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Using essential oils for beautiful, healthy and vibrant skin is nothing new. Ancient Egyptians were a culture known for its understanding of the value of essential oils for healing, gorgeous skin and aromatherapy. There is evidence of oils being used over 5,000 years ago in ancient Egypt.
Understanding Your Skin
Did you know that skin is the largest organ? If you are an adult, you have about eight pounds and 22 feet of skin on your body. Skin is a waterproof, insulating shield that protects the body from extreme temperatures, sunlight and harmful chemicals. It produces antibacterial substances to prevent infection and makes vitamin D for conversion to calcium for bone health. Skin is also packed with nerves and transmits information to the brain. Skin is truly an amazing and complex organ and one which deserves attention and care.
We have three layers of skin and they all age in a somewhat different manner. The outside layer, also known as the epidermis is what forms a physical barrier for our skin. The dermis, or the middle layer, contains collagen and elastin. These provide strength, firmness, and elasticity. The deepest layer of skin is where you find connective tissue and fat.
As we age, so does our skin. A number of things happen that cause our skin to lose its youthful vibrancy. One of the first things that happen as our skin gets older is that collagen begins to break down. This is the support structure that keeps our skin firm. We also begin to lose subcutaneous fat – another support structure. This means our skin is thinner and it is more difficult to heal when we get a skin injury.
Because of the loss of subcutaneous tissue, some things become more prominent such as pores, hair follicles, and oil glands. Skin also becomes more sensitive to light and heat as skin structures become weaker.
Other things you may notice as you age are the fact that you seem to have more freckles and liver spots. These are the impacts of the sun. It is so important to protect yourself from the sun as you age.
While all this may sound dismal, there are ways to reduce the signs of aging and promote healthy skin. One of the best tools for this job is essential oils.
Do you suffer from dry, **** or flaky skin? Millions of people suffer from dry skin which is characterized by a lack of enough water in the epidermis layer of the skin. Older persons are more prone to dry skin due to a lack of natural oils and lubricants. Some environmental factors such as humidity and temperature play a role in how much moisture the skin retains.
Essential oils can help replenish and nourish dry and flaky skin. These essential oils can help the body make more skin oil and calm dry and inflamed skin.
Other Skin Conditions
There are a number of things that can go wrong with our skin, conditions that change the appearance of our skin and can cause irritation and pain. Here are some common skin conditions.
Using Essential Oils Safely
A common belief is that because essential oils are natural, they are always safe to use. Unfortunately this isn’t always the case. When using essential oils for skin care, consider the following safety points.
Always dilute an essential oil in a carrier oil before topical application. You can see a big list of carrier oils and what they are good for in our guide here. A 2% dilution is advisable.
Do not apply essential oils on or near the eyes, lips or mucous membranes.
If irritation occurs, discontinue use immediately.
Avoid the use of essential oils on broken, irritated, damaged, or diseased skin.
Some essential oils increase photosensitivity. Do not use these oils before going out in the sun. For a full list oh phototoxic essential oils, visit here.
If pregnant or nursing, educate yourself on which oils you can use safely. If in doubt, don’t use an oil. This guide will help you safely use essential oils while pregnant.
15 Best Essential Oils For Face and Skin
The great thing about essential oils is that they are highly versatile and can be beneficial for a number of skin conditions. Here are the best essential oils for face and skin and how they can benefit a variety of skin conditions and improve the overall health and vitality of your skin.
1. Lavender essential oil
Besides its enchanting aroma, lavender oil is a circulatory stimulant that has soothing moisturizing properties that increases blood flow to the skin. This improves the skin’s appearance because it increases the delivery of nutrients and oxygen.
Free radicals are very unstable and reactive molecules that cause damage to living cells. Here are some of the places that free radicals come from:
Lack of sleep
Lack of exercise
As we age, our skin has less ability to defend against free radicals. We need antioxidants to fight the damage caused by free radicals which include signs of aging like wrinkles and fine lines.
Research shows that lavender essential oil helps the body produce three powerful antioxidants, glutathione, catalase, and superoxide dismutase. These antioxidants can reduce the damage caused by free radicals.
Lavender oil mixed with frankincense oil along with a carrier oil such as sweet almond oil, can help lighten age spots, common with aging.
Lavender also possesses powerful anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce the irritation and inflammation associated with skin conditions such as acne, eczema burn, and even insect bites.
2. Frankincense essential oil
Aging can cause our skin tone to become uneven and create splotches. For sun spots, age spots and uneven skin tone, frankincense essential oil is an excellent choice. Frankincense oil, from the resin of the Boswellia sacra tree, can also help strengthen skin and can be used any place your skin sags such as under your eyes, your neck or abdomen.
