10 Best Essential Oils to Fight the Signs of Aging

As you get older, the story of your life starts to get played out on your skin. Once you realize this you might be inclined to… Elizabeth Lilian - January 3, 2017

As you get older, the story of your life starts to get played out on your skin. Once you realize this you might be inclined to start making better choices but often, the signs of aging have already set in to stay. Smoking, drinking, and junk food are just a few factors that can cause premature aging signs. Whatever the cause, if you’ve noticed aging skin before your time, don’t despair. With a few easy additions of essential oil to your beauty routine, you’ll be seeing results fast.

Essential oils have long been used in many different circumstances, ranging from cosmetic to medicinal, through many different cultures worldwide. Dense with vitamins and nutrients, these highly concentrated forms of oil pack a whole lot of goodness within just a few drops. Essential oil is mostly extracted from plants, flowers, fruits, and vegetables, and different oils benefit different areas. Proven to be very effective in treating wrinkles, age spots, fine lines and other signs of aging, here are 10 of the best essential oils to fight the main signs of aging.


1. Lavender Oil

Lavender is one of the most popular fragrances around. A common ingredient in perfume and bath products, it’s long been used in many cultures to treat various ailments like nervous tension, blood circulation, respiratory problems, insomnia, migraines, headaches, depression, anxiety, and emotional stress. It’s also used as a bug repellent, a disinfectant, pain relief, and for hair and skin care.

Coming from the Latin word lavare, which means ‘to wash’, lavender can be found in the ingredient list of many health and beauty products. The aroma alone can treat nervous exhaustion, restlessness, and increases mental activity, and when used topically it can treat scarring, wrinkles, psoriasis, and other inflammatory skin conditions.

Lavender is a wonderful essential oil when treating the signs of aging because of its antiseptic and antifungal properties. It’s also used in healing cuts, burns and other wounds because it speeds up healing by improving the formation of scar tissue. Including lavender essential oil into your skincare regime is as easy as adding a few drops into your favorite moisturizer. Or choose a carrier oil (one that blends well with others) such as coconut oil and simply add a few drops in that, to create an all-in-one massage oil, face mask, body scrub and skin conditioner. Apply daily to any areas of the face/neck/body where signs of aging or other skin conditions may be appearing.

Though lavender essential oil is full of benefits, it must only ever be applied topically or inhaled through means of aromatherapy (such as with a vaporizer or oil burner). And though it takes a lot to be considered excessive, too much can cause nausea, vomiting or headaches.


2. Pomegranate Seed Oil

Pomegranate seed oil is made by cold-pressing the tiny red seeds of the pomegranate fruit. Pomegranate has long been considered a symbol of health, fertility, and eternal life, and is known as ‘nature’s power fruit’ – for good reason. Pomegranate comes from the word pomme garnete, which is French for ‘seeded apple’, and while this big, pink, spiky fruit can definitely look a bit peculiar, it works wonders when used internally and externally for both cosmetic and medicinal purposes.

Bringing life to the phrase “a little goes a long way”, only a small amount of pomegranate seed oil is needed to achieve results. Pomegranate seed oil is highly suitable for skincare due to its rich amount of omega-5, a rare fatty acid known as Conjugated Linolenic Acid, or punicic acid. This acid is one of the most potent antioxidants that modern science has so far come across. It’s a natural source of plant-based estrogen (phytoestrogen), and its molecular structure makes it highly compatible with skin.

Pomegranate seed oil can also be used to protect the skin against sun damage and sun spots, control acne breakouts, reduce scarring, and soothe minor inflammation. Containing roughly 80% punicic acid, which gives the pomegranate seed its strong anti-inflammatory nature, use of the oil can provide soothing and hydrating relief for sufferers of eczema, psoriasis and other skin conditions.

Using pomegranate seed oil helps collagen production and allows nutrients to be delivered directly to the skin cells, accelerating the process of cellular regeneration by stimulating keratinocytes, which are the major cells found in the outer layers of our skin where any damage is likely to show. The regenerative properties of this oil fight free radicals that cause the signs of aging and other damages and visibly reduce them.


