frankincense has calming and healing properties, and it is known to have that effect on dry or sensitive skin. Frankincense oil can be used in a skincare routine to soothe dry and chapped skin and protect and repair skin by regenerating healthy cells—this essential oil is often used as an anti-aging treatment. 

Lavender

Lavender essential oil is derived from the lavender plant—it is another essential oil that is known for its versatility. Lavender oil is often used to treat skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis because of its antifungal, anti-inflammation and soothing properties. Similar to frankincense oil, lavender oil can also be used to soothe dry or chapped skin. 

Rose

Rose essential oil is often used as an ingredient in premium skincare products because it has a multitude of benefits for the skin. Rose oil is naturally full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and amino acids which can be used to treat scars, dry skin, inflammation, stress and promote circulation. 

Essential Oils for Oily Skin

It may seem counterintuitive to apply oils to your skin when you have oily skin, but these essential oils can help to nourish the skin, without leaving a heavy or greasy residue. 

Tea Tree

Tea tree essential oil has several benefits when used topically on the skin—the antiseptic properties of tea tree oil can help combat oily skin. Diluting tea tree oil and using it daily as a facial cleanser can help reduce excess oil on the face, without stripping the skin of essential moisture. The antiseptic properties of tea tree oil gently eliminate the oils that clog pores on the skin and cause acne. 

Ylang-Ylang 

Ylang-ylang essential oil is very useful for balancing moisture levels in the skin and can be helpful for correcting overly oily skin by balancing the secretion of sebum. Oily skin produces too much sebum, or oil, whereas dry skin produces too little—ylang-ylang essential oil can help bring homeostasis to the complexion by regulating sebum production. Using ylang-ylang essential oil in a topical cream or lotion can be helpful in maintaining sebum levels.

Rosemary

Like ylang-ylang essential oil, rosemary essential oil is known for its ability to balance natural oils in the skin without stripping the skin of all moisture. Rosemary oil has antiseptic and antimicrobial properties which give it the ability to tone and cleanse the skin of acne-causing bacteria that can be caused by excess oil on the skin.

Essential Oils for Acne

There are several essential oils that have antibacterial, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties, which can help in providing relief from acne and prevent further breakouts. 

Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree essential oil has natural anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, making it a great essential oil to use against an acne flare-up. Studies have shown that tea tree oil can be just as effective in killing acne-fighting bacteria as benzoyl peroxide—the acne-fighting ingredient in most commercial options—without causing redness and irritation that drugstore acne products can cause. Tea tree oil is also a natural anti-inflammatory, so while it’s killing the bacteria on the skin that cause acne breakouts, it will also help to calm the existing redness and irritation on the skin from the acne. 

Lavender Oil

Lavender essential oil is a versatile essential oil and can also be used to treat and heal acne breakouts in addition to soothing dry, irritating skin. The antimicrobial and antioxidant properties of lavender oil can be used to soothe and nourish the skin during an acne breakout. Since lavender oil is used for its therapeutic ability to reduce stress and anxiety, it may also help prevent further breakouts caused by stress, promoting a healthy and acne-free complexion.

Juniper Berry Oil 

Juniper berry essential oil is another essential oil that is known for its versatility in what it can be used for. This essential oil is another useful treatment for acne because of its natural antibacterial, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and astringent properties. A 2005 study found that juniper berry oil’s antibacterial and antimicrobial properties work as an effective anti-acne topical solution for the skin. This essential oil can also naturally tone and reduce the appearance of blemishes due to its anti-inflammatory and astringent properties.

Essential oils can be a very helpful addition to one’s skincare routine with the right knowledge basis of which oils are best suited for specific skincare types or concerns, as well as knowing how to safely dilute essential oils for topical application. Whether you have dry, sensitive, oily or acne-prone skin, there are plenty of essential oils and blends of essential oils that can be used in a skincare routine to improve your complexion.