Get Byrdie HQ talking about essential oils (plus all of our favorite diffusers) and more likely than not, you'll have a difficult time ceasing our excited chatter. Yep, we're just that passionate. After all, not only do our collections of essential oils provide an opportunity for relaxing creativity, but they can also boost our energy, improve our sleep, and even provide a positive bump in our mood and focus. Coffee who?
What's more, if used strategically (please don't dump any old pure essential oil straight on your skin—eek!), certain essential oils can provide some much-needed reprieve from aggravating skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, blackheads, and, yes, even rosacea. Of course, some are much better options than others and certain essential oils should be topically avoided altogether (or used in super-small doses!) as they can be irritating and perhaps even harmful to already vulnerable and sensitive skin. For instance, "anyone (not just those with rosacea) should avoid citrus and essential oils with added fragrance," says Dr. Stacy Chimento, MD, of Riverchase Dermatology in Miami Beach, FL. You'll also want to make sure your application is diluted (don't fret; we'll be sharing our go-to guide below) and/or getting your skin-soothing essential oils by way of high-quality and dependable products with other ingredients and carrier oils in the mix as well. (And yes, we have those too!) Keep scrolling to learn the best essential oils that can naturally soothe rosacea.
1. Tea Tree
If diluted with a carrier oil (see this handy guide here!), tea tree oil is one of the only essential oils that can be applied directly to the face. "Tea tree oil is a commonly used essential oil in skincare because of its potent antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory benefits," says Dr. Gretchen Frieling, a Triple Board-Certified Dermatopathologist in Boston.
This essential oil is often used to treat and heal acne and is claimed to be one of nature's top inflammation inhibitors. In fact, within National Rosacea Society's helpful community forum called It Works for Me, numerous commenters have said tea tree oil has yielded miraculous improvements with their rosacea. Frieling loves this blend of tea tree and lavender oil from the brand Aura Cacia."Mix 2 drops of tea tree oil into your nightly moisture to calm rosacea flare-ups," she says.
Oils to avoid putting on your face include: Lemon, lime, grapefruit, mandarin, bergamot, peppermint and wintergreen.
To be completely transparent, professionals still debate whether or not essential oils may be irritating or helpful when it comes to treating rosacea. That said, thanks to its calming, inflammation-fighting perks, lavender might be one of the more strategic, far less irritating picks to try incorporating for some relief: "Lavender is also very gentle and can also promote mental relaxation," says Frieling. "This can be beneficial for those who get flare-ups in times of stress and anxiety."
We love this simplistic melding of lavender from Aromatherapy Associates.
Though we often think of chamomile in the form of a comforting mug of tea to sip come bedtime, the ultra-soothing ingredient may also provide respite for rosacea and other skin conditions vulnerable to aggravation. (Even simply using a wet tea bag as a cold compress can work wonders!) Frieling calls it "one of the most gentle essential oils" and says that "it can treat a variety of skin issues" with "anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic properties." She notes that it's a solid alternative to rose oil, which can be pricey.
Personally, we're obsessed with the calming sensation this tonic from holistic esthetician Tammy Fender drenches our skin with. Though it features Roman chamomile, German and Cape varieties may also be beneficial when treating rosacea!
A well-known antioxidant and astringent, geranium oil may help soothe inflammation, expedite wound-healing, and diminish bacterial overgrowth of the skin—all important skin perks when considering a more holistic treatment of rosacea.
"Gentle and known for its balancing properties, geranium is great to add to a bath for helping to soothe and balance inflamed skin along with a coconut milk or oat milk bath," says Sara Panton, co-founder of the brand Vitruvi. Additionally, Andrea Lopez, esthetician and founder of Bonum Vitae, confirms geranium as a known antidote when it comes to redness and irritation.
There's a reason rose is found in a host of our favorite tonics, toners, and skincare products. According to studies, it's one of the best essential oils there is when it comes to holistic healing, and it has been used for centuries for a litany of grievances—wound healing and skin health included. "Rose is ideal for sensitive, mature, and dry skin," says Frieling. It's gentle enough for those with skin conditions like rosacea to tolerate, and "it helps with broken capillaries and poor circulation, which can really help reduce the appearance of rosacea."
Plus, pairing it with natural vegetable glycerin creates the ultimate skin-soothing elixir and is a safer bet than straight rose oil if applied to the skin. We love the above option from Heritage Store.
Immortelle is derived from the Helichrysum italicum flower and has anti-aging and anti-inflammatory properties. It stimulates collagen production, increases skin's firmness, and fights free radicals.
According to the helpful guide in this study, immortelle (also known as helichrysum) may be able to provide skin relief to a multitude of conditions and grievances—from rosacea and acne to eczema and psoriasis. "It is most well-known for anti-inflammation and does this through several mechanisms such as inhibiting certain inflammatory enzymes and targeting damaged skin cells," notes Frieling. She recommends this oil for anyone with "broken veins, old scars, and couperose skin."
We're obsessed with this divine immortelle-spiked oil from French staple L'Occitane.
The same study also reported lesser-known essential oil cypress as a possible soothing solution for rosacea, in addition to being a holistic godsend for rashes, acne, blocked pores, and wounds. "Puffiness is another common symptom of rosacea, which is why someone can opt for cypress oil," adds Frieling. Gentle and infused with plenty of other hydrating fares, we like this soothing nectar from Ere Perez which features antioxidants and omegas aplenty.
Those with rosacea shouldn't be scared to use oil on their skin as long as it's a recommended type. "Usually, rosacea patients have dry skin rather than oily skin, so using an oil daily won't promote sebum production," notes Chimento.
"Rosemary oil can help reduce redness, the most common rosacea symptom, and also promote skin healing," notes Frieling. In general, it's important to search for "products that are safe for sensitive skin. Avoid harsh scrubs, alcohol-based toners, products with artificial fragrances, chemical preservatives, and petroleum jelly. These all have the potential of drying and irritating the skin further." Add a few drops of oil into your moisturizer to minimize possible irritation.
Itching is a common side effect of rosacea. If you find yourself scratching your face often, Frieling suggests reaching for sandalwood. This oil soothes inflammation and should decrease the itching sensation. According to Chimento, essential oils can be applied to the skin nightly. "Let the oil absorb into the skin overnight to achieve the best results. Applying too much oil in the morning and under makeup may leave the skin with an oily residue," she says.
"Jasmine oil can bring back balance to dry skin and rosacea by increasing cell turnover, which can lighten flare-ups' appearance. It also has been found to reduce stress in aromatherapy," says Frieling. When using a pure essential oil be sure to dilute "with a carrier oil such a coconut or jojoba" to prevent further irritation, according to Chimento.
"Some products also contain the botanical ingredients of essential oil, which makes it easier to incorporate into a beauty routine. As with any new skincare product, test it on the back of your hand to check for allergies," she adds.
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