Many people find the idea of putting oil on their skin counter-intuitive, conjuring up visions of their worst bout of high school acne. Essential oils, however, aren’t in the same category as cooking oil! More than just sweet smelling perfumes, essential oils can supercharge your skin care, as many of these oils have properties which are believed to be beneficial for the skin.
Often used for aromatherapy because of their pleasant scents, essential oils which are believed to offer drying effects on oily and acne-prone skin include tea tree, cypress and citrus oils (such as grapefruit and lemon). These oils can be found in face washes, toners, moisturizers and other products. Tea tree oil, in particular, is used to treat acne and can be found in topical ointments and liquids to help get rid of those stubborn spots.
If you suffer from dry skin, the idea of using an oil to hydrate your skin probably isn’t an issue, but as essential oils have many different properties, you’ll want to make sure you’re using one with moisturizing benefits. In addition to avoiding citrus oils, stay away from rosemary, rosewood and many of the wood-based oils, which can dry skin out even more. Instead, look for rose, patchouli, ylang ylang, and chamomile essential oils, which help restore moisture to dry, flaky skin.
Essential oils can be used in a number of different ways. If you prefer to mix your own skin-care treatments, add a few drops to carrier oils (such as almond or cocoa butter). This scented oil can be used as a moisturizer, massage or bath oil. Essential oils may be part of the formulation of facial and body care products such as soaps, shower gels, lotions and facial masks, as well as added to hair products like shampoo and conditioner. As essential oils may interact with other components of the formula, it is better to buy products containing the oil than to add them to products you already own.
Treat essential oils like an over-the-counter drug: keep out of the reach of children; use only the recommended amount; and check with your doctor before using them to treat any condition and before using while pregnant, breastfeeding or giving to children. Essential oils should never be used alone on the skin; follow the manufacturer’s instructions about the proper dilution ratio. Before using for the first time, do a patch test to check for allergic reactions. Some essential oils can cause photo-sensitivity, so use caution and sun protection when going outside. Choose your essential oils with care and discover how they will improve your skin-care routine!