Plant oils has been an increasingly popular trend in the market when it comes to daily skincare. If you’ve never heard of organic plant oils for skin health benefits or if you’re just starting out on your research, you’ve come to the right place.
We know that there are an overwhelming number of knowledge sources out there. In this post, we’ll be giving you all the information you need to know about plant oils.
What Are Organic Plant Oils?
Organic plant oils are derived from plant sources, as opposed to animal fats. Extracted from various plant species like seeds, nuts, kernets or fruits. These oils have been used for centuries by people all over the world.
Most organic plant oils are used in their diluted form by leading cosmetic brands.
As the ingredients can be too strong when applied directly on the skin, or in overt amounts, they are carefully tested to ensure the right quantities for a skincare product, followed by dilution with base ingredients.
Types of plant oils
Plant oils are divided into three categories.
- Vegetable fats and oils: This is commonly known as vegetable oil. Usually used for cooking like canola oil or solids like cocoa butter, it is usually chemically extracted.
- Macerated or infused oils: This oil is used with other ingredients such as herbs or flowers and is typically for food.
- Essential oils: These oils are usually for flavour, fragrances and aromatherapy.
In this post, we’ll be focusing more on essential oils rather than macerated and vegetable fats. We are pretty sure you do not want to apply food oil on your skin. That’s just gross!
How are plant oils extracted?
There are several ways you can extract the oil from plants. These methods include using an oil press. The most common oil press is called the screw press whereby oil seeds are fed into a metal housing and then you use screws to insert and smash the seed to create pressure.
This forces the oil out through the small holes at the side of the press. Another type of oil press is the ram press. A piston is driven into a cylinder, crushing the seeds and the oil is forced out.
Another popular method of extraction is via steam distillation. Most popular for essential oils, the seeds and plants are placed into a still and pressurized steam is forced through the plant material. The hot steam forces open pockets of aromatic compounds.
The compounds escape from the plant material and evaporate into the steam. The steam, which now has the essential oil compounds, passes through a cooling system and condenses into a liquid containing the essential oil and water. You now have essential oil.
Plant Oil Health Benefits
Why use plant oils? How do you use it? Do you only apply it to your skin? No. There are many ways and benefits that come with its usage.
Here’s some benefits of plant oil:
- Improve mood and reduce stress and anxiety
- Boost energy
- Improve skin conditions like eczema
- Reduce headaches and nausea
- Fight infections, bacteria and boost immunity
- Reduce inflammation and control acne
- Aid digestion
- Balance skin moisture levels
- Alleviate itching
- Improve sleep quality
These are just some of its benefits and there’s more! Do note that plant oils are not a cure-all. Do use it with caution, with professional advice if possible and remember to always dilute the oils.
Our top 10 organic plant oils for skincare and their benefits
A good mixture of plant oil, applied, will bring you fresh looking skin. Various leading cosmetic brands use 100% organic plant oils as an ingredient in their products.
Here’s our secret to the best, clear skin with no blemishes.
The top ten oils to look for in skincare products:
1. Argan Oil
A culinary staple in Morocco for centuries, argan oil is derived from the fruit of the argan tree. It is a rich source of vitamin E, which is required for healthy skin, hair and eyes. Vitamin E also has powerful antioxidant properties.
Research shows that argan oil can be applied directly to skin to reduce inflammation caused by injuries or infections. For skin, dietary intake of argan oil may slow the aging process by reducing inflammation. When applied directly, argan oil repairs and maintains healthy skin, thus reducing visual signs of aging.
Normally, it is frequently included in cosmetic or hair products, in its pure form. It may be best to start with a very small amount to ensure there’s no adverse reactions to argan oil.
2. Sunflower seed oil
Sunflower seed oil contains several compounds that benefit skin including oleic acid, vitamin E, sesamol and linoleic acid. Highly absorbent and known not to clog pores, it is mainly a carrier oil. You can mix other high concentration essential oils with sunflower oil to dilute it.
The linoleic acid in sunflower seed oil helps to maintain the skin’s natural barrier by supporting its ability to retain moisture. For conditions like dry skin and eczema, it has an anti-inflammatory effect when used.
It is good for any skin type and an organic, cold-pressed bottle of oil may be the best kind to use on skin.
3. Geranium oil
Geranium oil comes from a plant species in South Africa called pelargonium graveolens. It is not grown in many continents, including Europe and Asia.
A study showed that geranium oil has antibacterial, antimicrobial and antiseptic properties. This is essential to reduce breakouts, skin irritation and skin infections when applied directly onto skin.
Though not directly related to skin, geranium oil helps promote relaxation and alleviate depressive moods. Think about it: you will feel stressed and anxious when your skin breaks out or it might be the opposite and you break out when you feel stress and anxiety.
