There is nothing better for wintertime dry skin than a nourishing body butter, made with the finest quality, unrefined butters and oils. Add a dash of herbal wisdom, such as using Calendula-infused extra virgin olive oil in the blend, and you immediately increase the butter’s power to soothe and heal.
But what if the aroma of shea butter is not quite your thing? What if you would like to multiply the benefits of your butter even further? Adding essential oils for dry skin to your body butter can improve the aroma as well as add to your butter’s beneficial properties.
Making body butter and salve offers an excellent opportunity to incorporate herbs to improve our skin health. Infused oils can take a body butter from soothing to therapeutic in no time. Some herbs that can help specifically with extra dry winter skin are calendula, cottonwood bud, chamomile, lavender, licorice root, marshmallow root, oatstraw, plantain, and St. John’s wort. You can read more about most of these herbs and how to make an infusion with them in this whipped body butter recipe post, along with more on winter skincare DIY remedies.
11 Essential Oils for Dry Skin
Although one might want to add one’s favorite essential oils for their wonderful fragrance, if we are selecting essential oils for dry skin, we need to consider our choices carefully.
Terpenes, especially monoterpenes, the most common chemical constituents in essential oils, tend to be drying on the skin. Many of our favorite essential oils, such as the citruses are high in monoterpenes and would not be the best therapeutic choices for winter skin, although they are wonderful when used in winter diffusers. Others, like peppermint, would be likely to sting when placed on very dry skin. Monoterpenols and esters, for the most part, tend to be kinder to the skin, so oils high in those constituents are often excellent choices. Fortunately, there are quite a few lovely essential oils we can use in our winter
Monoterpenols and esters, for the most part, tend to be kinder to the skin, so oils high in those constituents are often excellent choices. Fortunately, there are quite a few lovely essential oils we can use in our winter butter and salve recipes. I’ve included 11 essential oils for dry skin below.
- Carrot Seed (Daucus carota)
- Cedarwood (Juniperus virginiana)
- Frankincense (Boswellia spp.)
- Geranium (Perlargonium roseum x asperum)
- German chamomile (Matricaria recutita)
- Helichrysum (Helichrysum italicum)
- Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
- Palmarosa (Cymbopogon martini var. motia)
- Patchouli (Pogostemom cablin)
- Myrrh (Commiphora myrrha)
- Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
Dilution ratios are also important to consider.
As a dry hand butter or salve will be used daily over an extended period, a 2-2.5% dilution is appropriate. This is approximately 10-15 drops of essential oil per ounce of butter. Select 3-5 essential oils, and blend them together in a way that smells nice to you. Blend the essential oils together first, then stir them into your butter or salve as the last step before pouring everything into your prepared containers.
A Lighter Option
Body butter is sometimes too heavy for daytime use, as it may take a long time to absorb. Essential oils can be combined in a good quality unscented lotion to make a lovely, moisturizing lotion to be used all day long.
Below I’ve included a recipe for a great lotion that is light and can be worn during the day.
No-Crack Day Lotion Recipe
3% dilution: appropriate for acute use, both protective and therapeutic
- 3 drops Carrot Seed
- 3 drops German Chamomile
- 5 drops Myrrh
- 1 drop Helichrysum
- 5 drops Palmarosa
- 1 drop Patchouli
Blend all ingredients together thoroughly.
Use on hands when severe dryness is a problem.
What are your favorite essential oils for dry skin? Share with me in the comments below.
Edwards, V. H. (1999). The Aromatherapy Companion. Pownal, VT: Storey Books.