Skincare truly is a delicate matter. It seems like virtually anything we do can potentially throw our skin off balance and lead to excess dryness, an oil slick, a breakout or a rash. Everyday matters such as stress, weather or using a new product may drive our skin to freak out in one way or another. This is especially true for people with sensitive skin.
So, what are we to do to keep our skin calm, balanced and looking great?
One wonderful addition to your skin care arsenal is lavender essential oil. While lavender may not be the first thing you think of when you think of your skin, it has some amazing benefits and may work wonders for your complexion. This oil has been used since ancient times for both its aroma and its healing properties… and its benefits are just as potent today.
What’s so special about lavender oil?
Lavender essential oil is steam distilled from the beautiful purple flowers of the lavender plant. This oil is a shining star among essential oils because it is very gentle, yet very potent. Lavender has soothing, sedative properties and also has the ability to cleanse and remove toxins. If you’re new to essential oils, this is a great one to start experimenting with.
While lavender is one of the most gentle essential oils, it may still irritate especially sensitive skin if applied directly. You can remedy this by mixing a few drops of lavender essential oil into a teaspoon or so of organic virgin coconut oil. With this mixture, you’ll be ready to imbibe your skin with radiance and healing.
The following are seven ways that lavender can benefit your skin. Note: It is possible for some people to be allergic to lavender. Before using this oil all over your skin, do a quick patch test. Apply a drop of the oil (diluted in coconut oil) to your arm and wait for about half an hour. If no reaction develops, you should be good to proceed.
Lavender oil for acne
One of the wonderful benefits of lavender essential oil is its antibacterial activity. Because lavender oil can penetrate pores to kill bacteria, it may go far in preventing and healing breakouts. You can apply lavender oil diluted in coconut oil to your skin after you wash your face. This will not only moisturize, but also help to reduce breakouts.
If the thought of putting oil on your face scares you, take a deep breath! Putting a thin layer of coconut and lavender oil on your skin won’t make it oilier — these are beneficial oils that may actually help to soothe and control your skin’s sebum production. Give it a try, you won’t be sorry!
You could also apply a tiny bit of the oil directly to blemishes, but make sure your skin isn’t sensitive to it first before going this route.
Lavender oil for skin lightening
Lavender essential oil is anti-inflammatory. It can thus help to reduce redness, blotching and ruddiness of the skin, helping to restore your bright, natural skin tone. When used regularly, this oil may also help to reduce dark age spots and other types of skin discolorations.
Lavender essential oil may also help to lighten skin with hyperpigmentation, especially if the skin is oily. Because of the soothing, balancing nature of lavender, it’s a good candidate to ask a natural health professional you trust about.
Lavender oil for wrinkle prevention
Because lavender essential oil is teeming with antioxidants, it can help protect your skin from damaging free radicals, which contribute to fine lines and wrinkles (as well as other signs of aging skin). Simply combine a few drops of lavender essential oil with coconut oil, and use as a moisturizer in the morning, in the evening and whenever your skin feels dry.
Coconut oil itself is great for keeping skin looking young and healthy, and adding lavender is just the icing on the (healthy) cake.
Lavender oil for eczema and psoriasis
Due to its soothing and healing properties, lavender may provide benefits to skin afflicted by eczema or psoriasis. It can help to relieve the itch and irritation of psoriasis, and it may help with eczema outbreaks, especially when combined with chamomile.
If you have eczema or psoriasis, it is worthwhile to talk to a natural health professional you trust about how to incorporate lavender essential oil into a routine to naturally manage your symptoms.
Lavender oil for sunburns
Using diluted lavender oil on your skin after a day in the hot sun may help to relieve the burning and swelling. If you find yourself suffering a sunburn, first, rinse your face with cool water (or take a cool shower). Then, apply coconut oil with a few drops of lavender oil added to the affected area. Repeat as necessary, remembering to keep cool and drink plenty of water.
Lavender oil for skin fungus
Not only does lavender essential oil exhibit antibacterial activity, it may also help to kill fungal infections and irritations on the skin. This includes the common yeast candida. A 2005 study published in the journal Medical Mycology tested the effects of lavender oil on different strains of candida, with some very positive results. On these results, the study authors wrote:
“Lavender oil shows both fungistatic and fungicidal activity against C. albicans strains. At lower concentrations, it inhibits germ tube formation and hyphal elongation, indicating that it is effective against C. albicans dimorphism and may thus reduce fungal progression and the spread of infection in host tissues.”
Can you take a bath with lavender oil?
Yes, you absolutely can! Adding lavender oil to your bath is a time-tested, magnificent remedy for many things. Doing this can help you to relax (thanks to lavender’s honored stress-relieving properties), and it can also help to reduce inflammation all over your skin, leaving you calm, refreshed and rejuvenated.
Soaking in a bath infused with lavender essential oil can also help to ease aches and pains from stiff, sore muscles and joints. If you have arthritis, back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain or are just feeling sore and tired after a workout, a warm bath with lavender may be the perfect solution.
To bathe with lavender essential oil, simply add a few drops while the bath is running. Five to seven drops or so should do it, but adjust based on your personal preference. To add even more therapeutic value to your bath, throw in some Epsom salts as well.
Other nourishing uses for lavender oil
Besides its world of benefits for skin health, lavender oil has many other amazing healing properties. The following are just a few of the many potential uses for lavender essential oil:
- Improving hair health and potentially helping to prevent hair loss
- Relieving pain, such as muscle and joint pain
- Reducing stomach pain and improving digestion (when applied topically to the stomach area)
- Soothing respiratory ailments, including coughs and sore throats (when inhaled by steam inhalation or used on the skin around the chest and throat)
- Alleviating headache pain (when applied to temples and pressure points)
- Reducing hypertension and improving circulation of the blood
- Healing chapped, cracked lips (apply mixed with a base oil such as organic coconut oil)
- Healing minor burns, cuts, scrapes and wounds
- Soothing the itch of insect bites (along with helping to keep insects away)
- Stimulating the body’s production of urine
- Relieving stress
- Improving symptoms of anxiety and depression
- Improving mood
- Increasing focus and mental clarity
- Promoting restful, quality sleep
- Potentially benefitting people diagnosed with diabetes
- Enhancing meditation (when either applied to pressure points, all over the skin, and/or used for aromatherapy in an essential oil diffuser)
- Freshening stale indoor air (when used in an essential oil diffuser)
- Ridding yourself of body odor (combine with coconut oil and baking soda for a great natural deodorant)
Choosing the best lavender oil
When choosing a lavender oil, proceed carefully. There are plenty of lavender oils and lavender oil products on the market that are, for lack of better word, imposters. Some lavender oils may be manufactured with artificial fragrances and other additives, and others may have real lavender essential oil, but at a significantly diminished potency. Avoid these imposters; they won’t do your health any good.
Always choose high quality, therapeutic-grade essential oils from a source you trust. If you are new to purchasing oils, try to get recommendations for a trustworthy company from friends. If this isn’t an option, do some individual research. Search for reviews of a company online. Call the marketing department and ask questions about how the oil is made and what other ingredients (including additives) are used. It’s worth it to do your homework.
Lavender essential oil may not be suitable for women who are pregnant or nursing. If you are thinking about starting a regimen with lavender oil, it’s wise to talk to a health professional you trust first, just to make sure it makes sense and is safe for your individual health needs. Do not ingest this particular oil.
What’s your favorite way to use lavender oil on your skin? Please let us know!
– Tanya Mead