Lavender has long been praised for its soothing and relaxing aromas. This herb has been used for centuries for a large variety of purposes and can be found in everything from pillow sprays to herbal teas. However, there is a pretty good chance that if you were to take a look at all of your skin care products, you would find at least one with lavender, or lavender oil, in it. As is the case with skin care, ingredients come and go in terms of popularity and recently lavender has been one of the most buzzed about beauty ingredients.
What is Lavender?
As mentioned above, lavender is an herb that produces beautiful purple blooms. Lavender is an anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and antibacterial herb. There are several types of lavender including English lavender and Provence lavender among others. English lavender, Lavandula angustifolia, is the most commonly used variety of lavender when it comes to skin care. Native to the Mediterranean, English lavender is named for its ability to thrive in the English climate.
Essential oils are nothing new to skin care and beauty, and it is often lavender oil that will be used in a skin care product. While some essential oils can irritate the skin if applied alone, lavender is one of the few that does not. It is considered to be one of the safest oils for personal use, although some may find they have sensitivities to the chemical compounds in lavender oil.
Skin Care Uses for Lavender
Cleansing the Skin – Because lavender has antibacterial properties, it is an excellent ingredient to be used in facial cleansers. Cosmetic chemist, Ni’Kita Wilson, states, “[s]tudies have shown that while it might not the be most potent antibacterial ingredient, it does have some efficacy, so it can be used as a supporting secondary element to improve the odor of a product, while boosting its cleansing power as well.”
Detoxifying the Skin – Your skin is constantly being assaulted by environmental pollutants and other toxins. When you want to purge your skin of these toxins, look to lavender to help you do so. Claude Saliou, Ph. D. and director of research for Johnson & Johnson, praises lavender as a detox agent saying, “[i]t contains powerful antioxidants that will prevent and counteract the irritating effect of pollutants on the skin. Plus, studies have shown that elevated stress results in rough skin, so lavender can improve skin by acting as a mentally calming agent.”
As an Acne Treatment – The anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and antibacterial properties that make lavender a great cleansing agent also make lavender a great acne treatment. With other essential oils, for instance tea tree essential oil, you are strongly advised not to put pure oil directly on your skin. Because lavender oil is gentle, you can dab a bit of pure lavender oil directly onto blemishes. The lavender oil fights the bacteria that causes acne while also reducing any inflammation resulting from breakouts.
The skincare industry is loving lavender as a skin care ingredient and is using it in cleansers, facial masks, gels and soaps. A bonus of using lavender as a part of your skin care routine is that you also receive all of the amazing calming benefits of lavender which can help you start, and end, your day stress-free and relaxed. Be on the lookout for products containing lavender essential oil, or simply purchase your own bottle to incorporate this amazing ingredient into your skin care regimen.