Essential oils have incredible uses, and we all know that they can be used on everything from formulating healthier skin to reducing inflammation to counteracting stress and anxiety. It's effortless to set up essential oils or blends for a distinct physical or mental issue, but what about seasonal changes? Obviously, there are different challenges between spring and winter, summer, and autumn - especially when it comes to skincare.
I'm sure we can all agree that winter can be one of the most challenging seasons for healthy skin, and there are various reasons for that. For individuals who live in an area with the same weather conditions all year round, winter skincare won't be as much of a problem. For those who don't live in warmer climates, the good news is that many great essential oils can help make sure you have plentiful, healthy skin – even during the coldest and hardest of winters
The Challenges of Winter Skincare
There's an abundance of challenges to take on when it comes to keeping your skin healthy during the winter. Understanding all these difficulties will help you direct your attention to which essential oils can counteract these common skin issues.
A few of the main winter skin challenges include:
- Extended damage from UV rays (reflection from snow)
- Extremely dry skin
- Flaky skin
- Breakouts and flare-ups
- General irritation and redness
Many of these skin issues can happen outside of winter, but they are especially common during the colder seasons, which means you need to be more conscious of them. All of these problems can work synchronically to do a number on your skin. For example, UV rays can damage the skin during the summertime; we all know this! But, most people don't even think about them during the winter, even though they reflect off of snow, doing the same amount of damage as if you were on the beach without any protection from the sun's rays.
Essential oils that specifically work for tackling these issues are going to be good choices for winter. While this helps lead you to a good shortlist of oils, there's something that gets overlooked far too often when it comes to wintertime skincare. While it's easy to focus on all those physical ailments that directly affect the skin and are visible, it's also important to look at different essential oils that focus on mental health promotion. Psychological care, Seasonal affective disorder (SAD), bypassing depression, and keeping a positive outlook are vital components for placing yourself in the proper mindset, so you have the enthusiasm and energy to tackle the increased self-care necessitated to keep your skin in excellent condition over the troublesome winter months.
Looking at the Top Essential Oils
We put together this easy-to-reference list of the top 8 essential oils (plus one honorable mention) that can benefit your skin during the colder months of the year. Besides smelling absolutely amazing and positively affecting your brain and your mood, these natural, essential oils have healing qualities that can help with exfoliation, stimulate cell regeneration, act as an antibacterial or antimicrobial agent, or even support anti-aging.
Great for: dry, inflamed skin, mature skin, bruises, scar tissue, burns, radiation, and broken capillaries.
How it works: This oil is identified as "immortelle" for a very significant reason. Once you start adding it to your winter skincare routine, your skin will most definitely notice the difference. This oil is known for healing everything from bruises, acne, eczema, scar tissue, rosacea, and mature skin.
Helichrysum is also known as a curry plant because of its leaves' strong smell. Let's just say, if you stroll past a field of Helichrysum, you'll understand why it coined that name!
Helichrysum's healing characteristics are said to be due primarily to two unusual ketones — italidione and beta-diketone, which can only be found in Helichrysum.
Because of the beautiful aroma and it's rich skin benefits, this essential oil works best when applying a few drops in your winter night creams. Trust us on this one!
Great for: Sore and sensitive skin, dry winter skin, psoriasis, eczema, acne, and burns.
How it works: Lavender is one of the most popular essential oils for skincare. Fun fact, the modern-day study of aromatherapy began because of chemist René-Maurice Gattefossé's affection for lavender after the oil treated a burn he had sustained on the job.
Studies show it also offers antihistamine (anti-allergic properties). It has mild antioxidant activity as well as anti-inflammatory and antiseptic effects.
Lavender is considered pretty safe, and most individuals tolerate lavender essential oil well, nevertheless essential oil safety guidelines suggest using no more than 8% on the skin, and diluting with a carrier oil before application.
Great for: acne, irritated skin, fungal infections, sebum control, boils, cold sores, and dandruff.
