How long can you cover your skin blemishes and scars? There is a limit to what full sleeves and scarves can do. Treating any type of skin conditions is more imperative for long term gains in skincare. Using cosmetic products everyday skincare is not a feasible or healthy choice. So, is there a natural product that can be used regularly to heal the skin? This is where essential oils to heal skin come into the picture.
Taking care of skin health is not as easy as most people think. First you need to understand your skin and skin type, then its needs, what is the concern that is bothering the skin and finally finding out the best skincare product for your skin. And here you thought skin care was all about cleansing, exfoliating, toning and moisturizing.
Why is skin type important? Because, each skin type has its own set of problems. People with oily skin are acne prone; those with dry skin have a dull skin that looks scaly; and sensitive skin people have skin inflammation troubles. On top of these, there are issues related to environment, lifestyle habits and genetics. There’s even more.
Overuse of cosmetic products and choosing the wrong product for the skin can cause minor or long term damage to the skin. Hence, there is no one-stop solution for skin issues.
The best way to care for the skin is to keep it hydrated and balanced. Essential oils des just that. A study published in the Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine in 2017 shows the antimicrobial characteristics of essential oils in treating skin diseases (1).
Here, we have a list of essential oils that have medicinal properties useful for healing the skin.
List Of 15 Essential Oils To Heal Skin
1. Lavender Essential Oil Heals Skin
The essential oil from lavandula plant is considered to be the go-to oil for most healthcare needs. It is recommended for dry skin, but is suitable for all skin types. Lavender oil is effective in combating acne on dry skin. The oil of lavender is popular all across the world. The oil has several therapeutic properties and is an excellent healer.
A 2016 study published in the BMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies journal shows the healing effects of lavender oil and is recommended for use as complementary therapy (2).
Lavender essential oil is a sedative that promotes relaxation and boosts sleep. Did you know that sleeplessness can also cause skin conditions such as dull skin? And did you know that chronic sleeplessness can fasten the ageing of the skin? It was published in the Clinical and Experimental Dermatology in 2014 (3).
Lavender oil is also useful in regulating the oil presence on the skin. It regulates the secretion of sebum on the skin and makes sure that the skin is neither too oily nor too dry. It is thus useful is dealing with skin conditions including eczema. The anti-inflammatory properties of the oil were published in the peer-reviewed Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine (4)
Topical application of lavender oil on the skin helps reduce the appearance of scars and speed up wound healing activity.
2. Lemongrass Essential Oil for Skin Healing
Cymbopogon oil, popularly known as lemongrass essential oil, is a popular oil because of its medicinal qualities. The oil is extracted from the stalks and leaves of Cymbopogon also known as Malabar grass or fever grass. The herb has long been used as a medicine and perfume. Lemongrass oil is used in cosmetic products because of its antiseptic properties as well as for it citrus aroma.
It is a common oil in aromatherapy as it lowers inflammation, digestion issue and headaches. It has the following properties – antimicrobial, antifungal and antibacterial. The astringent property of the oil makes it a useful ingredient in skincare. A 2017 study provides evidence of the anti-inflammatory properties of the oil (5)
Being an astringent, lemongrass oil removes the dirt and prevents the accumulation of dirt in the pores. It detoxifies the skin and prevents acne breakouts. It also removes excess oil from the skin. As an astringent it reduces the pore size and inhibits excess oil secretion. It also gives the skin a young look and glow. It is mostly used as a toner.
3. Heal Skin With Cinnamon Essential Oil
Cinnamon is a taste enhancing herb and is extensively used in making baked goods. The essential oil of cinnamon is extracted from the Laurus Cinnamomum species and is used in aromatherapy. It has several therapeutic benefits from skincare to heart health. Cinnamon oil is used for enhancing beauty as it removes dead skin cells, thus allowing the skin to breathe. It makes the skin supple and smooth. These qualities thus heal the damaged skin and help it get back to normal faster.
It has antimicrobial and antifungal properties that remove pathogens from the skin, and it has anti-inflammatory properties that reduce inflammation of the skin. The medical journal Phytotherapy Research in 2017 published a study that proved that cinnamon oil is an anti-inflammatory agent (6).
