Almond, Orange, Lemongrass, Frankincense, Ylang Ylang, Peppermint, Tea Tree, Lavender, Rosemary, Lemon
I’m pretty sure that you’ve all heard of, or at least encountered essential oils at some point in your life. Whether through a friend or family member, at the gym, in the kitchen or through your own means of research, essential oils have been with us for hundreds if not thousands of years. They’ve been utilized throughout history for a variety of reasons, from physical and mental health care to spiritual healing and meditation. They’re incredibly powerful and all natural and are making quite the comeback in modern society.
If you’re reading this article, then you’re probably interested in natural and holistic products/solutions for one reason or another. In most cases, we’ve become disillusioned by the expensive and sometimes even harmful products that you’ll find on shelves in cosmetics stores or supermarkets around the world – especially with regards to skin care. Many have started turning to holistic or organic products as a way of treating their skin and health issues because they have no adverse side-effects, are often much cheaper than the products in the store and generally encourage a greener, more environmentally conscious lifestyle – something we should all be aware off.
Essential oils are particularly useful for treating and maintaining a healthy skin tone and an overall better complexion. They’re packed full of natural phytonutrients, minerals and vitamins (which are diluted into all on-the-shelf products) that keep your skin feeling fresh, clean and promote strong cell growth. But the beauty of most essential oils (or at least the one’s I’ll be discussing in this article), is that they also contain potent natural antibacterial and antiseptic qualities that kill off any free-radicals or bacteria that could lead to or worsen skin irritation and infection. So keep reading to find out more!
Top 10 Essential Oils for Skin Care
(Please note that this list is in no particular order of rank – these are simply the top 10 essential oils that I would recommend for treating your skin in general)
1.) Sweet Almond Oil
Sweet almond oil is truly one of nature’s most divine gifts and can be used as a potent natural alternative for treating skin affected by acne or maintaining the general healthiness of your skin. It is rich in Vitamin E, A, B and Omega 9 – both nourish and revitalize your skin, stimulating skin cell growth and also act as strong antioxidants, helping to flush your skin of any harmful toxins as well as neutralizing any free-radical molecules that may degenerate skin cell growth.
Free-radicals occur as a part of our daily lives and are produced by the food we eat (fatty foods), general air pollution, aerosol deodorants and even medication we take. They are one of the main causes of cell damage and it’s important to flush them out regularly with water (drink a lot of it) and lot’s of natural antioxidants. Almond oil has a very low comedogenic rating, so can be applied to your skin without the worry of having it clog your pores. In fact, it helps to clear out your pores and remove any excess skin cells or oil that might lead to blemishes or blackheads.
2.) Orange Essential Oil
This is one of my personal favourites as it has a great scent and is a very effective natural treatment for a variety of skin types. As we all know, oranges are a strong source of Vitamin C – an essential for keeping everything from your immune system to your skin cells strong and healthy.
The high content of hesperetin, naringenin, anthocyanins and hydroxycinnamic acids make the essential oil of the orange an incredibly powerful antioxidant – good for clearing your skin of any toxins. The strong citrus qualities of orange essential oil also make it highly effective in cutting through the oil on your skin’s surface and clearing your pores of any excess oil that may clog your pores – a common issue with naturally oily skin types.
I recommend using the oil as a natural toner, by applying it with a swab of cotton and wiping the excess oil and skin cells off your skin. When you’re done, rinse the oil off with warm water. However, orange oil also has a very low comedogenic rating – which means you can leave it in overnight to rehydrate and soothe your skin, without the worry of clogging your pores.
3.) Lemongrass Essential Oil
Lemongrass is quite popular in a variety of ways. In it’s natural form, it is often used as a herb or natural flavorant in many forms of Asian cuisine (especially in beef and poultry dishes as well as soups) and is quite popular as an additive to teas. It is a strong antioxidant and is very effective for uplifting your spirits and strengthening your immune system.
Lemongrass essential oil is even more potent because it is a concentrated form of the essential chemical compounds and phytonutrients that make the herb so effective as a natural remedy. Lemongrass is a natural astringent – which means that it causes the tightening of skin cells and tissue and can be used to help remove or reduce the signs of aging by lifting and tightening the skin tissue – reducing the effects of wrinkles. The added effect of this is that it can help to seal your pores, reducing the risk of blockage or further blemishes.
