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Even if you are doing all the right things to tame your dry skin – drinking plenty of water, eating high nutrient foods, using moisturizers designated for dry skin – retaining added moisture can be challenging. This challenge becomes more pronounced during the cold, dry seasons. Fortunately, the use of natural skin oils is a very effective way to retain moisture while treating sensitivities, irritations, and other skin issues.
Below, I have listed the most effective and affordable (for most) dry skin oils. These oils not only help to reverse dry skin but alleviate a number of common skin issues, some directly caused by dryness and others by environmental and genetic factors. And though they are numbered, the first item on the list is not necessarily superior to the tenth.
Top 10 Oils for Dry Skin
- Chamomile Essential Oil
- Rose Essential Oil
- Geranium Essential Oil
- Lavender Essential Oil
- Sandalwood Essential Oil
- Juniper Essential Oil
- Palmarosa Essential Oil
- Rose Hip Oil
- Safflower Oil
- Apricot Kernel Oil
Chamomile Essential Oil Dry Skin Benefits
There are two types of chamomile essential oils – Roman chamomile (Chamomilla nobile) and German chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla, aka “Blue Chamomile”) – and both are outstanding for dry skincare.
In ancient times, chamomile was used to maintain youthful-looking skin and retain moisture in dry and harsh climates. In modern times, chamomile has proven to be very soothing and very effective for treating irritated, itchy, inflamed skin. It can relieve rashes and eczema in addition to dryness.
“German chamomile is known to reduce skin redness caused by allergic reactions, sunburns or even after an intense workout. You only need a small amount on the tip of your finger and gently apply to the skin in slow circular motions. Within seconds the results of calmer and healthier look skin can appear. … Roman chamomile has shown to promote healthy looking skin by relieving skin irritations caused by ulcers, gout, rosacea, burns, bruises, canker sores, cracked skin, and certain rashes.”1
One of the reported anti-aging effects of chamomile is its ability to brighten dull and aging skin, lighten hyperpigmentation and even out skin tone, which bestows a more youthful appearance. A lot of skin dullness and hyperpigmentation issues are self-inflicted, but with time, care, and the use of chamomile essential oil this issue can be reversed.
Both types of chamomile blend quite well with other dry skin oils, particularly rose, lavender, and geranium essential oils. And they’re both very gentle on skin, German chamomile in particular.
Rose Essential Oil Dry Skin Benefits
Rose is one of the most versatile essential oils on the market, whether your skin is dry, normal or oily, but especially if you are dry. Researchers have discovered that it contains several therapeutic compounds known to promote healing in the body, making it useful not only for dry, mature skin but also for oily, acne-prone skin. This is due to rose oil’s strong antibacterial action in addition to soothing, inflammation-fighting compounds, which are believed to also help eczema.
“In 2010, Chinese researchers published a study uncovering that rose oil exhibited one of the strongest bactericidal activities compared to 10 other oils. They also discovered that just after five minutes of a 0.25 percent dilution, Propionibacterium acnes (the bacteria responsible for acne) was completely destroyed! … Another reason to use rose essential oil for skin health is because of its uncanny ability to increase your skin’s permeability!”2
Our skin has naturally low permeability. The skin’s low permeability prevents most foreign particles from penetrating and diffusing through the surface. But scientists have discovered that adding rose oil to skin care products – be it creams, lotions, other oils, and even distilled water – will help those products penetrate deeper and maintain the skin’s increased moisture level longer.
There are three types of rose essential oils widely available today – Rose Otto, Rosa Damascena and Rosa Centifolia – and all of them are quite hydrating to the skin and they all smell amazing!
Geranium Essential Oil Dry Skin Benefits
What makes geranium essential oil effective for dry and mature skin is its ability balance our hormones, improve circulation while calming inflammation, assist in the regulation of sebum production (helpful for dry and oily skin types), and stimulate new skin growth, working towards a clearer complexion and more even skin tone.
“Rose geranium oil is known for its dermatological use for the treatment of aging, wrinkled and/or dry skin. It has the power to minimize the look of wrinkles because it tightens facial skin and slows down the effects of aging.”3
Geranium essential oil is considered non-toxic, non-irritant, and generally non-sensitizing. The therapeutic properties of it include being an antiseptic and wound healer. Geranium oil can be used to treat eczema, dermatitis, oily and congested skin.
Lavender Essential Oil Dry Skin Benefits
Lavender essential oil is famous for its ability to calm and soothe the nervous system and accelerate the healing of burns; but it offers many other benefits for the skin, particularly dry and troubled skin.
Lavender essential oil reduces redness, soothes inflammation, helps the skin to retain moisture, clears up eczema, acne, psoriasis, and scarring. Lavender is one of the few essential oils that can be used directly on the skin without being diluted in a base oil.
