What if you could use a completely natural remedy for all your skin problems? Yes, pure essential oils extracted directly from natural sources offer a great solution.
Progress in science and medicine now proves that there are hundreds of plant species that possess high-value bioactive compounds which can naturally resolve various skin and health issues with minimal to no side effects. Essential oils, directly extracted from plants, have powerful antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and immunity-building properties that make them a holistic solution for all your skin issues.
Read on to know the innumerable benefits of 30 essential oils and choose the best ones to suit your skin needs.
Our Ayurvedic Doctor Speaks
“ Oils have always held a special place in Ayurveda. Rare essential oils of different herbs were used for cosmetic and health benefits.”
Dr. Zeel Gandhi (Bachelor Of Ayurveda, Medicine & Surgery), Chief Ayurvedic Doctor, Vedix
- What Are Essential Oils?
- Essential Oils For Dry Skin
- Essential Oils For Oily Skin
- Essential Oils For Sensitive Skin
- Essential Oils For Acne-Prone Skin
- Essential Oils For Skin Aging
- Essential Oils For Skin Allergies
- How To Use Essential Oils For Skin?
- Dos and Don'ts Of Essential Oils
- Side Effects Due To Overuse Of Essential Oils
What Are Essential Oils?
Essential oils  are the purest form of oils extracted usually through distillation from different parts (petals, seeds, bark) of medicinal or therapeutic plants. Extensively used in aromatherapy, these oils contain various volatile chemical substances in high concentrations. Each essential oil is unique in nature, owing to the specific bioactive and aromatic compounds present in it.
“Oils have always held a special place in Ayurveda. Rare essential oils of different herbs were used for cosmetic and health benefits. The advancement of science in extracting the delicate essential oils readily have made them popular today,” says Dr Zeel.
Substances like terpenes, essential fatty acids and phenolic compounds give them their well-known anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antioxidant properties. Essential oils have now made their way into the skincare industry owing to their myriad skin benefits.
Essential Oils For Dry Skin
1. Lavender Oil
Lavender essential oil is well known for its various therapeutic abilities. It is extensively used in aromatherapy and in skincare products for its skin calming, moisturizing, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. It also prevents infections common in dry skin due to a weakened skin barrier.
For a 1% dilution, 9 drops of lavender oil can be mixed with 30 drops of a carrier oil. It may cause nausea or skin sensitivity in some people.
2. Helichrysum Oil
Helichrysum essential oil greatly benefits dry skin due to its ability to nourish and repair damaged skin. Antioxidants in this oil help in cell regeneration and the presence of arzanol (a natural anti-inflammatory compound) keeps eczema and similar inflammatory conditions in check.
Helichrysum can be diluted in any carrier oil with a preferably 0.5% to 1% concentration (2-3 drops of essential oil per 30 ml of carrier oil). The oil is not known for any explicit health hazards but may cause skin sensitivity if overused.
3. Eucalyptus Oil
Ceramide depletion is often a condition that leads to dry skin, as the skin fails to retain moisture. Eucalyptus oil is known for its ability to aid the production of ceramide in your skin. Its cooling nature further soothes inflammation, itching and skin irritations. It is also antibacterial and can be used to treat minor injuries.
For a 1% dilution add 3 drops to 10ml of a carrier oil.
4. Juniper Berry Oil
Packed with powerful antioxidants like alpha-pinene  and myrcene, juniper berry oil acts as a natural healer for dry, damaged skin. It strengthens the skin barrier and improves skin immunity. According to research, juniper berry essential oil exhibits powerful antifungal and antibacterial properties and can be used to treat a variety of bacterial and fungal infections on the skin.
For a mild blend, add 5 drops of this essential oil to 20ml of a carrier oil to treat your dry skin.
5. Patchouli Oil
Due to its immense potential as a healer and detoxifier, patchouli oil  has been used in traditional medicine to treat various skin diseases, fever, diarrhea, snake bites etc. It is packed with active phytochemicals such as alpha patchoulene, beta patchoulene and various other terpenoids, alkaloids and flavonoids that aid skin cell regeneration, restore skin health and prevent dry skin and premature aging.
To prepare your essential oil for dry skin, mix 10 drops of patchouli oil with 40ml of a nourishing carrier oil.
Essential oils are best suited for adult skincare. Even with dilution, these may cause skin sensitivity in babies and young skin. It is advisable to consult your doctor before using essential oils on children.
Essential Oils For Oily Skin
1. Rosemary Oil
Rosemary is a popular choice in treating conditions related to oily skin. Its astringent, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties help balance sebum production on your skin and prevent the occurence of acne lesions. Rosemary contains various active plant compounds such as rosmarinic acid which is known for its display of antioxidant properties.
