"Essential oils aren’t just nice-smelling aromas," says Adina Grigore, the founder of the organic skincare brand S.W. Basics and author of Just the Essentials: How Essential Oils Can Heal Your Skin, Improve Your Health, and Detox Your Life. "They are plant compounds with active and often healing properties, and unlike synthetic fragrance, pure essential oils contain dynamic components that work with your body and your body's chemistry for synergistic, healing results."
An essential oil can be anything from antibacterial to anti-anxiety to incredibly hydrating. There are so many out there, some easier to find and cheaper than others, but whatever skin ailment you’re struggling with, there are specific essential oils to help.
"The great thing about using essentials oils for dry skin is that a few drops will go a long way," continues Grigore. "Keep in mind that when purchasing pure essential oils, you’ll always want to dilute them in a carrier oil." A carrier oil is a plant or seed oil that can "carry" an essential oil in order to make it safe and non-irritating for topical use. "Carrier oils are usually very light in scent and are mild enough to be applied directly to the skin," explains Grigore. "My favorite carrier oils for dry skin are jojoba oil, sesame oil, sweet almond oil, or evening primrose oil. If you’re not a DIY-er, you can always grab pre-diluted essential oils, like S.W. Basics' line of Functional Fragrances."
Below, she lists the best essential oils for dry skin.
"I know you’ve heard about lavender oil too many times in your life, but I list it first because it’s a powerhouse essential oil and extremely accessible. If you’re having a severe dry-spell and need to grab something quickly at your local CVS or health food store, lavender is the one. It’s anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and extremely soothing, so it’ll calm your skin pretty quickly (and your mood too!). To use, mix a few drops of it into a carrier oil or a cream that you already have in your cabinet, and let it work its magic."
"You've probably made a cup of chamomile tea at some point in your life if you’re having trouble sleeping or are feeling anxious. Chamomile is well-known for its calming properties, and the essential oil does the same thing for your skin. Chamomile is high in sesquiterpenes, which means its anti-inflammatory, moderately antimicrobial, and wonderfully soothing. I love to brew a cup of chamomile tea and rinse with it after shampooing to brighten and hydrate my dry hair."
"This one might come as a surprise for some people, but tea tree oil is a wonderful treatment if you’re experiencing broken-out skin that is also dry. I know it sounds like an oxymoron, but one of the reasons your skin breaks out is because it’s dry. In response to the dryness, it overproduces oil, and that excess oil makes you break out. Tea tree essential oil works its magic without being overly drying and irritating like its synthetic counterparts (looking at you, benzoyl peroxide). Tea tree oil also helps fight mild to moderate dandruff."
"Rose geranium is one of my favorite essences in smell, feel, and its ability to bring balance to any situation. This essential oil aids in healing dry, aggravated, and cracked skin, which may also be the reason it’s commonly found in lotions and lip balms. I also like to add a few drops to the water and enjoy a relaxing face steam."
Carrot Seed Oil
"No ingredient has improved my skin as instantaneously as carrot seed oil. It’s kind of mind-blowing. It is anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, and soothes redness and irritations. It’s full of vitamin E and vitamin C, which are both moisturizing and rejuvenating as well. The one thing about carrot seed oil is that it smells pretty earthy, so I like to mix it with a few carrier oils and another essential oil to mask the scent."