Lemongrass also has strong antiseptic or antibacterial qualities which makes it effective in removing harmful bacteria that may cause irritation or infection on the surface of your skin. By reducing the amount of malign bacteria that you have on your skin’s surface, you also reduce the signs of inflammation and redness that often accompany irritated skin which will give your skin a healthier looking complexion and a more rounded tone.
4.) Frankincense Essential Oil
This oil has been known to us for thousands of years for it’s incredible healing and antibacterial qualities as well as being highly regarded for spiritual reasons. In fact, it formed the basis of most of ancient medicine and at one point was worth more than gold! The reasons for frankincense oil’s popularity is largely due to its antibacterial qualities, as well as its ability to heal wounds and promote skin tissue regeneration.
Basically, the oil acts as a natural cicatrisant, which means that it helps scars to heal faster by tightening the skin tissue around the affected area, allowing nutrients, carried in our blood cells, to be directed to wound and speed up the healing process. This makes it very useful for healing superficial marks and wounds on your face (such as acne scars) and helping you achieve a healthier complexion faster. I recommend utilising frankincense oil with sweet almond or lavender oil for the best results.
5.) Ylang Ylang Essential Oil
Ylang Ylang (pronounced EE-Lang EE-Lang) essential oil is very popular in the cosmetic and fragrance industries for its decadent top-note scent. In fact, it’s one of the key ingredients in the famous ‘Chanel No.5’ perfume. It has a floral yet citrusy odor that will leave your skin feeling and smelling fresh and beautiful all day long.
But the amazing properties of Ylang Ylang oil don’t stop with it’s scent. The oil is also highly concentrated in natural antiseptic sesquiterpenes and other antibacterial agents, which make it helpful in reducing and removing harmful bacteria and toxins that gather on the surface of your skin over the course of the day.
By treating your skin regularly against these harmful bacteria, you reduce the possibility of infection and improve your skin’s tone and complexion by relieving it of irritation and redness. The oil also works well as a natural toner and will leave your skin hydrated and moisturized. Ylang Ylang also works well as an anti-seborrhoeic – which means that it works to reduce the sebum oil that your skin produces and often clogs up your pores when left untreated. By regulating the amount of oil your skin produces, you prevent the chances blocked pores and thus additional blemishes or blackheads.
6.) Peppermint Essential Oil
Peppermint has a very familiar and nostalgic scent and taste that I’m pretty sure we’ve all encountered at some point in our lives. It’s tasty and tremendously healthy – but also great for treating your skin surprisingly enough!
The chemical components of peppermint essential oil are what make it so effective as an skin care remedy. It has high levels of menthol, limonene and 1,8-cineole which make it a strong natural antiseptic agent (great for killing of germs that might worsen any skin irritation) as well as helping your skin cells regenerate and renew the tissue affected by sores or blemishes. Limonene and 1,8-cineole are key compounds of Vitamin E which is essential to regulating and maintaining a healthy complexion. So use it regularly to ensure maximum effect.
To apply Peppermint oil, I recommend a steam treatment first (3-5 minutes of steam to your face) to open your pores, then wipe away any bacteria, excess oil or dead skin cells with the oil on a fresh cotton swab. Rinse your face with cool water to help close your pores again, and allow your skin to rest. Repeat this roughly 2-3 times a week to ensure a healthier complexion in no time.
7.) Tea Tree Essential Oil
As a rule of thumb, I do not recommend that anyone use foundation or concealer on a regular basis. Of course, this is just my opinion – I can’t force you to do anything with regards to your own body. However, it has been proven that they generally worsen your skin by clogging your pores and causing blemishes that are unsightly which, in turn, make you use more foundation or concealer and so on. A bit of a cruel vicious cycle which is best avoided.
However, if you do find that you need to apply make-up or foundation (for whatever reason), then I highly recommend using tea tree oil as a natural make-up remover. It’s highly effective in cutting through the layers of make-up and fully removing any traces of it from the surface of your skin, as well as clearing out your pores – preventing a build up of comedogenic material and allowing your skin to breath. Tea tree oil is also a strong natural anti-septic and can be used to keep your skin free on any bacteria that may gather over the course your day and lead to infections or skin irritation.
