Top Essential Oils for Skin

Wrinkles, stretch marks, and acne… oh my! Zap away fine lines and scars or soothe painful flare-ups with these top essential oils for skin care.

essential oil for skin

Myrrh improves skin elasticity, tone, and firmness, reducing the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines, and stretch marks.

© Madeleinesteinbach |

It can be daunting to find the best essential oils for skin care when you consider that there are at least 90 essential oils with over 1,500 combinations that can be recommended for dermatological use. It could literally take years of mixing and matching oils to find the perfect combination to treat a particular issue. To save you time and money, we have the top essential oils for common skin conditions listed here.

Essential Oils for Wrinkles

Eliminating wrinkles is by far the most popular use of essential oils for skin care. And, while there are a variety of oils that tout anti-wrinkle properties, five rank at the top per research studies:

  1. Elemi (Canarium luzonicum)

Elemi oil is extracted from the resin of the elemi tree, a tropical tree from the Philippines. It has been used for treating a variety of skin conditions including sores, wounds, and bacterial infections; however, it is best known for normalizing skin oil and tightening and firming the skin.

  1. Carrot seed (Daucus carota)

Carrot seed oil is steam-distilled from the seeds and plants of wild carrots, and is high in carotenoids, vitamin A, and vitamin C. It is one of the most powerful essential oils used to fight the signs of aging and can be found in many popular over-the-counter anti-aging products. It is helpful for aged and dry complexions as it rejuvenates and moisturizes the skin, reducing the appearance of wrinkles. Additionally, carrot seed oil has been used to treat inflammatory dermatological conditions such as dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, and allergic rashes.

  1. Fennel (Foeniculum dulce)

Fennel essential oil is derived from crushed seeds of the perennial fennel herb. It has been used to treat a wide variety of conditions from digestive ailments to anxiety to respiratory illness. But, it is not so well-known that fennel oil has amazing benefits for the skin. It is an excellent toner, and like carrot seed oil, moisturizes the skin to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. It is also helpful for decreasing unwanted bags around the eyes and even reducing cellulite.

  1. Frankincense (Boswellia carteri)

Frankincense essential oil has firming, toning, and healing properties that make it one of the best essential oils for skin care. It can help repair damaged complexions by reducing the appearance of sun spots and age spots. It also tightens and rejuvenates the skin to decrease blemishes, wrinkles, scars, and stretch marks. And, it’s a powerful antiseptic with antibacterial and anti-fungal properties.

  1. Myrrh (Commiphora myrrha)

Rounding out the top essential oils for wrinkles is myrrh, one of the most widely used essential oils in the world. Myrrh is botanically related to frankincense, and they share many of the same therapeutic effects. Myrrh improves skin elasticity, tone, and firmness, reducing the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines, and stretch marks. It can also be used to treat chapped skin, sunburns, and rashes. And because of its antibacterial and anti-fungal properties, myrrh can be useful for conditions such as athlete’s foot, ringworm, or dermatitis.

Essential Oils for Acne

When it comes to clearing acne, use of essential oils can be hit or miss. This is because acne can have several causes such as hormonal changes, stress, poor diet, bacteria, excess oil production, or clogged pores. For a poor diet, hormone- or stress-induced acne, essential oils may provide little benefit until the root cause of the problem is addressed. But, there are five essential oils that can fight acne caused by bacteria, excess oil, or clogged pores:

  1. Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus)

Lemongrass is a natural toner that helps with oily skin conditions, shrinks pore size, clears blocked pores, and helps firm the skin. It also has antimicrobial properties that are active against Acne vulgaris, a bacterium that causes acne. And, it contains monoterpenes that reduce inflammation of the skin caused by acne.

  1. Lemon (Citrus limon)

The essential oil from the citrus fruit lemon also has antimicrobial properties that fight bacteria-causing acne. A natural astringent, lemon oil removes excess oil and dirt from pores. It also has a high amount of vitamin C which can fade red marks and help the skin heal naturally.

  1. Rosewood (Aniba rosaeodora)

Rosewood oil is extracted by steam distillation from the wood chippings of the rosewood tree. It fights acne caused by excessively oily skin as it reduces sebum production secreted from the oil glands. It can also be used as a spot treatment for acne as it dries out blemishes.

  1. Helichrysum (Helichrysum italicum)

Helichrysum essential oil (also known as Immortelle) comes from a plant in the sunflower family. It has natural anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antimicrobial properties, and has been used to treat a variety of skin conditions including psoriasis, rosacea, boils, blisters, hives, and wounds. But, it is most helpful in its ability to decrease acne breakouts and reduce acne scars.

  1. Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)

Lavender is a pleasant smelling herb that is well-known for its calming and stress-relieving properties, but it is also one of the best essential oils for skin care, particularly in the treatment of acne. When the skin is dried out, it can lead to an overproduction of oil and acne formation. Lavender oil prevents this by moisturizing the skin. It is also has natural antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that prevent and heal breakouts.

Essential Oils for Burns, Bites, or Stings

Many essential oils are effective for naturally treating burns, bites, or stings, but three essential oils in particular are ranked at the top:

  1. Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)

Yarrow is known as a topical application for cuts and abrasions, as it helps stop bleeding fast. It also heals chapped skin, burns, pruritus (itching skin), and rashes.

  1. Roman chamomile (Anthemis nobilis)

Roman chamomile is most often heard about as a flavorful tea, but it great for promoting smooth, healthy skin and relieving irritations. Along with being a natural remedy for burns, bites, or stings, it has been shown to aid in the treatment of eczema, poison ivy, and diaper rash (Do not ever use undiluted oils for diaper rash as it can burn the baby’s skin or cause an adverse reaction).

  1. Tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia)

Tea tree oil is probably the most well-known of all the essential oils for skin care. It is applied topically for infections such as athlete’s foot, toenail fungus, and acne. But, it can also be applied as a local antiseptic for cuts, abrasions, burns, insect bites, and stings.

Heed Caution Before Applying Essential Oils for Skin

The list of essential oils above is not exhaustive. There are certainly many other essential oils that can help treat skin conditions from garlic to eucalyptus to oregano and more. But, those on the list are certainly a good place to start.

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Jami Cooley, RN, CNWC

Jami Cooley is a Certified Nutrition and Wellness Consultant as well as a Registered Nurse, but her interest in integrative medicine grew out of her experience in conventional medicine. Cooley … Read More

View all posts by Jami Cooley, RN, CNWC

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