Essential Oils for Wrinkles? 20 Anti-Aging Oils to Add to Your Routine

Medically reviewed by Cynthia Cobb, DNP, APRN on November 21, 2017Written by Kristeen Cherney on November 21, 2017
essential oils for wrinkles

What you can do

When it comes to wrinkle treatments, the options seem endless. Should you choose a cream or a lightweight anti-aging moisturizer? What about a vitamin C serum or acid-based gel? If you’re looking for more natural-based treatments, though, you might consider making your own anti-aging serum with the help of essential oils.

Essential oils can’t get rid of wrinkles, but they can help minimize them. They may also:

  • boost collagen
  • even out skin tone
  • help your complexion
  • reduce inflammation
  • promote skin cell turnover
  • protect from environmental damage

Step 1: Choose an antioxidant base

You may already know that antioxidant-rich foods, such as berries and green leafy veggies, can help ward off chronic diseases. This is due to their effects on free radicals.

Antioxidants can also have an impact on wrinkles via essential oils. They work by controlling free radical scavenging activity. In turn, the essential oils may help prevent the damaging effects of everyday environmental stresses, such as air pollution, sunlight, and smoke.

Keep reading to learn more about some of the different antioxidant bases you can use for your essential oil wrinkle therapy.

Rosemary

This herb is known for both its antimicrobial and antioxidant properties. When it comes to skin health, rosemary’s natural oxidative defenses may help prevent free radicals from causing damage.

One 2014 study noted significant results within seven days of using rosemary essential oil in 10 mg/kg doses. Rosemary may also help benefit your skin by increasing circulation and reducing overall inflammation. The most benefits are related to alcohol extracts from the leaves.

Lemon

This powerful antioxidant is high in vitamin C. It’s often found in over-the-counter anti-aging products. According to a 1999 study, lemon oil was found to reduce oxidative damage on the skin’s surface. Aside from its anti-aging potential, lemon can also help protect your skin from sun damage.

Clary sage

Sage is a type of evergreen-like shrub. Clary sage, a cousin of traditional sage, is different in both taste and medicinal uses. This plant is sweeter to the taste and smell. And according to a 2004 study, clary sage has antioxidant properties that can help prevent DNA and protein damage.

This may translate to anti-aging benefits when used on the skin. Clary sage also has antimicrobial effects.

Carrot seed

This root vegetable has hidden properties in its seeds. For example, carrot seed has been used in the past as a muscle relaxant and as a low blood sugar remedy. A study on the effects of rats found that carrot seed also has liver protective properties. The authors of a 2012 study also noted antioxidative activities in the oil.

Step 2: Choose something to smooth, moisturize, and rejuvenate

When it comes to fine lines and wrinkles, moisture is perhaps one of the most important benefits essential oils can offer.

Moisture helps trap water in your skin. As you age, your natural levels of moisture tend to drop. This is where moisturizing products, such as essential oils, can help. Properly moisturized skin can help improve your overall complexion.

Once your skin has a proper balance of moisture, it should become smoother over time. Keeping your skin moisturized can also enhance skin cell turnover. This can help reduce the appearance of wrinkles.

Rose

Roses are among some of the most popular flowers in the world. Certain species are also used medicinally. According to one 2011 study, Damask rose extracts have potential antioxidant and antibacterial properties. This extract may be especially helpful in skin cell turnover and renewal, a process that’s important in preventing dull-looking skin.

Rose oil also has anti-inflammatory effects. This may help reduce redness and stressed-looking skin.

Sandalwood

Sandalwood oil has long been known for its anti-inflammatory effects, and has been used as such for related skin diseases. As an essential oil, sandalwood also has moisturizing properties due to naturally occurring emollients. These help keep water in your skin. They can also reduce the appearance of wrinkles by acting as a filler.

Sandalwood’s astringent effects can also promote skin cell turnover, which helps keep the skin moisturized and free of dead skin cell buildup.

Geranium

Geranium extracts have been studied in the past as possible cold remedies. This is because the geranium’s natural anti-inflammatory effects may be useful in treating sinusitis and bronchitis. Geranium has also been studied for its potential moisture balance and skin cell renewal in people with acne.

Ylang-ylang

Ylang-ylang may not be a commonly known ingredient, but it’s widely used in the fragrance industry.

Indigenous to coastal Asia, ylang-ylang is also being studied for anti-aging properties. According to a 2015 study, the plant’s oils contain antioxidants that can aid in skin renewal.

Researchers looked specifically at ylang-ylang’s ability to help repair damage to the skin’s proteins and lipids. They found significant free radical scavenging activity by these antioxidants. Because of this potential, more cosmetic companies are adding ylang-ylang to their anti-aging products.

Helichrysum

Helichrysum is an aromatic flower that’s indigenous to Asia and Africa. It’s a cousin of the sunflower. Its essential oil may have renewal properties that reduce inflammation. One

2014 study of people undergoing surgery found that the flower had both anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. However, more clinical studies are needed to determine its safety and effectiveness.

Neroli

Neroli essential oils are made from bitter orange tree flowers. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), bitter orange essential oil can help a variety of skin ailments. These are primarily related to fungal infections, such as athlete’s foot and jock itch.

For wrinkle treatment, neroli may help rebuild elasticity in the skin. It may also help generate new skin cells.

Jojoba

Known for the waxy texture of its seeds, the jojoba plant has been used for a variety of skin ailments since first discovered as a folk medicinal treatment. The rich seeds provide ample moisture, which may be transferred to the essential oil. Properly moisturized skin can help reduce the appearance of wrinkles.

Jojoba oil is also used for:

  • acne
  • inflammation
  • skin lesions
  • collagen stimulation

Pomegranate

The pomegranate has grown popular as a food additive in recent years. However, this complex fruit also has numerous health benefits.