“Lavender essential oil has been utilized over the ages and has survived the test of time. It is believed to be among the safest to use, and among its many benefits also come benefits for your skin. Lavender is especially good for skin conditions related to inflammation, such as acne, eczema, burns, scrapes and insect bites. Use lavender in any skin application that needs soothing.”4
It’s been suggested that lavender essential oil’s ability to decrease the effects of stress and anxiety on the body is one of the reasons why it’s such a potent anti-aging skin treatment. It’s even been credited with the ability to help the skin detox from environmental pollutants.
“Environmental toxins and daily stress can tax the skin, giving it a coarse and inflamed appearance. Lavender can help combat both culprits with a one-two punch. ‘It contains powerful antioxidants that will prevent and counteract the irritating effects of pollutants on the skin,’ explains Claude Saliou, Ph.D., director of research and development for Johnson & Johnson. ‘Plus, studies have shown that elevated stress results in rough skin, so lavender can improve skin by acting as a mentally calming agent.’”5
Sandalwood Essential Oil Dry Skin Benefits
Like lavender, sandalwood essential oil is also able to calm and soothe the nervous system in addition to beautifying your skin. Sandalwood is considered by many to be a go-to oil for anyone seeking anti-aging, skin-softening, complexion-clearing, and itch relieving skincare benefits. And sandalwood oil doesn’t just moisturize, it protects.
“This rich, aromatic, essential oil is effective for nourishing dry skin and can assist with some rashes. … Sandalwood also protects the skin against impurities, pollution and unwanted microbes, making it a handy resource for acne-prone skin types!”6
Juniper Essential Oil Dry Skin Benefits
Juniper essential oil is favored for its anti-inflammatory and healing qualities. It can clear up itchy, patchy, dry skin, improving its ability to retain moisture; but Juniper oil is most famous for its ability to relieve eczema and psoriasis. Juniper also possesses natural antibacterial and antiseptic properties. These properties have made juniper oil a popular natural remedy for fighting skin irritations and infections, helping wounds to heal faster, and is an excellent home remedy for acne. Some users even swear that juniper oil relieves scalp issues like dandruff and hair loss.
Palmarosa Essential Oil Dry Skin Benefits
Palmarosa essential oil (also known as Cymbopogon martinii) is amazing for reversing dry skin, treating eczema, psoriasis, boils, abscesses, and even acne.
“Palmarosa oil is well-known for its hydrating properties, and can assist in preventing inflammation and quelling dehydration. It also balances the sebum or oil production of your skin, aids in the healing of cuts and bruises, and helps remedy acne breakouts.”7
Palmarosa oil is quite gentle and can be used on animals; it’s been used to treat dog skin disorders and horse skin fungus and dermatitis. But don’t take my word for it. Do your own research and/or talk to your vet before treating your furry friends.
Rosehip Oil Dry Skin Benefits
Rosehip oil is a very popular anti-aging treatment, not only because it is able to penetrate into the deeper layers of the skin – thanks to its vitamin A content – but also because it contains vitamin C.
These two antioxidants – used internally and externally – help the skin age better. Vitamin A improves moisture levels in the skin, and reduces wrinkles and fine lines. While vitamin C stimulates collagen production and collagen supports the structure of the skin, helping to slow the creation of fine lines and wrinkles as we age.
Rosehip oil is also able to protect the skin from UV rays and the sun damage that leads to photoaging. Rosehip oil is even known to diminish age spots and acne scars.
“The combination of properties in rose hip oil seems to combat the damage. The antioxidants, which combat free radicals that cause damage, and vitamin A, combined with the oil’s essential fatty acids, help improve skin tone, texture and pigmentation. Sun exposure plays a role in decreased collagen, which vitamin C can help counteract. The oil is deeply moisturizing and aids in removing redness and irritation. … The essential fatty acids in rose hip seed oil can help reduce scarring and promote skin regeneration, as reported by CenterChem Inc. Essential fatty acids are emollients, which improve skin flexibility and permeability. Emollients also aid in skin repair. Vitamin A may also play a part in rose hip oil’s affect on scar tissue due to its ability to improve skin texture and tone.”8
Rosehip oil has even been suggested as a possible treatment for Rosacea.
Safflower Oil Dry Skin Benefits
Safflower oil is commonly used in natural skin care products because it’s an excellent botanical alternative to synthetic emollients. This extract of safflower seeds contains lubricant properties that prompt the skin to retain water and moisture, making it extremely hydrating for dry, sensitive complexions.
Safflower oil consists primarily of linoleic acid, an omega-6 that is packed with essential vitamins. In addition to preventing dryness, it helps remove dirt and oil and is useful for treating skin issues like eczema, psoriasis, and acne.
