At one time or another, many of us have accidents or surgery that can result in unsightly scars. The same can happen from difficult cases of acne. Even stretch marks from pregnancy or significant weight loss can leave permanent unsmooth textures on the skin. There are few treatments available beyond silicone patches, and these won’t work in all cases. If one is looking for a natural means to improve skin appearance as a wound heals, or to smooth old scars or stretch marks, scientific aromatherapy literature provides some formulas that may help.
There are a few primary oils used in skin repair. Other essential oils can be added that have healthful skin properties, such as Carrot Seed, Neroli, Palmarosa and more – with a little research, you can specialize your blends to suit your needs, though here we’ll focus on the primary oils for damaged skin. First, and likely most important, is Helichrysum Italicum, also known as Everlasting. This oil with a lovely earthy and floral aroma is distilled from the brightly-colored, daisy-like flowers native to the Mediterranean region. Helichrysum is highly regarded in medical aromatherapy for it’s range of healing properties. It is strongly anti-inflammatory, and has a high concentration of regenerative diketones found only in this oil. It is a bit more expensive due to it’s low yield in processing, but produces it’s wonderful effects in very small doses.
Helichrysum Italicum is the foundation oil for regenerative and anti-inflammatory skin healing formulas. It can the ONLY essential oil included, in a base of Rosehip and other seed or nut ‘carrier oil’ and still produce profound results, especially where skin is presently healing from a wound of some kind. As noted by well-known aromatherapist Kurt Schnaubelt, “The triple unsaturated fatty acids (of Rosehip Seed oil) strengthen the cell membranes and, combined with the regenerative qualities of Everlasting oil (Helichrysum), heal wounds with minimal or no scarring”.
Lavender oil is the most popular of all essential oils with a soft, pleasing aroma and broad range of healing properties. The specific type of lavender oil is distilled from the flowers of the Lavendula angustifolia species. It is included in many skin care blends as it also contains ketone molecules which stimulate tissue regeneration. Lavender, also like Helichrysum, is an anti-inflammatory, and is generally thought to bring synergy (enhancing the overal effect) to essential oil blends.
The essential oil distilled from common Sage is included for skin damage that is ‘old’ – where the healing happened some time ago and has left some unsightly scars. Thie oil can be effective on keloid scars, acne scars, etc, though application need be regular and should continue for 3 to 6 months. Sage oil is used to break up the scar tissue and to stimulate regeneration with it’s powerful components. Sage oil should be used with great care and in small amounts. Sage is included for post-partum stretch mark treatment; it should not be used during pregnancy.
Rosemary is the final essential oil we’ll cover here for skin healing and scar treatment. Rosemary Verbenone is also a popular skin-care essential oil, known to enhance the skin’s natural metabolism. Rosemary will improve the nutrient flow into skin cells, and speed the elimintation of metabolic wastes as well.
To complete these formulas, the essential oils are mixed with ‘carrier’ or ‘base’ oils. Carrier oils help the skin absorb the essential oils, and provide important nutrients to help the skin heal and look its best. The most important is Rosehip seed, pressed from the seeds (suprise!) of Rosehips grown in the mountains of Chile. In addition to healthy unsaturated fatty acids, the oil contains natural vitamin A compounds similar to the pharmaceutical preparation Retin-A but without the over drying or redness that often accompanies its use. Hazelnut oil is also a wonderful carrier well tolerated by all skin types; its gentle astringent qualities prevent the skin from feeling oily upon application.
Now for the recipes. For effective wound healing of recent cuts and scrapes (and for surgical incisions), in 1 ounce Hazelnut oil and 1 ounce Rosehip seed oil add 1 milliliter (25 drops) of Helichrysum essential oil and 1 milliliter of Lavender essential oil – apply twice a day for 7 to 10 days. For acne and keloid scarring, Sage is used in place of Lavender in the previous formula. Apply regularly for 3 to 6 months. For the healing of stretch marks post partum, use 1 ounce Rosehip seed and 1 ounce Hazelnut oil with 1 milliliter Sage essential oil and 2 milliliters with Rosemary Verbenone essential oil; again use for 3 to 6 months.
These effective recipes are derived from the French medical aromatherapy liturature specifically for wound healing applications. With some research, you will find wonderful recipes using essential oils for a broad range of skin care applications – they work, and they’re heavenly to use! As with all aromatherapy use, go slowly, watch for any (rare) skin reactions, and remember that less is more with essential oils – almost all have been noted to work in very low, well tolerated concentrations.