Frankincense is, quite literally, a skin care ingredient of mythical proportions. Chances are that’s how you’ve heard of the resin, too — either through its use as a ceremonial Ayurveda staple, in Traditional Chinese Medicine, references in the Bible, or even Cleopatra’s now-legendary beauty routine. Today, frankincense oil, made from Boswellia tree resin, is experiencing something of a rebirth in the skin care space, popping up as a key ingredient in expert-loved products and routines. Patting some frankincense oil on your face might be the upgrade your 2022 skin care routine is looking for, and dermatologists and pros alike agree.
“It has natural astringent properties,” Dr. Rita Linkner, a board-certified dermatologist with New York City’s Spring Street Dermatology, explains to TZR. That means it helps balance oil production while “tightening” the skin. “Frankincense benefits include the ability to strengthen skin and improve its tone, elasticity, and defense mechanisms against bacteria or blemishes,” Dakar adds. Anecdotal studies have shown frankincense to have anti-inflammatory and even “tissue remodeling” properties, too. For these reasons, it’s often added to acne treatments, anti-aging products, and formulas to combat hyperpigmentation.
Sonya Dakar, celebrity aesthetician and founder of her namesake skincare line, knows firsthand the benefits of frankincense. To celebrate the anniversary of her Organic Omega Booster, she updated the cult-favorite botanical blend with a new ingredient: frankincense. “I wanted to take my most prized possession in my range, my liquid gold, and elevate it,” Dakar tells TZR. “Frankincense was a natural choice, as it has been used in anointing ceremonies since ancient biblical times.” She’s aptly named this limited anniversary edition the Anointing Oil, since “the anointing of royalty is the perfect blend of spirituality, luxury, and something so sacred.”
As an essential oil, frankincense oil also lends itself well to skincare DIYs and at-home concoctions — all that’s needed are a few drops of the pure stuff.
“For a DIY eye oil, add two drops of frankincense to two tablespoons of your existing eye cream, or vitruvi Plum Oil, and massage in at night to naturally prevent signs of aging,” Sara Panton, the CEO and co-founder of vitruvi, suggests to TZR. “Or, add three drops of frankincense essential oil and two drops of geranium essential oil to a warm face cloth for a quick facial steam on the go,” she says. “Press the warm cloth of your face for a few seconds, then wipe your face clean.”
In addition to tightening and brightening your skin, frankincense products deliver a dose of aromatherapy. Its scent — an earthy, spiced incense — is said to lower stress levels, calm anxiety, and promote sleep which makes it a great choice for evening skin care routines and other before-bed rituals.
However, as is the case with most powerful ingredients, there are a few things of which to beware. Essential oils are extremely potent, so if you’re DIYing with pure frankincense (as opposed to using a pre-made product), always dilute it in a carrier oil — like jojoba, coconut, or olive oil — first. “All essential oils are best diluted, especially on sensitive skin or on dry or cracked skin,” Panton says, noting the ideal ratio is two drops of essential oil to two tablespoons of carrier oil. “Pregnant or nursing women and children should consult their health care provider before using any products with essential oils,” Dakar adds.
If you’re ready to start exploring frankincense’s benefits first hand, scroll through this selection of top-rated products formulated with the oil. Ahead, some of the best ways to anoint your skin with the legendary oil-balancing, blemish-clearing, skin-brightening power of frankincense oil.
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