How it works: If you have something itchy, scratchy, or puffy, there's a good chance tea tree essential oil can help you. Luckily, tea tree oil is one of the most heavily studied oils, and there's much research to back all of the claims. Tea Tree essential oil is native to Australia and has been employed by the Bundjalung people as conventional medicine for centuries. Its essential oil became widespread in the 1920s after chemist Arthur Penfold started to study its healing qualities. He discovered that tea tree essential oil was 11 to 13 times stronger than the leading antibiotic at the time.
The excellent antiseptic and antibacterial benefits of Tea Tree Oil also make it perfect for your skincare routines and cosmetic purposes. While Tea Tree oil isn't meant to be ingested, it's very safe to be used directly on skin without diluting it, unlike most essential oils. For that reason plus the fact that it is more affordable than other essential oils, this oil should definitely be in anyone’s home skincare kit. Check out or FREE e-guide “87 Uses and Benefits of Tea Tree Oil” where we share over 2 dozens of skin application uses for this amazing “medicine in a bottle” oil.
Great for: eczema caused by anxiety or stress, inflammatory skin conditions, older skin, wrinkles, dry and itchy skin.
How it works: It's time to open your eyes to the wonders of Clary Sage! The story behind the name Clary Sage is intriguing but not as interesting as the plant itself. Excellent for both hair and skin, Clary Sage is a must-have essential oil. Adding a couple of drops to your preferred carrier oil and massaging the mix into the scalp is a great way to help alleviate an awkward, dry, dandruff scalp. Clary Sage can help keep skin smooth, hydrated, and clear when added to natural cleansers and moisturizers.
Another fun fact, a 2012 study found a massage therapy of 2 parts lavender and 1 part clary sage used at a 3% dilution was active in reducing menstrual discomfort and cramping.
Great for: oily skin and regulating sebum production, mature, inflamed skin, and scalp health. Also great for stress reduction.
How it works: Ylang-ylang comes from a flower native to Indonesia. The scent is similar to what you'd expect from a tropical flower, with a slight hint of banana.
Not only does this oil smell lovely, but it also works wonders regulating sebum production, treating skin aging or stressed skin, and as a scalp tonic.
Studies show that Ylang Ylang essential oil contains a high percentage of active compounds called terpenoids which show good results as natural therapeutic agents for the various skin conditions. When applied and tested on cancerous melanoma skin cells, terpenoid compounds show a strong inhibitory effect, meaning that the antioxidants in this oil help shield skin cells from oxidative stress and DNA damage.
Great for: Mature skin, wrinkles, scars, eczema, acne, inflamed skin conditions, dry skin, stretch marks, and acne.
How it works: Frankincense advantages include the ability to strengthen skin and improve its tone, elasticity, defense mechanisms against bacteria or discoloration, and features as someone ages. It can help to tone skin, reduce the presence of scars and blemishes, and heals cuts. It’s one of the most used oils for aging skin.
According to a study published in the Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine, frankincense essential oil reduces dryness and skin irritation, while also producing a more even skin tone, which can be of great value during the colder months when skin becomes irritated and dry due to colder temperatures and winds.
Great for: Acne, promotes circulation, rosacea, varicose veins.
How it works: It's not just for food anymore! Rosemary is just as great on roasted veggies as it is on the skin. It leaves the skin feeling warm, helping to relieve muscle tension as well as focusing and relaxing the mind.
A 2009 study found Rosemary essential oil increased stimulating effects and made participants feel more attentive, alert, vigorous, and even more cheerful. Furthermore, the oil contains antimicrobial and antiseptic properties which can help heal skin troubles like acne, oily skin, and eczema.
Great for: acne, dry skin, irritated skin, and wounds.
How it works: Patchouli essential oil has so many beautiful benefits for skin health. It helps to arouse muscle contractions and, therefore, prevent loose skin (and also hair loss). Patchouli essential oil regenerates skin cells, and this action keeps the skin looking healthy, young, and vibrant. It's also great for all skin types — dry, cracked skin, oily or acne-prone; you'll be able to notice the healing and germ-busting benefits of this oil either way.
Because of its quick-healing properties, Patchouli oil can regenerate and help maintain skin health during the winter months, when dry and cracked skin conditions become more prevalent.
