Essential oils and skin health
Essential oils may help reduce the appearance of scars. They work by regenerating the skin cells of damaged skin.
Essential oils support skin health by balancing skin tone, and reducing redness and inflammation. Some oils also have wound-healing properties, which may help prevent scar tissue from forming. You can experiment to see which oils or combination of oils bring you the best results.
Essential oils that may reduce the appearance of scars
1. Rosehip seed oil
Rosehip seed oil may be used to improve the condition of your skin, and treat scars, wrinkles, and acne. Researchers in a 2015 study found that rosehip seed oil improved the appearance of post-surgical scars. Participants who used the oil twice daily for 12 weeks experienced significantly less discoloration, atrophy, and redness.
Rosehip seed oil is relatively inexpensive and can be purchased online.
2. Vitamin E oil
Vitamin E oil may prevent scarring by helping your skin to retain moisture while boosting collagen production. It also helps to protect your skin from damage caused by free radicals. Research demonstrating the effectiveness of vitamin E oil in treating scars has been mixed. A few studies have shown it to significantly improve the cosmetic appearance of scars. Additional research is needed.
You may start to notice results after a few weeks of use, but you can continue to use vitamin E for a few months. Vitamin E may cause an allergic reaction, rash, or itchiness. Vitamin E oil is an affordable option that’s available online.
3. Helichrysum essential oil
Helichrysum essential oil has anti-inflammatory, antifungal, and antibacterial properties that may be useful in healing skin.
Helichrysum oil contains an anti-inflammatory substance called arzanol, which plays a part in healing wounds. It also has antioxidant properties that can help to prevent scarring by regenerating new cells and preventing the accumulation of free radicals. This oil is also said to relieve skin rashes and infections, and increase collagen production.
You may begin to see results within a few months of consistent daily use. Helichrysum oil may cause sun sensitivity. Don’t use this oil if you’ve had a recent surgery or are at risk for internal hemorrhages.
Helichrysum may be more expensive than some of the other options, so you may want to start with a smaller jar to see if you like the oil before buying it in larger quantities. You can purchase it online or at your local natural foods store.
4. Frankincense oil
Frankincense oil helps to soothe skin, even out skin tone, and kill bacteria, which makes it useful for treating scars. Frankincense oil may promote the growth of new skin cells, tighten the skin, and reduce the appearance of scars. Also, the active component, boswellic acid, has been shown to have anti-inflammatory benefits.
You may start to see results after a month of using frankincense oil. This oil may cause skin irritation and abdominal issues. Do not use frankincense oil if you take blood thinners. Frankincense is a mid-range essential oil and may be purchased online.
5. Geranium oil
Geranium oil is useful in treating scars by relieving inflammation, evening out skin tone, and encouraging new cell growth. Its antiseptic, antimicrobial, and antibacterial wound-healing properties may help scars to be less visible. Research from 2013 found that rose geranium oil is effective in preventing and treating inflammatory skin conditions.
It may take at least a month to see results with geranium oil. Use geranium oil with caution if you have high blood pressure or a risk of cardiovascular diseases. Geranium oil is inexpensive and may be purchased online.
6. Lavender oil
Lavender oil may help to prevent scarring by promoting cell and tissue growth. It has antibiotic, antioxidant, and antiseptic properties. According to a 2016 study, lavender oil demonstrates wound-healing activity and shows potential for use as a natural treatment to help repair damaged skin tissues.
Another 2016 study found that lavender oil promotes wound healing by increasing collagen and regenerating tissue, especially in the early phase of treatment. Topical application of lavender oil helped to speed up wound closure and promoted wound shrinking.
You may see results in as little as one week. Lavender is especially useful in the beginning phase of scar treatment. It has the potential to irritate the skin and cause allergic skin reactions. Lavender is a mid-range essential oil that is available online.
7. Carrot seed oil
Carrot seed oil has been shown to have antibacterial and antifungal activities which could be useful in treating scars. This oil may be especially useful in treating older scars.
It may take up to a month before you see results from using carrot seed oil. This oil has the potential to increase sun sensitivity and cause contact dermatitis.
Carrot seed oil is inexpensive and may be purchased online.
8. Cedar wood oil
The rejuvenating effect of cedar wood oil shows potential in treating skin conditions including scars. It has been shown to reduce inflammation and has a pain-relieving effect. Cedar wood oil is also useful in treating acne. More research is needed to confirm and expand upon these findings.
You may start to see results after a month of consistent use. Cedar wood has the potential to cause allergic reactions.
Cedar wood oil is an affordable option and is available for purchase online.
9. Hyssop oil
Hyssop essential oil has antiseptic, antifungal, and antibacterial properties that aid in repairing damaged skin. Hyssop oil has been shown to have antimicrobial activity. It may help heal wounds, prevent infections, and reduce the visibility of wrinkles and acne scars.
Research from 2011 suggests that the antioxidant activity of hyssop oil shows potential for medicinal use. Further research is needed to expand upon these findings and find out exactly how hyssop can help to treat scars.
Use hyssop oil consistently for a few months to see results. Do not use hyssop oil if you have epilepsy or hypertension. It should not be used in high doses.
Hyssop is a mid-range essential oil that you can buy online.