The oil is also a magnificent alternative to the common chemical acne treatment known as benzoyl peroxide as it helps to reduce skin irritation, but it’s important not to overuse the oil as it can dry out your skin. So controlled and regulated doses are best – roughly 2-3 drops maximum a day should be fine. A final word of advice when using tea tree oil is that you should try and stay out of direct sunlight for an hour after applying the oil as it is sensitive to UV rays and can damage your skin’s pigments when exposed to direct sunlight.
8.) Lavender Essential Oil
Everyday, our skin is exposed to the sun – it’s generally an unavoidable issue. The sun emits harmful UV (ultra-violet) rays that lead to free-radical damage on the surface of our skin, enhance the effects of aging and depending on how long we’re exposed to the light directly, can even cause burns or irritation.
Utilizing lavender oil with a mixture of aloe vera oil or frankincense oil makes for a strong treatment for free-radical damage due to the high antioxidant content of these oils. The antioxidants effectively contain and remove the free-radical molecules before a chain reaction process can begin and the damage can be done.
By applying lavender oil to sunburns or minor cuts can also help the healing process as the antimicrobial qualities of the oil help to reduce the possibility of infection and speed up cell regeneration. This ability to help the regeneration of skin cells also allows the oil to treat sunspots – a common symptom of aging. Lavender oil is quite potent by itself, but I highly recommend blending the oil with almond or frankincense oil as a means of strengthening the effects of the oil.
9.) Rosemary Essential Oil
Rosemary is something we’ve all come into contact with at some point whether in a friend or family members garden, or in the kitchen. It’s an amazing herb and has a very pungent aroma that really adds a delicious flavour to almost any poultry dish, beef roast or vegetable bake.
However, the properties of the rosemary herb are not limited to the kitchen alone. This amazing plant has the ability to improve blood circulation which will help to restore the color and natural sheen to your skin as well as allowing wounds and scars to heal faster.
The antiseptic properties of rosemary also make it very effective in removing the bacteria that occur on the surface of your skin on a daily basis which lead to irritation and further infection. This also makes the oil suitable for removing excess skin cells and sebaceous oil that gather on your skin and clog up your pores.
10.) Lemon Essential Oil
Last but certainly not least on our wonderful list of natural treatments, we have lemon oil. This powerful citrus fruit packs a real punch and comes with a delightful odor that we all know (and hopefully love). It has strong antibacterial and antiseptic properties which make it incredibly suitable for treating irritated and infected areas on your skin, as well as killing off or removing any bacteria that may linger on the surface of your skin and further any irritations.
The oil is also loaded with 1,8-cineole, limonene and linalool which make it a powerful antioxidant – effective in removing and reducing the signs of free-radical damage on the surface of your skin. It also acts as a natural toner and will help to promote skin cell and tissue regeneration. I highly recommend using this daily or as an effective makeup remover as well. It’s quite commonly available and is very affordable – due to the large scale cultivation of lemons around the world, making it a must have in any natural remedy seekers home.
Ultimately, I think most people are starting to wake-up to the fact that most cosmetic, skin care or pharmaceutical treatments are not always that good for you in the long run, and that there are a variety of shortcomings to the insta-fix, over-the-shelf methodology that we’ve become so used to in our rushed lifestyle.
Instead of putting all our faith in chemical products that often have lists of side-effects, why not take things back to basics and slow it all down a little. Instead of spending 5 minutes treating your skin with pharmaceutical or cosmetic products, spend 10 minutes using natural products. It might take a little more time, but the health benefits are well worth the wait and the results will definitely make your mind up for you if you’re still undecided.
The natural route for skin care is cheaper, healthier and more sustainable – no need to read long precautionary pamphlets or consult your doctor before trying it out. This is one of the few cases in life where you really do stand to lose very little, and could gain a whole lot. So what are you waiting for? Try one of these amazing oils as soon as possible, and see the results before you listen to that salesperson in the makeup aisle next time or fall for the next high budget skin care advert. Go back to basics.