3. German Chamomile essential oil
Chamomile essential oil has a calming and soothing impact on skin. It has a high content of azulene which gives it a blue color and also has anti-inflammatory and skin calming properties making it a good choice to remedy dry skin. Chamomile has the ability to penetrate deep into skin layers and promote moisture retention. This essential oil is a great choice for people with sensitive skin.
4. Tea tree essential oil
Tea tree oil is powerfully antiseptic and can battle against a variety of bacterial infections. It also has antiviral and antifungal properties making it an effective remedy for conditions such as ringworm, warts and toenail fungus. Used widely to treat pimples and acne, tea tree oil also contains a mild sedative and can be used topically for corns, boils, cuts, burns, and calluses. A little tea tree oil will quickly relieve the pain and inflammation from bug bites.
5. Geranium essential oil
Geranium oil has a beautiful floral scent and is used extensively in skin care products. It balances sebum secretion which makes it useful for both dry and oily skin. This aromatic oil contains antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. When applied to scars, geranium oil has the ability to accelerate healing and fade scars. Geranium oil can help with acne, dermatitis and other skin conditions by reducing inflammation, fighting bacteria and calming skin. Apply diluted geranium oil to bug bites to stop pain and itching and promote healing. Because geranium oil is an astringent it can minimize the appearance of wrinkles by tightening the skin.
6. Rosemary essential oil
Rosemary has an alluring scent and is a warming oil which has a stimulant effect on the body. Although used often in hair care, rosemary is also highly beneficial to the skin. It has antimicrobial and antiseptic properties which make it an effective remedy for eczema, dermatitis, oily skin and acne. As an all over massage oil, rosemary helps relieve dryness and promotes healthy, toned skin.
7. Peppermint essential oil
Peppermint oil is a bit of a paradox, it is cooling and refreshing and also warming and stimulating. It softens, tones and calms skin and has potent antiseptic and antimicrobial properties. Research published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that peppermint oil is an effective remedy for blackheads, dermatitis, inflammation, sunburn, ringworm, scabies and oily skin.
8. Lemon essential oil
Lemons are refreshing, invigorating and toning for the skin. The antiseptic, antimicrobial and antibacterial properties make this oil a hydrating remedy for nourishing damaged skin. Research shows that lemon oil is able to reduce cell and tissue damage caused by free radicals. This is due to the oil powerful antioxidant and anti-aging effects.
The antiseptic and astringent properties of lemon make it appropriate for oily skin and skin infections such as acne and boils. The astringent properties of lemon oil help combat wrinkles.
9. Neroli essential oil
Neroli has calming and uplifting properties and a very sweet floral fragrance. This oil also contains a chemical called citral that helps cells regenerate. Because of this it can heal stretch marks, balance oil production and shrink the appearance of pores while still leaving the skin moisturized
10. Rose essential oil
Rose oil has a sweet aroma and numerous properties that are great for skin. It cools and tones and has a positive impact on the vascular system. It can help remedy broken capillaries, reduce inflammation, itching, and dryness while reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
11. Myrrh essential oil
The anti-inflammatory properties of myrrh essential oil benefit aging skin. This oil helps to improve firmness, skin elasticity, and tone while reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, in addition, myrrh helps remedy sun damage, rashes, eczema and chapped skin.
12. Patchouli essential oil
This oil has powerful antiseptic, antibacterial, and antifungal properties and can help skin conditions such as dermatitis, psoriasis, acne, and eczema. In addition, patchouli is wonderful for aging skin and can promote new cell growth while smoothing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
13. Tangerine essential oil
Tangerine essential oil has antifungal and antiseptic properties that make it an excellent choice to battle acne. This essential oil is also known for its ability to reduce the signs of premature aging and increase the regeneration of cells and collagen production.
14. Cypress essential oil
If you cut yourself, it is great to have some cypress essential oil on hand. Because of its potent antiseptic properties, cypress oil can heal external and internal would and also prevent infections. A study published in the Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that cypress oil has antimicrobial properties that can keep bacteria at bay. Because of this, it is a great oil to remedy pimples and skin eruptions.
15. Carrot seed oil
Carrot seed oil offers potent antioxidant protection that helps skin renew quickly. It works well for skin that has been stressed by the environment. It has a pleasing, rich and earthy aroma and moisturizing capabilities.
DIY Essential Oil Recipes For Face & Skin
Here are just a few ways to use essential oil for healthy and vibrant skin.
DIY Under Eye Cream
This homemade eye cream made with frankincense essential oil helps to moisturize skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
10 drops frankincense essential oil
1-ounce pure aloe vera gel
1-ounce organic shea butter
1-ounce melted organic coconut oil
½ teaspoon vitamin E oil
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Mix well.
Store in a glass jar with a lid.
Use around your eyes in the morning and evening – being sure not to get any in your eyes.
Invigorating Face Scrub
Use this refreshing face scrub a few time a week for radiant skin.
