Dry skin is one of the most common issues our body’s largest organ endures, and one of the most irritating! Our skin is exposed daily to a variety of abuse, from weather to sun to cleansing products containing a host of ingredients that can all lead to (or exacerbate) parched skin. Skin that is dry can also be itchy, flaky, painfully cracked, appear more aged, and in more serious cases may feel as though it’s burning. While physically uncomfortable, it can also have psychological repercussions such as embarrassment, lowered self-esteem, or even anxiety in some individuals, particularly if the affected skin is on a highly visible location like the face or scalp.
Applying lotions or salves is a logical first step, but when those aren’t quite cutting it (or are just too oily and messy), there is a simple, natural route available: essential oils.
Essential oils are plant-based and, barring the presence of allergies, are generally safe for anyone to use and can help to rejuvenate skin naturally. Many essential oils regulate the production of sebum, an oil secreted by the sebaceous glands that help protect and moisturize our skin. It only takes a few small drops to do the job, making them an affordable option as well! In addition, they leave behind no residue, smell great, can be mixed to achieve different scents and results, and deliver a plethora of other benefits from reducing age spots, scars, and wrinkles to treating headaches, improving one’s mood, and decreasing stress.
However, essential oils are by no means an instantaneous remedy and each person will experience differing results depending on their skin type and diligence. Healing and nourishing dry skin takes time, and as with any other approach, this is one that will take repetition. Additionally, any essential oil should be diluted with a carrier oil such as jojoba or coconut oil – about three to four drops per tablespoon of carrier oil is the standard dilution ratio, and as a bonus these carrier oils provide additional natural moisture. Here we will explore some of the best oils to rejuvenate your skin naturally and bring it back to life.
Lavender oil is one of those wonderful treat-all essential oils and is so gentle that it does not need to be diluted and can be applied directly to the skin. This oil is naturally anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, and calms both the skin and the mind. It can also speed up the healing process, tone the skin, improve complexion, and its powerful antioxidants help slow the rate at which skin ages.
You’ve likely experienced, or at least heard about, this flower’s naturally soothing properties via consuming chamomile tea. Its essential oil delivers much the same results for your skin because it is anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, and naturally moisturizing. Similar to lavender oil, it treats not only the dryness of skin but also relieves itching and irritation while cleansing the skin.
This oil has a beautifully earthy, woodsy aroma and is a natural insect repellent, antiseptic, astringent that protects skin cells, and fungicide. It contains a multitude of antioxidants that fight acne, reduce redness and dark spots, prevent infections in small cuts and scrapes, and improve the skin’s ability to retain moisture.
Tea tree oil is one of the stronger essential oils available, and as such only one-two drops per tablespoon of carrier oil is necessary. While often used to treat dry skin and dandruff, too much of this oil can further aggravate these conditions. It’s important to start with only a small amount and monitor how your skin reacts to it. When used properly, tea tree is a potent oil that fights all three categories of infectious organisms (bacteria, fungi, and viruses) while simultaneously moisturizing skin and combating over-production of sebum that can cause acne, oily skin, and rashes. It’s especially useful for treating eczema, as it reduces inflammation and itching and its antibacterial components prevent the development or spread of infection.
Much like the rest of the oils detailed here, carrot seed oil is naturally anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, and calms skin redness and irritation. While not technically an essential oil, its various benefits are too good to not mention. Packed with vitamins E and C, this oil prevents and reduces wrinkles, invigorates the skin, locks in moisture, and delivers much-needed protection and healing to chapped, dry skin.
Patchouli is a common ingredient in many dry skin and anti-aging products on the market. It’s quite gentle, compatible with all skin types, and can treat dandruff, eczema, age spots and wrinkles, minor infections, and acne. It also promotes new skin growth, an especially helpful function when treating dehydrated, damaged skin.
Utilizing an essential oil diffuser is a terrific way to treat yourself to some aromatherapy while also alleviating dry skin and hair. Simply fill the diffuser to the fill line with water and add in several drops of any essential oil (or a mixture of them!). Diffusers act as small, pleasantly scented humidifiers that work particularly well in dry climates or during cold winters when much of the moisture has been sapped from the air.