Essential oils have recently become a beauty buzzword, but in reality, they’ve been used in traditional medicine for thousands of years. Ancient Egyptians were among the first to use essential oils as early as 3000 BC for spiritual enrichment, beauty, medicinal benefits, religious ceremonies, and even embalming. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, essential oils re-emerged as agents to help balance moods, lift spirits, destroy toxic germs, and produce pleasant scents. But in regards to your skin, essential oils—when used correctly, which usually involves diluting them with a carrier oil—can have a multitude of benefits, not least of which includes fading dark spots. When applied with the correct carriers, these oils can be more a natural way to decrease the appearance of stubborn pigmentation and offer the same level of cellular regeneration without the chronic dryness, irritation, and sun sensitivity caused by harsh chemicals.
There are over 90 essential oils with supreme health benefits in the world of aromatherapy. So, where do we start? In order to find out which ones work best on fading scars and discoloration, we reached out to Shrankhla Holecek. She notes that these aromatic solutions can actually improve communication between your cells, which help strengthen and restore damaged skin, rather than simply treating symptoms or bleaching the spot like pharmaceutical drugs do. For some people, this is why natural therapy is worth a shot.
Meet the Expert
Shrankhla Holecek is the founder of Uma Oils, a luxe collection of organic face oils and wellness oils steeped in Ayurvedic tradition.
See what Shrankhla had to say below on the nine best essential oils for dark spots.
#1: Tea Tree Oil
“Tea tree oil's fading superpowers come more from its ability to prevent and rapidly heal a blemish or wound, rather than a scar fading itself (although it does have minor resurfacing properties like a gentle acid). It banishes bacteria associated with a blemish or skin tear, leading to faster healing. When you heal faster, you're less likely to develop a dark spot. A great carrier oil for blemish-prone skin is grapeseed.”
#2: Lavender Oil
"Lavender helps calm irritation and rapidly fight inflammation to settle the raised part of a blemish and help your skin repair faster. The linalyl acetate, an ester naturally found in lavender, is anti-inflammatory and has a history in wound healing, leading to less scarring. When it comes to carriers for lavender oil, I love pomegranate best because of its ultra-small molecules that penetrate the skin quickly, delivering potent nutrients. It feels and absorbs like a serum, but does everything (and more!) that a great oil would do.”
#3: Geranium Oil
“Geranium wields a natural astringent action, which calms redness, and is also deeply soothing and toning in nature. It also helps with better hydration retention in the skin, which always leads to an improved natural appearance of any scarring or pigmentation. Pomegranate oil is suitable carrier oil for geranium.”
#4: Frankincense Oil
“Because of its ability to spurn cell turnover, frankincense oil is one of the best for helping heal and fade scars. It’s a potent natural agent to stimulate healthy skin turnover and strengthen the skin’s elasticity. Think of frankincense’s cellular regeneration properties like the qualities of traditional retinol, but without the drying, sun-sensitivity or thinning of the skin many retinols cause.”
#5: Neroli Oil
“Citrus-derived essential oils (neroli comes from the flower of the orange tree) are great because even though they don't have any vitamin C in them, they actually aid the absorption of vitamin C into the skin. Vitamin C is one of those substances that while widely regarded for its healing and scar-fading properties, but it is notoriously poorly absorbed. So, to double up the action of your vitamin C serums, add neroli or juniper berry oil. Added bonus: everybody loves the smell of neroli.”
#6: Chamomile Oil
“Chamomile oil has a fantastic naturally-occurring ingredient called Azulene (also in blue Tanzy), which is highly reparative; it's calming and cell-renewing, so it helps fight damage. Azulene is a powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant, so it will prevent degradation of skin in times of stress, keeping it blemish and scar free.”
#7: Clary Sage Oil
"Clary sage essential oil is an excellent option for oily skin because it has the unique properties of working with skin cells at the subdermal layer to regulate sebum production naturally. Clary sage is a very elegant and deeply therapeutic solution to oily skin because of its unique moderation properties. Since blemish-prone skin tends to develop more scarring, this is a wonderful preventative essential oil to add to your skincare routine.”
#8: Turmeric Oil
"Specifically, the curcumin in turmeric essential oil is very anti-inflammatory. Ayurvedic practitioners have used it in skincare for evening out the complexion, preventing acne and blemishes, as well as hyperpigmentation. It is believed to moderate the excess melanin production that often is the cause for dark spots.”
#9: Rosemary Essential Oil
“Rosemary essential oil is great for fading dark spots because it enhances circulation, and better circulation is always great for your skin. It is also a disinfectant, so it will help prevent bacterial growth that can lead to scar-creating blemishes. Its phytonutrients are believed to also fight free radical-related damage and hyperpigmentation.”
For more information on how to dilute and use essential oils in your skincare routine, click here.