Great for: Hormone-related acne, pain relief, and muscle strain wound healing, chronic inflammatory skin disorders, and adding a floral aroma.
How it works: we could write an ode about Rose Geranium in skincare and have good reason to think that others would agree. Rose geranium has been used for millennia as a medicinal plant – especially across North Africa and the Middle East – as a remedy for a number of ailments.
The aroma is often used in perfume production as a way to more economically increase the scent of rose.
Geranium has a very strong floral aroma. It is a good choice for mature skin in anti-aging products as well as for problem skin. Rose Geranium essential oil is known for its dermatological application for the treatment of aging, wrinkled, and dry skin. Furthermore, its antibacterial and calming anti-inflammatory properties can really help to boost skin health. Rose Geranium oil can help in the treatment of dermatitis, acne, and winter-related skin conditions.
Pro tip: Use the correct oils for winter!
If you aren’t yet moisturizing your skin with a nourishing body and facial oil, then what are you waiting for? Oils are better for overall hydration when your skin is dry and irritated because they are highly concentrated.
A good quality carrier oil, like argan or jojoba oil, will not only feed your skin with deep moisture, it will also steep it with nutrients that will combat free radicals, decrease inflammation, revive dry, cracked skin, and enhance your skin’s barrier, which in turn will limit moisture loss throughout the pores.
Recipes for Winter Skincare
There are multiple other ways to use essential oils for winter skin benefits, and whether they are used as an ointment or in a diffuser, please remember to always choose USDA Organic oils to avoid toxicity from the artificial fertilizers & pesticides sprayed on all non-organic crops; otherwise you’re defeating the oils’ overall health benefits.
Below are a few recipes we like which you may want to try for yourself and start loving the scents of these aromatic treasures on your skin.
Cream Cleanser for Dry Winter Skin
Cleansing balms are great for any skin type but especially good for dry skin.
- 1 ounce of shea butter
- 1 ounce of jojoba oil
- 6 drops of your choice of essential oils. Our fave combos are lavender and frankincense or rose geranium and patchouli.
- Melt the shea butter in a bowl placed inside another pan filled with simmering water on a top stove, then proceed to stir the shea butter until completely melted. Transfer softened shea butter into a new bowl to prevent it from becoming grainy.
- Add jojoba oil to shea butter. Stir until fully blended, then pour the mix into a glass container. Leave the mixture to cool for approximately 25-45 minutes depending on your room temperature.
- After 25-45 minutes, the mix should be cooler but still in a fluid state. Add your choice of essential oils, then after mixing, proceed to pop the jar into the fridge for an additional 30 minutes to set or leave it outside until the next day.
- Once set, the mixture should be the texture of a rich and smooth balm.
- Place a small scoop of the cleansing balm into your hand. Massage into the neck, face, and eye area. Massage for approximately 2 minutes. Wipe the balm away with a microfiber damp cloth or muslin cloth and watch all the remnant dirt of the day melt away.
Homemade Moisturizing Serum
Winter moisturizing serums can be costly and, most of the time, contain harmful chemicals. Instead, try this homemade serum recipe! It comprises nutrients and antioxidants that will help the skin to look vibrant and youthful while delivering essential nutrients and hydration.
- ½ tablespoon jojoba oil
- ½ tablespoon USDA organic evening primrose Oil
- ½ tablespoon USDA organic pomegranate oil
- 15 drops non-GMO vitamin E
- 20 drops USDA organic Rose Geranium oil or Frankincense oil (or a combination of both)
- 10 drops USDA organic Helichrysum Essential oil
Combine all of the ingredients together in a glass bottle. Give the bottle a shake to make sure the mixture is combined throughout. Apply every morning and night on the face, neck, and chest area. Only make a small batch at a time, as this serum doesn’t contain any preservatives (except for vitamin E), and therefore its shelf life is shorter than store-bought serum that contains chemical preservatives. Your homemade serum should be stable for 1-2 months.