Besides being an anti-inflammatory agent, cinnamon essential oil also has antioxidant, antibacterial and antifungal properties. It is used to mitigate the inflammation due caused from rashes, dermatitis and itching. Those bothered with sever inflammation and acne (cysts) can include cinnamon essential oil in their skincare regimen.
4. Essential Oil of Tea Tree for Skin Healing
Tea tree essential oil is a potent essential oil; that is irrefutable. And it is useful in healing acne affected skin. Regular topical application of tea tree essential oil will prevent the onslaught of acne breakouts. This oil is obtained from the Melaleuca Alternifolia tree, native to Australia. It is also referred to as melaleuca oil. It has been used in traditional medicine for treating skin conditions. It also enhances the appearance of the skin.
Tea tree oil has antibacterial and antiseptic properties that are useful in tackling oily skin issues. It has anti-inflammatory properties that are useful for controlling itchiness of the skin. The International Journal of Dermatology published a study in2013 that reviewed the applications of tea tree oil in dermatology or skincare. The study specifies that tea tree oil accelerates the healing process of the skin(7).
Other studies have also highlighted how the application of tea tree oil lowered the chances of acne breakouts. People who have applied the oil also testify that they experienced lesser skin breakouts, skin irritation and pimples. In fact, tea tree oil successful treats mild acne issues. This is largely due to its antimicrobial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties from the compound terpene.
A research has shown that the bioactive compound fights the acne causing bacteria propionibacterium. Again, tea tree oil is a potent oil that fights several parasites on the skin. It is a miracle oil for those bothered with frequent acne breakouts.
5. Peppermint Essential Oil for Skin benefits
Peppermint essential oil has a minty fragrance. It also has a minty flavor and is a very popular chewing gum flavor. However, besides the fragrance and flavor, peppermint essential oil has several medicinal properties including skincare. It is the fifth most sold essential oil across the world. Because of its therapeutic properties it has several purposes. It is also one of the versatile oils. Its antibacterial and antiseptic qualities make it a good oil for acne prone skin. It also has menthol as one of its active ingredients.
Needless to say that menthol is a compound that cools the skin upon topical application. It prevents the clogging of the pores and thus regulates the sebum secretion. The oil of peppermint also has a quality of forming a shield around the skin, thereby protecting it from foreign invaders. It is diluted and applied on the skin to soothe rashes and red bumps.
Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology published a 2016 study that showed that peppermint oil was effective treating chronic pruritus or itching of the skin (8).
The cooling nature of the oil is the main reason why peppermint is such an effective oil for skincare. By healing inflammation, redness and swelling, the oil aids the skin recover. The oil must be diluted with carrier oils including coconut oil, sweet almond oil or jojoba oil before applying on the skin.
6. Cypress Essential Oil Skin Healing Oil
Cypress essential oil is extracted from the Cupressus sempervirens evergreen tree. It is known by several names including Italian cypress, Tuscan cypress or pencil pine. The oil with a woody aroma is used in topical aromatherapy because of its medicinal properties. The chemical composition and medicinal properties of the oil were published in the BMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies journal as a part of a study on Mediterranean cypress oil (9).
The oil has an energizing effect on the senses. It is used in aromatherapy to uplift the mood and rejuvenate the body. It is topically applied on the skin after diluting with carrier oils (almond oil, olive oil and others). It heals and tightens the skin, thus giving it uniform tone; applying the oil results in firmer skin. The oil (like other essential oils) is diluted and applied directly on the skin, which tighten the skin and regulates sebum. Its tightening property is useful for contraction of muscle and hair follicles.
7. Eucalyptus Essential Oil To Heal Damaged Skin
When you think of eucalyptus essential oil, you think of an oil that can treat respiratory ailments. But, the oil of eucalyptus also has benefits for the skin. It is used in cosmetics to enhance skin health. The essential oil of eucalyptus is used in the treatment of muscle soreness and in reducing the joint pain due to arthritis and other physical injuries. Its medicinal qualities (antifungal, antiviral, antibacterial and others) are due to the bioactive compound Eucalyptol.
