The Truth About Essential Oils In Skincare
Whether or not essential oils are beneficial in skincare products is a highly debated topic. We either hear "This DIY essential oil cream saved my face!" or "Essential oils are a danger to your skin." There's not much in between.
But are they really as bad as people think? Let’s address some misconceptions and find out if they can safely be used topically.
What Are Essential Oils?
An essential oil is an extremely concentrated chemical compound from a plant. The “essence” of the plant is usually extracted through a distillation process. Distilling or cold pressing is what captures the pure characteristics of the plants, giving them their scent or flavor. Essential oils have many claims, ranging from improving mood to curing cancer. For skincare, different oils have been studied for their effects on certain skin ailments, but there isn’t any conclusive research.
Tea tree, peppermint, lemon, lavender, sandalwood, geranium, eucalyptus, and bergamot are some examples of popular essential oils used in beauty products. You smell and see these listed in a LOT of natural beauty products.
Plant extracts (like acai or blackberry extract) and non-fragrant oils (like jojoba or sunflower seed) shouldn't be confused with essential oils. Seeing "algae extract" in the ingredient list is GOOD. Seeing "tea tree essential oil" is BAD. Be advised, seeing non fragrant plant extracts in your product is usually a good thing, but too many plant extracts can cause irritation as well. How are you supposed to know if your skin will tolerate every plant extract??
Keep an eye on your ingredient lists.
Who Can Use Essential Oils?
Products that explicitly list essential oils in the ingredients are not suitable for most people, but especially those with sensitive skin. They are more likely to hurt your skin than help. The risk of irritation that essential oils bring can ruin an otherwise good product!
A lot of us are already using essential oils indirectly. When a product lists “fragrance” in the ingredient list, that fragrance is usually a combination of essential oils and synthetic fragrances. While any fragrance can be irritating, this is much different than applying a pure essential oil straight to your skin or when a product lists an essential oil directly in the ingredients.
If you have sensitized skin, are breaking out for no reason, or your skin just won't seem to get better, check all of your products for essential oils. Cut those products out and see if your skin improves. If you're in fact reacting poorly to essential oils, your skin will feel better fairly quickly after removing them from your routine. If the typical vague "fragrance" is listed, it's still worth removing to observe how your skin reacts. You may be sensitive to even the smaller amounts of essential oils in the fragrance blend!
If you read my post on Skin Positivity, I mention how stress can negatively affect your skin’s progress. I use lavender or wild orange essential oils in a diffuser, because I do believe they can help with mood. Incorporating aromatherapy into your self-care routine could benefit your mind and your skin! You can read more on how to reduce stress and stay positive here: https://www.cherie.com/campaign/6878880515160621061/Don-t-Let-Acne-Rule-Your-Life-Why-it-s-Important-To-Stay-Positive?utm_source=web&utm_campaign=web_share&shareChannel=web&gid=6878880515160621061>ype=long_article_post&utm_medium=long_article_post_detail_share
As for skincare benefits, some people swear by essential oils, while others have banned them from their routine. Lack of science on the effects of essential oils for skincare makes it hard to determine if they are worth using or actually dangerous. Just because a product claims to be “natural” doesn’t inherently make it better. Don’t choose your facial skincare based on how it smells or how pretty the packaging is. Stick with science and proven active ingredients when deciding what sinks into the delicate skin on your face!
I’m pretty sure all of us have used tea tree oil as a spot treatment at some point. But HOW you apply essential oils (if you decide you want to) is almost more important than the oil you choose. Dabbing pure tea tree oil (or any essential oil) on a pimple will likely cause more issues to the area you're treating. If you choose to use essential oils on your skin, just be sure to dilute it by adding 1 drop of the essential oil per 1-2 tsp of carrier oil, like jojoba oil.
If you apply undiluted essential oil to your skin (this goes for your body as well), you could experience an allergic reaction, irritation, breakouts, dry/flaky skin, and even burns. Like I said, essential oils are STRONG. You also up your risk of sun damage considerably.
There are more effective ways to treat skin concerns, ways that are extensively studied, and proven. I would recommend sticking with the key players like BHA's, AHA's, retinol, sulfur, benzoyl peroxide, and pimple patches over essential oils if you want to see tangible results and lower the risk of a reaction.
I don’t think fragrance is evil all the time, and I still use some scented skincare products myself. Is unscented better? Yes!! Do I recommend using straight essential oils or essential oil-heavy products on your face? NO!! But if you have a holy grail product that happens to be fragranced, you don’t have to stop using it. If it’s benefiting your skin and not causing any issues, then enjoy it! But it’s still a good idea to avoid fragrance when you can. It is important to note that you can develop a sensitivity to a product regardless of how long you've been using it. Keeping your routine "clean" from potentially irritating ingredients wouldn't hurt. And remember: "naturally-derived fragrance" is still fragrance and most likely essential oils!!