To reduce excess sebum on the face, blend 5 drops of rosemary oil with 10ml of an astringent carrier oil such as grapeseed oil.
2. Bergamot Essential Oil
Too much oil in your skin pores makes for a perfect breeding ground for the P. acnes bacteria. Bergamot essential oil’s antibacterial properties keep bacterial infections at bay. Further, natural compounds like limonene, linalool and gamma terpinene present in it have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and skin-calming abilities. Using bergamot oil can help clear blocked pores and balance excess oil production in your skin.
You can blend 4-5 drops with 10 ml of a light carrier oil of your choice.
3. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil has gained popularity in the skincare segment for its ability to balance excess oil on the skin. Its powerful astringent properties along with its fresh, spicy herb-like scent keeps the skin clean and refreshed for a long time. Tea tree oil also prevents skin inflammations and mild infections.
For a 2% concentration, add 5 drops of tea tree oil to 10 ml of a carrier oil.
4. Lemongrass Oil
An amazing skin detoxifier, lemongrass essential oil  removes impurities from your pores and balances excess oil on the face. With citral, geraniol, myrcene, flavonoids and phenolic compounds as its main components, this essential oil exhibits powerful anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that prevent infections and oxidative damage of your skin cells.
Add 12 drops of lemongrass essential oil to 30 ml of a carrier oil.
5. Myrtle Oil
This is popularly considered as one of the best oils for oily skin. Myrtle essential oil  cleans congested pores, prevents excess sebum on the face and overall helps improve your skin complexion. It is also antiseptic and antibacterial, which helps prevent acne conditions.
You can dilute 8-10 drops of myrtle oil in 20 ml of a carrier oil for a 2% concentration and apply topically on your oily skin.
6. Clary Sage Oil
Clary sage oil naturally balances sebum production on the skin, thus being a well-sought remedy for oily skin. Another great benefit of this essential oil is its ability to tighten sagging skin and reduce the appearance of wrinkles and lines. It can also be used to treat skin inflammation and minor infections and skin allergies.
To apply, add 5 drops of clary sage oil to 10ml of a carrier oil.
There are a variety of almost 90 essential oils with over 1500 possible combinations. These can be used to treat skin infections and other skin conditions with their antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties.
Essential Oils For Sensitive Skin
1. French Lavender Oil
This essential oil is known to cure various health conditions such as infections, skin allergies, dryness, and inflammatory conditions such as eczema. It calms sensitive skin and promotes healing when used frequently.
You can add 4-5 drops to 20 ml of a carrier oil and apply on your sensitive skin.
2. Calendula Oil
Calendula essential oil is extensively used in both pharmaceutical and skincare products for its natural antifungal, antibacterial and inflammation-relieving properties. Adding it to your regular skincare products can help strengthen the immunity of your sensitive skin.
Add 2-3 drops of calendula oil to 10 ml of a carrier oil to prepare a mild essential oil mix for your sensitive skin.
3. Neroli Oil
The medicinal properties of neroli oil make it an apt remedy to treat sensitive skin issues. It is dermatologically proven to help heal skin inflammations, dryness, wrinkles, uneven skin tone, rashes, minor wounds, infections and dermatitis.
Add 5-6 drops of neroli oil to 20ml of a carrier oil for a mild blend for your sensitive skin.
4. Geranium Oil
With a plethora of skin benefits, geranium essential oil can be safely used on sensitive skin to benefit from conditions like eczema, skin peeling, premature aging, uneven sebum secretions, suntan, cellulite, inflammation and infections. It contains the active ingredients geranyl formate and geraniol which exhibit antioxidant properties, keeping your sensitive skin safe from oxidative damage.
The best way to use geranium oil is by diluting 4 to 5 drops with 10 ml of a carrier oil.
5. Lemon Balm Oil
This essential oil derived from the medicinal plant Melissa Officinalis  is used worldwide in medicine, food and skincare for its powerful healing and antioxidant properties. It is also known to calm the immune system and prevent sudden flare-ups and allergic reactions in sensitive skin. Lemon balm essential oil can be topically applied to treat cold sores, fungal infections and minor injuries.
For topical use on sensitive skin, you can start with a 1% concentration, i.e. 3 drops of lemon balm oil to 10ml of a carrier oil.
Vedix Tip: Use cold-pressed carrier oils to create your essential oil blends. Avoid using oils that contain preservatives or artificial fragrances which could deprive you from getting the best of your blends.
Essential Oils For Acne-Prone Skin
1. Bay Oil
Extracted from the popular Indian spice bay leaf, this essential oil contains amazing antibacterial, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. With the presence of phytochemicals like alpha terpineol, alpha pinene, beta pinene and others, it restores your skin’s immunity and prevents acne conditions. Bay oil contains the anti-inflammatory compound eugenol , also found in clove oil. It relieves pain, irritation and inflammation in acne-prone skin.
