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12 Best Essentials Oils for Skin

How to use essential oils to easily target acne, dry skin, and aging skin.

Best Essentials Oils for SkinLet’s face it, there aren’t any true “miracle” ingredients that can immediately resolve all of our skin woes. But there are natural ingredients out there that are multi-tasking skin care powerhouses. We’re talking about essential oils. They’re potent, versatile, and simple to incorporate into your daily beauty routine.

We’re shedding light on the best essential oils for skin that are making waves in the natural beauty world. An abundance of research still needs to done on the remarkable beauty benefits of essential oils, but our top 12 picks have already been backed by scientific studies that point to their promising potential.

Essential oils and natural skin care

Natural skin care is all about finding naturally-derived ingredients that are beneficial and safe for your skin, while avoiding synthetic substances that cause more harm than good for your skin. That’s why essential oils are such popular ingredients in natural and organic skin care. They’ve been used for centuries for their therapeutic properties, and are a safer alternative to harsh synthetic ingredients.

Essential oils are concentrated extracts that contain the signature scent of plants. Each unique fragrance comes from the chemical composition of the plant that has health and beauty benefits. They’re usually obtained by steam distillation, a careful extraction method that retains the aromas of the oil in their purest state. Essential oils can often help boost your immune system, aid in digestion and sleep, and soothe skin conditions.

Essential oils work best with other naturally-derived ingredients that complement their potent properties. That means you can easily find them in natural skin care products, or add a few drops of them into your beauty products for a more customized experience.

12 Best Essential Oils for Skin Free Bunni InfographicBest essential oils for skin types

To get the most benefits out of these beauty multi-taskers, it’s best to pick the best essential oil for your skin concerns. For example, if you’re looking to tackle acne, there are essential oils that have been specifically proven to help you do so.

Geranium oilEssential oils for dry skin, sensitive skin

People with skin conditions like atopic dermatitis or sensitive skin should first use essential oils that are gentle on the skin. Many of these oils are also anti-inflammatory, so they’re ideal for soothing itchy, dry skin. Add to a moisturizing carrier oil like argan oil or pomegranate oil for a skin-conditioning treatment.

It’s said that the Egyptians used geranium to condition skin and soothe wounds, giving the healing properties of this essential oil a proven track record. Geranium is a potent anti-inflammatory that helps soothe problem skin like eczema and dermatitis.

Geranium oil also bears a rose-like scent for ultimate stress relief, making it an ideal moisturizer to nurture dry, itchy or painful skin. Prime skin with a geranium face moisturizer, or dilute a few drops into a carrier oil like coconut oil for a whole body pamper session.

Essential oils don’t just come from flowers, frankincense is actually derived from boswellia trees. Unlike some other essential oils, the majority of frankincense oil consists of anti-inflammatory compounds called terpenoids that make it gentle for cracked, flakey skin associated with dryness or irritation.

Soften cracked skin on elbows and hands with a frankincense body oil, or dilute a few drops of frankincense oil into coconut oil and massage into skin.

Vetiver root
Vetiver oil is extracted from the roots of the plant that are extremely drought-resistant. It helps replenish moisture in dry skin and has healing properties for irritated or wounded skin. This mighty essential oil also serves as a key ingredient in many delicate perfumes.

Mix a drop of vetiver oil into your body lotion for a moisturizer that also helps to deodorize (ideal for rubbing onto dry patches on your feet!).

Have you ever been given the advice to drink a hot cup of chamomile tea to calm an upset stomach? It turns out that chamomile also has calming effects on skin too. The compounds in chamomile oil are able to deeply penetrate skin and have an anti-inflammatory effect. They may also be moderately effective in treating eczema too.

Add 3 drops of chamomile oil into jojoba oil to help alleviate itchy skin, or add a few drops of it into your bath for a whole-body treatment. Or pamper yourself with a chamomile essential oil bubble bath.

 tea tree oilEssential oils for acne or oily skin

People with acne-prone or oily skin will want to focus on regularly cleansing their skin, but not just with any ol’ face wash. Look for these essential oils that help bust acne-causing bacteria, keeping your pores purified.

Tea tree
A huge culprit for acne? Bacteria. It’s true that hormones and oily skin create the conditions for acne, but bacterial infection is what causes those dreaded pimples to form. There are many reasons why you shouldn’t be using synthetic antibacterial chemicals like triclosan. Luckily we can still help prevent acne by using tea tree oil instead, since it’s proven to fight acne-causing bacteria.

