It’s hard to find trustworthy information on essential oils. Articles and bloggers toot the miraculous abilities of these wonder products, often with very few links to research or solid evidence. In the following collection of blog posts, we’ll look at some of the more recent research studies, and inject our own essential oils knowledge too.
From baby-soft complexions to acne, sunspots to crows feet, our skin is changing throughout our lives. And we mustn’t forget sunburn, weather damage, and pollution, which all play a part in our transforming face. These changes to our complexion can be divided into two categories - the treatment of skin problems, and the maintenance of healthy skin.
We all try to avoid it, but at least once in your life, you’ll probably suffer a sunburn. When it comes to remedying this with essential oils, the evidence is still very much lacking. An interesting study recently showed that Cleistocalyx operculatus essential oil supported the full recovery of a burn, with identifiable antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. These kinds of wounds are susceptible to infection, however, this alternative treatment appeared to ward off the bacteria, and support the healing process.
For those who suffer from itchiness related to other conditions may want to trial peppermint oil as a solution. Research suggests that this oil is an effective way to treat itching in a number of cases, and anecdotally, this oil has been used to relieve tension headaches with the same unique cooling effect.
But what about everyday skincare woes? How can essential oils maintain skin health and appearance, instead of just treating damage? In more recent years, many people have turned away from skincare products that contain them, over concerns that the fragrance can be irritating. However, some studies show that these oils have healing properties of their own.
So let’s talk about everyone’s favourite, a staple in all aromatherapist’s collections: lavender oil. Studies have shown that this rather popular oil, like all others, can be an irritant in high quantities. But in small doses, it does, in fact, offer anti-inflammatory qualities. Theoretically, this might mean your next angry smattering of spots could be soothed by a little diluted lavender oil.
In recent years, tea tree oil has started to show plenty of promise. It’s also been a staple in mainstream acne products, insect repellents, and even athletes foot treatments. One study showed tea tree oil was effective in treating mild to moderate acne, but if you’re using a tea tree solution, make sure you moisturise - tea tree products have been known to dry out the skin.
So can essential oils fix your skin troubles? Well, they might play a big role in treating them, but acne, inflammation, and skin damage are often caused by multiple factors - and so require multiple strategies for treating them. Lavender, peppermint, and tea tree oil have really gained traction, with more recent research supporting their use.
If you have a serious skin issue, it’s always best to get it checked out by the doctor. Essential oils can interfere with treatment too, so make sure you double-check with a health care professional if you want to use them alongside prescription medication. And if you're going to test these methods, make sure you dilute the oils down to a 1% concentration.