For extreme acne cases, use a 3% concentration by mixing 7 to 8 drops to 10ml of a carrier oil and apply on the affected areas.
2. Star Anise Oil
Star anise oil is widely used to treat acne conditions and infectious skin diseases. Its main antibacterial compound, anethole, helps control bacteria in your skin pores and Vitamin A helps restore your skin’s natural oil balance. Star anise oil can be used in combination with tea tree oil for treating severe acne.
Add 10 drops of the essential oil to 20ml of a carrier oil to create a well-balanced blend for your skin.
3. Cedarwood Oil
This is a one-stop solution to many skin problems. It is an expert acne healer and is also capable of regulating sebum secretions on your skin. Cedrol, one of the main components in cedarwood oil is an antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antifungal agent that protects your skin from infections, dermatitis, eruptions, acne lesions, inflammations, itchiness and insect bites.
You can add about 5 to 6 drops of cedarwood oil to 10 ml of a carrier oil and apply on your acne-affected skin.
4. Violet Oil
With a fresh, cool aroma, the violet essential oil (extracted from Viola Odorata) is used to treat various skin conditions including acne, inflammation, dry skin, infections, eczema and superficial wounds. The fatty acids in it keep your skin moisturized, while maintaining its oil balance.
You can mix 10 drops of violet oil to 20ml of a carrier oil to clear congested pores and treat your acne lesions.
5. Oregano Oil
The essential oil derived from this popular spice exhibits amazing antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It is known to help inhibit bacterial activity in your skin. Due to the presence of antioxidants like phenols and terpenoids, this essential oil prevents skin aging and cell damage.
Oregano oil can be diluted with any carrier oil such as coconut with a recipe of 5 drops of essential oil to 10ml of carrier oil.
Essential Oils For Skin Aging
1. Carrot Seed Oil
Packed with antioxidants, carrot seed oil is used in multiple anti-aging skincare products. Vitamin A, beta-carotene and fatty acids in this essential oil help lighten age spots, prevent collagen depletion and the appearance of wrinkles. It moisturizes aging skin and keeps it nourished. Carrot seed oil can also help with other skin problems such as carbuncles, rashes, dermatitis, wounds and vitiligo.
You can mix 5-6 drops of carrot seed oil with a nourishing carrier oil and apply it regularly to prevent skin aging.
2. Frankincense Oil
According to studies, boswellic acid  present in this essential oil has strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that help repair premature skin aging. Frankincense oil can tighten your skin, improve skin elasticity, prevent wrinkles and lighten the appearance of sunspots, scars and blemishes. Regular use helps improve your natural skin tone and keeps your skin soft, healthy and nourished.
Blend 5 drops of this oil with 10ml of an anti-aging carrier oil such as argan oil and massage regularly on your skin.
3. Rose Oil
Rose oil can do wonders for age-damaged skin. Its rejuvenating and anti-aging properties help prevent collagen depletion, uneven skin tone, dry skin and inflammation. It moisturizes your skin and refines its tone and texture.
You can mix 8 to 10 drops of rose oil with a carrier oil and use regularly for quick skin repair.
4. Pomegranate Oil
The essential oil extracted from pomegranate seeds has exceptional anti-inflammatory and antioxidant abilities due to the presence of punicic acid, oleic acid, linoleic acid, tannins and other phenolic compounds. It helps prevent thinning of the epidermis, cell damage, dryness and wrinkles. Pomegranate seed oil  is even known to protect your skin against skin cancer.
For a perfect anti-aging blend, add 10 drops of pomegranate oil to 20ml of a carrier oil.
5. Raspberry Seed Oil
According to research, raspberry seed oil has some amazing skin beneficial bio-active compounds such as tocopherols, flavonoids, monoterpenes, carotenoids, fatty acids and other antioxidants. Frequent use of this essential oil can improve skin elasticity, increase skin hydration, prevent loss of collagen and prevent the appearance of age spots and blemishes.
You can add 5 drops of raspberry seed essential oil to 10ml of a carrier and use regularly for best benefits.
Essential Oils For Skin Allergies
1. Chamomile Oil
The medicinal properties of chamomile oil make it a remedy for various skin problems such as skin allergies, dermatitis, pruritus, insect bites, rash, inflammation, psoriasis and sunburn. With the presence of essential fatty acids like oleic acid, chamomile oil nourishes your skin and keeps it protected from external allergens that cause skin sensitivity and irritation.
You can combine 8 to 10 drops of chamomile essential oil with 20ml of a carrier oil and apply on the affected areas.
