Scar-Free Skin Healing With Medical Aromatherapy
Essential oils have been found particularly useful for regenerating skin that has suffered from accidents or surgery, or has their remaining signs in the form of keloid, acne, or other scars. Certain essential oil blends can speed healing time, reduce or eliminate scars from recent wounds and even greatly diminish the appearance of old ones. The oils and formulas we’ll describe here are for injuries that have already sealed, where no chance of bleeding still exists, and the possibility of infection is past.
Selecting Essential Oils for Healing the Skin
There are a few primary essential oils used in skin care which offer their regenerative properties; these oils are used in suprizingly low concentrations in would healing & scar reduction — be wary of significantly increasing your concentrations! Blends for skin care, particularly for the face, almost never have a total essential oil concentration over 5%, and often significantly less. The fact is the oils are very potent medicine, and work best in low dilutions.
Helichrysum: The Most Powerful Healer
Perhaps the single most active skin healing oil is Helichrysum italicum, also known as Everlasting oil. It has a distinctly medicinal aroma, which some folks love and some not so much! And despite it’s apparent expense, again you’ll only need small amounts in your formula. Helichrysum is strongly anti-inflammatory and contains powerful regenerative molecules unique to this oil only.
Helichrysum can be used by itself in a synergistic carrier oil such as Rosehip seed or Tamanu Nut. This combination may be all that is needed to speed the healing of recent wounds — though often a little Lavender oil is added as well. Kurt Schnaubelt, one of America’s leading aromatherapists notes in his quintessential guide “Advanced Aromatherapy” that Helichrysum essential oil and Rosehip seed can “heal wounds with minimal or no scarring”.
Lavender to Balance and Soothe
As mentioned above, Lavender is often included in skin care blends – it has gentle anti-inflammatory and tissue regenerative properties, along with very soothing, anti-anxiety aroma. This stress-relieving action seems to be imparted even at the cellular level where wound healing occurs. Lavender essential oil itself began the modern aromatherapy revolution when a scientist burned his hand in a laboratory accident, and after cooling the wound in a beaker of Lavender found the wound to heal remarkably quickly. It is also thought to ‘synergize’ or improve the efficacy of other essential oils in combination.
Sage: Regeneration for Old Wounds and Scars
The essential oil distilled from common Sage leaves is also used in the healing of scars, particularly old or unsightly scars. It’s natural regenerative properties and ability to promote circulation aid in gently breaking down the tough skin resulting from wound healing. Sage oil should only be used in these instances and in small quantities, as it’s Thujone content can be toxic in high quantities. If used in a recipe for stretch marks (see below), it should only be used post-partum. Despite it’s powerful components, however, when diluted and used with respect, one can use this oil safely.
Rosemary to Stimulate Cellular Metabolism
Rosemary will be the final essential oil we’ll mention here for scar treatment. For the skin, Rosemary of the Verbenone chemotype has many important properties – it contains regenerative ketone molecules, and stimulates cellular metabolism. This oil helps new skin form, bringing nutrients into the cells and supports the removing toxins and wastes.
Carotenoid Containing Essential Oils
Other essential oils can offer important nutrients that may speed the healing process. Most importantly, they offer carotenoids and carotenes — natural vitamin-A-like compounds needed for increasing the strength of the healing tissue. Vitamin A is considered absolutely critical to normal skin development, and indispensable during wound healing. Carotenoids are also strong antioxidants, which can ‘mop up’ free radicals at the site of an injury. Three essential oils can be chosen from: Sea Buckthorn, Carrot Root and Calendula. You’ll find these both as CO2 distillations, which means the oils have been distilled with presurized liquid carbon dioxide at a low temperature. While not the best route for all essential oils, for these two it helps them retain the high level of nutrients that was present in the original plant material. These can be used at higher concentrations that the steam distilled oils discussed thus far, if so desired.
The Carrier Oils A combination of carrier oils is best, as each as specific therapeutic properties to contribute. The most researched for our purpose is Rosehip seed — it has been shown to reduce the appearance of scars simply applied by itself. Tamanu (also known as Foraha) has impressive therapeutic properties for wound healing, and although it has not been the subject of scientific research, leading aromatherapists recommend it specifically for healing the skin. Finally, an oil containing high levels of essential fatty acids will round out this synergy of base oils. For this we’ll use Evening Primrose, though Hemp or Borage could also be used.
The Recipes: For all formulas, use a base of equal parts Rosehip seed, Tamanu and Evening Primrose. DO NOT use Rosehip seed if you are prone to acne in the area being treated. Add Virgin Coconut instead. To each ounce of base, add the essential oils listed.
For old scars:
20 drops Helichrysum
10 drops Sage
10 drops Lavender
20 drops Sea Buckthorn or Carrot Root
For wounds that are just now healing:
7 drops Helichrysum
7 drops Lavender
14 drops Calendula CO2
24 drops Sea Buckthorn CO2
Many, many more skin care formulas are available when blending essential oils – with many oils able to aid with very particular situations. You can continue using these blends once you’re happy with your skin’s appearance, or modify your blend to make it more protective (reseach blends for anti-aging). And as always with aromatherapy oils, go slowly, pay attention to your body’s reactions and remember that increasing concentrations of the essential oils will not make a more effective blend. Be safe and enjoy.