Netflix has an interesting docuseries called “[UN]WELL” with an eye-opening episode about essential oils and their impacts internally and on the skin.
The Ordinary Empties and final thoughts!
I believe it’s been almost 10 months of me using The Ordinary products and wow! I can’t believe so much time has passed! These 3 products are the very first products I ever bought to try and here’s what I think! The Ordinary - Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% This serum I would buy again and again. And I do! I’m on my 3rd bottle! Because I usually wear glasses, my nose gets really really oily under the nose pieces which causes them to slide around my face A LOT. After using this serum, I’ve noticed that I really don’t get oily in that spot anymore thank god! My T zone is balanced and because of my oil production going down, I’ve also noticed my pores around my nose have shrunk dramatically. The Ordinary - Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 This one I’m really on the fence about. I have definitely seen improvement in my face in terms of “wrinkles” which really were just a way of my face telling me I needed more moisture! However, the formula is soooo tacky that when I try to use it during the day it makes my sunscreen pill no matter how long I wait for it to settle in. Even though I hate the tackiness, I still bought a 2nd bottle! The Ordinary - Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG There’s nothing wrong with this product. I just feel like it didn’t do much for me! I got it to help with my dark under eyes and puffiness but I don’t think it did much. If it did do anything, it was too gradual of a change for me to notice. Also, does anyone know what all this buildup is around the cap??? I guess we will see how long it takes me to realize it did help and I run to get a new bottle! For now, I think one bottle of this was enough for me.
Cul Skincare Challenge with Dr. Cula
Hi guys! I am Dr. Cula, a dermatology resident in New York. I am here to debunk all skincare myths but more importantly, here to foster excellent skincare practices. November is National Healthy Skin Month! So, I thought to kick off my page with a skincare challenge to promote healthy skincare habits among Cherie users. Join me on this 6 week skincare challenge for healthy and more beautiful skin. The challenge consists of three main steps to be done in the morning and evening (swipe to see). I added the HA serum to the evening regimen to minimize skin irritation and dryness from the retinoid, which can be exacerbated by the colder weather. So, why join me on this skincare challenge?...Because: 🥰 skincare routine is self-care. 👯♀️To slow down aging, consistent use of retinoids will help take the years off 💅🏽Healthy, glowy skin is a great confidence booster! How do you monitor your progress? A picture if worth a thousand words!! 🤳Take a selfie at day 0, week 3 and week 6 and share your progress on cherie! 🤳Use the Topic Tag 'Cul Skincare Challenge' and tag me so I can be sure to check out your posts! Pro tips: consistency is key to reaping the benefits. Your skin may get worse before it gets better if you are new to retinoids. Key is not to stop and to keep pushing through it! Here is my current skincare regimen: 🔆Morning Cerave cream-foam cleaser Skinceuticals vitamin C serum ISDIN Eryfotona Ageless ultralight tinted mineral sunscreen 🛌 Night Cerave cream-foam cleaser Vichy Mineral 89 hayluronic acid serum Altreno (my retinoid) LaRoche Posay Toleriane double repair face moisturizer It is OK to use any brand you want, as long as they are non-comedogenic. Good luck! And keep me posted with any questions/concerns!! Stay tuned as I will be reviewing the products that I use currently in my regimen. IG: @theculderm
Why pH of skincare products is important?
The pH is defined as the negative logarithm (base ten) of the concentration of free hydrogen ions in aqueous solution. The pH of skin surface ranges from 4.5 to 6 making it slightly acidic. The acidic nature of the whole skin surface was first claimed by Heuss in 1892; however, the first scientific study was carried out by Schade and Marchionini in 1928, who called it the acid mantle. The “acid mantle” protects the skin by inhibiting the growth of pathogenic organisms, regulating keratinization, desquamation and wound healing. Any disruption in the acid mantle disrupts the activity of enzymes involved in barrier function and anti-microbial protection. The skin pH and the buffering capacity of the skin surface are made up of the components of the stratum corneum as well as the secretions from sebaceous and sweat glands. Sweat is an important contributor towards skin acidity owing to its content of amino acid, lactic acid, and urea, which supplement skin NMF levels. The formation of stratum corneum barrier requires enzymes that are pH dependent. Two lipid-processing enzymes β-glucocerebrosidase and acidic sphingomyelinase require a pH of 5.6 and 4.5, respectively. An increased skin surface pH activates enzyme serine proteases, which causes degradation of corneodesmosomes and affects the skin barrier. pH also has a big impact on the skin microbiome. The bactericidal activity, because of dermicidin and nitrites in sweat, occurs optimally at pH 5.5. The resident bacterial flora changes as pH increases causing increase in population and activity of P. acnes and Staphylococcus aureus which are responsible for acne and eczema. All these result in contact dermatitis, atopic dermatitis, ichthyosis, acne vulgaris and Candida albicans infections. Products with high pH cause swelling of skin follicles affecting the permeability of the skin making it dry, sensitive, and susceptible. Most of the skincare products are formulated within the pH range of normal healthy skin except the exfoliating products that contain alpha-hydroxy acids (AHA’s), Vitamin C products and chemical peel which work at low pH. Facial oils, cleansing oils, balms are not pH dependent.
