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Almond (sweet almond) oil –
One of the most useful, practical, and commonly used oils. This natural expeller pressed oil from raw almond kernels is exceptionally rich in fatty acids. It is great for all skin types as an emollient and is best known for its ability to soften, soothe, and re-condition the skin. It is commonly used as a body oil and massage oil. Good for normal to dry skin types.
Apricot kernel oil – Similar in its properties to sweet almond oil, but more suitable for sensitive and prematurely aged skin, as it is reconditioning, nourishing, and gentle to the skin. Used regularly for facial oils and products. Good for all skin types.
Argan oil – pressed from the Moroccan Argan tree kernels, this oil is high in tocopherols (vitamin E), carotenes, squalene, and fatty acids beneficial to the health of the skin. Squalene is a fat-soluble antioxidant that is well-absorbed into the skin and therefore is cell protective and helps heal damaged skin. Argan oil is a well-absorbed, antioxidant, light oil that is useful for all skin types, including aging skin, as well as for smoothing and treating hair.
Jojoba oil – comes from the beans of a shrub-like plant and is considered the most favored carrier oil family because of its molecular stability and low rancidity.  Jojoba oil is actually a liquid wax and has properties similar to our own sebum, and as a result has been traditionally used in hair and skin products and is a general gentle moisturizer for all skin types. Good for oily, acne prone, and combination skin.
Rosehip seed oil – This unique oil is extremely high in essential fatty acids, and Vitamins A and E. It is generally considered to be best for dry, weathered, and dehydrated skin, although it absorbs into the skin quickly as well. It works well on scars and is the predominant oil used for treating wrinkles and premature aging. Vitamin A, which helps to delay the effects of skin aging, assists with cell regeneration, and promotes collagen and elastin levels to increase.
Tamanu oil – From the whole organic nuts of the Polynesian Tamanu tree, this rich, aromatic oil is famed (and backed by research) for its ability to heal damaged skin. Its benefits are notable for the treatment for scarring, stretch marks, minor cuts and abrasions, rashes, acne and more.  It is also reputed to be useful for nerve pain, inflammation, and has antimicrobial and antioxidant properties.

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