The oil of eucalyptus has cooling properties and is used in traditional medicine to treat sunburns that pain. The oil has analgesic (pain relieving) and anti-inflammatory properties which mitigate sunburns, prevents infections around the sunburn and speeds the healing process.
The Journal of International Society of Preventive and Community Dentistry published a study by Dr. Namrata Dagli and Dr. Rushabh Dagli analyzing the antibacterial properties of essential oils including eucalyptus oil (10). Eucalyptus essential oil is similar to peppermint essential oil and provides relief from pain and irritation of the skin.
8. Ylang ylang Essential Oil for Skin Glow
There are several factors that can affect the skin. Environmental factors including over exposure to the sun, hormonal changes, genetic makeup, free radicals etc. These factors can cause skin issues and conditions including dark spots, hyperpigmentation and scaly skin.
And if you look closely at these factors you will realize that most of these factors are beyond your control. And how long will you apply cosmetic products. They are expensive and give short term benefits. Essential oils are the natural choice for treating skin conditions. You can choose ylang ylang essential oil for complexion and flawless skin.
The oil of ylang-ylang from the flowers of Cananga odorata has many therapeutic benefits and is used in aromatherapy for enhancing mood. It also lessens inflammation, lowers pain and diminishes the presence of scars on the skin.
The aroma of ylang ylang also drives away insects, so that is another issue the body need not worry about. A 2006 study published in the Phytotherapy Research shows the impact of ylang ylang oil on the mood after transdermal absorption (11).
Ylang ylang oil is known to impart balance both mentally and physically. This balance helps counter skin pigmentation issue.
9. Sweet Orange Essential Oil for Skin Damage
Orange is a popular fruit and the essence of orange is used in making delicacies. The essential oil from the rind of the Citrus aurantium is also a used widely for its therapeutic and aromatic values. It is applied on the skin and hair for enhancing the beauty.
It is diffused in aromatherapy to relieve stress and tension and it is applied topically to promote skin health. When applied on the skin regularly it gives it a good glow or radiance and prevents acne. There are different types of orange oil, but most of them are beneficial for the skin with healing properties.
The journal Mediators of Inflammation published a study in 2020 in which it was found that orange essential oil was more effective in reducing acne vulgaris than orange juice (12). Orange oil has antioxidants that prevent premature ageing of the skin. It is also known that oranges (ergo orange oil) are rich in Vitamin C, which boosts the production of collagen, thus slowing the appearance of wrinkles and other ageing symptoms.
A facial massage twice a week with the essential oil of orange is much better that anti-ageing creams available in the market (which hasorange oil as an ingredient). To get a young looking skin without dark spots include orange essential oil into your skincare regimen.
10. Pine Essential Oil Heals Skin
Everyone’s favorite Christmas tree has medicinal properties that affect the skin. The pine oil from the pine tree needles has limonene, alpha pinene, beta pinene and many other compounds that have healing properties. When applied on the skin regularly, the oil clears the skin and soothes inflammation, thus allowing the body to heal faster.
The oil from pine tree is also used to treat and soothe sunburns, burns, wounds, bruises and scratches. It stimulates the regeneration of new skin. The journal Medicines in September 2017 published a study investigating the antimicrobial properties of essential oils including pine oil (13).
The essential oil of pine has been used in the pharmaceutical industry because of its restorative power. It is an antibacterial agent that can mitigate the symptoms of skin irritations caused by bacteria. It also reduces the redness and swelling in the skin. The antimicrobial and antiseptic properties of the oil also treat skin dryness and itchiness as well as remove the pathogens. Pine oil is used to soothe skin discomfort due to skin conditions including psoriasis, and eczema.
11. Bergamot Essential Oil Skin Healer
Anyone with oily skin would know how difficult it is to follow skincare. The sebaceous gland responsible for maintaining the oil level on the skin sometimes secretes more sebum than needed, resulting in oily skin. An inexpensive way of tackling oily skin is by including bergamot essential oil into the skincare regimen.
Extracted from the roots of the Citrus bergamia plant native to Southeast Asia (but named after a town in Italy), this oil has many compounds with medicinal qualities. The oil is used in aromatherapy because the citrus scent invigorates the body and mind.
