Are your wrinkles resistant to anti-aging treatments? Massage your skin regularly with essential oils for smoother skin and a wrinkle-free look.
Be it aromatherapy or skincare, essential oils have gained popularity for their ability to cure the body and the mind. These natural healers, though expensive, possess magical properties that can make your skin regain its youthful luster.
Read on to know about the best anti-aging essential oils and how to use them for reducing your wrinkles.
Our Ayurvedic Doctor Speaks
“Essential oils are highly efficacious, owing to their concentrated phyto-active compounds. Potent active ingredients also beckons caution. Make sure your essential oils are always diluted and avoided around sensitive areas, like the eyes.”
-Dr. Zeel Gandhi (Bachelor of Ayurveda, Medicine & Surgery), Chief Ayurvedic Doctor, Vedix
Do Essential Oils Really Work For Wrinkles?
Before we begin to discuss the efficacy of essential oils in the treatment of wrinkles, let us ponder on the causes that lead to the formation of wrinkles in the first place.
- Sun Exposure
As you age, the essential fatty acids and proteins (elastin and collagen) in your skin deplete. This leads to poor moisture retention capacity and loss of elasticity, causing wrinkles and fine lines to appear.
While aging is natural and inevitable, the other 3 factors mentioned above lead to oxidative stress by increasing free radicals in your body. An increase in these reactive oxygen species causes collagen to break down, damage skin cells and lead to premature skin aging.
Essential oils play an important part in the treatment of wrinkles by controlling oxidative stress. These highly concentrated extracts from plants are rich in natural antioxidants, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial agents. They also have powerful wound-healing and skin renewal properties.
Massaging your skin with essential oils improves blood circulation, reduces free radical damage, enhances skin hydration, prevents wrinkle formation and battles inflammatory conditions and infections. Hence, they act as natural agents for holistic skin improvement.
As per Dr. Zeel Gandhi, Chief Ayurvedic Doctor at Vedix, “Essential oils are highly efficacious owing to their concentrated phyto-active compounds. Potent active ingredients also beckons caution. Make sure your essential oils are always diluted and avoided around sensitive areas, like the eyes. It should also be used sparingly by individuals who suffer from skin sensitivities.”
The use of essential oils for therapeutic usage dates back to the early Egyptian era. History even records the use of essential oils to preserve the body in the process of mummification.
Best Essential Oils For Wrinkles
Lemon essential oil is probably one of the first essential oils that come to mind while treating wrinkles. It has a high concentration of natural antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds known as monoterpenoids, mainly D-limonene, ꞵ-pinene and 𝑦-terpinene . These help fight free radical skin damage, inflammatory conditions and prevent premature skin aging.
According to a medical article named, Citrus lemon essential oil: chemical composition, antioxidant and antimicrobial activities with its preservative effect against Listeria monocytogenes inoculated in minced beef meat, oil extracted from citrus lemon showed excellent antioxidant abilities. Further, the oil successfully inhibited the development of L. monocytogenes bacteria when applied to minced beef meat, thus proving its powerful antimicrobial properties.
However, most citrus essential oils are known to be phototoxic, i.e, they increase your skin’s sensitivity to sunlight. Hence, it is advisable to include lemon essential oil in your night skincare routine.
2. Lavender Oil
Prized for its antioxidant, antibacterial and antifungal properties, this oil is a common addition to skincare products. It owes its anti-aging, free radical scavenging abilities to bioactive compounds such as linalool, lavandulol, geraniol, linalyl acetate , etc.
Its frequent use keeps skin nourished and hydrated and prevents dry skin and eczema-like inflammatory conditions. Apart from reducing wrinkles, it also protects skin from various bacterial and fungal infections.
Oxidative stress is purported as one of the main causes behind skin degradation and loss of elasticity. Essential oils with high phenolic content are most preferred in the treatment of wrinkles.
Rich in antioxidant phenolic compounds such as cineol, camphene, α-pinene, bornanone, β-pinene, linalool  etc, rosemary essential oil is a perfect anti-wrinkles remedy. Apart from free radical scavenging abilities, it is also hailed as one of the best antimicrobial  essential oils.