So inhale geranium oil to relax a little. It just might help your skin.
4. Frankincense oil
Typically grown in the dry, mountainous regions of India, Africa and the Middle East, the resin of the Boswellia tree is where frankincense comes from. A woody and spicy smell, frankincense oil is commonly touted as an effective natural anti-acne and anti-wrinkle remedy in the market.
Research has shown that frankincense has anti-inflammatory effects that may help reduce joint inflammation caused by osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Frankincense can prevent the release of leukotrienes, which are compounds that can cause inflammation.
5. Myrrh oil
Myrrh has been used in traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurvedic medicine for centuries. A reddish-brown dried sap from a a commiphora myrrha, this extracted oil has an earthy scent.
Fun fact: Ancient Egyptians used myrrh and other essential oils to embalm mummies.
Many natural skin care, particularly soap, contain myrrh oil. You can apply diluted myrrh oil directly on your skin. Myrrh is found to help heal wounds and infections.
It also helps to combat pain and swelling! It contains compounds that interact with opioid receptors and tell your brain that you are not in pain as well as blocks the production of inflammatory chemicals that can lead to swelling and pain.
Among all the benefits, one special benefit is myrrh as a sunscreen. It is effective at blocking ultraviolet rays but you have to mix it with real sunscreen as by itself, myrrh oil is not as effective.
6. Patchouli oil
Patchouli oil is often used as a scent additive for cosmetics and perfumes. The woody, sweet and spicy scent is derived from the patchouli plant, a type of aromatic herb.
Throughout the world, patchouli oil is being used to treat skin conditions such as dermatitis, acne and dry skin. It also helps in easing colds and headaches and helping with oily hair or dandruff. Research has shown that patchouli oil slows down wrinkle formation and increases collagen content when applied onto skin.
Several studies have also demonstrated that patchouli oil has anti-inflammatory effects. As always, please remember to dilute the oil before applying on skin.
7. Lavender oil
Coming from the lavender plant, lavender oil can easily be found in the market. Why is it so common? This oil brings so many benefits, particularly for the skin.
Lavender oil can prevent and heal acne breakouts, it soothes eczema and dry skin and it reduces inflammation. It aids in reducing discoloration, including dark spots. Therefore if you have pigmentation, lavender oil may be able to help with that.
Depending on what you are treating, lavender oil can be applied on your skin without a carrier oil. Try on a small part of your skin to see if you experience any negative side effects before any large applications.
Rosehip oil is derived from the rosa canina rose bush, which is mostly grown in Chile. Don’t be confused with rose oil, which is extracted from rose petals. Rosehip oil is pressed from the fruit and seeds of the rose plant.
Since ancient times, rosehip oil has been used for its healing benefits and is also a carrier oil for essential oils which need to be diluted.
Rosehip oil contains essential fatty acids including linoleic and linolenic acid which is essential in keeping skin cell walls strong so that it stays hydrated.
A study showed that this oil offers several anti-aging properties including the ability to keep skin moisturized. As a natural, non-greasy oil, it makes a great natural moisturizer for all skin types. Another study showed that rosehip oil helps reduce scars and fine lines.
Other benefits include skin brightening, boosting collagen formation, reducing inflammation, protection against sun damage and skin lightening.
9. Ylang ylang oil
Ylang ylang oil comes from the Cananga tree which is native to countries surrounding the Indian ocean such as India, Philippines, Malaysia and parts of Australia. After distillation, the oils vary in the intensity of their scent which is fruity, flowery and rich.
One product you might know where the ylang ylang oil is used, is in the famous Chanel Number Five.
Studies have shown that ylang ylang reduces anxiety and boosts mood when applied to skin. It is also known to lower blood pressure and stimulate oil production in the skin and on the scalp, when applied.
However, be slightly wary and test this oil on a small surface of your skin first as ylang ylang oil contains several allergens. It should be mixed with a carrier oil before use.
10. Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil comes from the leaves of a small tree native to Queensland and New South Wales, Australia. It’s an oil that has been used for centuries. Tea tree oil is widely available in the market as the properties from this oil is highly beneficial.
Tea tree oil is a natural insect repellent and deodorant, has antiseptic properties and helps reduce inflammation on wounds.
For the skin, it helps fight acne. Research and studies have shown that tea tree oil helps reduce the amount and severity of acne.
Make sure never to ingest tea tree oil as it may be toxic if swallowed. If you have sensitive skin, it is best to mix tea tree oil with carrier oils such as olive oil, coconut oil or almond oil.
There you have it! All you need to know about plant oils and the type of oils you may want to start incorporating into your skincare routine. If you are still unsure, just try one or two oils first and slowly expand from there once you see the benefits.
We would also love to hear what works and what doesn’t for you so feel free to leave a comment!