All of these qualities make safflower oil the perfect natural remedy for those with extremely dry skin, who wish to achieve a healthy glow, promote elasticity, and reduce the appearance of wrinkles, but may also struggle with adult acne.
Apricot Kernel Oil Dry Skin Benefits
Another popular ingredient in natural skin care products and cosmetics, apricot kernel oil is great for dry skin! Its fatty acids effectively soften and hydrate the skin, while its vitamin content revitalizes the skin and improves its elasticity.
“Apricot kernel oil acts as a non-greasy emollient. Its high amounts of essential fatty acids maintain the balance of moisture and fill in gaps between skin cells to leave skin silky and hydrated. … oleic, linoleic and linolenic acids are friendly fats that fight off acne, inflammation and dryness while locking in moisture. Count on the oil’s linoleic acid to strengthen the skin’s barrier function and oleic acid – a common emollient and emulsifier in cosmetics – to soften for a satin-like feel and downreaching heal.”9
Apricot kernel oil is rich in vitamin E. Vitamin E boosts the skin’s ability to retain elasticity and clarity, it’s an antioxidant and combats free-radical damage and inflammation. Apricot kernel oil’s unsaturated fatty acids boost skin elasticity by making cell membranes more flexible. And, like rosehip oil, it’s also rich in vitamins A and C, providing the skin with greater stability, suppleness, as well as protection against UV damage.
How Much Oil Does Dry Skin Need?
How much oil you should use depends on which oils you select for treatment and how dry your skin is. And, remember, you can always layer oils, allowing one to sink in completely before applying the next.
You can use any of the base oils – rosehip, safflower, and apricot kernel – alone or combined. Unless otherwise stated, ALL of the essential oils should be diluted in a base oil before applying to the skin. And like base oils, you can combine these essential oils however you please, so long as you maintain a harmonious essential oil to base oil ratio. You can also dilute essential oils in lotions and creams, but you should try to keep the ratios the same as that for base oils.
To somewhat shorten this already long article, I have included a link to my previous post, ‘6 Best Skin Oils for Oily and Acne-Prone Skin’. Near the end you will find a table of suggested essential oil to base oil ratios plucked from my favorite aromatherapy guide ‘The Complete Book of Essential Oils & Aromatherapy’ by Valerie Ann Worwood.
If you have any questions or comments about any of these dry skin oils, or wish to share your own experiences using essential and base oils to treat dry skin, comment below or tweet me on Twitter.
1Graham, Rebecca. “Chamomile Essential Oil – Help Soothe Dry Skin”. Botanic Universe, February 23, 2017. Web. October 2018
2Axe, Josh, DC, DMN, CNS. “Rose Essential Oil Benefits Skin, Depression and Hormones”. Dr. Axe, August 9, 2014. Web. October 2018
3Axe, Josh, DC, DMN, CNS. “14 Geranium Oil Uses & Benefits for Healthy Skin and Much More”. Dr. Axe, July 26, 2018. October 2018
4Carter, Emma. “How to Treat Dry Skin Using Essential Oils”. Essential Oil Haven, November 3, 2017. Web. October 2018
5Benjamin, Jennifer. “The Beauty Benefits of Lavender”. Everyday Health, n.d. October 2018
6Colquhoun, James. “6 Healing Essential Oils For Anyone with Inflamed, Dry, Itchy, or Patchy Skin”. Food Matters, October 19, 2016. Web. October 2018
7Mercola, Joseph, MD. “Palmarosa Oil: A Potent Way to Improve Skin Health”. Mercola, December 21, 2017. Web. October 2018
8Arbuckle, Kit. “What Are the Benefits of Rose Hip Oil on the Face?” Livestrong, October 3, 2017. Web. October 2018
9Dorman, Kristin. “Does Apricot Kernel Oil Benefit the Skin?” Livestrong, October 3, 2017. Web. October 2018
Axe, Josh, DC, DMN, CNS. “Rose Essential Oil Benefits Skin, Depression and Hormones”. Dr. Axe, August 9, 2014. Web. October 2018
Boldt, Ethan. “Sandalwood Essential Oil Benefits & Uses”. Dr. Axe, January 9, 2015. Web. October 2018
Levy, Jillian, CHHC. “11 Juniper Berry Essential Oil Uses + Benefits”. Dr. Axe, june 18, 2018. Web. October 2018
Lewis, Andrea. “6 Best Skin Oils For Oily And Acne-Prone Skin”. Holistic Health & Living, October 10, 2018. Web. October 2018
Melero, Angela. “Safflower Oil Skin Benefits”. Livestrong, July 18, 2017. Web. October 2018