The 10 essential oils for skin health
Olivia Chapman, professional aromatherapist and founder of Oleo Bodycare, gives us her list of favourite essential oils, and why they’re so good in providing effective and pleasant treatments for skin issues such as cuts, burns, ailments and many more besides.
It’s important to begin with a few tips about essential oils in general:
* While essential oils should not be a substitute for professional medical care, they can be successfully employed for many minor skin complaints;
Here are my favourites, and their uses in skincare.
TEA TREE (Melaleuca alternifolia)
Tea tree is widely used to treat pimples and acne and is also a mild analgesic, bringing relief of pain as well as combating infection in ailments such as corns, calluses, boils, cuts and burns. To disinfect a cut or soothe insect bites and stings, apply tea tree neat – it won’t even sting. Again, dab it on neat to warts and verrucae to eliminate. Tea tree is also effective in the treatment of cold sores and other types of herpes.
LAVENDER (Lavandula angustifolia)
Lavender is extremely useful in a variety of skin conditions. As a first aid remedy it can be used neat on abrasions, wounds, burns and insect bites. Other skin conditions that lavender may help are dermatitis, eczema, acne, psoriasis and scarring. Combined with lemon essential oil and used as a compress, it will treat boils.
ROSEMARY (Rosmarinus officinalis)
GERANIUM (Pelargonium graveolens)
Geranium has an excellent reputation in skin care. It has a balancing effect on sebum secretion, making in suitable for dry or oily skin types, and it is a useful antiseptic and anti-inflammatory in the treatment of acne. Its soothing properties make it appropriate for dry, inflamed skin.
FRANKINCENSE (Boswellia carteri)
The rejuvenating properties of frankincense make it one of the most important oils for improving skin tone and treating ageing skin and wrinkles, as well as reducing scar tissue.
PEPPERMINT (Mentha piperita)
Its analgesic and stimulating properties make peppermint an effective treatment for neuralgia and muscular pains. Combined with lavender, it makes an excellent foot bath for tired or aching feet. It is also a useful deodorant.
ROMAN CHAMOMILE (Chamomilla nobile)
One of the most important uses of chamomile is in treating skin inflammation; its anti-inflammatory and soothing properties make it particularly suitable for allergic skin conditions. It may also be used to treat eczema, rashes, herpes, irritation, dryness and any stress-related skin condition.
LEMON (Citrus limonum)
The antiseptic and astringent properties of lemon are appropriate for greasy skin and also any skin infection such as boils, acne and eruptions. Lemon’s astringent properties will help combat wrinkles. It is also an anti-viral oil and applied neat, will help eliminate warts and verrucae.
NEROLI (Citrus aurantium var. amara)
One of neroli’s main areas of action is on the skin. The oil has a very low toxicity and its rejuvenating properties make it useful for treating dry, mature skin, wrinkles and broken capillaries. Applied during pregnancy, it will help prevent stretch marks. It is said to stimulate the elimination of dead skin cells. Neroli also has a deodorising effect.
ROSE (Rosa damascene)
Rose has a rejuvenating and healing effect on the skin and also has profound anti-inflammatory properties which can be used to treat dryness, inflammation and itching of the skin. A beneficial oil for use on older skin prone to dryness and wrinkles.