10. Coconut oil
Coconut oil contains fatty acids and micronutrients that may help to reverse skin damage. Its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties help to prevent and heal skin conditions. Coconut oil may also increase collagen production, help the skin to retain moisture, and soften the skin. Research from 2010 found that topical application of coconut oil on wounds in rats had a positive effect on the healing process. This was due in part to its antioxidant activity and effect on collagen production. More research is needed on the topical application of coconut oil in humans.
You may notice results after as little as 10 days of consistent use. Coconut oil has the potential to irritate the skin or cause an allergic reaction. It’s an affordable option that’s available online.
11. Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil has enormous healing potential due to its antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal effects. The antioxidant and antimicrobial activity of tea tree oil may accelerate the wound-healing process. It also has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties and can boost immunity, which is helpful when you’re caring for wounds and scars.
Research from 2015 indicates that tea tree is a promising option to topically treat inflammatory disorders and heal wounds.
It may take up to a month of consistent use before you see results using tea tree oil. Use tea tree oil with caution if you have any allergies or autoimmune conditions. It has the potential to cause an allergic reaction. Tea tree oil may not be appropriate for use in children.
Tea tree oil is relatively inexpensive and is available for purchase online.
12. Almond oil
Almond oil has numerous benefits to the skin and may help to reduce the appearance of scars. Almond oil contains vitamin E, which helps hydrate, soothe, and moisturize dry or damaged skin. There’s some evidence that almond oil can rejuvenate the skin, improve complexion, and even out skin tone. It also has anti-inflammatory properties that help skin to heal. More research is needed to understand its potential in healing scars.
You may start to see results after a month of using almond oil. Do not use almond oil if you have diabetes. Avoid use for two weeks before any scheduled surgery.
Almond oil is an affordable option that’s available online.
13. Neroli oil
Neroli oil is used for a variety of skincare conditions and can be useful in treating scars. Neroli oil has been shown to reduce pain and inflammation. Its antimicrobial and antioxidant properties make it a powerful healer. It also has antifungal properties. More research is needed to discover how neroli oil can be used to treat skin conditions and scars.
You may see results after a month of consistent use of neroli oil. It has the potential to cause skin irritation and allergic reactions. Neroli oil is one of the more expensive essential oils and can be purchased online.
Summary of the different essential oils
|Essential oil||Length of use to start seeing results||Additional benefits|
|Rosehip seed oil||6 weeks||may improve wrinkles and acne|
|Vitamin E oil||3 or more weeks||may boost collagen production|
|Helichrysum essential oil||3 or more months||anti-inflammatory, antifungal, and antibacterial properties|
|Frankincense oil||1 month||may improve skin tone and kill bacteria|
|Geranium oil||1 or more months||antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties|
|Lavender oil||1 week||antibiotic, antioxidant, and antiseptic properties|
|Carrot seed oil||1 month||antibacterial and antifungal properties|
|Cedar wood oil||1 month||anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties; may treat acne|
|Hyssop oil||3 or more months||may help heal wounds, prevent infections, and reduce the appearance of wrinkles and acne scars|
|Coconut oil||10 days||may soften the skin and reduce inflammation|
|Tea tree oil||1 month||antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal properties|
|Almond oil||1 month||contains vitamin E; may soothe and moisturize skin|
|Neroli oil||1 month||may reduce pain and inflammation|
How to use essential oils
Essential oils should be applied topically to the affected area. Never ingest any essential oil.
Usually essential oils are diluted in oils called carrier oils since they can irritate your skin if used in an undiluted state. You can test a few carrier oils to see which ones work best for your skin and which scent you prefer. Some carrier oils you may use are:
- grapeseed oil
- avocado oil
- sweet almond oil
- olive oil
- apricot kernel oil
- jojoba oil
- hazelnut oil
Do not use oils on an open wound, burn, or skin that is extremely sensitive. Inflamed skin is more likely to react to the oils. Serious wounds may require medical attention. In this case, you should see your doctor to see if another treatment is necessary.
To use essential oils:
- Dilute a few drops of your chosen essential oil into a carrier oil. You can use fewer drops of essential oil for sensitive skin.
- Apply this mixture to the affected area several times per day.
- You don’t need to wash off the oil. Bathe how you normally would, following your regular schedule.
- You’ll yield best results if you constantly apply the oils for at least a few months.
- It may take up to a year for a scar to completely heal.
Tips for buying oil
Look for pure, organic essential oils that are 100 percent therapeutic-grade. They shouldn’t contain any additives. Find a reputable brand that you trust. The company should be upfront about their practices and be able to answer any questions you may have.
High-quality oils are less likely to create an adverse response and are more likely to generate the best results.
Essential oils and pregnancy
Always talk to your doctor before using essential oils for any reason if you’re pregnant. Certain essential oils should be avoided if you’re pregnant. This page contains a list of essential oils that are safe to use during pregnancy.
Scars may not disappear completely, but the likelihood that they’ll be less noticeable or visible following consistent use of essential oils is promising. Don’t expect immediate or drastic results. It may take up to six months before you begin noticing any changes to your scar. Larger scars from surgery or wounds may take longer to heal.
Experiment with a few different oils to discover which one works best for you. You may discover that the aromatic qualities of essential oils are equally beneficial to your wellbeing. Always talk to your doctor before starting to use essential oils.
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