Skin begins to “mature” as soon as you see tiny wrinkles around the mouth and eyes. For some women, that can be as early as 25 years old.
Essential oils are tremendous allies in maintaining and restoring skin health. External applications alone, though, cannot guarantee skin health.
Other critical factors include:
- Drinking enough high quality, filtered (but not distilled) water. Dehydrated skin is more prone to damage and wrinkling.
- Eating foods high in antioxidants, e.g. naturally, brightly pigmented foods (blue Jello™ doesn’t count!) such as blueberries, raspberries, and other berries; butternut squash and winter squashes in general; kale, collards and other deep, leafy greens; broccoli; and sweet potatoes.
- Supporting excellent elimination via the breath, bowels and bladder. If the body is unable to excrete waste through these other routes, it uses the skin as a back-up waste removal system.
- Sleeping enough (ideally 8 – 9.5 hours).
In concert with excellent lifestyle choices, essential oils can be major allies in your skin care system. Here are the top five oils to consider including in your routine:
Helichrysum italicum (Everlasting or Immortale): I think of Helichrysum as the “Arnica” of the essential oil world. This amazing oil is one of the most potent anti-inflammatory agents in the essential oils world[i]. In addition, Helichrysum stimulates the formation of new cells
Daucus carota (Carrot seed oil), revitalizes the skin with potent precursors to carotenoids.
Matricaria recutita (German chamomile) is another very potent anti-inflammatory essential oil that reduces skin swelling, soothes allergic reaction, and eases skin irritation.
Salvia sclera (Clary sage) improves dryness, increases cell elasticity and boosts cell regeneration[ii]
Lavendula angustifolia (lavender) soothes inflammation (e.g. for insect stings and burns) and normalizes or balances activity in the skin (e.g. oil gland production). You will not find research about lavender’s healing effect on burns because this action cannot be isolated to a single constituent in the plant. Pharmacologists have no model to understand complex, multi-factorial effects in plants
ALWAYS combine these essential oils with a carrier oil! Used alone, essential oils are so concentrated that they can cause skin damage, or eye damage if applied close to the eye.
Here is an example of an essential oil recipe for sensitive, chemically damaged or sunburned skin from Kurt Schnaubelt, PhD in his book Advanced Aromatherapy:
Tanacetum annuum (Moroccan chamomile) 0.5 ml (approximately 12 drops)
Helichrysum italicum (Everlasting) 0.5 ml
Lavendula angustifolia (Lavender) 0.5 ml
Anthemis nobilis (Roman chamomile) 0.5 ml
Hazelnut oil 50 ml
Another oil base to consider using: rose hip seed oil
A final note: AVOID adding essential oils to commercial skin care products. Many essential oils enhance the absorption of anything they are in contact with, including harmful parabens, sodium laureth and lauryl sulfate, and other toxic additives.
[i] Antunes Viegas D, Palmeira-de-Oliveira AJ, et al. Helichrysum italicum: from traditional use to scientific data. Ethnopharmacol. 2014;151(1):54-65. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2013.11.005. Epub 2013 Nov 14.
[ii] Price, Shirley and Price, Len. Aromatherapy for Health Professionals, Fourth Edition. New York, Churchill Lingstone Elsevier, 2012, p. 270.
Dr. Judith Boice is a naturopathic physician, acupuncturist, award-winning author, and international teacher who treats people, not diseases. Her mission is to help people know what being healthy is for them so they can focus on what is most important, whether that is riding bikes with their grandchildren, running three Iron Man competitions a year, or overcoming cancer. Dr. Boice consults with private patients, writes books, and offers trainings that teach people with chronic illness how to increase their energy, reduce symptoms and reverse disease by restoring their health with natural medicines.