4. Ylang Ylang
With amazing hydrating properties, ylang ylang essential oil keeps aging skin moisturized and prevents the formation of wrinkles due to the loss of essential moisture. It has an earthy, floral aroma that de-stresses and calms the mind.
This oil is rich in monoterpenes such as β-ocimene, cineole, camphene, geraniol, geranyl acetate, and linalool that give it its potent antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and antibiofilm  abilities. Hence massaging your wrinkles with ylang ylang oil can also keep various skin conditions at bay.
With a therapeutic history of more than 5000 years, frankincense essential oil is avidly used by beauty experts for holistic skin healing. It is extracted from gum resins derived from the Boswellia trees. It is a rich source of natural plant antioxidants such as monoterpenes and diterpenes .
As stated in a 2010 research article named, Topical Boswellic acids for treatment of photoaged skin, boswellic acid, which is one of the main components of frankincense oil, can improve fine lines and skin elasticity. Apart from its ability to reverse the effects of photodamage, frankincense oil’s astringent and anti-inflammatory properties can also help to treat acne.
Frequent sun exposure can trigger depletion of the main skin proteins, collagen and elastin through the production of enzymes called collagenase and elastase. This causes photoaging and as a result, you experience sagging skin and the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.
According to a study in 2018 named Selected essential oils inhibit key physiological enzymes and possess intracellular and extracellular antimelanogenic properties in vitro, essential oils, such as geranium are rich in phenolic compounds like geraniol that exhibit anti-collagenase and anti-elastase activities.
Geranium oil is also effective against infections caused by gram-negative bacteria  and can thus be used to treat minor wounds on the skin.
This essential oil is often recommended in the treatment of wrinkles. Two main phytochemicals present in helichrysum, α-pinene and limonene, are effective inhibitors of collagenase and elastase  (enzymes responsible for collagen and elastin breakdown).
Further, curcumene, a phytochemical that gives the local herb turmeric and its oil their powerful anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and wound-healing properties is also present in this essential oil.
Hence, it can be effectively used to treat skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, allergic reactions, fungal infections  like cutaneous candidiasis, dermatomycoses and various bacterial infections of the skin.
8. Carrot Seed
This is obtained via steam distillation of Daucus carota or wild carrot seeds (not to be confused with carrot seed carrier oil which is cold pressed from the same seeds). It is known for its anti-aging and nourishing properties.
Enriched with special antioxidant phytochemicals known as sesquiterpenoids such as carotol, daucol, bisabolol and others, carrot oil can protect your skin from free radical damage.
As per a research named Restoration of the Phenotype of Dedifferentiated Rabbit Chondrocytes by Sesquiterpene Farnesol, farnesol (present in carrot seed oil) can drastically increase collagen production in your skin. Carrot seed oil is also a good remedy for inflammatory disorders and fungal and bacterial infections of the skin.
Neroli is probably one of the most expensive essential oils used in skincare. While its production is labor-intensive and requires a huge source of bitter orange flowers, it has immense therapeutic benefits. Rich in phytochemicals such as limonene, nerolidol, farnesol, α-terpineol  and others, neroli oil exhibits high antioxidant and radical scavenging activities.
It is also known to increase your skin’s cell turnover rate and thereby promote cell renewal and reduction in the appearance of wrinkles. Neroli oil is also effective against a large variety of bacterial and fungal infections and aids in the maintenance of healthy skin.
According to Ayurveda, frequent inflammation is a cause of skin aging. Since inflammation is a natural defense response of your immune system, it is important to identify and reduce its trigger factors. Sandalwood essential oil’s anti-inflammatory properties calm your skin and aid in the treatment of inflammatory conditions.
Its main component, α-santalol, is a promising antioxidant  that prevents oxidative skin damage. Its ‘vyasthapana’ or anti-aging properties help reduce wrinkles on your face. Also, its depigmenting abilities work on age spots, giving your skin a brighter appearance within a few weeks of usage.
11. Clary Sage
This oil has strong anti-aging properties that prevent skin sagging, enlargement of pores and formation of wrinkles and fine lines. The presence of antioxidants like linalyl acetate, linalool, terpineol, muurolene, etc, protects your skin cells from DNA damage due to oxidative stress.
