If you woke up this morning and stared at the mirror in horror at the sight of a new pimple/flakiness/unexplained redness, don’t panic: There’s an essential oil for that. In addition to the natural scent and ability to create a spa-like setting almost anywhere, bottled botanicals can actually help us achieve clearer, younger-looking skin.
Essential oils, or oils extracted from plants, are found in many of our favorite beauty formulas because of their problem-solving, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties. “Plant-based oils are filled with essential fatty acids, vitamins, and antioxidants that act to strengthen the skin’s protective barrier, prevent free radical damage, and increase skin elasticity,” says Lily Talakoub, a board-certified dermatologist at McLean Dermatology and Skincare Center in McLean, Virginia. Incorporating essential oils into skincare is as simple as picking up a product enhanced with plant powers or adding a drop or two of the botanicals to your favorite moisturizer.
Before you dive into DIY, however, consider this: Plant oils are extremely potent and might not sit well with your skin. “Essential oils are incredibly common irritants,” warns Heather Rogers, a board-certified dermatologist at Modern Dermatology in Seattle, Washington. If you wish to incorporate these small-but-mighty ingredients into your regimen, proceed with caution and don’t skip out on carrier oils (such as almond, jojoba, or avocado oil), which help dilute botanicals without decreasing their effectiveness. (Photo via Emmanuelle Bonzami / EyeEm/ Getty)
Rogers insists that, if you must create your own mixtures, stick to a homeopathic concentration of less than 0.1 percent (or a 1:10 ratio) essential oil when mixing the two. In addition, always conduct a patch test (as you would with any new beauty product) on your wrist to rule out any potential negative reaction before slathering your skin with the potent additives.
Whichever method you choose, keep scrolling to learn which essential oils work best to combat common complexion concerns.
1. Lavender: One of the more popular essential oils for both beauty and wellness, lavender can benefit skin annoyances, including pimples and discoloration. “Lavender essential oil has exceptional anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties,” explains Debra Jaliman, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City. (Photo via yul38885 yul38885/ Getty)
2. Rose: Florals don’t just brighten your day, they illuminate your face too. According to Jaliman, the vitamins, antioxidants, fatty acids, and vitamin C found in rose essential oil soothe skin, stimulate collagen production, and help reduce signs of aging. (Photo via Moncherie/ Getty)
3. Tea Tree: This essential oil gets a lot of attention for its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory qualities, which help improve blemish-prone skin. That’s not the only bonus to using the ingredient in your regimen, though. “Tea tree oil can also be beneficial for hair because it helps to unclog hair follicles, and it nourishes the roots,” says Jaliman. (Photo via Amy_Lv/ Getty)
4. Chamomile: “Chamomile oil is an anti-inflammatory that can calm redness and inflammation of the skin,” explains Talakoub. She also notes how incorporating products with the wildflower before bed helps improve sleep and relaxation. (Photo via ALLEKO/ Getty)
5. Geranium: If clogged pores and blemishes are haunting your life, reach for geranium essential oil. Talakoub says it’s a star player when it comes to purging pores and calming redness. And, since it’s moisturizing, unlike some acne treatments, it won’t dry your skin out in the process. (Photo via Solstizia/ Getty)
6. Lemongrass: The fresh-scented essential oil has antiseptic traits and acts as a natural astringent that helps “tone the skin and restore its pH,” says Talakoub. Spritzing your face with a toner formulated with lemongrass can bring a dull complexion back to life with a natural-looking glow. (Photo via Madeleine_Steinbach/ Getty)
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