Could Essential Oils Be Hurting Your Skin?
The buzz around natural skin care continues to grow by the day. There is a constant influx of green and organic products on the beauty market, corresponding with the desire for treatments that solve skin woes without causing undue harm to the body. Unfortunately, however, many of these products are chock-full of essential oils, which you may find similar to a bad boy boyfriend – pleasant and even enjoyable at first, but later on very aggravating and damaging. If you’re finding that an organic product is causing redness, breakouts, or sensitivity, it is very possible your skin is having a negative reaction to essential oils.
Beauty Banter: Why do some skin types find essential oils irritating?
Diana Yerkes: Sensitive and reactive skins find essential oils in products troublesome since they oftentimes cause photosensitivity or unpleasant reactions including redness and itchiness at the site of application. Research varies as to why, but many skin types consistently see flare-ups from seemingly harmless products.
BB: What are the most important essential oils to avoid?
DY: I highly recommend avoiding the application of pure essential oils on the skin. Essential oils contain very concentrated properties of the herb or plant they are derived from, and can be very irritating if used in an undiluted formula. Peppermint, clove, ginger, cinnamon, and basil all are far too stimulating for skincare.
BB: Are there any skin ailments that can benefit from essential oils?
DY: It really depends on the way the essential oil is introduced to the skin and the current skin condition. Personally, I do like Frankincense for its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory benefits for the skin, making it great for acne-prone skin. It decreases the appearances of pores while evening skin tone and tightening skin. Tea Tree Oil is another good one for its anti-inflammatory and healing properties. But again, these shouldn’t be used in their purest formulations to avoid irritation.
BB: What products do you recommend to someone whose skin is experiencing irritation after essential oil use?
DY: Stay away from the sun and harsh exfoliants. If and when experiencing skin irritation, I would recommend using Creme Masque Vernix by Biologique Recherche to soothe, calm and restore hydration. It can act as a protective shield against harsh environmental aggressors while your skin heals and regenerates.
BB: Do you have any recommendations for natural products that are essential oil-free?
DY: I live and die by the Biologique Recherche line of products for many reasons (read about BB’s love of their P50 here), one being that the line is as pure as possible while also fragrance free. This makes it suitable for all skin types – even the most sensitive or irritated. My current favorites include:
Lait VIP 02 Cleanser to remove makeup and impurities without overdrying.
P50 1970 (of course!) to exfoliate, hydrate, and balance the pH of the skin.
-Casey Sharbaugh is the blogger behind www.comfortablycasey.com