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‘Astringent’ is a word often used in association with skincare, but it’s not a term that many people fully understand.
Astringency is a fairly common benefit of essential oils and one that your skin will thank you for taking advantage of. In this article we will break down what astringent oils are, what they can do for you, and which essential oils to look out for.
What are astringent essential oils?
Astringents are products that improve the elasticity of the skin. They are often advertised in skincare as pore shrinkers, as the elasticity they lend to the skin can cause pores to contract and become smaller. This minimises oil production and makes skin appear smoother.
Why are astringents beneficial?
Astringent oils have a wide range of benefits. By shrinking pores, they can regulate the amount of oil getting onto the surface of the skin. This allows them to clear up oily skin and reduce breakouts. Astringents can also reduce the appearance of pores and wrinkles, and can give skin a brighter, younger appearance. Some people also claim that astringents can drain excess fluid from the face and reduce puffiness, making them a great product to apply in the morning when fluid retention is likely at its highest.
Astringents are even sometimes used to benefit dental hygiene. Using an astringent oil in oil-pulling – a mouthwash-like method in which a few drops of an essential oil are combined with a carrier oil, swilled around the mouth, and spat out – can cause gums to contract and tighten. This can reduce gaps which can lead to cavities.
Which essential oils are astringent?
Many essential oils have astringent properties to some degree. Here are some of our favourites.
- Bay Leaf
- Birch Tar
Any of these oils can be used to benefit skin and shrink pores, but it may take some experimenting to find your favourite.
How do I use astringent essential oils?
- Select a vegetable carrier oil that is beneficial for skin, such as almond oil or vitamin e oil.
- Add a few drops of your chosen essential oil to the carrier oil.
- Wipe the solution over skin using a cotton pad.
- Rinse off any excess oil with water.
Are there any risks to using astringent essential oils?
Essential oils are potent natural products that may, in some cases, irritate skin. If you use the oils sparingly, remembering that a little goes a long way, and you dilute well with a carrier oil then you are unlikely to see any negative reactions. However, different skin types may react in different ways to the oils, and so it is always safer to patch test the diluted oil before using it on a large area of skin. It is also safer not to apply cold pressed citrus oils to skin as they may cause a phototoxic reaction in sunlight.
Learn more about phototoxic oils here.
- Astringent oils can improve skin’s elasticity and shrink pores.
- This can reduce the appearance of wrinkles and prevent skin from becoming too oily.
- You can combine a few drops of astringent essential oils with a carrier vegetable oil and use on skin to see these effects.
Shop our essential oils here.