Super Easy, Affordable Face Mask with Lavender Essential Oil
You don’t need to spend a lot of money on store bought cosmetic products, which may not even work, when instead you can use 100% natural ingredients for better results. This recipe is not only good for your skin and your pocket, it’s also good for the planet. You only need 3 ingredients- you can’t get any cheaper or simpler than that!!
- ¼ tsp bentonite powder
- ¼ tsp honey
- 1 drop Organic Lavender Essential Oil (this is optional, if you don’t like this oil, you can use other oils that are great for skin such as: Sandalwood, Helichrysum, Frankincense, Juniper, Tea Tree Oil).
- Combine all ingredients together with a plastic or wood spoon (don’t stir ingredients with metal spoon or use metal jar) and mix with enough water to make a thick “clay” mixture, but be careful not to add too much water.
- Apply this mask to your face avoiding the eyes area for about 10 minutes or until you feel the mask is dry and your skin starts to feel tight.
- Remove it with warm water and then apply your daily moisturizer as usual.
Bentonite clay has the power to draw dirt from pores by absorbing toxins, drawing out blackheads, and killing acne-causing bacteria. You can use this mask every week for a deep facial deep cleansing. Enjoy your clean, radiant skin!
Homemade Luxurious Body Cream with Essential Oils for Winter
- 1/2 cup jojoba or almond or grapeseed oil (I prefer these because they get absorbed into the skin fast, but you can use whatever carrier oil you like)
- 1 tsp + 1 TBS beeswax grated or broken into small pieces
- 2 tablespoon cocoa butter (add this for a more luxurious cream during the winter)
- 10-20 drops organic essential oils of choice (see our suggestions at the end of this recipe; if you prefer it to be scent-free, then don’t add any essential oils).
1.Combine all ingredients (except the essential oils if you use any) in a double boiler or a glass bowl on top of a simmering pan of water. Stir occasionally until everything is melted.
- Add your favorite essential oils.
- Pour into a glass jar to store it. Small mason jars are great for this lotion. It’s quite thick, so it will not pump well in a lotion pump!
- Use it as your daily winter cream. This ultra-moisturizing cream is a bit more oily, so you’ll only need to use a little, however it absorbs pretty quickly if you use almond of grapeseed oil instead of coconut oil. It also has a longer shelf life than some homemade lotion recipes since all ingredients are already shelf stable and no water is added. Use within 5-6 months for best moisturizing benefits.
- PRO TIP: Our favorite essential oils blends for this body cream recipe are:
- For a masculine version of this cream, you can use the following oil blends:
This body cream not only costs a fraction of the retail price when compared to those sold in stores, and it’s the best for your body. If you want to take your self-care to the next level and make sure you keep your body as free of chemicals as possible, you may want to consider using ONLY cosmetics with ingredients that you can also eat.
In fact, since all ingredients in this cream are 100% natural this could be used also as lip balm, in which case you may want to add 1 drop of essential oil you like to taste or 1 drop of vanilla extract, or just use it without any scent. The cocoa butter is very tasty, and gives it a hint of chocolate flavor. This body cream is excellent as a hand cream in the colder months and as a foot cream as well due to its rich texture. This recipe was adapted from Frugally Sustainable. Enjoy!
It's always recommended to dilute most essential oils with a carrier oil before using them on the skin. Also pay special attention when using it on children, especially those younger than 10.
If you're considering starting a therapeutic regimen using essential oils, it's better to consult a doctor or an aromatherapy professional first. Some skin types can showcase allergic reactions, so before using essential oils in any of their forms on your skin, it's recommended to do a skin test first, which you can do at home, if you prefer, by applying 2 drops of the oil you want to try on your wrist and wait for 24 hours to see if any irritation occurs. If not, then you’ll be safe to use it.Finally, try to use the exact amounts of the oil as per prescriptions or recipes above, otherwise, it could be toxic and cause irritation, possible burns, allergies, and other unwanted problems.
And always choose USDA Organic oils to prevent possible toxicity effects on your skin caused by the artificial fertilizers & pesticides sprayed on all non-organic crops; otherwise, you’re defeating their effectiveness.
Enjoy these wonderful recipes and let us know in the comments below which ones you tried and how they worked for you. We’d love to hear it!