Until recently, I had never heard of this oil. Now that I have, I’m excited to share my experience with you.
Although I’ve been incorporating popular essential oils like lavender and eucalyptus into my homemade cleaning solutions and sanitizers for years, I don’t know much about essential oils in general. But I’ve always believed that they’re effective tools for healing if used properly.
Almost three years ago, I was lucky to have found this heavenly elixir and discover the benefits of helichrysum oil for skin through a painstaking process of trial and error, and just in the nick of time! I was losing my mind and desperately seeking answers.
Before I dive in, I just want to confirm that I am not a medical professional nor do I claim to be one. What I want to do here is share with you my personal journey to discovering helichrysum oil and the specific ways in which it beneficially worked for me. My goal in sharing my story with you is to offer you another avenue to research in case you think it might work well for you.
Please see the full disclaimer here.
And now, the rest of the story:
1) The Skin Saver
The city sidewalks radiated an insane heat that would drive me into an overly air-conditioned store full of useless trinkets. The heat was also relentless in the subway, where everyone waited for the next overdue train while wrapped in the hot wet blanket that is the MTA underground during summer.
The humidity and heat were nothing new to me. But this time, my usually cooperative skin decided to have a complete temper tantrum all over my forehead and cheeks. It was a rash of some kind – like I’ve never had before – and it wouldn’t go away for days on end. I had to make the clumsy move of wearing make-up to try to cover it up for work. It felt terrible and looked as much.
I hadn’t changed my skincare routine – or any routine – at all, and I couldn’t fathom what I’d done to encourage this dermatological mess.
This was one of those weak and frantic moments when I thought, “Ugh, what good is being vegan if strange and crazy-looking skin breakouts are happening?!” But even as those words zipped throughout my frenzied headspace, I knew that I was being irrational and taking my frustration out on one of the things that I loved and that benefited me the most – being vegan.
Black Seed Oil?
After reading about black seed oil and its immense topical benefits, I slathered it on, night after night, in hopes of driving the offending blemishes away.
To no avail.
In fact, my skin seemed to become more irritated by this oil that so many others regarded as something of a miracle. Now I was really at a loss.
The Prescription Ointment
The doc was pleasant when I pulled off my baseball cap and showed him my mess of a forehead. He poked at the blistery blemishes with a gloved hand while an observing medical assistant diligently took notes.
What Is That?!
After asking me a few questions, he said, “Seborrheic dermatitis.”
The words sounded so scary. I was horrified. WHAT? WHAT IS THAT?? I screamed in my head.
I stared at him. “What is that?” I asked calmly.
He explained the random nature of this thing with which he just diagnosed me. “It could just show up any time. I actually get it behind my ears,” he chirped.
“What do I do for this??” I asked, trying to subdue my impatience and panic.
Cancer Warning on the Label?
“I’ll prescribe a cream for you,” he said, then turned to the medical assistant who wrote swiftly on a small pad. The doc signed it and said, “Use this very sparingly, just a half a pea size. And don’t get freaked out by the warnings, no one is going to die from using this cream.”
He was right about the warning. There was a “chance of cancer” notification on the box of the prescription I picked up.
If you’ve had a chance to read any of my snack reviews, you know that I can’t even tolerate artificial food additives, so toxic ointment freaks me out beyond my edge of discomfort.
But I had an immediate decision to make as soon as I got that ointment in my hands. I admit I was so desperate to rid my skin of its distress that I dotted the prescription cream on my forehead’s blistery patches. Then I frantically looked for a long-term, all-natural, non-toxic solution.
And I found it.
A Gentler but Powerful Essential Oil
And the most hilarious thing is that I found it while looking for something that alleviates varicose veins. (I like to multitask when looking for salves for my various maladies.) During my search, I’d read that helichrysum was a gentle oil that was a powerful aid in remedying variety of skin problems.
I first tested my sensitivity to helichrysum by rubbing a few drops – no carrier oil – into my inner elbow. After 24 hours with no irritation/allergic reaction, I knew I was good to go.
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When I began using helichrysum daily, I started with 10 drops of helichrysum to 1 ounce of fractionated coconut oil.
[Coconut oil typically solidifies below 75 degrees. I use it a lot for cooking and baking.
*Fractionated* coconut oil, however, is used specifically for skin care (not for ingestion) and undergoes a process that ensures that the oil maintains a smooth a liquid consistency, making it an ideal carrier oil!]
