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Skin care essentials: Tackle acne and other summer skin ailments with essential oils

Essential oils like those extracted from tea tree, lavender and apricot have antiseptic, antioxidant and antibacterial properties. But, say beauty experts, take care to apply and mix them in the right amounts.

more lifestyle Updated: Apr 04, 2018 18:17 IST
Etti Bali
Etti Bali
Hindustan Times
Essential Oils,Skincare,Beauty
Essential oils have antioxidant and antiseptic properties that solve a lot of the usual summer skin troubles.(Photo: iStock)

Skin care routines are never easy, and with the current weather conditions, things tend to get sticky. Clogged pores, sunburn, and acne are some of the most common problems brought on by the summer heat. It might sound strange, but you can counter oily skin woes with more oils. We’re talking about essential oils.

How to do it
  • Dermatologist Dr Deepali Bhardwaj suggests a skin care regime that makes use of tea tree oil: “Make a concoction of lemon juice, sandalwood powder and rosewater and keep spraying your face through the day. Wash your face with a face wash that has tea tree oil. Afterwards, take some tea tree oil on a cotton pad and apply on the face. Wait 5-10 minutes and wash with regular water. Tea tree oil acts as an astringent and reduces sebum production. This helps prevent acne. But this should be followed by applying lemon juice and let it soak. If you face dryness, soothe the skin with aloe vera gel or sandalwood powder.”

Acne, in most cases, is the result of bacterial or yeast infection. It’s the inflammation and infection of the sweat glands on the face. If you’re struggling with acne, add essential oils to your skin care regime. “Essential oils like lemongrass and tea tree are good for oily skin. For mature and combination to dry skin, lavender oil works best,” says dermatologist Dr Deepali Bhardwaj. “Apricot oil is known to contain essential oils that are very similar to those already present in our skin. Applying it will make the skin firmer and the pores will become smaller. Use it at night, wait for 5-10 minutes, wipe off extra and apply night cream over it.” In case the plants are not available, Dr Bhardwaj advises buying capsules of these plant oils, breaking them open and applying the contents directly on the face.

While these oils can be used daily, some caution needs to be exercised. “For treatments, they are diluted with pressed oils like almond, olive or sesame seed oils, which are called carrier oils. The recommended dilution is one drop of essential to three drops of carrier oil. For instance, add 10 drops of tea tree oil to 100ml rose water. Apply on acne-prone skin and oily scalp with cotton wool,” advises beauty expert Shahnaz Husain..

For treatments, essential oils are diluted with pressed oils like almond, olive or sesame seed oils, which are called carrier oils. (Photo: iStock)

Essential oils should be mixed according to the accepted blends. “One cannot just mix two or more essential oils at random, as it can change the constitution of the oil and the result will also change. It’s best to follow the recommended combinations and ratios,” adds Husain.

Oils and topical gels or ointments work up to a certain depth of skin. So for severe acne, it’s best to seek medical help. “Whatever we apply on the face, gets absorbed up to 250mm-300mm depth; acne is present up to 400mm depth,” says Bhardwaj. So in this case, anything applied topically will, at best, target only mild acne. “Tea tree oil, for instance, is only effective for mild bacterial infection. It’s bacteriostatic and doesn’t let the bacteria multiply,” she adds.

Severe acne and pus points need to be treated with antibiotic gels and oral antibiotics. “When the severity comes down, you can maintain the oil regime,” she says.

Quick fixes

For oily skin: To 200ml of distilled or mineral water, add 5 drops lavender essential oil and apply with the help of cotton pads. It has antimicrobial and antioxidant properties.

For normal to dry skin: Make a concoction with 200ml mineral water, 5 drops of rose essential oil and 1/2 tsp pure glycerin. It contains antiseptic and astringent properties.

For acne prone skin: Add 3 drops of tea tree oil to 10 drops mineral water and apply. It helps disinfect pores and dries out blackheads.

For acne spots: Add 2-3 drops of geranium oil to a moisturiser and apply on the face. It balances sebum production, helps reduce inflammation and heals scars.

Match the oil to your skin

•Lavender oils is for normal to oily and acne prone skin

•Rose oil has a cooling effect and is suited to all skin types

•Lavender also suits normal to oily skin

•Geranium suits normal to dry skin

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First Published: Apr 04, 2018 18:17 IST