The steam distilled oil has several benefits when applied topically. This oil has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that are useful in managing acne breakouts. The oil of bergamot is a natural cleanser and useful for oily skin type as it balances sebum levels. The Journal of essential Oil Research published the pharmacological activities of bergamot oil (14).
12. Sweet Basil Essential Oil Skin Benefits
Sweet basil essential oil is used for its skin brightening effects and for fading away the scars. Sweet basil is a herb that has been used for centuries to treat or prevent health issues. It is used in the traditional medicinal practice of Ayurveda and is used as an ingredient in pharmaceutical and cosmetic products. The active ingredients of the oil are known to boost health.
One of the ingredients of the oil, linalool, has proven health benefits. The aroma of sweet basil oil is utilized in aromatherapy for dealing with migraine and breathing issues. The biological effects of essential oils have been studied in a research published in 2017 (15).
Sweet basil oil is effective in brightening the skin when used religiously. Besides brightening the skin the oil also repairs, nourishes and calms the skin. It can be added to exfoliating products to enhance its benefits. It is also a boon for dull or lack luster skin. This oil has oil absorbing qualities that absorb the oil on the face and scalp; thus, it is effective for people with oily skin as well. To get its effect, the basil oil can be added to bath ware and face masks as well.
Other Essential Oils To Heal Skin
Some of the essential oils for skin and wound healing are as follows: –
- Helichrysum Essential Oil – It is one of the best essential oils for scars. Applying an essential oil on your skin may help prevent aging skin, result in glowing skin and help with wound contraction.
- Frankincense Essential Oil – Frankincense oil evens skin tone and help prevent itching and redness. This essential oil may help to prevent itchy skin due to skin conditions including eczema. It prevent scarring and improve skin health.
- Carrot Seed Essential Oil – Using tea tree oil along with carrot seed oil boosts new skin cell generation and calms irritated skin. It is one of the best essential oils
How To Use Essential Oils To Heal Skin
Here, let’s understand the dos and don’ts of using essential oils. There are two main ways of using essential oils inhalation or topical application. Essential oils should not be ingested. However, if anyone feels the need to ingest the oil to get its benefits then consult a doctor before using essential oils. Regardless of the essential oil you have or choose, perform a small skin patch test before applying the on the face.
- Dilute a drop of essential oil with your everyday oil and apply on the forearm or elbow and wait for a day. If there are no side effects, then the oil can be used on the face. Let’s look at some more precautions while using essential oils.
- Do a quality check for the essential oil you buy. To be assured of the quality of the product you buy, choose a vendor who has been in the business for a long time. If you are buying the product from an online store, check the reviews given by other customers. The risks of allergy increases if you buy essential oil mixed with other oils. Sometimes vegetable oils are added to essential oils, which are safe for topical application; however, these products won’t be pure essential oils.
- The shelf life of essential oils varies. Some essential oils are good for a few years while others last only for a few months. Using essential oils that are past their expiry dates will increase the risk of allergic reactions. If the color of the oil changes or if it starts smelling odd, it is better to discard the oil.
- If you have any medical conditions or if you are taking medications, it is better to consult a physician before using essential oils. Some components in some essential oils may react with some medications.
- Consult an aromatherapist before using essential oils religiously. For instance, it is not advisable to apply certain essential oils and wander into the sunlight. Ask the aromatherapist about the blends of essential oils that work well and avoid the ones that are known to cause discomfort.
- Always dilute the essential oils before applying on the skin. Undiluted essential oils are strong and potent for the skin. For dilution one can use carrier oil like coconut oil, creams, lotions, shampoos, face wash, face mask, and gel. While mixing essential oils with other products one must be wary of the ratio of mixing the two. Generally, a mixture must not contain more that 2% to 5% of essential oil in it.
- Can organic essential oils be applied on anyone regardless of their age? Children and older people may be sensitive / vulnerable to the aroma and the components of the oils. Some essential oils are safe and gentle for infants; consult an aromatherapist or a paediatrician before using the oils on infants and babies.
- When to stop using essential oils? Essential oils are generally considered safe for use. However, stop using these oils if you experience any side effects. Don’t worry, you can resume with other oils with different components in it. There are over 100 choices that you can choose from, and not to mention the blends.
