Can Essential Oils Actually Help Fend Off the Signs of Aging?

Photo: @mppllc via Twenty20
Lately, it seems that essential oils are garnering mega multi-tasking status. Need an attitude adjustment? A few drops of citrus could be helpful in boosting your mood. Searching for a hair remedy? Ariana Grande swears that lavender oil helps keep her famous mane shiny. Want to power down? Marie Kondo uses Kuromoji (a Japanese wood-based essential oil) to chill after a long day. And now: Florida-based dermatologist Loretta Ciraldo, MD has turned to the aid of essential oils for their anti-aging properties in her new skin-care line Dr. Loretta (which drops today).

Specific essential oil are used in different products for their individual, [plant-based] therapeutic properties.

After having a successful dermatological practice for years, Ciraldo enlisted the help of her client—a TCM practitioner, chemist, and aromatherapist—Myriam Zaoui (who'd previously co-founded the brand The Art of Shaving) to form a nine-piece line of serums, cleansers, and moisturizers designed to effectively address the skin damage.

"One of the things that struck me during my career as a dermatologist is the the difference between skin that's exposed to the elements like our face, our hands, and skin that's always covered, like our buttocks," says Ciraldo. "It's really exposure to four factors that not only have changed the way we age, but what we also designed our line around—pollution, light, irritants, and climate factors."

Unlike some other brands, which tap essential oils mainly for their olfactory delights, Ciraldo and Zaoui wanted to use them to improve skin health. "Specific essential oil are used in different products for their individual, [plant-based] therapeutic properties," says Zaoui. "For example, we use chamomile flower extract in the Gentle Hydrating Cleanser ($35)—it's very anti-inflammatory and soothing," she says, and is great for maintaining a clear complexion, too.

The cleanser also has ginger, another anti-inflammatory wonder. "Ginger is also antibacterial, antiseptic, and helps to increase blood circulation," Zaoui adds, which could be helpful in collagen production. She also loves the orange and lemon oils found throughout the line. "They're loaded with antioxidants to help neutralize free radicals and soothe the skin, too," Zaoui says.

However, a word of caution: Both warn that you should almost never apply concentrated essential oils directly to skin. They're far too concentrated and can harm the skin, she adds. Instead, dilute them into a carrier oil, such as jojoba or coconut or buy a pre-blended product to give your concoction an skin-saving boost. Another day, another way to use 'em. Add it to the CV.

Find out what happened when one woman used essential oils as her go-to wellness fix for a week. Or, if you're stressed, check out these essential oils to ease anxiety.

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