According to one 2014 study, pomegranate oil has the potential to reduce the oxidative stress that leads to free radicals. It may also help reduce inflammation, photoaging (sunspots), and skin cancer cells.

Frankincense

Native to the Middle East and India, frankincense is now one of the most common essential oils worldwide. Researchers in a 2003 study found that frankincense oil may help reduce or prevent the appearance of sunspots. This can improve skin tone while also reducing the appearance of wrinkles. The oil may also help generate new skin cells.

Lavender

You may have heard about the benefits of lavender oil for stress and sleep. Lavender oil’s benefits for stress may also extend to the skin.

Oxidative stress from free radicals can damage the skin. The flower itself has antioxidants to help combat free radicals and reduce overall stress. These effects may also have soothing capabilities for skin that’s stressed out and dull-looking.

Step 3: Choose your carrier oil

Before you use any essential oil, it’s important to use a carrier oil. For one, you can make the product last longer and get more for your money. A carrier oil can reduce the essential oil’s intensity so that it doesn’t irritate your skin.

Carrier oils also have additional moisturizing benefits, which are key for any wrinkle-fighting skin regimen. Keep reading to learn more about some of the most commonly used carrier oils to see which one might be the best for you.

Vitamin E oil

From a nutritional standpoint, vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant. It can even help reduce cholesterol. As an essential oil, vitamin E can also help repair your skin topically. Researchers in a 2000 study found that vitamin E oil not only helps even skin tone, it may also fight free radicals that can lead to skin cancer. In terms of a carrier oil, vitamin E has the potential to boost the rejuvenating effects of essential oils.

Grapeseed oil

Historically used by ancient Greeks for medicinal purposes, grapeseed oil is now noted for its antioxidant properties. According to the NCCIH, this form of grape seed is most commonly used for inflammation and wounds. Like vitamin E oil, grapeseed oil offers both nourishing and rejuvenating potential.

Apricot oil

Apricot oil, like vitamin E and grapeseed oils, may also provide added elements of nourishment and rejuvenation. In fact, apricot oil already has high levels of vitamin E. The oil isn’t made from the fruit, but from the seeds of the apricot. The seeds contain high levels of linoleic and oleic acids, which are considered essential fatty acids for clear skin.

According to a 2012 study, apricot oil’s fatty acid makeup makes the oil ideal for dry skin. If you have both wrinkles and dry skin, then this carrier oil may provide some extra benefits.

Almond oil

Almond oil is similar in potency as vitamin E, apricot, and grapeseed oil. Like these other oils, it also has nourishing and rejuvenating qualities. According to a 2010 study, almond oil has significant anti-inflammatory benefits that are used in related skin diseases, such as eczema and psoriasis.

For anti-aging purposes, almond oil may also improve:

  • complexion
  • dry skin
  • scars
  • skin tone

Avocado oil

Often noted for their heart-healthy fats, avocados also offer more in the way of alternative medicine and skin care. Researchers in a 1991 study found that avocado oil increased collagen production. The oil also seems to have anti-inflammatory effects.

When looking for avocado oil, look for oil made from the seeds. They’re said to have the most collagen-boosting effects.

Argan

Argan oil is a rich substance made from argan fruit trees. Indigenous to Morocco, this oil has been historically used for eating, skin care, and hair care. Today, you can find numerous styling products and creams with argan oil in them.

As a carrier oil, argan oil may help boost skin elasticity in your wrinkle care regimen. According to a 2015 study, argan oil improved skin elasticity previously lost in women who were postmenopausal. Participants used argan oil daily for two months. The results were more significant compared with control-group participants who used olive oil.

How to use

You’ll need to dilute your selected essential oil with a carrier oil of your choice before you apply it to your skin. You can use either a separate bottle for mixing, or you can add the essential oils to the bottle of carrier oil. A good rule of thumb is to use about 10 drops of essential oil per 5 milliliters (ml) of carrier oil.

Once you’ve mixed your serum, it’s a good idea to conduct a patch test. This should always be done before widespread use — especially if you plan to apply the mixture to your face.

To do this, choose a small area of skin that’s away from your face. The inside of your elbow is a popular choice. If you notice any reaction within 24 hours, you could be allergic to the oil and should discontinue use. You can also consider adding fewer drops of essential oils to the mix.

To reap the most anti-aging benefits, you’ll want to use essential oils twice daily. Think of it like a wrinkle cream that you’d need to use daily for maximum results.

Potential side effects and risks

Although essential oils are naturally derived from plants, these products aren’t completely risk-free. Plants can cause allergic reactions in some people, even if you don’t normally have plant allergies.

If you’re allergic to a certain oil, you might experience:

  • hives
  • redness
  • bumps
  • rashes
  • itchiness
  • sneezing
  • runny nose

Anaphylaxis is also possible. This is a serious, life-threatening allergic reaction characterized by breathing difficulties and significant swelling. If you think you’re having this type of reaction, seek immediate medical help.

One way to reduce your risk of allergic reaction is to conduct a patch test before use. To be completely sure that an oil won’t cause a reaction, it’s recommended that you test twice daily for up to five days.

It’s also important to remember that essential oils aren’t regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for safety or efficacy. If a product sounds too good to be true, then it likely is.

The bottom line

Essential oils may be incorporated into your anti-aging skin care routine, but it’s important to talk to your dermatologist before using them. This can help you avoid reactions to prescription or over-the-counter products you may already be using.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, it can take any new wrinkle remedy up to three months to take effect. If you fail to see any improvements after a few months of using essential oils, see your dermatologist. They might recommend other products or treatments.

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