Lavender Oil: Uses and Benefits for Hair, Skin, and More (Science Based)

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Lavender Oil: Uses and Benefits for Hair, Skin, and More
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Lavender essential oil is a popular oil that can help to keep your skin and hair looking healthy. Lavender oil has many uses that include relieving stress, getting rid of headaches, soothing pain, and killing off germs from your skin. You can also use lavender essential oil to treat dandruff or athlete’s foot due to its antifungal properties.

One of the reasons why lavender oil is such a popular essential oil is that it is one of the most versatile healing oils. The antimicrobial properties and pleasant scent of lavender oil mean that you can use it with carrier oils to treat many ailments. Lavender oil is also delicate enough to use directly on your skin as a spot treatment.

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In this article, you will learn about the many uses of lavender oil. You will find out what science says as to why lavender essential oil is good for your skin, hair, and mind.

What Is Lavender Oil (Lavender Essential Oil)

Lavender essential oil is extracted from flowers of the lavender plant (Lavendula angustifolia). People have used lavender extracts for centuries due to its medicinal properties.

Lavender oil contains chemicals that are known to have a positive effect on the mind and your general well-being.

Studies into the composition of lavender reveal that lavender contains volatile oils such as linalool, linalyl acetate, lavandulyl acetate, and camphor. (1) These oils are extracted using a distillation method that can affect the yield and composition of lavender essential oil. (2)

Lavender essential oil has a very floral and recognizable scent with a distinct camphor smell to it. Researchers say that the smell of linalool in lavender is a pleasant smell that induces calmness and enhances sleep. (3)

Unlike most essential oils, you can put a drop or two of lavender oil directly on your skin as a spot treatment. In fact, the journal Cell Proliferation reports that lavender is one of the mildest essential oils that are good for your skin. (4)

To use lavender oil on larger areas of skin, you should dilute lavender oil in a carrier oil. Some of the carrier oils you can use for diluting lavender oil are olive oil, sweet almond oil, coconut oil, or jojoba oil.

In general, you should use 4-5 drops of lavender essential oil for every tablespoon of carrier oil, or 10-12 drops for each 1 oz (30 ml) of carrier oil.

What Is Lavender Oil Good For? Benefits of Lavender Essential Oil

Lavender essential oil benefits your skin and scalp if you dilute it in a carrier oil and apply it topically. You can also use a lavender essential oil in a diffuser to inhale the pleasant aroma if you need to relax or benefit from its calming effect.

Research into the healing properties of lavender oil has found that there is a scientific basis for many of its claimed benefits. Among the conditions that lavender oil is used for include: (5)

  • Antibacterial properties that can help reduce acne
  • Carminative effects that can help you sleep better and relieve anxiety
  • Antifungal properties that help to heal fungal skin conditions
  • Helping to treat depression naturally
  • Soothing painful burns and cuts and speeding up wound healing
  • Reducing itching and redness from insect bites
  • Helping to improve cognitive function

Why Lavender Oil Is Really Good for You: Benefits and Uses of Lavender Oil

Let’s look in more detail at the many reasons to use lavender oil to help improve the appearance of your skin, get rid of dandruff, and feel calmer.

Lavender Oil for Acne

The antimicrobial properties of lavender essential oil mean that you can use lavender to treat acne outbreaks, pimples, and pustules.

Research into the antibacterial properties of many essential oils such as lavender has found them to have anti-acne activity. Lavender oil is effective against strains of Propionibacterium acnes which are often the cause of acne outbreaks. Lavender oil killed the P. acnes bacteria after just 5 minutes. (6)

Researchers in 2017 reported that you can use lavender essential oil for acne because of its antimicrobial activity. (7)

Another reason that lavender oil is good for acne is due to the way it helps to calm your nerves. Dermatologists report that acne outbreaks often happen because of stress. (8)

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How to use lavender oil for acne

One of the best ways of using lavender oil to treat acne is to use a combination of lavender and tea tree oil.

This is how to make your lavender acne treatment:

  1. Mix 5 drops each of lavender oil and tea tree oil with 1 oz. (30 ml) of sweet almond oil or other carrier oil.
  2. Using clean hands, massage a few drops of the lavender remedy on your acne-affected skin to cleanse and moisturize your skin.
  3. Repeat in the morning and evening to help get rid of your acne pimples.

