Aromatherapy has been around for thousands of years, but is now becoming a rapidly growing industry. The essential oil market size exceeded six billion dollars in 2015 and that number is expected to nearly double by 2022, according to a recent report by Grand View Research Inc. The growing demand for natural products, paired with increasing applications of aromatherapy in personal care, is expected to be one of the driving forces. With good reason: Treatments made with essential oils not only boost the sensorial experience of a product — whether it be a relaxing face mask or a revitalizing face wash — but they also nourish the skin and can stimulate cellular renewal. Also nice? These naturally-derived oils have no detrimental side effects, contrary to some popular beliefs. Take a breather and read more about the aah-mazing benefits of aromatherapy in skin care here.
Orange oil emerged as the largest product segment in 2015, according to the report. While it has been traditionally sought after for its immunity-boosting effects in juices, skin care formulators are looking to orange essential oil thanks to its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and natural astringent properties. It's been shown to increase the ability to absorb vitamin C, thus stimulating collagen production, boosting blood flow and slowing the rate of skin damage from free radicals. Find it in Dawn Lorraine Fresh Citrus Cleansing Gel ($37 in the shop) and Skin 2 Skin White Tea Face Wash ($37 in the shop).
It should be noted that many people claim citrus oils, such as orange, bergamot and lemon, can cause phototoxicity (severe burns or skin cancer) in the presence of light following skin application. However, there is little credible research on this matter as most formulas are diluted with other ingredients and deemed safe. When in doubt look for cold-pressed sweet orange essential oil (Citrus sinensis, Citrus aurantium var. sinensis); the furanocoumarins, which are the molecules reactive to light, are left behind during steam distillation. Or, simply use your citrus oil-infused products at night.
The health benefits of eucalyptus oil are wide ranging — from clearing up respiratory problems to acting as an antispasmodic. The woodsy essential oil, which is derived from the dried leaves of the evergreen eucalyptus tree, also has amazing skin benefits. It boasts antibacterial, anti-infectious, anti-viral and anti-septic abilities that promote wound healing and treat skin eruptions like pimples. Furthermore, eucalyptus oil has also been shown to provide relief from an itchy scalp or insect bites.
Peppermint oil is known for its cooling menthol and ability to relieve stress and pains — not to mention bad breath. But this minty oil is also rich in nourishing Omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin A & C, calcium, iron, potassium and magnesium. It has the ability to cut through dry or callused skin, brighten dull complexions, increase blood flow, manage oil production, prevent clogged pores and soothe chapped lips. I like the cooling sensation of Your Best Face Quench Lip Balm ($15 in the shop).
Clove is rich in minerals such as calcium, hydrochloric acid, iron, phosphorus, sodium, potassium, and vitamin A and vitamin C. The most common use of clove oil is in dental care due to its germicidal properties. Several products, like toothpaste and mouthwash, contain clove to treat toothache, mouth ulcers and bad breath. Because it is an antiseptic and anti-inflammatory, clove is also used in skin care, especially for the treatment of blemishes. It has been proven effective against Propionibacterium acnes, the bacterium responsible for most acne, and at lightening postinflammatory hyperpigmentation.
Often referred to as the “king of oils,” frankincense is a common essential oil used in aromatherapy to provide relief from stress and feelings of peace. When applied topically, it has the ability to strengthen skin and protect skin cells, making it a great anti-aging ingredient. Studies have shown that frankincense oil can help tone and lift skin, reduce the appearance of scars, acne and sunspots, and heal wounds. Try Sevani Serum Vitale Essential Nutrient Oil ($65 in the shop) and Ageless Eyes Revitalizing Eye Serum ($54 in the shop).
The thought of lavender oil puts me in an instant state of zen. Known for its ability to relieve nervous tension and induce sleep, the fragrant oil has a well-researched influence on both the autonomic nervous system and the skin. According to a study by the Journal of Phytomedicine, lavender essential oil helps your body produce three of its own most powerful antioxidants: glutathione, catalase and superoxide dismutase. It promotes healing and improves cellular communication in skin. A great source: Your Best Face Private Reserve Slumber Blend ($80 in the shop).
Chamomile is one of the most widely recognized herbs from eastern medicine. The miracle oil has been shown to treat a variety of skin conditions, including contact dermatitis, acne, eczema, inflammation, rosacea and sensitivities. Chamomile contains a long list of skin-friendly chemical compounds, including calming bisabolol, anti-inflammatory chamazulene and the flavonoid apigenin, which research has shown to reduce DNA oxidative damage.
The cones and needles of this medicinal tree produce a piney oil that's both invigorating and powerful. The main elements of cypress are alpha-pinene, camphene, carene and limonene. Due to the circulatory benefits, cypress essential oil can awaken dull complexions, detoxify, regulate blood flow and tone the skin. You will find it in products that treat varicose veins, cellulite, undereye puffiness and skin eruptions like pimples. Spritz on Ayelet Lavender Chamomile Calming Face Toner ($32 in the shop).
You’ll find primrose essential oil in a number of high-end skin serums and creams for the treatment of common skin woes like acne, irritation and wrinkles. The oil is high in essential fatty acids, which provide the building blocks for cell membranes in healthy skin, as well as vitamins C and E. It’s choice for people suffering from skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis and atopic dermatitis, as studies prove it effective at relieving symptoms of itching, redness and swelling. What’s more, a study published in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science showed that evening primrose oil can help with age-related structural changes in skin tissues, including redness, firmness, roughness and fatigue resistance. Find it, amongst other oils, in Dr. Dennis Gross Triple C Firming Peptide Oil ($62 in the shop).
The fibrous stalks of lemongrass packs essential vitamins such as vitamin A, B, C and folate. It also contains magnesium, phosphorous, manganese, copper, potassium, calcium, zinc and iron. Many of these compounds are known to have anti-fungal, insecticidal, antiseptic. and anti-inflammatory properties. It is used in skin care to strengthen skin tissue, improve clarity and boost radiance. Try Dawn Lorraine Lemongrass Enzyme Crème (54 in the shop).