If you are just starting to research the use of essential oils as topical skin applications, “carrier oil” refers to the oil into which the essential oil must be mixed for application. Good essential oils are typically steam distilled from their plant of origin, so are extremely concentrated and powerful. They should never be applied directly to skin and can cause irritation or worse if they are not diluted by a carrier oil.
Among the better carrier oils I’ve used in the past with other essential oils for other purposes are jojoba oil, almond oil, and grapeseed oil.
I especially love jojoba oil for the endless uses it has and now I use it on its own as a body moisturizer. Desert Essence carries both regular and organic pure jojoba oil, both of which I love and have used for years!
However, fractionated coconut oil is the only carrier oil I have used with helichrysum. Fractionated coconut oil works well for me because it feels slightly lighter and more absorbent on my face. Usually my skin is combination oily/dry, but leans a little more toward dry now that I’m older.
Jojoba, almond, and grapeseed have all worked well for me in the past, but I have never tried any of them with helichrysum essential oil. I can only vouch first-hand for the use of fractionated coconut oil as the carrier for helichrysum, which has become a combination I love.
But our skins probably have different temperaments, so I encourage you to try what works for you!
More Ways Carrier Oils Are Great to Have on Hand
Carrier oils are relatively inexpensive, which will make it easier for you to experiment to find which feel best on your skin.
They’re great to have on hand as reliable, inexpensive, healing moisturizers on their own, even without essential oils added to them! I speak as someone who has often used carrier oils solo. They’ve worked very well to pacify my aggravated skin during harsh summers and winters, and during allergy season when my skin performs its own version of sneezing via hay fever hives.
It has been two years since that diagnosis launched me into this wonderful field of helichrysum, and I’ve never gone back to that prescription ointment. I used that initial bottle with 10 drops of helichrysum as a finisher. It was the moisturizer I applied last after washing my face every day and night until my skin stabilized. Within mere days, it cleared up the dermatitis that made me miserable.
Since my skin has become stronger and accustomed to helichrysum, I now use 30 drops per 1 ounce of carrier oil. Whenever I get the slightest tingling that warns me of pending dermatitis, I immediately grab my helichrysum solution and generously but gently dab the worrisome area with my fingertips. Then, that dreaded sensation fades as quickly as an hour, but it has taken as long as a few hours for that feeling to go away. The important thing is that it has always departed and been defeated!
Before I talk about how to safely and effectively store your helichrysum solution, here are a couple of other ways that helichrysum has been an astonishing find for me.
2) Fades Sun/Age Spots and Softens Fine Lines
In the two years I have been using my helichrysum solution over my regular moisturizer (castor oil and aloe vera gel), I’ve noticed that my skin tone has evened out slightly and I’ve been able to keep fine lines from turning into deeper ones.
This certainly was an added bonus!
Apparently, helichrysum is also known to have fantastic anti-aging properties. So now I can say that I know from first-hand experience that there is some legitimacy to this claim!
If you research helichrysum for its anti-aging capabilities and you are moved to try it yourself, don’t forget the carrier oil!
And please note that – like many things that work effectively – the spot fading and line reducing absolutely will NOT happen over night. Or even over three months, as far as you’ll be able to tell. I would say that after about a year, I started to realize that my skin probably would not have progressed this well without my helichrysum routine.
So, this is a long-term process and it does take time. Patience and diligence in application are important factors in how your skin progresses, but those are not the most important factors.
The most important factor is…
Recognizing your inherent beauty, just as you are, right now!
Granted, this worked better for me without dermatitis than with, but I think it’s a good thought for us to try our best to engage in, whatever our circumstances. 🙂
3) Yoga Mat Cleaner
At the moment of this writing, the yoga school that I used to attend has been out of commission for over six weeks, and I’m guessing that if you own a yoga mat, your fitness routine may be similar to mine in that your home is now your gym/studio.
My OCD has gotten a little bit of a respite under these conditions. With my mat at the yoga studio, I used to imagine all sorts of horrible harmful bacteria invading the sanctity of my trying-to-om head space. I’d envision them burrowing their ruinous, pathogenic heads into the pores of my bright rubber rectangle. And try to forget them as I sweated, grimaced, and whisper-cursed from one warrior to the next.
At one point during my bout of dermatitis, I’d thought that my mat was responsible for collecting then transferring bacteria to me, where it loudly stamped itself on my forehead. Unreasonable to think? Sure, to a non-OCD person like my fiancé, it sounds a little nuts. But for me, “germs everywhere, beware!” is a steadfast motto.
I’ll never know if my mat caused the dermatitis, but if it did, it never will again.
