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Essential oils are useful and beneficial for mixing into skincare oils, creams, or salves because of their high absorbency and many benefits for the skin that can amplify the benefits of the fatty carrier oil. Generally speaking, you would use these very potent essential oil concentrates diluted in a carrier oil such as jojoba, evening primrose, argan, or rosehip seed (as you can read about in our article on Carrier Oils for Healthy Skin), in a skin cream base mixed in, or mixed into a balm or salve. The reason is that essential oils are drying and can be irritating when applied directly, and because they absorb into the bloodstream at varying rates through the skin, the internal effects can be strong if not properly diluted. Therefore, it is generally recommended that you dilute essential oils to 0.5-3% dilution for applying to larger areas of the skin, like in a massage or body oil, for example. This means that you would would use approximately 5-25 drops/fluid ounce of carrier. Use the lower amount if someone has particularly sensitive skin, or you are applying to a baby’s skin. For smaller surface areas, like treating acne on the face, or treating a rash or infection in a particular area, you can go up to a 5-10% dilution, which means you would use approximately 45 – 75 drops/fluid ounce.

Here are some of the most useful essential oils for applying to the skin.

Blue tansy – anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, cooling, soothing, antipruretic (anti-itch)

Cedarwood – balances oil production from the skin and scalp, astringent, tonifying (normalizing)

Frankincense – considered a good oil for dry/mature skin types, it is used to help reduce wrinkles & promote tissue repair.

Geranium (rose geranium)   astringent & tonifying, anti-inflammatory, oil-reducing and balancing, insect-repellent  – good for skin inflammation, bruising, broken/weak capillaries

German chamomile – anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, analgesic (pain reducing) – good for generally irritated or sensitive skin, inflamed skin conditions.

Helichrysum – vulnerary (wound healing), tissue regenerative, anti-inflammatory – good for any number of inflamed skin conditions and scarring, as well as muscular aches/pains, strains, & rheumatic pains.

Lavender – anti-inflammatory, vulnerary (wound-healing), antimicrobial, antispasmodic –  a good general skin-healing herb for all skin types and inflamed skin conditions.

Lemon – astringent, acid-mantle balancing, oil balancing, antimicrobial

Melissa (Lemon balm)  – antiviral, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, insect-repellent

Palmarosa – soothing to all skin types; detoxifying and regenerating; useful for dry, irritated, or lifeless skin

Rose – astringent, soothing, anti-inflammatory – good for tonifying skin and strengthening capillaries; good for mature skin.

Tea tree – one of the best broad-spectrum antimicrobial and antifungal essential oils, as well as having healing benefits for the skin.  Great for acne, fungal infections (athlete’s foot, ringworm), head lice, etc.

Ylang ylang – oil-balancing, antimicrobial, promotes healthy hair growth, general skincare

The general herbal approach to maladies of the skin, such as eczema, psoriasis, and acne,  is to detoxify the other primary organs of detoxification – the liver, kidneys, and colon – along with the lymphatic system, so that the skin can function better.  The idea is that the skin manifests imbalances from within the body and is not acting on its own but rather as part of a system.  Other herbs are used to help reduce inflammation, since many skin disorders are inflammation-based.
The herbs in the Healthy Skin Tea are herbs that detoxify, reduce inflammation, and also help support healthy skin in general by adding minerals and other nutrients that help support the function of the skin and the body in general, while promoting repair and regeneration.
The primary liver herbs in this formula are burdock root, yellow dock root, and Oregon grape root.  These herbs all help detoxify the liver, while the Oregon grape root also helps reduce inflammation and has some antibacterial actions.  Yellow dock also is a mild laxative and can help support healthy colon function.  Detoxifying the liver can also help balance hormones, as the liver metabolizes many of the hormones in our body.
Red clover blossoms act as an alterative, or blood purifier, helping to “open the channels of elimination” and clear the skin through doing so.  They act as a mild lymphagogue (lymph mover) as well as adding minerals and nutrients that nourish skin.
Calendula flowers act as an anti-inflammatory and lymphagogue, making them very beneficial for skin health.
Nettle leaf is mineral-rich, a mild kidney tonic and detoxifier, anti-inflammatory, and antihistamine.
Horsetail adds minerals, such as silica, that nourish skin, hair, and nails.
Gotu kola is very mineral-rich as well, while adding anti-inflammatory properties and supporting collagen synthesis and skin repair.
Contains: red clover blossoms, Oregon grape root, burdock root, yellow dock root, nettle leaf, calendula flowers, horsetail, and gotu kola.