Thursday, August 6, 2020

Geranium (or lavender) essential oil—spot remover for breakouts: How to use it and how NOT to use it

As you may already know, essential oils as a whole have antibacterial abilities, among many other beneficial components, and that is why I recommend them for spot treatments. Below I discuss geranium almost exclusively; not because it is the only essential oil you can use on your skin, more so because early in my career it was my favorite to recommend.

Over the years, due to “aromatic” complaints, I have shifted my recommendation to essential oil of lavender. It has a lovely “nose” and because of this more acceptable fragrance, it is favored over geranium by my clients. There are dozens of essential oils to choose from; geranium and lavender continue to be my favorites due to their pointed abilities on infected blemishes specifically.

Something to note: When discussing essential oils, no matter which one, I use (in this case) geranium, geranium oil, geranium essential oil, and essential oil of geranium interchangeably throughout my writing. There is no “geranium oil” as in a true oil. They are termed oils from long ago and somewhat unfortunately. If you want more information on that subject, see Essential Oils: a primer listed below.

Following are questions from people about the uses of geranium and my answers on how to and how not to use essential oils as powerful tools to help your blemishes fade away.

In your book, Timeless Skin, you recommend applying geranium oil to blemished skin. What would I mix it with? Also what do you think about virgin coconut oil as a moisturizer for the face? Could this be used to dilute the geranium oil?

You don’t actually “mix” the geranium with anything. You just put a tiny drop of this (or any) essential oil on the infected blemishes—that’s it. You don’t mix the essential oil with coconut or any other carrier oil; you don’t want to dilute the essential oil. Simply put it on the blemishes after you have done your evening Basics routine (cleansing, toning, night treatment cream). Please—do not mix this or any essential oil into products you’ll be applying to your entire face or any large area. Use geranium or your favorite essential oil on the infected blemishes—only!

Here is another client question reiterating my statements. I include it here for emphasis:

How often should I apply the geranium and where? Do I dab it on my blemishes or put it all over my face?

Do not mix geranium or any essential oil in with your creams, and under no circumstances should you rub it all over your face! In reference to the previous email, this is no doubt why manufacturers say not to use it neat—as a precautionary measure because someone may unwittingly put it all over their skin.

Geranium is best used on infected blemishes only. If the spot is red, which generally indicates bacterial infection, do use geranium oil. If not, don’t. In other words, using this essential oil on blackheads or whiteheads won’t do them any good. Just dab geranium on infected places for 2-3 days or until there is a lot of improvement in the spot(s). Apply it at night after your Basics 1-2-3 routine or right before bedtime.

If I put geranium on overnight, should I wait until the mask dries then put on the geranium, or can I put both on at the same time? 

Here is a client who is using what I call an “advanced technique” for healing blemishes. It’s only advanced because I find most people want the easiest solution to a problem and simply dabbing on some essential oil is relatively easy. Including clay mask in the mix just adds another step, however it is a very effective step if you really want your spots to go away.

In response to this client’s question: I recommend waiting until the mask dries. Otherwise, when you apply the (wet) geranium to the wet mask, your finger will usually stick to the clay and take the dollop of mask off. Just wait a minute more or less after applying the mask, then put a drop of geranium on the semi-dried clay. Geranium (or Lavender)—spot remover for breakouts

Here is a similar complaint/comment from another client:

I let the clay dry before applying geranium but when I do, the oil immediately dissolves the clay. This seems counterproductive to me. Am I applying it incorrectly?

My initial thought is you might not be putting enough clay on your spots. It can be a tricky balance: you dont want a big dollop because that will probably fall off once it dries. At the same time, you dont want just a thin coating of clay not only because it wont really do much if it is a really thin layer, but it could possibly dry the skin where you (barely) put the clay.

Try using a bit more clay first, then see how that goes. But if applying the geranium after dotting clay on a blemish causes problems, you could try using the geranium first, then put the clay over it after the oil has dried. Or you can use the geranium alone or just use the clay by itself. Honestly, some evenings I just don’t want to go to bed with clay dots on my face! So using geranium oil alone is perfectly fine. It’s just more powerful if clay and geranium are used together, but it’s not essential. 

As I mentioned before, I now tend to recommend lavender due to its more pleasing aromatic over geranium. And although the actions of the two essential oils are somewhat different, it’s not enough of a difference that I prefer one over the other. I do have a few clients who just love essential oil of geranium, strong aromatics and all. Whichever you choose, do use essential oils on your problem spots to help them to heal faster and keep your skin clear. 

For more information, see:
You definitely do not want to lick essential oils!

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