Picture this: you make the switch to natural skincare products in hopes of soothing your sensitive skin, only to have your face break out into redness and inflammation. Unfortunately, this situation is all too common for natural beauty lovers. The culprit? Essential oils.
Many natural skincare products are formulated with essential oils because they’re all natural, smell incredible, and have many antioxidant benefits. But if you have sensitive skin, those luxurious scents can leave skin red and inflamed. Even worse, essential oils can actually sensitize skin, making all skin types more reactive over time.
Certain compounds in essential oils can disrupt the healthy bacteria on the surface of the skin, making it more susceptible to irritation. In turn, this irritation breaks down cells and can speed up the aging process.
And here’s the thing: this type of irritation can occur beneath the surface of the skin. So even if your essential oil-laden moisturizer doesn’t seem to be causing any outward signs of irritation, it could be wreaking havoc underneath your skin.
Not all essential oils are damaging for skin, but citrus oils (think lemon, grapefruit, and bergamot) and mint oils (like peppermint and pennyroyal) can be major culprits of redness and inflammation.
Plus, some chemicals in essential oils (like those in bergamot) can be transformed by UV rays to create an allergic reaction or even chemical burns. We’ll pass on that!
Additionally, essential oil concentrations are not typically listed on product packaging and there’s no third party regulation for essential oils, so it’s impossible to understand the quality and potency of a product before trying it.
Luckily, you can keep your skincare routine clean by finding EO-free products that feature other natural, non-irritating ingredients. One option is swapping out essential oils for plant-based or botanical oils. Plant-based oils, also known as carrier oils, are rich in essential fatty acids and provide some of the same nutrients for skin that essential oils do, withoutsensitizing fragrances. Examples of plant-based oils include rosehip oil, jojoba oil, and coconut oil.
Another sensitive skin-friendly ingredient to look for is manuka honey, produced by bees that pollinate the manuka shrubs of New Zealand. While all raw honeys provide health benefits for skin, manuka honey is particularly attractive for skin care. Manuka honey has strong anti-inflammatory properties that soothe sensitive skin types, and its natural antibacterial properties help with breakouts. It’s also an anti-aging ingredient, since it promotes cellular regeneration while moisturizing skin.
If you have sensitive skin, make sure to smell each skincare product before purchasing to check for strong aromas and check the ingredient list for essential oils. Look for natural products formulated with skin-loving botanical oils and manuka honey.
We love HONEY CORN’s line, which provides the benefits of manuka honey in non-sticky formulations that hydrate skin beautifully without any greasiness or residue. Their full line of skincare products soothe, moisturize, and nourish all skin types. Plus, since all HONEY CORN products are hypoallergenic and unisex, they’re truly for everyone.
And remember: you can still enjoy the aromatherapy benefits of essential oils! We just recommend keeping them in your diffuser rather than putting them on your face.
Article written in Solstice Magazine