3. Rosehip Oil

Extracted from the hip of a rose after all the petals have fallen, rosehip oil is a popular choice when combating skin problems. It contains the essential vitamins E, which acts as an anti-inflammatory to calm and hydrate the skin, and C, a vitamin known to brighten skin and improve the appearance of hyperpigmentation and uneven skin tone.

Rosehip oil helps balance the natural sebum production of the skin due to its neutral pH balance. The existence of antioxidants lycopene and beta-carotene means it’s effective at preventing cell degeneration that can be caused by bacteria and oxidants. The oil also contains trans-retinoic acid (also known as vitamin A), which makes it very effective at preventing premature signs of aging that can occur through sun damage and exposure to other free radicals.

When we expose our skin to sunlight, an increase in enzyme levels can occur which leads to the breakdown of collagen fibers. The vitamin A in rosehip oils helps reduce the activity of those damaging enzymes. Similarly, the fatty acids like omega 3, 6 and 9 slow the breakdown of collagen when they’re absorbed into the skin.

Aside from helping to prevent early signs of aging, rosehip oil also treats various other skin conditions like scars, burns, stretchmarks, acne, and acne scarring. The effects of rosehip oil are most beneficial when applied to damp, clean skin first thing in the morning and last thing at night. Only a small amount is needed, after which you should apply moisturizer directly over the top.


4. Neem Oil

Neem oil is a naturally occurring pesticide found in the seeds of a neem tree. Yellow in color and said to smell of garlic, it doesn’t sound like anything you’d particularly want to slather yourself in. However, it has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for over 2000 years and is commonly used today in natural skin care products, pesticides, and even pet shampoo. Neem oil contains a compound called azadrachtin which is the most active component, and the one responsible for repelling insects. It’s this compound that also gives the oil such a wide range of capabilities.

Neem oil can quickly penetrate outer layers of the skin, and is extremely effective in healing cracked or dry skin. Rich in triglycerides, vitamin E, calcium and essential fatty acids, it stimulates the production of collagen which helps smooth wrinkles, fine lines, sagging skin and other signs of aging. And unlike petroleum-based moisturizers, it restores the skin’s natural elasticity. Neem oil is also a natural remedy for other skin conditions like eczema because the presence of the anti-inflammation compounds nimbidin and nimbin, helps to relieve redness and swelling.

A little-known compound called quercetin is found in neem oil, which supports the body’s natural ability to respond to inflammation by inhibiting the release of histamines and other irritants. This makes it a prime essential oil for use against acne and other skin inflammations. Neem oil is antibacterial and non-comedogenic, which means that using it on your skin won’t block or clog the pores. Applying it to the skin rids the surface of all dirt and bacteria, while providing a soothing, relieving effect. It’s also said to lighten scars and heal infections caused by types of fungi or parasites.

When purchasing neem oil, it’s important to know what you’re looking for. A lot of commercial beauty products these days will contain neem oil, but it can be a refined product with additional chemicals which lessen the positive effects. And though it’s a pesticide, rest assured it’s safe to use on humans, animals, birds and earthworms.


5. Frankincense Oil

Frankincense essential oil is extracted from frankincense resin, which is made from the Boswellia tree. Originally found in parts of North Africa and the Middle East, the use of frankincense goes all the way back to Ancient Egypt where it was a main ingredient in face-masks and other cosmetics. Frankincense essential oil has been considered a miracle cure for health issues like acne, dry skin, stretch marks, oily skin, and wrinkles. It’s also frequently used in meditation, yoga and aromatherapy as it promotes calmness, serenity and relaxation.

Frankincense’s reputation as a cure-all comes from its anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, astringent, disinfectant, digestive and diuretic properties. These properties can greatly benefit our digestive, respiratory, nervous and excretory systems, while also treating arthritis, respiratory disorders, oral health problems, digestive disorders and uterine health. Frankincense is definitely the essential all-in-one oil.