Learn about more essential oils that act as natural remedies for acne and other skin conditions.

Lavender Oil for Beautiful Skin

Lavender is one of the essential oils that are good for your skin because it is anti-inflammatory and soothing.

Researchers from Brazil found that applying lavender essential oil topically helps to reduce inflammation and swelling. (9)

Compounds in lavender oil like lavandin, linalyl acetate, and citronella help to reduce the number of bacteria on the skin. This means that using lavender oil as an ingredient in topical treatments can help prevent infections. (10)

To use lavender oil for your skin, it is important to combine it with a good carrier oil. For example, research published in 2018 found that oils such as jojoba oil, coconut oil, and olive oil help to form a protective barrier on the skin. (11)

Lavender and coconut oil or lavender and jojoba oil help to moisturize your skin and keep it hydrated and free of germs.

How to use lavender oil for beautiful skin

  1. Mix 4 drops of lavender oil with a tablespoon of carrier oil such as coconut oil or jojoba oil.
  2. Rub a little of the oil between your palms and apply to your face, neck, or legs to help improve your skin’s appearance.

Always do a spot test on your skin first of all, as some reports say that lavender oil can cause contact dermatitis. However, skin irritation seems to occur when using lavender oil on your skin in large doses. (12)

Learn more about why a combination of lavender and coconut oil can help to keep your facial skin looking and feeling wonderful.

Lavender Oil to Disinfect Wounds and Promote Skin Healing

Another reason why lavender is good for your skin is that essential oil from lavender help speed up the time wounds take to heal.

The antioxidant properties in lavender oil help to increase collagen production in your skin. Researchers found that applying lavender oil to wounds helped speed up collagen replacement. The result was that wounds healed quicker when lavender was used. (13)

Compounds in lavender essential oil such as linalool also act as a mild skin disinfectant and help prevent infection in the wound. (14)

Other researchers have found that lavender is one of the mildest essential oils for wound healing. (4)

How to heal wounds and cuts using lavender oil

For small minor wounds or cuts on your skin, you can use the following lavender essential oil and witch hazel remedy:

  1. Add 5 drops each of lavender essential oil and tea tree oil to 1 fl.oz. (30 ml) of witch hazel and mix well.
  2. Dip a cotton ball in the lavender wound remedy and gently cleanse the wound.
  3. Apply the remedy 2 or 3 times a day until the wound has healed completely.

Learn more about the proper ways to treat wounds to prevent scarring. You can also find out more uses for witch hazel.

Lavender Oil to Soothe Burns

Another use for lavender essential oil on your skin is to reduce skin damage and irritation caused by burns.

Sunburn or thermal burns can cause blistering, redness, swelling, and pain. However, essential oils such as lavender can help treat burn-damaged skin.

Research published in 2018 found that applying lavender essential oil helped to reduce skin swelling that was the result of burning. The ability of lavender oil to soothe burns is because of the anti-inflammatory and anti-histamine properties. (15)

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Other studies have shown that it is good to use essential oils such as lavender for burns because they help to inhibit microbial growth and speed up wound healing. (16)

How to use lavender oil for burns

You can boost the skin-healing potential of lavender oil by using it together with aloe vera. Aloe vera is one of the best-known natural remedies for treating burns. (17)

This is how to make your own lavender salve for treating burned skin:

  1. Add 5 drops of pure lavender oil to a tablespoon of aloe vera and mix well.
  2. Apply the lavender burn ointment liberally to your inflamed skin.
  3. Apply 3 times a day to help soothe pain and help the burn heal quicker.

Learn more about the do’s and don’ts of treating burns successfully, and find out the answer to how long it takes sunburn to heal.

Lavender Oil Soothes Various Skin Irritations

Lavender essential oil can help to deal with various skin irritations, rashes and eczema in a number of ways. For example, its powerful antibacterial and antifungal properties help to reduce skin infections. Lavender is also a natural stress reliever and stress is a known eczema trigger.

A scientific study published in 2017 discussed using essential oils as potential antimicrobials to treat skin diseases. The medical study mentions lavender oil as antiseptic, antibacterial and antifungal oil that is used as a healing agent in conditions such as dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, pruritus, rosacea and more. (45) 

How to use lavender oil for skin irritations

Lavender oil can be mixed with aloe vera or carrier oil to create a soothing topical application to heal skin irritations. Virgin coconut oil is great for treating eczema, as well as many other carrier oils.

