Renee Zellweger has suffered from rosacea since America first began to notice the pretty girl next door. She has not allowed the condition, characterized by flushed cheeks, skin redness, occasional breakouts, and painful swelling at its worst, to put the brakes on an acting career that kicked off with her charming breakout role in the Tom Cruise movie “Jerry Maguire.”
While Zellweger has a team of skin clinicians to help treat her condition, her secrets are likely not too far out of reach for the rest of us, and the world of essential oils can provide you with your own arsenal to fight skin redness while improving the condition of your skin and reducing unwelcome signs of aging, such as discoloration, fine lines, and wrinkles.
Essential oils are powerful tools, and they have the ability to ease inflammation associated with red skin,—even the redness of rosacea—reduce the activity of blood vessels at the skin’s surface, and calm irritation.
One controversial theory behind rosacea is Demodex mites. Experts say that those with rosacea have 10 times more mites than those without the condition, and a 2012 study on the tiny mites that release bacteria when they die appeared in the Journal of Medical Microbiology with evidence to support the idea. Still, researchers simply aren’t sure, and the cause of rosacea is still a mystery. But if mites are the cause, the antimicrobial and antibacterial benefits of essential oils have this covered as well.1
Skin-Friendly Essential Oils: The Favorites
While most essential oils are packed with antioxidants that make them beneficial for skin health, some are especially powerful when it comes to improving the look and feel of skin because they hydrate, calm inflammation, brighten sallow skin, and encourage the production of collagen and elastin, so the skin’s structural layer is stronger and less likely to show signs of aging.
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When addressing redness and inflammation, the oils highlighted below are the best options. They’re gentle, pure, and have no additives or preservatives that can increase inflammation, accentuating the problem rather than healing it.
German Chamomile Essential Oil
While all varieties of chamomile are skin-friendly, German chamomile contains the anti-inflammatory compound levomenol (also known as bisabolol), which not only reduces redness but also offers moisture to improve the skin’s texture and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles associated with aging. In addition, German chamomile has antimicrobial properties.2
Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender is wonderful not only because it relieves stress, which can contribute to skin problems in some ways, but it also benefits the skin by reducing redness. It constricts blood vessels at the skin’s surface, easing inflammation and heightened coloration.
This essential oil is also gentle enough to be used as a spot treatment without being diluted, and it offers moisture as well as antioxidants that help repair skin beneath the surface while protecting the skin’s structural cells from damage. Lavender also kills the Demodex mites that have been linked to rosacea.3
Frankincense Essential Oil
Many studies have found frankincense to help ease inflammation, kill certain bacteria, and soothe pain, making it an ideal oil for promoting the healing of the skin. Frankincense also helps encourage the production of new skin cells, especially the structural proteins collagen and elastin, so it can strengthen skin beneath the surface, revealing healthier skin as surface cells die and slough away.4
Borage Seed Oil
Borage seed oil is packed with fatty acids, including gamma-linolenic acid, omega-3, and omega-6, which act as anti-inflammatories, reducing redness. This oil also helps hydrate parched skin, reducing any itching or other symptoms associated with rosacea.5 All of which makes it a great carrier oil to use for diluting essential oils.
Neroli Essential Oil
A member of the citrus family with a softer, floral scent, neroli is packed with antioxidants to help fight free radicals, protecting collagen and elastin—the protein cells that give skin its radiance and elasticity—from damage. Neroli also acts as an antibacterial, fighting toxins that could contribute to redness and irritation.
Amaranth Seed Oil
Amaranth seed oil, pressed from one of today’s emerging ancient grains, offers squalene, an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. It helps strengthen skin cells by boosting mitochondria, which provide those cells with energy.
Rosemary Essential Oil
Rosemary is one of the best essential oils for skin and hair, and studies have shown that evergreen-scented oil helps moisturize parched skin, easing redness. According to a 2017 study from researchers at Italy’s University of Catania, rosemary hydrated skin while improving elasticity.6
Calendula Essential Oil
Calendula oil brightens skin, eases inflammation, and offers rich hydration. It is gentle enough for a spot treatment at its full strength. It also makes a lovely addition to your nighttime moisturizer.
Geranium Essential Oil
Geranium essential oil eases inflammation, encourages the production of new skin cells, and regulates the production of sebum.
Sea Buckthorn Essential Oil
Extracted from the coastal sea buckthorn plant’s berries, this oil offers anti-inflammatory benefits that make it a welcome treatment option for red, irritated skin. It also encourages cellular regeneration, so the skin’s structural layer will become stronger and more youthful over time.
Sandalwood Essential Oil
Sandalwood not only nourishes dry skin and eases inflammation, but it can also help erase irritation associated with some skin rashes.
Rose Essential Oil
The anti-inflammatory benefits of rose essential oil make it an excellent option for easing redness. According to the New York Institute of Aromatherapy Studies, it also offers astringent benefits that constrict blood vessels at the skin’s surface, further reducing redness. In addition to offering welcome hydration, rose oil also lifts anxiety, so it can help prevent stress-related outbreaks.7
Eucalyptus Essential Oil
This popular astringent not only help kill bacteria on the skin’s surface, but it also reduces inflammation.
As you can see, fighting redness can be made simple with the right arsenal of essential oils. Make sure to dilute the essential oils highlighted above with a carrier oil like almond, coconut, or jojoba oil before topical application to avoid irritation. Then, avoid the benefits that these potent oils provide, especially when it comes to reducing redness on the skin.
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