Tea tree oil is highly potent and toxic when ingested, so we recommend using a specially formulated tea tree cleanser to help calm those breakouts. For serious breakouts, make sure to use the cleanser twice a day for best results.

Like tea tree oil, lavender essential oil was commonly used as an antibacterial in war, making it ideal for helping keep pore-clogging bacteria at bay and heal acne scars. Bonus: lavender has been found to ease stress, giving it another edge in preventing stress and excessively oily skin!

Apply a lavender-based toner to purify pores, or a lavender-packed serum for an intensive skin-balancing treatment. Add 1 drop of lavender oil to your daily moisturizer and massage into skin for a stress-busting beauty routine.

Thyme isn’t just a popular culinary herb, it’s also used in mouthwashes and hand sanitizers! That’s because thyme is also known as a powerful antibacterial that’s still gentle enough to use on skin. Historically it was also used to treat bandages. Now we can use it for fighting against acne-causing bacteria and preventing infection.

Clear up your skin with a blemish treatment formula containing thyme and other beneficial essential oils.

Clary sage
Clary sage essential oil is an effective antibacterial against Staphylococcus strains that commonly infect wounds and skin. In addition, it’s also a powerful anti-inflammatory and helps promote wound healing. Its properties all help fight against acne-causing bacteria, as well prevent against and heal existing infections.

Add 6 drops of clary sage oil to 1 ounce of argan oil and apply on acne for spot treatment. Or massage 2-3 drops of a ready-to-use sage face oil into face for acne prevention.

ylang ylang essential oilAnti-aging essential oils

Essential oils can contain as many as hundreds of different compounds, including many potent antioxidants that help heal and prevent against environmental damage that causes signs of aging.

Ylang ylang
Ylang ylang is an essential oil that’s extracted from the South Asian cananga tree. It boasts a heavenly floral scent as well as impressive anti-aging properties. A study found that ylang ylang was able to help prevent excessive melanin production associated with dark spots. Ylang ylang also has high antioxidant potential, making it a powerful natural ingredient to fight against signs of aging caused by free radical damage.

Apply a concentrated ylang ylang serum to promote a more youthful glow. Add 1 drop of ylang ylang to a body cream for a rejuvenating massage.

Rose essential oil has long enjoyed popularity for its delicate floral scent. Add it to your perfume, laundry detergent…or how about your skin care routine? Rose is high in antioxidants and fights against collagen and elastin breakdown that lead to wrinkle formation.

Rose oil is a potent ingredient to use in an anti-aging serum to help smooth wrinkles while soothing skin. Apply a few drops of rose oil into your face cream, or use it for spot treatment on age spots.

Myrrh is closely related to the frankincense family, and it’s extracted from Commiphora trees. Myrrh is a resin—a substance that plants secrete when injured. It contains many protective compounds that help the plant defend itself and have astringent properties. Myrrh’s defensive mechanisms may also extend to human health, as they’ve been shown to have anticancer properties.

Add 1-2 drops of myrrh oil to your daily moisturizer and apply all over face, neck, décolleté, focusing on fine lines and dark spots.

Helichrysum is also known as the Everlasting Flower or Immortelle, because of how long they last after being dried. It’s also a rich source of potent antioxidants that can help fight free radical formulation, suggesting that it’s effective in treating skin aging.

To use helichrysum essential oil, add 1 drop to every 10 drops of rose hip oil and apply onto skin for a targeted anti-aging treatment. You can also find it in an anti-aging serum for easy, everyday application.

How to use essential oil for skin

Remember, essential oils are volatile, which means that they are highly concentrated with active ingredients. If you have sensitive skin, you might want to patch test the oil in a diluted oil blend, or stick to natural products that have already diluted the essential oil to safe levels. And when in doubt, always consult your doctor first before adding any new ingredients to your skin care routine.

When used safely, essential oils are a powerful natural skin care ingredient that you can regularly enjoy. If you’re just getting started adding essential oils to your beauty routine, we recommend sticking to small, 10 ml containers first to find what works best for your skin. And if you’re already a fan of natural and organic skin care, chances are they’re already in some of the products you use (and not just for scent!).

Looking for more natural remedies to meet your healthy living goals?

Top 7 Jojoba Oil Benefits for Skin: From moisturizing to treating acne, jojoba oil offers a range of benefits for treating skin conditions.
5 Easy Maracuja Oil Uses for Skin and Hair: This beauty ingredient comes with impressive healing qualities for restoring skin and hair.
Best Rosehip Oils for Face in 2018: Our recommendations for the most high-quality rosehip oils and skin care products.

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