15 Essential Oils for Glowing Skin

(Last Updated On: August 3, 2018)

Essential oils should be a daily part of your skincare routine. These potent oils are an all natural alternative to the synthetic chemicals found in many skincare products, and will leave your skin, nourished, healthy and soft.

Extracted from the leaves and flowers of plants, and the barks and resins of some trees, essential oils bring you all of the protection that kept the plant healthy and vibrant in an all too hostile environment.

Plants have to take care of themselves, they can’t book an appointment at the doctor’s office when they get sick, they have to be the doctor and the pharmacist. Which is why they’ve developed complex defense systems, that ward off bacterial, fungal and viral foes. Plants also need to keep their tissues hydrated and protected from sunlight, so they produce their own powerful moisturizing compounds.

Essential oils bring all of these healing and nourishing benefits to your skin, in the form of concentrated plant essences which Mother Nature has perfected over millions of years. Essential oils don’t just contain one or two ingredients, they contain hundreds of substances which work synergistically with one another. Each one complementing the others, to make a substance which truly is greater than the sum of its parts.

How can laboratory produced skin care products – with their one or two active ingredients – possibly compare with ancient healing wisdom of plants?

They can’t!

To obtain these precious oils takes a lot of time and a lot of plant. Some plants are widely grown and easy to obtain in huge quantities, while other plants are rarer,  and therefore they are the more expensive essential oil sources. This has quite an impact on the price of different kinds of oil. The price of different essential oils also varies depending on how much oil is present in the plant material to begin with.

To obtain one single drop of pure Rose essential oil for example, takes 60 roses. And that small 5ml bottle that you see sitting on the shelf, contains the essence of 10,000 roses! That’s why it retails for at least $100.

Lavender on the other hand, with its clean, uplifting scent and treasure chest of healthy goodness, can easily be found for less than $10.

Rose is by no means the most expensive oil on the market. Some are prized for their fragrance above all else and are used to create magnificent fragrances that you just want to smell over and over again. While others boast significant medicinal properties.

One ounce of Rose Essential Oil has a market value of around $700. But the most expensive oil in the world today is Champaca Absolute which costs an eye watering $2,250 per ounce. Champaca is widely used in fragrances in India where it is also considered an effective treatment for depression. It’s known as the happy oil!

But we don’t have to spend our life savings in order to get beautiful skin from essential oils. Everything on my list is very affordable and will make your skin look like a million dollars.

Lavender Essential oil is safe to use undiluted on your skin, but all of the other essential oils listed should be mixed with a carrier oil before applying to your skin. You should also test on a small area of skin before using a new oil, just in case you might have an allergic reaction which is rare but possible.

You have a wide range of carrier oils available to you, choose from olive, coconut, jojoba, sweet almond, argan, grapeseed, wheatgerm, avocado etc. A safe dilution for adults is considered to be 2%. Which is 12-15 drops of essential oil for each 30ml of carrier oil.

The majority of the essential oils listed have mood lifting properties, which helps your skin by reducing your stress levels. Stress pumps up production of free radicals which are bad for your health in every way, and stress leads spots, rashes, premature aging and worry lines.

Always choose therapeutic grade essential oils for skin care use. The label on the bottle will indicate if your oil is the correct grade. Essential oils come with a dropper cap or a dropper wand. It’s much easier to use essential oils with a dropper wand. Some of the oils – lavender in particular – are very thin, almost like water, and it’s difficult to control the number of drops rushing out from a dropper bottle, while other oils are very viscous and take forever to drip out – I’m talking a full minute for each drop! With a dropper wand you avoid both problems.


Make Your Own Oil Serum

By adding essential oils to a carrier oil, you have an easy to use and versatile skin care product. Your serum can be used to cleanse and moisturize the skin, or spot treat a problem area.

Oils like jojoba, sweet almond and coconut oil make good dual purpose cleansers and moisturizers and will nourish your skin leaving it soft and clean. In a small bottle or clean lidded container add 2 oz (60ml) of carrier oil and a total of 35-40 drops of your chosen essential oils.


Make A Facial Steam Bath

A facial steam is an effective way to open pores, remove toxins and get a healthy glow. Heat some water to boiling, remove from the heat and add 10-20 drops of your essential oil blend. Close your eyes and lean over the steam for 10 minutes and cover your head with a towel. Inhaling the steam also brings you the benefits of essential oils internally.