1 ¼ cups coconut sugar
½ cup coconut oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Zest from ½ lemon
5 drops peppermint essential oil
5 drops lemon essential oil
Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl.
Apply to a clean face in a circular motion.
Rinse and pat dry.
Save the rest in a glass jar with a lid.
Skin Softening Body Wash
This body wash is delicate enough to use all over your body and smells wonderful.
3 cups water
¼ cup steel cut oats
¼ cup liquid castile soap
12 drops lavender essential oil
1 teaspoon vitamin E oil
2 teaspoons avocado oil
Boil the water and pour over top of the oats. Let it sit for 2 hours and strain the water off. Set the water aside and discard the oats.
Mix the castile soap, essential oil, vitamin E oil, and avocado oil with a whisk.
Fill your foaming soap dispenser 10% with the soap/oil mixture.
Fill the rest of the dispenser with the oatmeal infused water.
All Purpose Skin Solution
This skin solution is great for all over moisturizing and can help heal conditions such as eczema while reducing fine lines and wrinkles.
1 tablespoon aloe vera gel
1 tablespoon organic coconut oil
6 drops lavender essential oil
3 drops frankincense essential oil
Combine aloe, coconut oil and essential oils in a food processor. Process until smooth.
Store in a glass jar in the refrigerator.
Use daily as needed to relieve dryness and promote moist and vibrant skin.
Cold sores, also known as fever blisters, are painful and also embarrassing. Some people struggle with them more than others and because they are a contagious oral virus, you can pass them back and forth between people you are close to.
The virus that causes cold sores is known as herpes simplex virus (HSV). There are two types of HSV, type l, and type ll. Cold sores are generally caused by type l. The virus can be spread by kissing or other close contact with the sores or even from contact with skin that seems normal but is shedding the virus and infected saliva without the presence of sores.
The virus is most contagious when open sores are seen and the risk is less once the blisters have dried and crusted over. You may have heard that you can catch the herpes virus from touching contaminated surfaces, washcloths or towels, know this is a myth.
Progression Of The Virus
Fever blisters go through several stages. At first, you might have tingling of your skin, followed by itching and burning around your lips. This is the first sign that a fever blister is developing (the best time to begin treatment). The blister will form on the border of the lips within 24-48 hours. It will eventually break and ooze and then dry out and crust over. A scab will form and protect the new skin underneath.
When the sores disappear, the virus enters the dormant stage where it travels up the nerve where it stays latent. When it becomes active again it travels back down the nerve to the skin and causes blisters called cold sores.
Although not usually serious, a cold sore infection can be life-threatening for those with a compromised immune system.
Some people develop antibodies and don’t get another infection again. However, 40% of adults get repeated cold sores.
10 Best Essential Oils For Cold Sores
Numerous studies have shown the effectiveness of essential oils to remedy cold sores. Essential oils may have an advantage over antiviral drugs that can have side effects. Keep in mind that you should not take essential oils orally. When used for the remedy of cold sores, most essential oils are applied topically to the skin after being mixed with a carrier oil such as coconut oil or sweet almond oil.
Here are ten essential oils that show promise in the treatment of the virus and ease of symptoms associated with cold sores.
1. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is the most famous essential oil for quickly healing a cold sore and for good reason. Tea tree oil has anti-viral, anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. This study published in Pharmazie in 2001 examined the efficacy of using tea tree oil against the herpes simplex virus and found that “virus titers were reduced significantly with tea tree oil“, while this article published from the Department of Infectious Diseases at the University of Heidelberg found that “tea tree oil has been shown to possess antiherpetic, anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties, as well as to accelerate the healing process of herpes labialis (cold sores).”
How to use: Diluted three drops of tea tree oil in a teaspoon of carrier oil and apply directly to the cold sore with a clean cotton swab. Repeat 2-4 times per day but stop the treatment if the skin becomes irritated.
2. Turmeric Essential Oil
Turmeric contains curcumin that has potent antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. In addition, turmeric essential oils contain antioxidants that can help speed up the healing process with cold sores and keep infections from recurring. According to research, curcumin may block the expression of HSV genes.
How to use: For the remedy of cold sores mix 1 teaspoon of raw honey with 3 drops of turmeric oil. Apply a small amount of this mixture to the cold sore site, allowing it to soak in completely. Repeat as necessary once or twice a day until the cold sore is gone.
3. Ginger Essential Oil
Ginger oil contains gingerol that can help keep herpes simplex virus from spreading and reduce symptoms associated with cold sores. Ginger is known for its immune boosting, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and analgesic properties that give it powerful therapeutic value. A study published in Phytomedicine in 2008 found that ginger oil inhibited HSV-2 activity in infected cells.