Clary sage also helps balance sebum production and prevents bacterial proliferation in your skin pores during an acne condition. It can also be used to treat mild allergic reactions, inflammation and infections especially caused by staph bacteria .
12. Rose Essential Oil
Rose essential oil has been used for centuries in skincare for its excellent anti-aging, antibacterial and nourishing properties. The oil is high in aliphatic compounds such as heneicosane, tricosane , octacosane and nonadecane which are potent antimicrobials. Its antioxidant abilities are owed to a variety of monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes which make up around 6.54%  of the essential oil. These along with essential fatty acids aid cell regeneration and visibly reduce fine lines and wrinkles giving you toned, youthful skin.
Rose oil is also power-packed with depigmenting polyphenols such as quercetin, ꞵ-pinene, kaempferol, gallic acid and ellagic acid . These inhibit melanogenesis and lighten old acne scars, age spots and stretch marks on your skin.
Remember, essential oils also have a shelf life. While they may not technically expire, they may undergo changes with time, making them unsuitable for topical use. So carefully read the date on the bottle before applying on your skin.
Carrier Oils To Use With Essential Oils
1. Coconut Oil
With the goodness of vitamin E and polyphenols, coconut oil adds to your essential oil’s antioxidant properties. It is an excellent remedy for dry, aged, eczema-prone skin. Diluting your essential oil with coconut oil can also promote skin healing and keep infections at bay.
2. Almond Oil
Almond oil acts as a perfect emollient, restoring moisture to damaged skin. This helps to plump your skin and significantly reduce wrinkles and fine lines. Almond oil is also recommended for the treatment of stretch marks and skin inflammation.
3. Olive Oil
Diluting essential oils with olive oil creates a power-packed anti-aging solution. It is rich in hydrophilic phenols that form the main antioxidant compounds along with 200 different phytochemicals such as sterols, carotenoids  etc.
Olive oil is known to possess more antioxidant potential than vitamin E itself. It moisturizes the skin, fades wrinkles, prevents inflammation, reduces transepidermal water loss and repairs the skin barrier.
4. Jojoba Oil
This is added to a variety of sunscreens for its ability to withstand high temperatures and thus protect your skin from sun damage. It also has the unique ability to enhance the absorption of other topically applied products.
Hence, using your essential oil with jojoba oil ensures better skin penetration and enhanced benefits. It is also prized for its anti-aging, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nature.
5. Safflower Oil
Safflower oil’s light, non-comedogenic nature is perfectly suitable for combination and oily skin. It is rich in both poly and monounsaturated acids and is known to be effective against wrinkled skin, hyperpigmentation disorders and minor inflammatory conditions.
6. Avocado Oil
This nutrient-dense carrier oil can stimulate collagen synthesis in skin facing premature aging. It contains potent phytochemicals like ꞵ-sitosterol, vitamins A, C, D, E, lecithin etc.
These help fight oxidative damage, hydrate and repair damaged skin, fade age marks and wrinkles and aid in the cell renewal process. It also exhibits wound-healing and anti-inflammatory abilities.
How To Use Essential Oils For Wrinkles?
Essential oils are like medicine. While the right dosage can work miracles for your skin, over-usage can lead to serious allergic reactions. Hence, follow the below-mentioned steps to safely include the above-mentioned essential oils in your skincare routine.
1. Select an empty glass bottle to store your diluted essential oil.
2. When using for skincare, opt for 1% or 2% dilution, and not more. This way you can avoid any unwanted reactions.
3. A simple guide to diluting essential oil is to add 2-3 drops to 10ml of carrier oil for 1% dilution and 5-6 drops to 10ml of carrier oil for a 2% dilution.
4. After diluting, do a patch test to understand how your skin adjusts to the product.
5. Choose an area that is less visible such as the inside of your wrist, or bend of your elbow. Apply a few drops of the diluted essential oil over the area. It is always better to wait 24 hours and look out for any allergic reactions.
6. Even if you are good to go, it is advisable to start with a lower concentration (0.5-1%) especially if you decide to use it on your face.