- Don’t fall for the marketing. Essential oils packed in fancy covers always attract people. And in a day and age when people opt for natural products, essential oils seem like the easiest natural choice. However, these plant based extracts need not be safe for you. Certain essential oils may, which are safe for others may cause allergic reactions like irritation and rashes on you. Always do your research before buying and using essential oils.
- Beware of ingesting essential oils. This point has been mentioned before, but it needs to be reiterated. Because of its fragrance, some people use essential oils in food to boost its flavor and fragrance. But, it may cause side effects. Besides ingestion of essential oils, topical application must also be done with care. Certain citrus based essential oils may cause side effects when it comes in contact with the sunlight. Consult an aromatherapist to know more details.
- The storage of essential oils must be done carefully. Follow the instructions on the label of the product. Since these products are applied on the face it must be stored as instructed. Also, make sure that the oils are out of reach from children and adventurous pets.
- Essential oils are a good thing; but, too much of goodness can have a bad effect. Try not to overuse essential oils. If you love the aroma of the oils in your house, make sure to use smaller quantities of the oil to avoid nausea. Generally, use essential oils not more than twice a week.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which essential oil is best for skin healing?
The essential oils best for skin healing are as follows: –
. Lavender essential oil
. Eucalyptus essential oil
. Tea tree essential oil
. Frankincense essential oil
. Lemongrass essential oil
. Cinnamon essential oil
. Helichrysum essential oil
. Peppermint essential oil
. Cypress essential oil
. Carrot seed essential oil
. Pine essential oil
. Ylang ylang essential oil
Can you use essential oils on broken skin?
Essential oils are concentrated plant oils. These oils should first be diluted with carrier oils and then applied on the skin to promote skin health. Essential oils can also be applied (after dilution) on minor broken skin. However, in case of major broken skin condition, consult a dermatologist before topical application of essential oils.
What can I put on broken skin to heal?
The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that the wound must be kept moist to help it heal faster. Carrier oils like coconut oil, aloe vera gel, petroleum jelly, diluted essential oils and honey can be applied on broken skin to heal faster.
- Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. (2017). Commercial Essential Oils as Potential Antimicrobials to Treat Skin Diseases. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5435909/
- Wound healing potential of lavender oil by acceleration of granulation and wound contraction through induction of TGF-β in a rat model. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/s12906-016-1128-7
- Does poor sleep quality affect skin ageing? https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/ced.12455
- Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. (2018). Effect of Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) Essential Oil on Acute Inflammatory Response. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5878871/
- Biochim Open. (2017) Lemongrass (Cymbopogon flexuosus) essential oil demonstrated anti-inflammatory effect in pre-inflamed human dermal fibroblasts. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5801909/
- Phytother Res. (2017). Antiinflammatory Activity of Cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum) Bark Essential Oil in a Human Skin Disease Model. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5518441/
- Int J Dermatol. (2013). A review of applications of tea tree oil in dermatology. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22998411/#:~:text=Terpinen%2D4%2Dol+is+a,infections+affecting+skin+and+mucosa
- Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. (2016). Effectiveness of topical peppermint oil on symptomatic treatment of chronic pruritus. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5066694/
- BMC Complement Altern Med. (2014). Chemical composition, antimicrobial and antibiofilm activity of the essential oil and methanol extract of the Mediterranean cypress (Cupressus sempervirens L.). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4052795/
- J Int Soc Prev Community Dent. (2015). Essential oils, their therapeutic properties, and implication in dentistry: A review. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4606594/
- Phytother Res. (2006). Relaxing effect of ylang ylang oil on humans after transdermal absorption. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16807875/
- Mediators Inflamm. (2020). Essential Oil and Juice from Bergamot and Sweet Orange Improve Acne Vulgaris Caused by Excessive Androgen Secretion. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7559496/
- Medicines (Basel). (2017). Antimicrobial Activity of Some Essential Oils—Present Status and Future Perspectives. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5622393/
- Bergamot (Citrus bergamia Risso et Poiteau) essential oil: Biological properties, cosmetic and medical use. A review. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10412905.2012.659527