It turns out that helichrysum oil is also an excellent antimicrobial!
So, maintaining its twice-a-day use on my skin and then incorporating 5 – 10 drops of helichrysum into my yoga mat spray cleaner gave me TWO formidable layers of protection that allowed me to whisper-curse between up- and down-dog in peace.
Because I enjoyed using helichrysum in my yoga mat spray cleaner, I started adding a few drops to my homemade vinegar- and alcohol-based general housecleaning sprays. One can never have enough antimicrobial properties added to one’s cleaners, I’ll always say!
Keep Your Helichrysum Solution Going As Strong As Day One
After you’ve painstakingly dropped your desired amount of helichrysum into your preferred carrier oil, you’re going to want to make sure that it stays as powerful as the day you got it, right before you popped open its pristine new packaging!
Essential Oils Will Break Down Under Heat and Light
Store your helichrysum solution in an amber or cobalt bottle in a cool, dry, dark place. I keep mine in the bathroom cabinet where there is no direct sunlight.
Clear bottles allow in light that can cause the breakdown of your oil and significantly reduce its efficacy over time. Never, ever store essential oils in plastic bottles – they will eat at the plastic, creating an unsavory mingling of oil and plastic that I’m sure you don’t want on your face.
Keep Your Lid On
Always keep the lid/bottle top on securely whenever you are not using your helichrysum solution. If you don’t, the oil can deteriorate and moisture can get in, both of which will diminish its properties. You’ll know that your oil has been infiltrated by moisture if your oil appears cloudy or if you notice water beading at the bottom of the container. Preserve the potency of your oil and avoid this by keeping the lid on securely at all times when it isn’t in use.
No Plastic Droppers
Avoid using any bottles that come with a plastic dropper. If they do, purchase separate lids without droppers (or a separate bottle altogether) so that you can safely store your helichrysum solution without any plastic interference.
Remember, plastic is not strong enough to stand up to essential oil, and over time, the plastic will deteriorate and contaminate your helichrysum solution. If this happens, you could use that solution in a homemade cleaning compound. Just don’t use the plastic-infused solution on your face or skin or for any aromatherapy applications!
Where Do I Get Quality Helichrysum Oil?
Skin being your body’s largest organ, you’ll want to be very careful about the quality of essential oils that you use on it.
For aromatherapy and other non-personal care uses, I love the oils in this kit by NOW essential oils.
But, because your skin absorbs what you massage into it, definitely feed it well with high quality, organic products!
Starwest Botanicals – High Quality Herbs Since 1975!
Starwest Botanicals has been dedicated to delivering high-quality herbs since they opened their small California storefront in 1975. They’ve grown tremendously since then, having become one of the largest suppliers of organic herbs in the U.S.
These are the people I ordered from when I was looking for my first bottle of helichrysum oil. I’d never heard of helichrysum before, and I was wary of where I should be getting it from, so I researched before finding and settling on Starwest Botanicals.
Taking a look around their site, you’ll see that it’s a wonderland for those of us who are passionate about herbs, oils, and spices! For a vegan plant-based chef like me who’s committed to natural remedies, this place is paradise.
Helichrysum oil is not your run-of-the-mill oil. It is often sold in very small quantities and can be pricey. But, since we use it in small quantities, it lasts a very long time.
When I dilute it with carrier oil using the 30 drops of helichrysum to 1 ounce of carrier oil ratio, 1/3 fl oz bottle lasts me over six months. That’s with twice-a-day daily use. This is a powerful oil. And it takes just a very small amount to do its job.
Starwest Botanicals also carries a solid range of amber and cobalt bottles, so you can store your helichrysum dilution safely and effectively!
Happy Healing with Helichrysum Oil!
I’m so happy to be able to tell this tale of skin woe that not only turned out to have an effective, long-term solution – but there were other benefits I experienced along the way!
My hope is that you might try this as an avenue for yourself if you’re experiencing annoying skin issues, and that it might work well for you as it did for me. Remember to do a 24-hour patch test on your inner elbow before diving in!
For me, the much-celebrated tea tree oil is too harsh for daily use, so I can’t use it on my skin routinely. Now I only use it on cuts before applying a band-aid.
In my experience, helichrysum is a gentler – but just as powerful – essential oil for skin care.
What’s your experience with helichrysum or any other essential oil?
Are you a pro at using essential oils or are you just beginning to sort out the vast landscape that is the world of essential oils? If you’re in the latter category, I’m right there with you!
I’d love to hear where you are in your essential oil adventures.
Let me know in the comments!