The 6 Best Essential Oils For Dry Skin

Moisturizers aren’t the only remedy for dry skin. There are many ways to replenish your skin's moisture with lightweight, hydrating ingredients. The best essential oils for dry skin don't just moisturize; they also calm and soothe the skin, leaving a lasting effect that won’t rub off easily throughout the day.

Applying heavy lotions isn't always the answer to dryness. Oftentimes, a formula that's too rich will sit on top of the skin, without penetrating deep enough to relieve dryness — but that's not the case with some lighter essential oils. However, it is important to note that nearly all essential oils should be heavily-diluted with a carrier oil before application. "A carrier oil is simply a fatty oil usually derived from the seeds, nuts or kernels of a plant," says Sheel Desai Solomon, board-certified dermatologist. "Carrier oils are used to dilute essential oils and carry them onto your skin. Dilution with a carrier oil does not dilute the effect of the essential oil, and is a great way to prevent waste due to excessive application ... Essential oils should be diluted in a 3 to 5 percent solution.”

When it comes to choosing the right essential oil for your skin, keep in mind that not all essential oils are beneficial, or safe. Gretchen Frieling, board-certified dermatopathologist, says, "Whether you create home remedies or find a favorite company offering oil-based skin care, look carefully at the list of skin care oils that are used while bearing in mind the following: The skin care oils you apply should not have a downside. For example, many essential oils from the citrus family smell wonderful, but they photosensitize the skin and should not be used."

As an aromatherapist, I’ve found that what works for one person may not work for another. It’s incredibly important to consider your own allergies and experiences, as most essential oils can be irritating to people with sensitive skin. (So, if cinnamon makes your nose feel itchy, cinnamon essential oil is likely to wreak havoc on your skin.) The best way to make sure a blend or single essential oil won’t cause irritation is by testing it on the inside of your elbow first and waiting 24 hours. So long as you follow those safety measures, these six are some of the best choices to help combat dry skin.

1. The Best Essential Oil To Improve Texture

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Plant Therapy Soft Skin Synergy, $12, Amazon

Featuring one of the world’s best known anti-inflammatory herbs, this essential oil blend will turn dryness into supple, healthy skin. Turmeric is a very versatile herb because it contains curcumin, a compound that can reduce inflammation, so this is a great blend for mild eczema and itchy, dry skin. This blend also includes frankincense, which is believed to soothe dry skin and heal irritations, and it's formulated without any additives or fillers.

2. The Best For Extremely Chapped Skin

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Edens Garden Age Defy Synergy Blend Essential Oil, $35, Amazon

This blend of essential oils is amazing for dry skin because it contains helichrysum essential oil, which has hypoallergenic properties that have been used to heal wounds for centuries. It’s considered a moisturizing emollient that’s well-equipped to handle dry and acne-prone skin. The sandalwood tree itself has natural emollient properties that help protect moisture while also reducing inflammation.

Rose, myrrh, and lavender essential oil balance out this blend to help it restore extremely dry skin. According to Dr. Frieling, "The moisturizing properties in myrrh essential oil work to heal dry and chapped skin. It also stimulates circulation and the generation of new cells, giving the skin a [smooth] look."

3. For Scars Or Irritations

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Aura Cacia Essential Blend Body Oil, Indulge, $9, Amazon

This body blend is balanced beautifully with calming essential oils as well as ones believed to stimulate healthy skin cells. It includes vanilla essential oil, which is as calming on the skin as it is the mind. Cedarwood has a wildly popular soothing effect on irritated skin and bergamot can help fade scars while supporting healthy pigmentation. With a clean, subtle, floral aroma, this blend is an excellent way to indulge your dry skin in a potion that’s truly filled with high-quality ingredients.

4. The Best For Combination Skin

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MEVEI Nirvana Blend Essential Oil, $30, Amazon

If your skin is oily one minute and dry the next, certain essential oils can help to balance the complexion. With an herbaceous scent, this essential oil blend will be pure bliss on dry skin. This brand meets and exceeds ISO standards by turning pure essential oils into luxury skincare remedies.

This blend contains patchouli, a wondrous essential oil for treating dry skin, and clary sage, a relative of sage that helps balance sebum production. Both oils are effective for treating combination and dry skin. Of course, lavender is added for its additional calming effects, as well as ylang ylang, to sweeten things up a bit.

5. To Treat Psoriasis Or Sunburns

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Plant Therapy Soothe Synergy Essential Oil Blend, $13, Amazon

As you may have guessed by now, lavender is a true dry skin savior, and this essential oil blend is filled with calming attributes that ease dryness. Lavender is a popular remedy for psoriasis and sunburns because it's believed to relieve itching and encourage healing. This blend includes geranium, which can be a great aid at relieving dermatitis and eczema. Adding this blend of essential oils to your favorite DIY lotion recipe will be a great way to keep skin smooth and clear during even the driest of times.

6. The Best For Sensitive Skin

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Aura Cacia Essential Oil, Roman Chamomile, $10, Amazon

"No matter what variety of essential oil you’re using, you should never apply it directly to the skin," says Dr. Desai Solomon. "Essential oils are incredibly concentrated sources of antioxidants, polyphenols, and other naturally-occurring substances ... Diluting the essential oil in a soothing carrier oil like jojoba, argan, or almond oil allows your skin to experience the benefits of the essential oil without the risk of injury."

This essential oil, which combines both chamomile and jojoba, already comes pre-mixed in its carrier oil. Chamomile has natural, gentle cleansing properties that are anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory, and jojoba oil makes a great carrier because it’s lightweight and virtually odorless. This blend can be applied as a night serum to nurture the skin, or added to heavier oils like coconut.

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This post was originally published on 1/10/2018. It was updated on 6/27/2019. Additional reporting by Maria Cassano.