There are four categories of skin types: normal, oily, dry, and combination.1 People with dry skin can experience it all the time or some of the time, such as during the winter months. The characteristics of dry skin are the opposite of oily skin.
Oily skin is not dehydrated skin, while dry skin is. Conventional products can keep it under control, but so can alternative methods such as essential oils. Highlighted below is an overview of what exactly dry skin is and which essential oils help moisturize dry skin.
What Is Dry Skin?
When your skin is dehydrated, it’s in a state of xerosis, otherwise known as dry skin. This happens to people of all ages, sexes, and races. The characteristics of dehydrated skin can be itchiness, roughness, flakiness, scaling, cracking, and peeling. When a person’s skin is dry, the areas where it is most manifested are on the heels of the feet, hands, arms, legs, and back.
A person can experience dry skin any season of the year, or it may manifest during particular seasons, such as winter when a furnace heated house has dry air and the moisture is not being replenished with something like a humidifier. Other factors that contribute to dry skin include toxins in soaps and detergents, medication, long hot showers or baths, thinning skin due to aging, smoking, skin conditions such as eczema, certain medical diseases such as diabetes, and more.2,3
What Are Essential Oils and How Are They Used?
The skin is the largest organ. Its condition affects the body systems such as the circulatory, lymphatic, and nervous systems. When toxins creep into the skin, it can harm the internal organs and those systems.
Essential oils have been shown to be helpful for all skin types, including dry skin, as an alternative to conventional methods that may contain toxins that are harmful to the skin and body. Essential oils are the pure substances found in plant leaves, flowers, stems, bark, and roots. They have been used for thousands of years in medicine, religious rituals, and beauty.
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When essential oils are used in a massage, bath, or diffuser, this is known as aromatherapy, and its goal is to not only improve physical health but psychological and spiritual health as well.
Essential oils on their own are pure and potent and can irritate the skin. Therefore, always dilute an essential oil with a carrier oil such as olive, almond, or coconut oil.
Dry Brushing for Dry Skin
One way to enjoy an aromatherapy treatment for dry skin is by scrubbing your body with a natural scrub that includes an essential oil after you dry brush. A dry brush massage involves the use of a dry, natural-bristled brush with a long handle on dry skin.
The process stimulates the oil and sweat glands of the skin, enhances circulation, removes dead skin cells, and results in skin that is smoother, softer and more radiant.
To dry brush:
- Use a natural bristled brush only. Do not use a synthetic brush. Make sure the brush has a long handle so that you can reach difficult areas, such as portions of your back.
- Make sure your skin and the brush is dry.
- Start brushing beginning at the bottoms of your feet and work upward. Brush in small circles. Do not use the brush on any part of your skin that is infected. Use gentle pressure until you become comfortable with harder pressure. Do not dry brush your face.
- Shower off. After you’ve stood in the hot shower, add a final cold shower rinse.
To include essential oils after you’ve dry brushed:
- Scrub your body with a mixture of sea salt, olive oil, and a few drops of an essential oil.
- Rinse off in warm or hot water. As an added benefit, make your final rinse a cold rinse.4,5
Top Essential Oils for Dry Skin
Geranium Essential Oil
Geranium essential oil is derived from the leaves of the geranium plant, native to Africa. Its anti-inflammatory properties calm irritated itchy skin. As a natural astringent, it cleans the skin and tones it without drying it. Not only is it antiseptic, but it’s also wound-healing.6
Lavender Essential Oil
For those just getting started with essential oils, lavender essential oil is a great place to begin because it is popular and versatile. This oil comes from the lavender plant, native to Asia, Africa, and Europe. It has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and anti-fungal properties.7
Plus, it has a pleasant, instantly recognizable scent. Lavender essential oil is ideal for soothing and nourishing dry, itchy skin, including conditions such as eczema and scalp itch.
Sandalwood Essential Oil
Sandalwood essential oil is derived from the wood and roots of the sandalwood tree, native to Australia, Nepal, and Pakistan. It has a pleasant scent and its antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, softening, soothing, and sedative properties are suitable for dry, itchy skin and conditions such as eczema.8
Rose Essential Oil
Derived from the Rosa damascena plant or the Damask rose and originating in the Middle East, rose essential oil has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. It is suitable for soothing dry, itchy skin and refining its texture, including fine lines and wrinkles.9
Tea Tree Essential Oil
Melaleuca essential oil, also known as tea tree oil, is another of the essential oils that is ideal for dry skin. It is sourced from the tea tree found in Australia. This essential oil has become so popular that it is being included in many conventional products that you buy in drug stores and the beauty counters of department stores. Tea tree oil has antibacterial, antifungal, and antiseptic components that are ideal for soothing dry, itchy skin.10
Palmarosa Essential Oil
Palmarosa essential oil contains antiseptic and antibacterial components and is ideal for dry skin and conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. Additionally, it hydrates the skin and prevents inflammation.11
Roman Chamomile Essential Oil
This oil is sourced from the perennial chamomile plant that has daisy-like flowers and originated in North America and Europe. The essential oil has anti-inflammatory properties that soothe irritated skin that is dry and itchy.12
Lemon Essential Oil
The essential oil known as Citrus limon is derived from a tree native to South Asia. Lemon essential oil contains antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-fungal properties and is a natural astringent, gently cleaning and toning dry skin without dehydrating it.13
Rosemary Essential Oil
Essential oils ideal for dry skin share many of the same characteristics. Rosemary, sourced from the rosemary plant native to the Mediterranean region, has antifungal and antibacterial components. Skin that is dry, itchy, and inflamed can be soothed with the use of rosemary essential oil.
It’s also ideal for an itchy scalp and helps with conditions like eczema, psoriasis, and dermatitis. This essential oil is a natural astringent that naturally cleans, tones, and rejuvenates the skin without any of the toxins found in commercial brands.14
Peppermint Essential Oil
Peppermint essential oil has a scent that people immediately recognize. However, peppermint essential oil not only has a favorite smell, but it’s also ideal for dry skin. This essential oil is native to the Middle East and Europe, and it’s a hybrid of spearmint and watermint.
Peppermint contains menthol, which is soothing for dry, itchy skin and is an ideal natural astringent that won’t dehydrate dry skin. It’s also suitable for conditions such as poison ivy where the skin gets dry and itchy.15,16
Dry skin is a common complaint that people have, and it’s a condition that you can effectively remedy with essential oils. The cause of dry skin is dehydration. Therefore, the goal is to hydrate the skin, as well as soothe it. An essential oil mixed with a carrier oil will add moisture to the skin, as well as give the skin the healthy properties it needs.
This approach avoids any of the toxins that can be found in conventional lotions or creams. In addition to the use of essential oils, avoid exposing your skin to situations that contribute to dry skin. For example, if your house is dry in winter, add a humidifier to the air to hydrate it.
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