  1. Mix 4-5 drops of lavender oil with 1 tbsp. virgin coconut oil or aloe vera.
  2. Gently apply the remedy to the skin rash to reduce irritation, itching, and redness.
  3. Apply the coconut oil mixture 2-3 times a day to speed up the healing process and get rid of the rash.

Further reading: How to Use Essential Oils for Treating Eczema.

Lavender Oil for Canker Sores

The fact that lavender is a healing essential oil means that you can use a drop or two of lavender oil to get rid of canker sores in your mouth.

One randomized controlled trial found that lavender oil can help reduce the number of mouth ulcers. Applying pure lavender oil helped to significantly lower inflammation and speed up the healing time of oral ulcers. (18)

The European Journal of Dentistry reported that essential oils such as lavender oil have antibacterial activity against some oral pathogens. However, lavender wasn’t as effective as tea tree oil or peppermint oil in killing off oral bacteria. (19)

How to use pure lavender essential oil to treat canker sores

  1. Put 1-2 drops of lavender oil directly on the canker sore.
  2. Repeat 3 times a day and continue using the lavender oil on the canker sore until it has healed.

Find out what else could be the reason why you have sore bumps or blisters in your mouth and what you can do to remedy them.

Lavender Oil is Anti-Inflammatory and Reduces Joint Pain

Lavender massage oil can help to soothe inflammation in your joints that are causing pain and discomfort.

Scientific research into the pain-relieving effects of lavender oil has found that lavender is analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and has antioxidant properties. In fact, lavender could be just as effective as some traditional over-the-counter (OTC) painkillers. (9)

A systematic review of trials on humans found that a lavender massage oil used in aromatherapy was effective in reducing the symptoms of chronic pain. (20)

Other studies found that acupuncture together with lavender oil can help manage lower back pain. (20)

How to use lavender oil to help manage chronic pain

You can combine lavender essential oil with other well-known essential oils for pain relief. Some of the best oils to relieve pain are peppermint oil, eucalyptus oil, rosemary oil, and thyme essential oil.

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Add a few drops of your favorite essential oils to a carrier oil such as extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, or jojoba oil. Massage the pain-relief lavender oil to your sore knee, joints, or lower back every day for pain relief.

Alternatively, you can add lavender oil to your bath and help soak away your pain. Add a few drops of lavender oil diluted in a carrier oil to your bath water along with 1 or 2 cups of Epsom salt.

Learn more about other essential oils that are good for helping to manage symptoms of chronic pain and inflammation.

Lavender Oil Helps Relieve Menstrual Pain

If you suffer from painful cramps around the time of your period, then try using lavender oil for your menstrual pain relief.

One study using lavender oil massage on women found that lavender helped reduce symptoms of dysmenorrhea (menstrual cramps). The scientists reported that a lavender abdominal massage could be an effective herbal drug for treating period pain. (21)

You can also use lavender oil to get relief from monthly abdominal cramping by diffusing lavender essential oil. An experimental clinical trial found that inhaling lavender oil also alleviated menstrual pain. (22)

Further reading: The Best Natural Ways to Relieve Menstrual Cramps (Research Based).

How to use lavender oil to treat menstrual cramping and discomfort

You can use lavender massage oil to massage your abdomen when you experience menstrual pain.

Or, you can help induce feelings of calmness and get rid of menstrual cramping by putting lavender oil in your diffuser while you sleep.

Lavender Oil Help Cure Athlete’s Foot

Lavender oil is good for your feet because it can help to kill off fungal infections and keep your feet smelling nice.

Scientific research has discovered that compounds in lavender such as linalool have a powerful fungicidal effect. Treating fungal infections with lavender helps to treat the infection and prevent it from spreading further. It was also found that lavender and tea tree oil were an even more potent antifungal combination (23, 24)

One study found that a lavender foot bath with salt was also an effective way to cure athlete’s foot naturally. (25)

How to use lavender oil to get rid of itching between your toes

There are a number of ways you can use the medicinal properties of lavender oil to cure athlete’s foot.