How to use: It is best to start using ginger oil before the actual appearance of a blister. Mix 10 drops of ginger oil with one ounce of coconut oil and apply a small topically with a clean cotton swab to the area where you feel pain. It will feel warm on your skin and will help ease pain and inflammation immediately.
4. Peppermint Essential Oil
Peppermint has a pleasing aroma and cooling properties that help provide relief from fever blisters. According to USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, peppermint oil has powerful antimicrobial and antiviral properties and is loaded with potent antioxidants. In a 2003 study, researchers found that peppermint essential oil demonstrated strong antiviral activity against both herpes simplex type 1 and 2. Three hours after application, antiviral activity was recorded to be as high as 99%.
How to use: To make your own peppermint oil treatment, combine 2 drops of peppermint essential oil with one-ounce olive oil. Apply the mixture to a cotton swab and dab on the cold sore scab several times a day.
5. Oregano Essential Oil
Oregano is an herb in the mint family that has been used therapeutically for over 2500 years. It has a long history of use for treating colds, indigestion and stomach ailments. Oregano essential oil has antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties that make it effective for cold sores on lips. In one study published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, researchers found that the oils from Turkish oregano provided antimicrobial, antiviral and antioxidant properties.
How to use: To use oregano oil for cold sores, dilute 3 drops of oil in one ounce of fractionated coconut oil. Apply to the cold sore at the scab state using a clean cotton pad. Repeat several times a day.
6. Melissa Essential Oil (Lemon Balm)
Recognized in conventional medicine as a highly effective way to remedy fever blisters, Melissa oil has powerful properties to help fight viruses in the herpes virus family. This gentle oil is especially beneficial for people who are resistant to conventional antiviral substances. Research indicates that Melissa oil has powerful antiviral properties that penetrate the skin and go to work at healing fever blisters
How to use: Melissa oil is subtle enough to be applied directly to the skin. Simply apply a few drops of the oil to a clean cotton bud and dab on the blister three times daily until it is gone.
7. Eucalyptus Essential Oil
Eucalyptus oil has anti-inflammatory properties that make it a good option for remedying cold sores. A research paper in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology found that eucalyptus oil can significantly decrease inflammation and speed up the healing process of cold sores.
How to use: Dilute 4 drops of eucalyptus oil in one ounce of sweet almond oil and apply directly to the cold sore several times a day.
8. Clove Essential Oil
Clove oil is extracted from the dried flower buds of clove and has a variety of medicinal properties and is often used topically for the relief of pain. In addition, clove oil is often used on a variety of skin conditions and to remedy asthma, headaches, stress, toothaches and blood impurities. Besides being an analgesic, clove oil has anesthetic, antiviral, antifungal, antimicrobial and aphrodisiac properties. The impact of clove oil on herpes virus has been researched and the antiviral and antimicrobial properties can help reduce inflammation, itching, pain and spread of the virus.
How to use: Combine 2 drops of clove oil with 1 ounce of fractionated coconut oil and apply to your cold sore with a clean cotton bud several times a day.
9. Chamomile Essential Oil
Chamomile oil is extracted from the flowers of the chamomile plant. It has powerful antiseptic, antibiotic and analgesic properties. According to research, chamomile oil seems to interrupt the absorption of the herpes virus into cells in a different way than antiviral drugs.
Essential Oils That Reduce Cold Sore Symptoms
These oils are known for their ability to reduce the symptoms of cold sores.
10. Lavender Essential Oil
You may be familiar with the ability of lavender oil to calm the body and the mind. This very same oil can calm inflammation on the skin which makes it the perfect candidate to reduce irritation and swelling caused by herpes simplex. In one double-blind study researchers applied lavender essential oil cream to 75 people with cold sores. The results demonstrated that the cream reduced the size of the blister and sped up healing. Participants also reported less pain after the use of the cream.
How to use: To use lavender oil to ease the pain and inflammation associated with cold sores, mix 2 drops lavender essential oil with 4 drops of sweet almond oil. Apply liberally to blisters after they have formed a scab. Do not apply to open sores.
Notes On Using Essential Oils On Your Skin
If irritation develops or it is painful to put the oils on your skin, discontinue use. Some people may have an allergy to a particular oil, although it is uncommon. Do not use essential oils over a long period of time as they can weaken the epidermis of the skin.
Read our Total Guide To Using Essential Oils Safely for more information on the safe use of EOs.
Be sure that you purchase only high-quality essential oils from a reputable supplier. You can read our review of five of the most popular essential oil brands here, or if you don’t have time for that, then Plant Therapy are our number one choice and you can purchase all of their essential oils from here on Amazon.
Other Home Remedies for Cold Sores
In addition to essential oils, the following home remedies can help lessen the redness, itching, inflammation, and pain for fever blisters.
Hot and cold compresses
You may also be interested to read our article revealing the twelve best home remedies for cold sores ranked in order of effectiveness below.