Essential oils can also be used for a variety of skin and hair ailments. However, before we consider these, we must mention some precautions specific to the use of essential oils on the skin.
People with a lot of skin and food allergies must avoid the use of essential oils. For those who do not suffer allergies, it is still possible to be allergic to something; only you don’t know it yet. To be on the safe side, before using essential oils on your skin, do a skin test first.
To do a skin test, apply a very small drop of essential oil on a hidden part of your body like behind the ear or inside the elbow, then wait for 24 hours. If no irritation occurs, the essential oil is safe for you. If irritation occurs, wash the area with mild soap then repeat the process with a drop of diluted essential oil. Do this on a different part of your body. You can dilute the essential oil with distilled water or a little bit of body oil or lotion. Mix them in a small bowl or on the palm of your hand, then apply the solution with your finger. If irritation still occurs, then you should avoid that particular essential oil.
Second, most essential oils can be very irritating to the eyes. You should exercise great care when using oils on your face. However, rose and chamomile essential oils are generally safe to use around the eyes.
Here are some ways you can use essential oils for skin and hair problems:
For acne, use pure tea tree oil or lavender oil directly on spots. If this is too harsh for you, dilute the essential oil with an equal amount of grape seed oil. This is the lightest available oil and is great for oily complexions. You can either mix them fresh every time you need to treat your skin, or you can mix them beforehand and keep the solution in a sterilized, opaque glass bottle. Make sure to shake your solution well before each use. For very oily skin or if you dislike the feel of oil on your face, you can also dilute the essential oil with distilled water or 50% ethyl or isopropyl alcohol. Take note though that alcohol can irritate sensitive skins.
For fine lines and wrinkles, use lavender, rose, jasmine or sandalwood. You can either apply the pure oil directly on the affected parts, or you can combine it with a carrier oil to provide a more moisturizing effect.
The term ‘carrier oil’ is used to refer to the oils used to dilute essential oils. Grape seed oil is best for oily skin. Dry skins can benefit from olive, coconut or argan oils, while normal skin can use jojoba or sweet almond oil. Those with very oily complexions can use distilled water or alcohol as described above. Take note that the effectivity of the essential oil is diminished if it is diluted.
For dark under-eye circles, use rose or chamomile essential oil diluted with an equal amount of the carrier oil of your choice. Use your ring finger to dab this solution around your eyes every night. Do not use alcohol to dilute essential oils used for the eye area.
For dark spots or acne marks, lemon essential oil is a good choice. Use it pure on the affected areas or dilute it with your choice of carrier oil. If you also suffer from fine lines and wrinkles, combine equal amounts of lemon essential oil with lavender. This will create a pleasantly feminine and uplifting scent.
To help keep your complexion young-looking, add 20 drops of green tea essential oil to 10 ml. of vitamin E oil. Green tea and vitamin E are great antioxidants. Use this mixture as a moisturizer by spreading at least 3 drops all over your face. Use more if your complexion is dry or less if it is oily.
For fungal infections like ringworm, use tea tree oil or lavender. It is best to use pure essential oil for this purpose; however, if your skin is very sensitive, you can dilute the essential oil with an equal amount of coconut oil since this is also a known anti-fungal substance. To ensure that the fungus is speedily killed, soak a gauze pad with the pure or diluted essential oil, then apply it on the affected part. Use a bandage to keep it in place.
To prevent falling hair and to encourage hair growth, massage a solution of rosemary essential oil, aloe vera gel and olive oil on your scalp. Use 10 ml. each of aloe vera gel and olive oil then add 10 drops of rosemary essential oil. Shake the mixture well before using it. Do this at least once a week for best results.
For dandruff or scalp psoriasis, mix 10 to 15 drops of tea tree, eucalyptus or lavender essential oil to 100 ml. of your usual shampoo. Shake this solution well before every use. You should feel a pleasant tingle on your scalp. Add more essential oil if necessary.
For head lice, combine 20 to 30 drops of tea tree oil and 1 cup of coconut oil. The tea tree oil will kill the lice while the coconut oil will dissolve the cement attaching the nits to the hair shaft. Apply this mixture all over the hair and scalp then leave it for at least 1 hour. Afterwards, wash off the mixture. You might need to shampoo your hair 3 times to get everything off. This treatment should be repeated for at least 3 consecutive days or until all traces of lice are gone. Meanwhile, bed sheets and clothes should be changed daily, and the hair should be combed with a fine-toothed comb to remove any remaining live lice.