Put a drop of lavender oil in between your toes and then massage the oil into your skin to get rid of the fungal infection.

Or, make a lavender oil bath for soaking your feet by using a bowl large enough for your feet. Fill until half-full with warm water, add a few drops of lavender oil and tea tree oil diluted in a carrier oil and 2 tablespoons of Epsom salts. Soak your feet for 10-15 minutes in the lavender water to treat athlete’s foot.

Lavender Oil to Treat Fungal Nail Infections Naturally

You can also put a drop or two of pure lavender oil on your nail if they are thick and crumbly because of a fungal infection.

The Society for General Microbiology carried out medical research on the antifungal properties of lavender essential oil. Researchers said that Lavandula oil is extremely potent against fungal pathogens and can be used to treat nail fungal infection. (26)

As well as using lavender for nail fungus, find out what else you can do to get rid of fungal nail infections.

Lavender Oil for Beautiful and Healthy Hair

Lavender oil is good for your hair because it helps to encourage hair growth, stop dandruff, prevent scalp infections, and adds shine and body to your hair.

Let’s look at some of the ways you can use lavender to keep your hair looking great.

Lavender Oil to Help Prevent Hair Loss

Lavender is good for your hair because it may promote hair growth.

One study on mice found that lavender oil has hair-growth promoting properties. Using a lavender oil application once a day for 4 weeks helped to increase the number of hair follicles and increase dermal thickness. (27)

How to use lavender oil to help stimulate hair growth:

You can add pure lavender oil to your shampoo. Try using 10-12 drops of lavender oil for every ounce of shampoo. Use the lavender shampoo as you would use your regular shampoo.

Or, add 2 drops of lavender oil and 2 drops of rosemary oil to a tablespoon of olive oil. Massage the oil into your scalp daily and leave for 30 minutes before washing out with your lavender shampoo.

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Learn about the benefits of using rosemary oil to promote healthy hair growth and help prevent thinning hair.

Lavender Oil and Tea Tree Oil for Dandruff

The antifungal properties of lavender oil mean that you can get rid of an itchy scalp that has dry flaky skin.

The reason for using lavender and tea tree oil is that tea tree oil helps to reduce scalp itching. One study found that 5% tea tree oil shampoo is an effective natural remedy for dandruff. (28)

To use tea tree and lavender oil for dandruff control, add 5 drops of each essential oil to one ounce of your favorite shampoo. Wash your hair regularly with the lavender/tea tree oil shampoo and leave on for 5 minutes before rinsing.

Lavender Oil as a Natural Conditioner

Use lavender oil with coconut oil as a hair conditioner to add shine and body to your hair. A lavender coconut oil hair mask will also prevent and treat itchy scalp fungal infections.

Studies have shown that coconut oil helps to lock in moisture to prevent brittle hair. (29) Other studies have shown that coconut oil could also help to strengthen hair follicles to prevent hair loss. (30)

To moisturize your hair with lavender and coconut oil, mix 8 drops of lavender oil with 2 tablespoons of warm coconut oil. Massage the lavender oil concoction thoroughly into your scalp, cover with a shower cap and leave for 30 minutes. Wash your hair as normal.

Lavender Oil Can Soothe Respiratory Ailments

Because lavender oil is useful for reducing inflammation and irritation, you can use lavender essential oil to prevent coughing and other respiratory problems.

Research involving mice found that inhaling lavender oil helped to reduce inflammatory responses associated with bronchial asthma. (31)

As already shown in this article, lavender oil has powerful antimicrobial properties, and inhaling lavender steam could help reduce the severity of respiratory infections.

How to use lavender oil to clear chest congestion

  1. Fill a bowl with hot water and add 4 drops of lavender oil and 4 drops of eucalyptus oil.
  2. Cover your head with a towel and breathe in deeply for 5-10 minutes.
  3. Repeat daily to ease congestion and help clear up a cold quicker.

Find out about more natural ingredients you can use to help get rid of congestion quickly and breathe easier.

Lavender Oil Promotes Good Brain Health

One of the most well-known benefits of using lavender oil is that it has a positive effect on your mental health and emotions.

Scientists have discovered that the lavender compound linalool helps to improve brain function. The antioxidant effect of lavender helps to offset the results of oxidative stress and could prevent cognitive impairment that is associated with Alzheimer’s disease. (32)

You can benefit from using lavender oil by putting some in your diffuser and inhaling it.

