Adapted from The Collagen Diet: A 28-Day Play for Sustained Weight Loss, Glowing Skin, Great Gut Health and a Younger You by Dr. Josh Axe
Protecting your skin isn’t just a cosmetic issue. This vital tissue is the first layer of defense against invading pathogens as well as the largest organ in your body. Keeping it youthful and structurally sound has ramifications for your overall health — and promoting collagen is the single best strategy to safeguard your skin. But I don’t want to trivialize the cosmetic impact of collagen. When you look in the mirror and see someone with vibrant hair and skin — which, by the way, can still be luminous (sometimes even more so!) if it has a few wrinkles and laugh lines — you feel better about yourself, which contributes to your happiness and sense of wellbeing. That, in turn, can help you be a better parent, partner, friend and colleague. And there’s nothing superficial about that.
With that being said, essential oils are staples in my and Chelsea’s skin care routines. I honestly don’t know what we’d do without them. Derived from plants, they contain concentrated amounts of active compounds that naturally support a healthy inflammation response, one of the many ways they boost skin health. Here’s a look at some of the best essential oils for skin tightening, healthy aging and all around glowing skin. Find out why and how they can protect the collagen in your skin and how to properly use essential oils for skin care.
Top 6 Essential Oils for Skin
1. Frankincense oil
Research has shown that this ancient oil can reduce the appearance of scars and stretch marks, and it seems to have the same effect on wrinkles and fine lines, according to a paper in Dermatologic Therapy. In that study, researchers instructed study subjects to apply frankincense oil to one side of their face for thirty days. The treated side showed significant improvement in sun damage, skin texture and fine lines as well as an increase in skin elasticity. The secret behind its effectiveness is likely its inflammation-fighting ability. Mix two to three drops of the oil with equal parts coconut or jojoba oil and apply to your skin.
2. Pomegranate seed oil
The oil of the pomegranate seed offers powerful protection from sun damage, according to research, and actually inhibits the devastating UVB-induced damage, thereby protecting collagen. Apply several drops to the skin before and after sun exposure.
3. Lavender oil
Research shows that lavender essential oil triggers the production of three of your body’s most powerful antioxidants: glutathione (known as your body’s master antioxidant), catalase and superoxide dismutase. When cells are under stress, including fibroblasts, it’s glutathione that comes to the rescue. Lavender oil is also helpful for wound healing, because it triggers protein synthesis, including collagen. Apply a few drops of lavender oil to the skin before bed; it also promotes sleep and reduces anxiety!
4. Myrrh oil
A powerful anti-inflammatory, myrrh oil contains terpenoids and sesquiterpenes, which control inflammation and also fight free radicals. Myrrh oil is part of my daily skin routine (and my wife, Chelsea’s) because it also protects against the sun’s damaging UV radiation and supports youthful, glowing skin. Apply a few drops to your skin before bed. (It will relax you, too!)
5. Jojoba oil
This isn’t technically an essential oil, but I’m including it here because it is wonderfully hydrating, probably because it contains a number of helpful ingredients like vitamin E, vitamin B complex, silicon, chromium, copper and zinc. It also can promote collagen, according to a study in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, which showed that jojoba liquid wax, which is similar to oil, stimulated fibroblast synthesis of type I collagen in wounds. Apply two to three drops of jojoba oil to your face.
6. Rosehip oil
There’s a good reason this oil (which isn’t actually an essential oil) has created a name for itself in the wrinkle-fighting realm: It’s packed with vitamin C, which, as you already know, plays a vital role in collagen production. Not only that, it also is a rich source of essential fatty acids, including oleic, palmitic, linoleic and gamma linoleic. It can strengthen nails, too. Apply a few drops to the areas you’d like to strengthen and support.
Before adding essential oils to your daily regimen, be sure to read up on essential oil safety so you know which essential oils can go directly on your skin, which essential oils should be diluted, the ones to avoid during pregnancy and the essential oils that are bad for your skin.