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Essential Oils and Your Skin: What You Need to Know
What’s the deal with essential oils and skincare? While many people advocate for its “natural healing properties” for your skin, our expert dermatologists beg to differ.
Are there any Essential Oil Benefits?
Although plenty of scientific studies show that most essential oils are not that great for your skin, there are still many general essential oil benefits for your body. If you’re not familiar with essential oils, they are essentially (no pun intended) volatile essences of various plants that produce intense fragrances. The oils are extracted from the plants’ roots, flowers, leaves, fruits, and more so, these oils are complex. These fragrances, in particular, are what can be especially dangerous when it comes to your skin, despite how attractive the smells are. Essential oil benefits include relaxation, insomnia relief, stress relief, and some even provide an energy boost.
This is what makes essential oils for skin care so confusing for people when debating whether or not to use that sweet-smelling eucalyptus on their skin. However, if you’re aware of how irritating fragrances can be, essential oil or not, you’re probably not surprised that dermatologists warn against using most essential oils on the skin. Again, aromatherapy can be incredibly beneficial if you’re suffering from anxiety, stress, and headaches, meaning that using essential oils with a diffuser can be great for you.
There are a few oils packed with powerful antioxidants like rosmarinic acid and caffeic acid, or with antibacterial properties that can protect your skin from fungi and yeast. Although these are essential oil benefits, using oils like citronellol, linalool, and many other long-term will most likely cause irritation and damage to your skin.
Many modern skincare products advertise essential oils like tea tree, rosemary, lemongrass, and more to help relieve acne-prone skin. While some research shows they can help, these essential oils have also proven to be extremely irritating, even if your skin doesn’t show it at first. If you’re going to treat acne, dermatologists recommend ingredients like benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid, which have proven time and time again to reduce acne significantly. Even if you have sensitive skin and cannot tolerate these ingredients, the more “natural” ingredients aren’t always the best way to go.
Should I Use Essential Oils in My Skin Care?
When it comes to using essential oils, it’s best to stick to the diffuser. However, some research shows that certain essential oils can be beneficial. Skincare that contains 0.1% of essential oil is likely non-irritating, but once a product contains many essential oils with much more than that percentage, there will be a high risk of an adverse allergic reaction from your skin. This irritation will cause premature aging and long-term damage, even if you don’t see the irritation in your skin for a while.
We recommend avoiding essential oils like lemon, camphor, clary sage, jasmine, ylang-ylang, eucalyptus, ginger, tea tree oil, and several others. A small amount of oil in and of itself is not necessarily harmful, as many non-essential oils can do wonders for your skincare routine. Remember to always check in with your dermatologist before using questionable products. A specialist can administer a patch test that will help you avoid potential side effects.
Although there are many essential oils out there that are not that great for your skin, there are plenty of other oils that can be beneficial such as rose oil, coconut oil, carrier oil, and lavender oil! Some of these essential oils even produce anti-inflammatory properties to benefit the skin.
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