The following essential oils all have excellent skin care benefits and between them cover the full range of problematic skin conditions.

  • Dry, chapped and cracked skin
  • Oily skin
  • Acne
  • Wrinkles
  • Sunburn
  • Warts
  • Ulcers
  • Varicose veins
  • Broken capillaries
  • Eczema, dermatitis and psoriasis
  • Spots
  • Sores
  • Boils
  • Inflammation
  • Blemishes
  • Scars and stretch marks
  • Cold sores
  • Blisters
  • Allergic rashes
  • Sensitive skin
  • Bruises
  • Razor burn
  • Fungal and bacterial infections

One other advantage to having a wide range of essential oils in your home is that you can blend the oils into unique fragrances, tailor made to your own preferences. To experiment with fragrance blends, add a few drops of different essential oils to a cotton pad. You’ll experience the top notes straight away. Wait a while for the base notes to emerge and see how you like it. You can add your fragrance blend to a fragrance free carrier oil, and store in a little roller ball bottle. Or you can make a solid perfume with the addition of beeswax. Perfume oils have much longer staying power than EDT’s and EDP’s and you only need a tiny amount.

1. Lavender Essential Oil – My Top Choice


Lavender’s scent is a wonderful blend of fresh, floral, clean and calm notes.

Indigenous to the Mediterranean region, but grown all over the world today, lavender essential oil is mainly produced in Europe, with the highest quality oils produced in France and Spain.

Skin care uses – Abscesses, acne, allergic reaction, athlete’s foot, boils, bruises, burns dandruff, dermatitis, eczema, inflammations, insect bites, psoriasis, ringworm, spots, sores, sunburn.

Lavender essential oil is one of the few essential oils that can be safely used undiluted. This makes it particularly helpful for blemished, spotty or acne troubled skin.

Lavender’s powerful antimicrobial properties even make it effective against MRSA infections and it can effectively combat Propionibacterium acnes, which is the main bacteria responsible for acne.

The linalool in lavender essential oil gives this oil its analgesic (pain relieving) properties and combined with its antibacterial action, makes it a good choice for soothing and healing sunburned skin. This same soothing action also makes lavender oil the perfect bee sting remedy.

Japanese research shows that the regular use of lavender oil in skin preparations could reduce the aging effects of sunlight on the skin. Other studies have shown that lavender oil has excellent antioxidant activity which suggests that it can inhibit degenerative skin changes due to sun damage and the effects of aging.

2. Jasmine Essential Oil

Jasmine is an evergreen, vining shrub with fragrant white flowers, native to China and asia, but widely cultivated in the Mediterranean region.

Jasmine essential oil contains over 100 active ingredients and is non toxic, non irritant, and generally non sensitizing.

Jasmine essential oil is oh so floral! It’s one of my favorite oils. It has a delicious smell that will lift your mood and induce a feeling of wellbeing. The Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago found that Jasmine causes the release of feel good endorphins, which boost energy and reduce anxiety. And it has some important skin care uses too.

Hydrates for softer skin – jasmine is well known to increase skin elasticity and reduce dryness, making it perfect for mature skin. Its antibacterial properties help to keep skin clear of bacteria and its criticizing action helps to fade scars left by acne and stretch marks.

3. Ylang Ylang Essential Oil

Ylang Ylang comes from the pink, yellow or mauve flowers of the Ylang Ylang tree, native to tropical Asia. Major producers of this oil are Madagascar, Reunion and the Comoro islands. In the Molucca islands a traditional skin care treatment is made from ylang ylang and cucuma flowers in a coconut oil base.

Ylang ylang is non toxic and non irritant. It’s a pale yellow, oily liquid with an intensely sweet, slightly spicy scent. Ylang ylang is one of the key fragrance notes in Chanel No 5.

Ylang ylang is known to be antidepressant, anti infectious, antiseborrheic, antiseptic, a circulatory stimulant and a tonic.

Too much ylang ylang in a preparation can cause headaches, so use moderate amounts or combine with other oils.

Ylang ylang helps to prevent the signs of aging, it controls sebum production and helps to prevent breakouts, smooths fine lines and improves skin elasticity.