Also known as ‘olibanum‘, frankincense is thought to be highly effective in treating mature, aging skin as it may help in healthy cell regeneration while keeping existing skin tissue healthy. This can reverse signs of aging, while reducing appearance of stretch marks and scars. It’s highly astringent, which means it shrinks and contracts body tissue, and can also be used to promote healthy gums and speed up healing of cuts.

Applying frankincense topically can aid in the absorption of nutrients, while strengthening the immune system. Though it’s not recommended for pregnant or lactating women, it’s generally considered safe for use. However, you should always dilute frankincense essential oil with a carrier oil such as coconut, jojoba, or olive oil, rather than applying it directly to the skin. Alternatively, you can add a few drops of oil to your favorite skin lotion, and reap the benefits that way.


6. Rose Oil

There are over 250 species of roses, but the most valued by far is the Rosa Damascena. There are two types of rose oil that can be created from the petals, Rose Otto and Rose Absolute. Both have vast amounts of therapeutic properties. It takes over 9 kg of rose petals to create enough essential oil to fill one 5mL bottle, but it’s highly concentrated, so a little goes a very long way. Rose Otto oil is extracted by steam distillation and is considered the best essential oil to use when treating the signs of aging. This oil is generally much more expensive than others due to the large amounts of petals involved in making it, but with so many benefits, it’s worth the high price.

Rose oil has antidepressant, antispasmodic, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and astringent properties. It’s a cicatrizant, which means it promotes cell recycling and regeneration. This makes it desirable for healing scars, stretch marks and wrinkles. Rose oil is also extremely good at retaining the skin’s natural moisture, thanks to its emollient properties.

Using rose oil topically can relieve redness while providing protection against wrinkle formation and refining skin texture. Rose oil contains omega 3 and 6 essential fatty acids and trans-retinoic acid, and when inhaled or used in aromatherapy, it lowers the stress hormone, cortisol.

When applied to the face, it creates a plump, youthful effect and increases skin permeability by opening your pores and allowing the moisture to penetrate far beneath the skin’s surface. To fight wrinkles and crow’s feet, dab a few drops of oil underneath the eyes and around the temples. Not only will this rehydrate the skin, it’ll help you feel calm and relaxed.


7. Geranium Oil

Geranium oil is often used in holistic treatments to improve physical, mental and emotional health. Extracted using steam distillation from the stems and leaves of the geranium shrub, it shares many of the therapeutic traits found in rose essential oil, however, it is much cheaper. This oil can effectively treat acne and reduce inflammation of the skin, as well as alleviate anxiety and balance hormones. It’s also used to treat depression and alleviate symptoms of menopause, poor circulation, low blood pressure, while promoting good kidney and dental health.

Geranium oil is a cicatrizant and an astringent, like rose oil. It can also be used as a deodorant, and is a cytophalactic. This means it stimulates new cell generation and encourages recycling of dead cells, promoting fresh, youthful skin. It’s this component that can also prevent muscles and skin from sagging, and can tighten the delicate skin on the face. Like other essential oils, it contains antibacterial, antiseptic, antifungal and antioxidant properties. And, like other essential oils, it should not be applied directly to the skin without first being mixed with a carrier oil.

This oil is not advisable for pregnant or lactating women, or babies and young children due to their delicate skin. In extremely rare cases it can have sensitizing effects on treated areas, but generally, it’s a highly effective treatment for fine lines and wrinkles. Add one or two drops to facial lotion and apply twice daily for optimum results.


8. Carrot Seed Oil

Carrot seed essential oil has been used in traditional medicine for many years and comes from the dried seeds of wild carrots that are commonly found in Europe. Scientifically known as daucus carota, it also goes by the name ‘Queen Anne’s Lace’ and is rich in carotene and vitamin A, which are both extremely powerful antioxidants and incredibly beneficial for healthy eyesight.

When used on the skin, the antioxidants in carrot seed oil can repair and prevent a lot of damage caused by oxidants and aging. These antioxidants also protect the skin from various problems like aching joints, muscle weakness, and deteriorating eyesight.

