This ancient oil is revered for its cleansing and healing properties.
By: Jordan LaFragola
Skin Benefits of Lavender Oil
Origin Of Lavender
Lavender is a shrubby, long-stemmed flowering plant in the mint family with more than 45 known species.
Having originated thousands of years ago in the Mediterranean region, it was quickly spread by early travelers and now grows wild across Europe and parts of Africa, India, and southwest Asia.
Appearance Of The Plant
Lavender flowers bloom in a wide variety of brilliant purple hues, from deep blue to pale pink, with some varieties producing pure white petals. The leaves are soft, often velvety, and range in color from bright green to silvery grey.
Scent Of Lavender
The scent of Lavender is floral and herbaceous and varies greatly depending on the species and the conditions where it is grown. Some are sweeter, some more complex, while others have little to no scent.
Etymology Of The Name
The name Lavender can be traced back to the Latin word lavare, meaning ‘to wash’.
Traditional Uses Of Lavender Oil
Throughout time, people have revered Lavender for its cleansing and healing properties. In ancient Egypt, Lavender was used extensively in cosmetic products and religious ceremonies. It is referenced in the Bible (by the name Spikenard, derived from the Greek word for it at the time– naardus) as being used to anoint the feet of Jesus. The Romans steeped Lavender in their bathing water and used it to perfume their clothes.
Composition Of Lavender Oil
When Lavender flower buds are steam distilled they release essential oils– chemical compounds (the essence) produced by the plant for a variety of benefits including protection, repair, and growth.
The levels of these compounds vary from species to species based on growth conditions and extraction methods. The primary compounds in Lavender essential oil are linalool (~50%) and linalyl acetate (~35%), neither of which are a photo-irritant or photo-allergen.
Lavender Oil Skin Benefits
Studies on the topical use of Lavender oil have shown its benefits to include wound-healing (cuts, abrasions, sores), treating fungal infections, eliminating bacteria, fighting acne, preventing skin cancer, and reversing UV damage.
Lavender oil heals wounds and calms inflammation by inhibiting the release of inflammatory mediators and can significantly reduce redness.
It is effective against a myriad of bacteria and fungi on the skin including Propionibacterium acnes (the primary bacteria that causes acne), MRSA, ringworm, and Candida albicans.
Lavender oil is rich in antioxidants that are believed to suppress the negative effects of sunlight on the skin. Linalool specifically has been shown to combat basal cell carcinoma and skin tumors.
This growing technique yields an oil with more linalyl acetate, giving it a unique powdery aroma like that of fine leather, and lower camphor levels, which makes it even more gentle and soothing to the skin.