4. Orange Blossom (Neroli Bigaradia) Essential Oil

Orange blossom is extracted from the blooms of the Orange tree, native to the Far East but widely cultivated in Mediterranean regions. Neroli essential oil is produced in Morocco, France, Tunisia and America. Another variety of orange blossom oil is produced called Neroli Petale or Neroli Portugal. This oil is considered of lower quality and with inferior healing properties, so make sure that you check that your orange blossom oil is Neroli Bigaradia. Orange blossom oil is a pale yellow liquid, with a delicate sweet floral scent.

Neroli essential oil is recommended  for mature skin. It helps to smooth fine lines and wrinkles and tone up sagging skin. The citral in orange blossom oil helps to improve skin elasticity.

Neroli oil can help to prevent and improve the appearance of stretch marks, scar tissue, and acne. It also helps to heal broken capillaries.

5. Bergamot Essential Oil

Bergamot essential oil comes from the skins of the nearly ripe fruits of the Bergamot tree. Bergamot provides the delicate flavor used in Earl Grey tea. Native to tropical Asia and extensively cultivated in southern Italy where the majority of the essential oil is produced. Bergamot is named for the town of Bergamo where the oil was first sold. Bergamot has been used in Italian folk medicine for many years – where it is an effective treatment for worms, but recent research has found that Bergamot essential oil has important skin care benefits.

Bergamot oil is a light greenish-yellow liquid, with a sweet, fruity, slightly spicy fragrance.

Bergamot is known to have over 300 compounds present in the oil.

Bergamot should not be used prior to sun exposure as it causes photo sensitivity and skin pigmentation changes. Use Bergamot oil well diluted and only at night.

Skincare uses – improves acne, treats boils, tackles cold sores, soothes and treats eczema, restores balance to oily skin, brings relief to insect bites, improves psoriasis, reduces the appearance of varicose veins, treats spots.

6. Tea Tree Essential Oil

Tea Tree oil comes from the leaves and twigs of the Tea Tree, native to Australia and the essential oil is also produced in Australia. Tea Tree has been used by the Aboriginal people of Australia for thousands of years. Tea Tree has been extensively scientifically researched and we know that it is effective against bacteria, fungal infections and viruses. Tea Tree oil is a powerful immunostimulant, able to increase the body’s ability to respond to infectious threats.

Tea Tree oil is a pale yellow, thin liquid with a warm fresh scent. It’s non toxic and non irritant.

This oil is an effective treatment for skin abscess, boils, blisters, burns, oily skin, skin rashes, spots, cold sores and warts. Making it a must have in your skin care arsenal.

7. Myrrh Essential Oil

Myrrh comes from shrubs of the Commiphora family, native to North East Africa and South West Asia. The shrubs exude a resin from their trunk, which hardens into the reddish brown resin known as Myrrh. Myrrh has been used as medicine for thousands of years and is first mentioned 3700 years ago. Along with Frankincense, Myrrh was one of the prized gifts presented to the new born Christ by the Kings of The Orient.

The essential oil is a pale yellow to amber liquid with a sweet, slightly spicy balsamic scent.

Myrrh is an excellent remedy for dry, chapped and cracked skin, eczema, ringworm, athletes foot, it benefits mature complexions, heals wounds and prevents and reduces the appearance of wrinkles.

Myrrh is non irritant, but can be toxic in high concentrations. Pregnant women shouldn’t use Myrrh.

8. Geranium Essential Oil

Geranium oil comes from the woody Geranium shrub which is native to South Africa although it is widely cultivated around the world. Geranium oil has been used medicinally since Antiquity.  The oil is a greenish-yellow liquid with a rosy sweet smell.

Medicinally Geranium is used to treat hemorrhoids, inflammation, dysentery and peptic ulcers.

Geranium oil treats acne, speeds up the fading of bruises, heals broken capillaries, treats burns, improves congested skin, brings balance to the skin making it able to treat dermatitis, eczema and oily skin, it softens and brightens mature skin, calms insect bites and helps to heal ulcers and wounds.

9. Sandalwood Essential Oil

Sandalwood essential oil comes from the Sandalwood Tree native to Asia. The tree must be over 30 years old before it is ready for oil extraction. Most Sandalwood oil is produced in India. Sandalwood oil is a pale yellow-green, viscous liquid with a sweet-woody balsamic scent. The oil is non toxic and non irritant.

Sandalwood is one of the oldest known perfume ingredients in the world with over 4000 years of uninterrupted use.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine Sandalwood is used to treat stomach ache, vomiting and skin complaints.

