7 Essential Oils for Dry Skin That You Need to Try, Stat

product shot of essential oils

Backcountry Essential Oil 

Dealing with dry skin? There are essential oils for that. "Essential oils aren’t just nice-smelling aromas. They are plant compounds with active and often healing properties," says skincare expert Adina Grigore. "And unlike synthetic fragrance, pure essential oils contain dynamic components that work with your body and your body's chemistry for synergistic, healing results," she adds. The best part? A few drops will go a long way. To learn more about which essential oils work ace on dry skin, we tapped Grigore for her expertise.

Meet the Expert

Adina Grigore is 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.

Ahead, the seven best essential oils for dry skin.

Lavender

Radha Beauty Lavender Essential Oil
Radha Beauty Lavender Essential Oil $18.00
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Those dealing with dry skin will find relief—not to mention, zen—with lavender oil. "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," says Grigore. "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."

When using pure essential oils in your skincare routine, always dilute them in a carrier oil, which will make essentials safe and non-irritating for topical use. "My favorite carrier oils for dry skin are jojoba oil, sesame oil, sweet almond oil, or evening primrose oil," says Grigore.

Chamomile

Aura Cacia Roman Chamomile Essential Oils
Aura Cacia Roman Chamomile Essential Oils $17.00
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Anyone who has dry skin and is also looking for a dose of calm should reach for chamomile oil. "Chamomile is well-known for its calming properties, and the essential oil does the same thing for your skin," explains Grigore. "Chamomile is high in sesquiterpenes, which means it's anti-inflammatory, moderately antimicrobial, and wonderfully soothing." Its uses extend beyond skin and sleep, too. "I love to brew a cup of chamomile tea and rinse with it after shampooing to brighten and hydrate my dry hair."

Tea Tree

Tea tree oil
Now Essential Oils 100% Pure Tea Tree $19.00
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"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," Grigore tells us. While it may seem counter-intuitive to apply oil to skin that's, well, already oily, she explains that acne can often be attributed to dry skin. "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)." Similarly, tea tree oil can also help combat mild to moderate dandruff.

Frankincense

Frankincense oil
Cliganic USDA Organic Frankincense Essential Oil $9.00
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Obtained from the resin of Boswellia trees, frankincense oil may help to remedy dry skin. Similar to tea tree oil, it seems to benefit acne-prone skin that is also experiencing dryness. That's because the ancient oil is a natural astringent and anti-inflammatory. Anecdotal evidence further suggests that frankincense may be used to address skincare concerns ranging from fine lines and wrinkles to hyperpigmentation.

Rose Geranium

Rose geranium oil
GreenHealth Rose Geranium Oil $20.00
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According to Grigore, rose geranium aids in healing cracked and aggravated skin, making it a prime ingredient for lotions and lip balms. "Rose geranium is one of my favorite essences in smell, feel, and its ability to bring balance to any situation," says Grigore, who recommends adding a few drops to water for a DIY facial steam.

Sandalwood

Sandalwood essential oil
Yelewen 100% Pure Sandalwood Essential Oils $8.00
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Those with dry skin—who also happen to like woody scents—may want to give sandalwood essential oil a try. Given its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-microbial properties, this aromatic and healing oil helps to keep the skin hydrated, protected, and healthy. It's also been used to treat certain skin conditions, like psoriasis and eczema.

Carrot Seed

Leven Rose 100% Pure Organic Unrefined Cold Pressed Carrot Seed Oil
Leven Rose 100% Pure Organic Unrefined Cold Pressed Carrot Seed Oil $20.00
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Carrot oil wields a load of benefits, including combating dry skin. "No ingredient has improved my skin as instantaneously as carrot seed oil," admits Grigore. "It’s kind of mind-blowing. It is anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, and soothes redness and irritations." Carrot seed oil is chock full of vitamins E and C, both of which are highly moisturizing, as well as beta-carotene (which helps explain its orange hue), explains Grigore. It is also highly antioxidant, and it even provides some minor sun protection. It does come with a downside, though. "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."

Article Sources
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  1. Carson CF, Hammer KA, Riley TV. Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) oil: a review of antimicrobial and other medicinal propertiesClin Microbiol Rev. 2006;19(1):50-62. doi:10.1128/CMR.19.1.50-62.2006

  2. Han X, Rodriguez D, Parker TL. Biological activities of frankincense essential oil in human dermal fibroblastsBiochim Open. 2017;4:31-35.

  3. Moy RL, Levenson C. Sandalwood album oil as a botanical therapeutic in dermatologyJ Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2017;10(10):34-39.

  4. Singh S, Lohani A, Mishra AK, Verma A. Formulation and evaluation of carrot seed oil-based cosmetic emulsionsJ Cosmet Laser Ther. 2019;21(2):99-107. doi:10.1080/14764172.2018.1469769

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