Advanced skin care solutions have been around much longer than you think. Thousands of years, actually, and they are just as good now as they were then. Before high-end toners, anti-aging creams and skin brightening serums there were essential oils. As we all know, there’s an essential oil for every skincare need you can think of, but figuring out which ones are safe and how best to use them can be a bit confusing.
How to use essential oils for skin care
First things first – you should never apply an essential oil directly your skin. Different essential oils have different strengths and there are some that are toxic at surprisingly low levels. That’s why it’s important to always use a carrier oil whenever you are applying essential oils to your skin. Now, that being said, since we are talking about skincare, you will want to pick a carrier oil that not only mixes well with essential oils but is also going to be beneficial for your skin type and support your skin care needs. Some of the most common choices for carrier oils include jojoba oil, almond oil, and coconut oil.
Next, you will need to consider your skin type and what particular needs your skin might have. Despite popular practice, dry skin doesn’t always need the heaviest moisturizer and acne prone skin doesn’t always need the most aggressive cleansing. In fact, acne prone skin is often very sensitive and irritated, meaning you should aim for soothing and calming your skin, while dry skin may need more aggressive exfoliation to remove dead skin and allow moisturizers to penetrate.
There are certain essential oil products that are considered to more suited to certain skin care needs but often you can benefit from combining multiple essential oils into one customized toner or moisturizer. Be mindful of the amount of essential oil you use in your mixture, staying between 3 to 5 drops per tablespoon of carrier oil is a good rule of thumb when creating your own skin care treatments.
Acne Prone Skin
Always start slow, don’t be too aggressive with the use of essential oils until you see how your skin reacts to them. Doing a patch test in the inside of your elbow is a good place to check to see how your skin tolerates the solution or salve you have created. You can make adjustments from there but proceed with caution, your face can be much more sensitive than even the most tender spot on your arm so do not rush into upping the ratios until you've given your skin time to adjust to the more mild version.
If you are using a toner or serum solution you can make enough to last a week and keep it fresh by storing it in an amber colored glass bottle and keeping it in a cool place away from direct sunlight and excessive moisture – meaning the medicine cabinet in your bathroom might not be the best place but under the sink in the cabinet might be better (if the best place ends up being your refrigerator that’s fine, too). Be sure to make fresh batches regularly because despite the antibacterial properties that some essential oils possess, because your solutions do not contain any preservatives you will need to replace them often to ensure you are not introducing bacteria or other unsavory and unwanted additives to your skin.
In addition to moisturizers, toners and serums, essential oil “water” or mists work wonders for soothing and hydrating your skin. You can make your own rose water mist by combining rose essential oil combined with a carrier oil and distilled water. It’s best to make this as a very mild skin treatment so a good starting ratio is 5 drops of your essential oil mixture for every 1/4 cup of distilled water. You can keep this rose water in a spray bottle for up to a week (again, the refrigerator is a safe place) and use it as often as you like throughout the day or as part of your morning and evening skin care routine.
**Always consult with your doctor to make sure you are not taking any medications that may be contraindicated for use with any natural or herbal supplements. Essential oils may not be safe for children under the age of 2, pregnant women or those with an existing health condition.