Skincare uses for sandalwood are – treating acne, conditioning dry skin, healing chapped and cracked skin, soothing and reducing razor burn and balancing oily skin.

10. Frankincense Essential Oil

Frankincense comes from the Olibanum Tree, native to North East Africa. The tree produces a resin from which we obtain the essential oil. It’s a pale yellow-green liquid with a warm rich balsamic undertone and a fresh top note.

In ancient Egypt, Frankincense was used in face masks, cosmetics and perfumes.

Skin care uses include – treating blemishes, conditioning dry and mature skin, improving the appearance of scars, healing wounds and preventing and reducing wrinkles.

11. German Chamomile Essential Oil


Chamomile essential oil comes from the annual herb Chamomile, native to Europe but widely cultivated around the world. It’s no longer grown in Germany despite the name. Chamomile has a long medicinal tradition in Europe and is known as an excellent skin care remedy. The essential oil is inky blue and has a sweet warm, herbaceous scent. Chamomile oil is non toxic and non irritant.

Its skincare uses include – treating acne, combating allergies, healing boils, soothing and disinfecting burns, healing cuts, treating chilblains, improving dermatitis and eczema, soothing insect bites, curing rashes, easing inflammation and bringing relief to sensitive skin.

12. Helichrysum Essential Oil (St John’s Wort)

Helichrysum comes from the woody, aromatic St John’s Wort herb, native to the Mediterranean region. It is mainly cultivated in France, Italy and Spain. St John’s Wort is a pale yellow to red, oily liquid with a honeylike scent. It is non toxic and non irritant.

Medicinally it has been to treat burns, allergies and psoriasis, and to cure respiratory conditions like whooping cough and bronchitis. It’s also used as a headache remedy.

Skin care benefits include – treating acne, combating allergies, healing abscesses, treating dermatitis and eczema, healing boils, soothing burns, healing cuts, removing spots and reducing inflammation.

13. Thyme Essential Oil

Thyme essential oil comes from the perennial evergreen shrub of the same name, native to the Mediterranean region, but now cultivated widely around the world. Thyme oil is a clear, pale yellow liquid with a sweet green scent. Thyme is one of the earliest medicinal plants used in the Mediterranean region, known to both the father of medicine Hippocrates, and Dioscorides.

Thyme has a long history of various uses. The ancient Egyptians used it in the embalming process and the Greeks used it as a fumigant against infectious diseases.

Skin care uses include – healing abscesses, treating acne, speeding up bruise healing, soothing burns, improving dermatitis and eczema, insect bite relief and restoring balance to oily skin.

14. Patchouli Essential Oil

Patchouli essential oil comes from the bushy green herb of the same name, native to tropical Asia. The herb is used in ancient medicinal traditions. Patchouli is a viscous, dark orange liquid with a sweet spicy fragrance. It’s non toxic and non irritant.

In Japan and Malaysia Patchouli oil is used an antidote to poisonous snakebites.

Skin care uses –  treats acne, heals cracked and chapped skin, improves dermatitis and eczema, cures fungal infections, heals sores, reduces open pores, heals wounds and prevents and lessens the appearance of wrinkles.

15. Lemon Essential Oil

Lemon essential oil comes from the peel of the lemon fruit, native to Asia, but now cultivated in many parts of the world. Lemon oil is a pale yellow liquid with a light, fresh citrus scent. It’s non toxic. Do not use before exposure to sunlight. Lemon oil is considered phototoxic.

Skin care uses – treats acne, heals boils, eases chilblains, cures corns, heals cuts, restores balance to greasy skin, calms insect bites, treats spots, reduces the appearance of varicose veins and heals warts.

Written by Irina Radosevic MD
Irina graduated from the University of Belgrade, School of Medicine as a Doctor of Medicine (MD) and spent over 3 years working in the Clinical Hospital Center Zvezdara, in the Department of Emergency Medicine. She also undertook a postgraduate in Cardiology from the same University and had previously worked for over a year as a Physician and Nutritionist Dietitian for the Fitness club Green Zone. She eventually left her chaotic but fulfilling job in the ER to pursue her passion of writing, travelling and mountain climbing which has included writing a first aid course for the alpine club of Belgrade. Irina currently works as a VA for PintMedia focusing on medical and travel writing. Feel free to connect with Irina on LinkedIn and FaceBook. Her CV can be seen here.