Healing Wounds and Scars with Essential Oils
Pure essential oils have a long history of use in natural skin care. These wonderful phytochemicals provide a great breadth of natural, medicinal components well-known for healing damaged skin, as well as reducing the appearance of old scars from wounds, acne and other incidents. Essential oil blends for these applications are gentle, safe for regular use, and have a wonderful aroma to boot!
There are a few primary oils used in skin repair; additional oils may be added to your liking (to improve aroma, or add further skin-supportive properties), but here, we'll concentrate just on the commonly used oils for skin damage. First, and possibly most important, is Helichrysum Italicum, also known as Everlasting. This oil with a lovely earthy aroma is distilled from the brightly-colored, daisy-like flowers of a strongly aromatic herb native to the Mediterranean region. Helichrysum is one of the most highly regarded oils in aromatherapy for it's broad range of healing properties for body tissues. 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 essential oil is the cornerstone for many blends for healing the skin, and is the only one necessary for supporting currently healing skin damage - it should be used at appropriate concentrations with Rosehip Seed and Hazelnut oils, as mentioned later in this article. As noted by well-known aromatherapists Kurt Schnaubelt, "The triple unsaturated fatty acids (of Rosehip Seed oil) strengthen the cell membranes and, combined with the regnerative qualities of Everlasting oil (Helichrysum), heal wounds with minimal or no scarring".
Lavender essential oil the most commonly used aromatic oil due to it's pleasant, soothing aroma and broad range of healing effects. Lavender is also included in many skin care blends as it also contains ketone molecules which stimulate tissue regeneration. The specific type of lavender oil is distilled from the flowers of the Lavendula angustifolia species. Lavender, also like helichrsum, is an anti-inflammatory, and is generally thought to bring synergy to essential oil blends. It can be included to almost any skin care blend to enhance the effects and aroma.
The essential oil distilled from the leaves of common Sage is included in blends where the wounds are old - where the healing happened some time ago and has left some unsightly scarring. This can work on keloid scars, acne scars, etc., though application need be regular and should continue for 3 to 6 months. The sage oil is included in essence 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. While it is called for in formulas for stretch marks, it should only be use after pregnancy, and not during by expectant mothers.
Rosemary is the final essential oil we'll cover here for skin healing and scar treatment. Rosemary of the Verbenone chemotype (rather than Cineol, which does not have the same properties) contains regenerative ketones like Lavender and Helichrysum, plus has the added benefit of stimulating the skin's metabolic process. This oil can bring greater circulation to skin tissues, delivering nutrients and eliminating cellular waste and toxins.
Finally, these essential oils need to be diluted carrier oils, which are seed or nut oils made up of fatty acids. These oils help the skin absorb the essential oils, and provide important nutritive oils to help the skin heal and look its best. The most important is Rosehip Seed oil, cold-pressed from Rosehip Seeds native to mountainous regions of South America. In addition to its unsaturated fatty acids, this oil contains natural vitamin A compounds similar in effect 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 qualites prevent the skin from feeling oil upon application.
Now for the recipes. For effective wound healing of recent cuts and scrapes (and has been used successfully on surgical incisions), to 1 ounce Hazelnut oil and 1 ounce Rosehip seed oil add 1 milliliter of Helichrysum essential oil and 1 milliliter of Lavender essential oil - apply twice a day for 7 to 10 days. For older scars from wounds or acne, including keloid scars, replace the Lavender in the previous recipe with Sage essential oil. 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.
This is a summary of a particular aspect of using essential oils for natural health, wellness and beauty. These are effective, tried and true recipes used for their specific, wound healing applications. With some research, you will find there are 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.