2. Sandalwood Oil
Sandalwood oil  is extensively used in Ayurveda for its amazing cooling and skin calming properties. The anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial active compound santalol being its main component, protects your skin against rashes, infections, boils, dryness, inflammation, pruritus, eczema and sunburn.
Sandalwood oil can be mixed with a carrier oil in a 1:2 ratio, i.e 1 drop of essential oil to be mixed with 2 drops of a carrier oil.
3. Balsam Of Peru Oil
Due to the presence of substances like benzoic acid and benzyl benzoate, balsam of peru oil can be used to treat skin allergies, insect bites, bacterial infection, inflammation, scabies, skin irritations, eczema, burns and sores. Further, cinnamic acid present in this essential oil helps prevent the formation of scars from skin allergies.
You can add 5 drops of this essential oil to 10ml of a carrier oil for a 2% concentration to treat your skin allergies.
4. Holy Basil Oil
Basil is widely used in Ayurvedic and modern medicine for its therapeutic properties. The oil extracted from the holy basil plant can cure skin allergies, pruritus, wasp stings, insect bites, redness, infections and acne. Holy basil oil also moisturizes the skin and strengthens the epidermal barrier, thus improving your skin’s overall immunity.
You can blend 8 to 10 drops of holy basil oil with 20ml of a carrier oil and apply on the allergy-affected skin areas.
5. Thyme Oil
As per research, due to the presence of thymol, thyme oil possesses exceptional antibacterial and antifungal properties. It is thus extensively used to treat wounds, abscesses, dermatitis, infections, skin irritations and skin allergies. It is suitable for all skin types and fortifies your skin against external damages. It reduces inflammation and may improve subcutaneous blood circulation, giving your skin a boost of health.
Add 5 to 6 drops of thyme oil to a carrier oil to create a 2% concentrated blend for treating your skin allergies.
How To Use Essential Oils For Skin?
Essential oils are highly concentrated products and must always be diluted before topical application on the skin or scalp. Though some beauty enthusiasts may advise using oils like tea tree oil undiluted on skin, following such advice can lead to a severe skin allergy. Essential oils are safe to be diluted with a 2% concentration, that is 5 drops to 10ml of a carrier oil. However, if you are using it to treat a specific skin issue, you may use a 3% (8 drops to 10ml of carrier oil) concentration after consulting a skin specialist.
Dos and Don'ts Of Essential Oils
- Always dilute essential oils with a carrier oil.
- Always do a patch test before using a new essential oil. Wait 24 to 48 hours to check for any allergic reactions.
- You can also add essential oils to your skincare products such as your moisturizer.
- For sensitive skin, use essential oils that are considered hypoallergenic.
- Do stop using the oil if your skin begins to react to it.
- Never use undiluted essential oils on skin.
- Avoid using on children without prior doctor approval.
- Don’t use it on broken skin or wounds without consulting your doctor.
- Don’t use old or expired essential oils.
- Avoid using on sensitive areas like near the eyes or the genitals.
- Avoid overuse of essential oils.
- Avoid using them during pregnancy without a doctor's consultation.
Side Effects Due To Overuse Of Essential Oils
Overuse or undiluted use of essential oils can cause skin sensitization, leading to allergic contact dermatitis. Dealing with skin sensitization can be quite challenging as after the initial allergic reaction your skin may continue to react to products that contain extracts of the oil even in a diluted state. It could also react to essential oils which contain similar bio-compounds.
Apart from allergic reactions, overuse of essential oils can lead to nausea, drowsiness, eye irritations, seizures and respiratory problems.
The Last Word
Essential oils can greatly benefit your skin. But, due to their high concentrations, it is better to treat them like botanical medicine. The mantra ‘less is more’ applies correctly to these boons of nature. So before you select your first essential oil, know your skin type and what your skin issues are. Visiting an Ayurvedic doctor can help you better understand your Prakriti (body constitution) and thereby know which essential oils can resolve your skin problems holistically.Know Your Dosha Now
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4. Scientific Basis For The Therapeutic Use Of Cymbopogon Citratus, Stapf (Lemon Grass), 2011 Jan- Mar
5. Commercial Essential Oils As Potential Antimicrobials To Treat Skin Diseases, 2017 May
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7. Pharmacological And Toxicological Properties Of Eugenia, 2017 Aug
8. Effects Of Topical Boswellic Acid On Photo And Age-Damaged Skin: Clinical, Biophysical, And Echographic Evaluations In A Double-Blind, Randomized, Split-Face Study, 2010 Apr
9. Potential Therapeutic Effect Of Pomegranate Seed Oil On Ovarian Ischemia/ Reperfusion Injury In Rats, 2018 Dec
10. Sandalwood Album Oil As A Botanical Therapeutic In Dermatology, 2017 Oct
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