Why Frankincence Is Your Best Beauty Friend

I can't say I knew much about frankincense prior to the past year. I did at least have full knowledge that this essential oil had no relation to my beloved Frankenstein, but other than recognizing the smell from years of nativity plays during Catholic school, I wasn't very familiar with its benefits. I had assumed this essential oil made from the bark of boswellia trees produced an ordinary oil with a friendly scent that reminded me of Christmas — my least favorite holiday. It wasn't until after an aromatherapy class years later that I started to research how frankincense could be a vital part of my beauty routine.

I've never been a fan of the Christmas season. Perhaps it's because the season seems to overshadow my birthday (I am definitely a birthday diva). Perhaps it's because, during my childhood in New Hampshire, Christmas brought freezing temperatures, dark skies, and nativity plays at my Catholic school that left my classmates beaming with faith and love while I sat backstage, puzzled with 100 questions. It was during those nativity scenes that I first learned about frankincense, however, so I guess they weren't all bad. Each year, during the school play, gold, frankincense, and myrrh were brought to "Mary" and "Joseph". Of course, I assumed that this was because of the lack of Sega Genesis and Lisa Frank stickers available during the time baby J was supposedly born. At 12 years old, I couldn't help but feel bad for the crappy gifts, because if my parents gave me incense or oils for my 10th birthday, I would have been one pissed off birthday girl.

Fast-forward 20 years and frankincense is high on my list of birthday gifts. In Old French, frankincense means "high quality incense," but it is SO much more than that. Known as a sedative, a disinfectant, and a natural astringent, frankincense has been used to treat wounds, stop bleeding, and heal scarring for centuries. Obviously, that's one of the top reasons why I introduce any essential oil into my skin care regimen. You live long enough and those acne scars start needing more than just time to heal. Frankincense has such powerful healing properties that it's also a common remedy for boils and ingrown hairs.

Any great skin product worth its merit is going to solve your acne problems, plus tone and lift the skin as well. Frankincense is an amazing anti-aging tool that can smooth wrinkles, fine lines, and of course, with all those healing abilities, it's going to take care of age spots and sun damage too.

Here are all the reasons why bringing Frankincense to your Yankee Swap is a great idea.

1. Oral Health

One of the oldest and most common uses of frankincense is oral health. Adding the essential oil into your all-natural or homemade toothpaste is a perfect way to prevent premature tooth loss and gum disease because of the strong antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. Make your own toothpaste with frankincense to alleviate bad breath, mouth sores, and toothaches.

2. Treat Ingrown Hairs

Few beauty woes bring the same amount of pain and shame that comes with ingrown hairs. These suckers can be a result of shaving and end up plaguing your otherwise smooth bikini line, or they can occur on your face and manifest itself into a horrible, persistent boil. Use cocoa butter (the unrefined small sticks can be found at your local pharmacy), a few drops of frankincense, and tea tree oil to extract the hair, treat the inflammation, and clean the wound. If you suffer from frequent ingrown hairs, this is an excellent aftershave treatment!

3. PMS

No joke, I actually understand (offended, but understand) why PMS was referred to as women's hysteria at the end of the month when I go completely insane. I like to start by having an alarming amount of energy, no appetite, and make grandiose art projects that I never finish. Then my energy completely depletes with no warning. Suddenly, turning that window panel into a frame is far too lavish for me to complete and the only energy I have is to waddle to my kitchen and consume everything and anything in sight. A few drops of frankincense underneath the tongue is supposedly a great way to balance hormones and fight adrenaline fatigue.

4. Anti-Aging Moisturizer

A great moisturizer for oily to moderate skin types moistens, tones, and lifts the skin. One of my favorite recipes is super easy to make and definitely will have your face looking all types of glowing during the coldest months. Frankincense blends well with citrusy oils, so mix a few drops of frankincense oil and lemongrass seed oil, then add apricot seed oil. Frankincense works best when diluted with a carrier oil, so add the one of your choice to this as well. This moisturizer is light and smells all types of delicious!

5. Hair Loss Treatment

You know that patch of hair that only you know about in the back of your hair that literally stays matted and/or nappy no matter what you do? Unfortunately, my fave oil to promote hair growth, black castor oil, smells like straight up GREASE. Frankincense is also excellent at promoting a healthy scalp and moisturizing existing hair follicles to prevent and treat hair loss. Adding a few drops of frankincense to castor oil helps equalize the nasty scent, plus speed up that growth process even more.

Image: mastahanky, Benjamin neBen Le Gentil, chenn/Flickr; Giphy; Amazon