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The 5 Best Essential Oils For Dry Skin & Exactly How To Use Them On Your Face

Last updated on February 6, 2020

You know that inhaling the aroma of the right essential oils can add a much-needed dose of calm to a hectic day or even help balance your hormones. These potent plant extracts can even help alleviate allergies, headaches, and muscle soreness. But when it comes to skin care, essential oils can offer up a whole lot more than an invigorating tingle or pleasant scent. Some essential oils, it turns out, are particularly well-suited for battling one of our most annoying cold-weather woes: dry, angry, irritated skin.

Here, with the help of Mariza Snyder, D.C., functional wellness practitioner, aromatherapist, and author of The Essential Oils Hormone Solution, we give you five essential oils that deliver soft, supple, hydrated skin in even the most extreme conditions.  

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Pro tip: For all of these essential oils, simply add a drop or two to your favorite moisturizer or carrier oil and apply to your face, or any part of your body that needs a hydration boost. Never apply essential oils undiluted.


Frankincense essential oil

Known for its calming, woodsy aroma, frankincense essential oil brings those same calming properties to irritated, dry skin. "I use this every day on my face; it's very gentle and calming," says Dr. Snyder. "Not only does it have the potential to minimize scars and fine lines, but most importantly, it supports skin cell regeneration1, which makes it great for reducing flaky skin. It also reduces inflammation and evens skin tone."


Rose essential oil

Not only is the aroma of rose essential oil absolutely intoxicating, but research shows that it contains several therapeutic antimicrobial and antioxidant2 compounds known to promote healing and reduce inflammation. Not only that, Dr. Snyder says it's also been shown to inhibit water loss in the skin3 and improve texture and tone, which makes it "especially great for dry, aging skin that's losing elasticity."

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Helichrysum essential oil

"Of all these essential oils for dry skin, helichrysum is my all-time favorite," says Dr. Snyder. Not only is it phenomenal for helping address dry, flaky skin and increasing skin hydration, she says, but it's known for its scar- and pigment-reducing properties as well. This makes it great for brightening up dull skin that's looking a bit weathered from the cold air or even city pollution and stress. Helichrysum also has potent anti-inflammatory properties4 and may help prevent UV-induced skin damage.


Geranium essential oil

If cold air has your skin looking angry, red, and inflamed in addition to being dry, then geranium essential oil is your saving grace. "Geranium calms skin irritation and inflammation very quickly and has moisturizing properties," says Dr. Snyder. It's also a Swiss Army knife when it comes to skin, as it helps regulate oil production, combat UV damage5, reduce acne breakouts, improve skin elasticity, and balance out skin whether it's dry or oily. "A lot of women with PCOS also use it to treat acne breakouts," she says. Geranium oil even boosts blood circulation, in case you're looking for a natural glow sans sun damage.

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Lavender essential oil

Another multitasking essential oil that's always part of Dr. Snyder's skin care routine is lavender. "I always think of lavender as all things calming," she says. "Calming the skin, soothing bug bites and burns, balancing mood, and soothing chapped and dry skin—especially chapped and dry skin on the hands and arms; those really dry areas are great for lavender." Lavender also promotes skin cell regeneration6, leaving skin feeling smooth and soft.

How to use essential oils on dry skin.

Adding these five essential oils to your skin care routine to battle dry, dull, or inflamed winter skin is as simple as adding one or two drops to your favorite moisturizer (or carrier oil) and applying to your face, body, or cuticles—anywhere that might need a little extra love.

Here, Dr. Snyder shares two of her favorite DIY recipes featuring several of the essential oils above.

Hydrating & Firming Face Oil


  • 20 drops frankincense essential oil
  • 10 drops rose essential oil
  • 10 drops helichrysum essential oil
  • Jojoba oil (or another carrier oil like grapeseed, avocado, or fractionated coconut)
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  1. Add essential oils to a 10mL roller bottle. Fill the remainder of the bottle with jojoba oil (or your carrier oil of choice).
  2. Screw on the cap of the roller bottle, shake it up, and roll onto areas of your skin that need a hydration boost. This oil is gentle enough that it can be applied all over your face.

Soothing & Calming Skin Salve

  • ½ cup grapeseed oil
  • ½ cup fractionated coconut oil, or almond oil
  • 2 tablespoons beeswax
  • 2 teaspoons vitamin E oil
  • 10 drops frankincense essential oil
  • 5 drops lavender essential oil
  • 5 drops tea tree essential oil
  • 1 small glass container
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  1. Melt the beeswax in double boiler.
  2. Once melted add the grapeseed, coconut, or almond oil and the vitamin E oil together and melt everything down. Once ingredients are combined, set aside for 4 to 5 minutes.
  3. Add essential oils and stir completely. Pour mixture into glass container and let sit for 1 to 2 hours.
  4. Apply calming salve to dry and chapped skin.
Stephanie Eckelkamp
Stephanie Eckelkamp
Contributing Health & Nutrition Editor

Stephanie Eckelkamp is a writer and editor who has been working for leading health publications for the past 10 years. She received her B.S. in journalism from Syracuse University with a minor in nutrition. In addition to contributing to mindbodygreen, she has written for Women's Health, Prevention, and Health. She is also a certified holistic health coach through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. She has a passion for natural, toxin-free living, particularly when it comes to managing issues like anxiety and chronic Lyme disease (read about how she personally overcame Lyme disease here).