Possible Risks Of Using Essential Oils
1. Allergic Contact Dermatitis
One of the most common health risks that people tend to face while using essential oils is contact dermatitis. This is a severe inflammatory response to one or more allergens present in the essential oil.
While initially there may be no symptoms, with a considerable amount of exposure one may begin to notice skin irritation, swelling and a red rash within a period of 24 to 72 hours. Those with an existing condition of atopic dermatitis are often more at risk.
Certain groups of essential oils especially those belonging to the citrus family can make your skin photosensitive. To explain simply, these essential oils absorb UV rays of the sun and can begin a reaction on your skin such as discoloration, tanning, blisters or even a burn.
The safest way to use such essential oils in your skincare routine is to avoid direct sun exposure for at least 12 hours after application.
Precautions When Using Essential Oils
1. Store your bottle of essential oil away from direct sunlight.
2. Always do a patch test and wait 24 to 48 hours before applying a new essential oil to your skin.
3. Always dilute your essential oil with a suitable carrier oil before use.
4. Never dilute essential oils with water as oils are not water-soluble.
5. Keep away from pets and children.
6. Don’t step out into the sun after using an essential oil.
7. It is advisable to use essential oils in a well-ventilated room.
8. Consult your doctor before the use of essential oils if you have a pre-existing skin condition or are using topical medications or retinoids.
9. Seek medical advice for the safe use of essential oil during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
10. Avoid sensitive areas while applying essential oils. In case of contact with eyes, wash immediately and consult a doctor if irritation persists.
The Last Word
Essential oils can undoubtedly reduce your wrinkles and improve your overall skin conditions. However, it is important to treat them as medicines, which have a high concentration of phytochemicals. Hence, while incorporating them into your skin routine, take necessary precautions to avoid unwanted reactions.
Also remember, wrinkles don’t fade overnight. It may take at least 6 to 8 months before you start seeing improvements. So, talk to your Ayurvedic doctor to know your skin type and Prakriti (body constitution) for a more appropriate selection of essential oils for soft, luminous, young skin.Know Your Dosha Now
1. Citrus limon (Lemon) Phenomenon- A Review of the Chemistry, Pharmacological Properties, Applications in the Modern Pharmaceutical, Food, and Cosmetics Industries, and Biotechnological Studies, 2020 January
2. Chemical Composition of Two Different Lavender Essential Oils and Their Effect on Facial Skin Microbiota, 2019 September
3. Composition, Total Phenolic Content and Antioxidant Activity of the Essential Oil of Four Lamiaceae Herbs, 2013 June
4. Antioxidant and Antimicrobial Properties of Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis, L.): A Review, 2018 September
5. Traditional Uses, Phytochemistry, and Bioactivities of Cananga odorata (Ylang -Ylang), 2015 July
6. Frankincense- therapeutic properties, 2016 January
7. The antibacterial activity of geranium oil against Gram-negative bacteria isolated from difficult-to-heal wounds, 2014 August
8. In Vitro Anticollagenase and Antielastase Activities of Essential Oil of Helichrysum italicum subsp. italicum (Roth) G. Don, 2019 October
9. Chemical constituents of Helichrysum italicum (Roth) G. Don essential oil and their antimicrobial activity against Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria, filamentous fungi and Candida albicans, 2016 November
10. Chemical composition and in vitro antimicrobial and antioxidant activities of Citrus aurantium l. flowers essential oil (Neroli oil), 2012
11. Evaluation of in vivo anti-hyperglycemic and antioxidant potentials of a-santalol and sandalwood oil, 2013
12. The effect of clary sage oil on staphylococci responsible for wound infections, 2015 February
13. Antimicrobial activities of bamboo (Phyllostachys heterocycla cv. Pubescens) leaf essential oil and its major components, 2018 May
14. Composition of the essential oil of Rosa damascena Mill. cultivated in Romania, 2015 January
15. Tyrosinase inhibitory constituents from a polyphenol enriched fraction of rose oil distillation wastewater, 2015
16. Anti-Inflammatory and Skin Barrier Repair Effects of Topical Application of Some Plant Oils, 2017 December
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