Lavender Oil to Help Relieve Anxiety

Lavender oil also promotes good mental health because its therapeutic compounds help cope with stress and anxiety.

Scientists identified linalool as the compound in lavender that has an anti-anxiety effect. Linalool inhibited certain enzymes in the brain that are connected with feelings of anxiety. (33)

One trial involving over 530 adults with generalized anxiety disorder found that a commercial preparation using lavender oil helped improve mental health and quality of life. (34)

How to use lavender oil for relief from anxiety

To help prevent feelings of worry, trepidation, or apprehension, massage a couple of drops of lavender oil into your temples and breathe deeply.

Lavender Oil May Alleviate Depression

There is also evidence that the positive effect of lavender oil on your mind can also help manage depressive disorders.

One pilot study found that women using lavender oil after giving birth can reduce their risk of postnatal depression. (35)

The journal Mental Health Clinician reported that compounds in lavender oil have an anti-anxiety effect that can help prevent symptoms of depression. Lavender oil’s effect on the brain affects levels of serotonin which are linked to feelings of happiness and well-being. (36)

How to use lavender oil for depression

You could add a few drops of lavender oil diluted in a carrier oil to a warm bath to help relax and lift your mood.

Or, you could blend lavender oil with a carrier oil to use as an uplifting massage oil on your temples, forehead, and behind your ears. Or simply diffuse lavender oil in the room.

Lavender Oil Helps You Sleep Better

Because lavender oil helps you relax and reduces anxiety, lavender is one of the best essential oils for deep sleep.

Researchers have found that using lavender oil in a diffuser to inhale helps reduce insomnia and improves sleep quality. One trial involving 79 students found that having good habits for sleeping and inhaling lavender oil during the night help improve sleep patterns. (37)

How to use lavender oil in your bedroom for sleeping

You can put some drops of lavender essential oil on your pillow if you want to get a better night’s sleep.

Lavender Oil to Relieve Migraines and Headaches

The volatile oils in lavender essential oil are good for getting rid of headaches and even migraine.

Because lavender oil helps reduce anxiety, stress, and improve cognitive ability, it can resolve some of the causes of migraine.

The journal European Neurology also reported that inhaling lavender essential oil for 15 minutes helped to reduce the number and severity of migraines. (38)

How to use lavender oil for migraine relief

Mix 3 drops of lavender oil with 2 drops of peppermint oil in a tablespoon of carrier oil such as extra virgin olive oil. Massage the lavender oil headache ointment into your temples at the first sign of a headache.

Peppermint oil is also a well-researched essential oil that helps alleviate headache pain. (39)

Learn about other natural ways to get rid of a headache or a migraine naturally.

Other Ways to Use Lavender Oil

Lavender oil for insect bites and insect repellent

Studies have shown that lavender essential oil is a natural bug repellent which is as effective as DEET and can last for up to 2 hours. (40)

Putting a drop of lavender oil directly on an insect bite can help to reduce itching, redness, and swelling.

Lavender oil for head lice

The journal BMC Dermatology reported that lavender oil has insecticidal properties and can help to kill off head lice. (41)

Please see this article to find out how to use lavender oil for head lice eradication.

Lavender oil as a natural homemade deodorant

The antibacterial properties of lavender oil mean that it is a good natural ingredient if you want to make your own deodorant.

Find out some of the best recipes to make an underarm deodorant without any harmful chemicals.

Lavender Oil Side Effects and Precautions

Generally, lavender oil is well tolerated by most people without significant side effects.

Using lavender oil topically can sometimes result in itching skin or an allergic reaction. (42)

One study found that inhaling lavender oil for its anti-stress effects during pregnancy didn’t have any adverse effect. However, because lavender oil is a powerful relaxant, you should speak with your doctor.

Can lavender oil be ingested?

Many people wonder if ingesting lavender oil is safe. Lavender oil that is not classed as “food grade” should not be used internally. Some manufacturers sell food grade lavender oil, and some studies have been using lavender essential oil internally (43, 44), however this should be done under the supervision of a certified aromatherapist or health care provider. To prevent gastrointestinal irritation, keep internal use of food grade lavender oil to a minimum.

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