Carrot seed is by far the most underrated essential oil. It stimulates the sweat glands, cleans out pores, repairs damaged skin, heals wounds, reverses age spots, nourishes and tightens the skin, and can also double as a mild self-tanning lotion – giving your skin a youthful, radiant glow. Containing vitamins E and C, this oil can firm the skin and reduce appearance of cellulite, and it’s also extremely effective in treating wounds, gangrene, ulcers, psoriasis and other dermatological issues.

A few drops of carrot seed essential oil can be added to tea and juice to provide a detoxifying effect on the blood, muscles and internal organs like the kidney and liver, however, if you suffer from epilepsy or asthma, it’s best to avoid. It can be used to stimulate lactation in breastfeeding mothers, though you should consult your doctor before use. Known for that somewhat unpleasant carrot-y scent, try mixing it with a few drops of a more fragrant essential oil such as lavender, before adding it to lotions and creams.


9. Neroli Oil

Neroli is one of the lesser-known essential oils, yet one of the most effective. Steam distilled from flowers of the bitter orange tree, the blooms are handpicked by the thousands in order to avoid crushing the delicate petals. Neroli essential oil was named after the Italian Princess Anna Maria de La Tremoille of Nerola, who favored it for its varied and powerful uses.

Neroli essential oil is highly effective in uplifting and soothing an agitated state of mind. When used in aromatherapy, neroli can calm nerves, lower cortisol levels, and reduce blood pressure. The antioxidant properties promote cell revitalization and improve skin elasticity, which is effective in treating wrinkles, fine lines and stretch marks.

Though there is more research to be conducted, neroli oil is found to be similar to most other essential oils in that it contains antiseptic, antidepressant, bactericidal, cicatrising, cytophylactic, deodorizing and emollient properties. It has strong sedative qualities, and is also an aphrodisiac. Neroli is also one of the few essential oils that is non-phototoxic, which means it doesn’t damage the skin when exposed to light.

It’s considered very safe for use on sensitive skin, though it should never be used undiluted. The soothing effects can aid the most damaged skin types thanks to the richness in vitamin C which supports collagen production and gives a healthy glow, it also makes skin supple and is ideal for oily, blemished skin. Try adding a few drops to facial serums to aid in the reduction of broken capillaries and wrinkles.


10. Myrrh Oil

Myrrh comes from the resin of Commiphora myrrha, a plant found in Africa and the Middle East, and has been used in traditional healing therapies for many different things from dental hygiene to deep meditation. Botanically related to frankincense, the word myrrh comes from the Arabic ‘murr’, meaning bitter, and though it may look unsightly, it’s one of the most popular essential oils for many reasons.

There are two main compounds in myrrh that have made it a favorite for essential oil; terpenoids and sesquiterpenes. Both have strong anti-inflammatory qualities and are packed full of antioxidants, which makes myrrh incredibly potent and nutrient-dense. Sesquiterpenes also affect the hypothalamus, known as the brain’s emotional center, which makes myrrh an effective aid in the treatment of mental and emotional issues.

The antibacterial and antifungal properties of myrrh promote tissue repair and prevent infections, especially for gum and mouth diseases when used as a mouthwash. Modern scientists theorize myrrh has anti-carcinogenic and anti-tumor properties as there have been promising studies that show a positive reduction in cancer cells, though much more research is required.

There are a few setbacks though – if you’ve got sensitive skin, be wary as myrrh can bring on inflammation or dermatitis. Similarly, pregnant women should avoid this essential oil as it can cause uterine contractions. And if you’re using it for a mouthwash be careful – it’s effective, but too much can cause an upset stomach.

Essential oils can work wonders in treating all the signs of aging and other skin conditions, but like any new treatment, it’s best to consult with your doctor prior to use. Easy enough to squeeze into your beauty routine and with seemingly endless effects and positive results, it’s no wonder essential oils have fast become one of the most effective natural remedies when treating the signs of aging.