Is this sunscreen worth the hype?
There is 𝗻𝗼 𝘀𝗸𝗶𝗻𝗰𝗮𝗿𝗲 𝗿𝗲𝗴𝗶𝗺𝗲𝗻 without 𝘀𝘂𝗻𝘀𝗰𝗿𝗲𝗲𝗻. And, the 𝗯𝗲𝘀𝘁 𝘀𝘂𝗻𝘀𝗰𝗿𝗲𝗲𝗻 is the one that you will wear religiously. Is 𝗜𝗦𝗗𝗜𝗡 𝗘𝗿𝘆𝗳𝗼𝘁𝗼𝗻𝗮 𝗔𝗴𝗲𝗹𝗲𝘀𝘀 𝗨𝗹𝘁𝗿𝗮𝗹𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁 tinted mineral sunscreen worth the hype? #Isdin - ISDIN Eryfotona Ageless Ultralight tinted mineral sunscreen[products]#[FourStars] Pros ☀️ 𝗠𝗶𝗻𝗲𝗿𝗮𝗹 sunscreen aka physical blocker, thus broad spectrum ☀️ Contains 𝗶𝗿𝗼𝗻 𝗼𝘅𝗶𝗱𝗲𝘀, though unclear of percent. May provide protection against blue light. ☀️ One of the few tinted moisturizers that blends in well in skin of color. The tint is so homogenous and nice that you can away with not applying foundation after. ☀️ Contains 𝗽𝗵𝗼𝘁𝗼𝗹𝘆𝗮𝘀𝗲, an enzyme, that help repair damage caused by the sun. Not too thick or too thin, apply easily on the skin. ☀️ contains 𝗩𝗶𝘁𝗮𝗺𝗶𝗻 𝗘, an antioxidant as well as moisturizing Cons 🥴 𝗢𝗶𝗹𝘆, would not recommend for oily skin 😱 $$$ 𝗘𝘅𝗽𝗲𝗻𝘀𝗶𝘃𝗲, it is definitely a splurge when there are comparable more frugal options out there.
Sensitive Skin Game changer ❄️
What is the product? Avène - Thermal Spring Water Spray How does it work? Thermal Water works by soothing the skin and calming any irritation What are the notable ingredients? Mineral Spring Water What is the price? $18.50CAD Where can you purchase? Shoppers Drug Mart, Rexall Pharmacy and online How long have I been using it for? I’ve been using thermal water for over two years, I started off using this product on my body and now still use it on my face What is my experience ? My experience with thermal water has been good, I suffer from eczema on both my body and face. It was hard finding products that wouldn’t irritate or cause a flare up. When that happened this product saved my skin and soothed it. At first I was not exactly sure how water would help my skin, but after doing research thermal waters are meant to have healing properties for the body and skin. What are my thoughts? This product is nothing short of amazing, you are able to use it for multiple areas and it lasts so long. The mist is super fine which makes it perfect for spraying on large or small spots, and pressing into the skin similar to how you apply a toner. Would I recommend to a friend? I would absolutely recommend this product to a friend or family or even someone looking to help soothe their skin but who doesn’t want to break the bank!! My overall rating? 5/5 Would I repurchase? I have and will continue to repurchase this product until I find something that exceeds how amazing this is! #CheriePartner
Self-Expression, Beauty Rituals, and Uplifting The Trans Community With Mariana MarroquinLearn about LA's Trans Wellness Center and how to become a better ally for the trans community.Jun. 24
How Cherie's Skin Report Can Help Users Get Advice from their PeersCherie's beauty community offers solutions to all of your skincare questions!Jun. 18
All The Ways People Are Upgrading Their Mask-LifeBecause face masks need to be functional and fashionable!Oct. 20