Alternatives to condition hair, moisturize skin, fight acne, and strengthen nails. Do they work? You might need to experiment. Everyone’s skin is different, and it comes down to trial and error.
Made from the fruit of the marula tree, which is native to South Africa, this oil is rich and hydrating. It’s full of fatty acids, which dermatologists say soothe dry skin. It absorbs quickly and won’t leave you shiny or greasy.
2. Tea Tree
Red, inflamed breakouts happen when bacteria get trapped inside your pores. Research shows that tea tree oil helps zap those bacteria. In one trial, it beat a placebo gel (which has no active ingredients) at treating acne and calming inflammation. Another study found that it was as effective as benzoyl peroxide, a common ingredient in over-the-counter zit remedies.
3. Chamomile and Peppermint
You probably think of chamomile as a relaxing tea, but the oil from this daisy-like plant can also calm your skin. Skin specialists call it an anti-inflammatory and an antiseptic, which cuts down on redness, irritation, and the chance of infection. Peppermint oil has the same soothing properties.
Dry, cracked skin is more likely to get infected, irritated, and have allergic reactions. Coconut oil protects and moisturizes it, and soothes the scaly, rough patches that go along with common conditions like eczema, too.
5. Rosehip and Carrot
You’ll find vitamin A in lots of skin care products. It’s a “retinoid,” a chemical that helps replace old skin cells with new ones and make collagen, which can ease color changes from scarring and stretch marks. Two oils that are particularly rich in vitamin A: rosehip seed and carrot. Some dermatologists say they’re also good as acne and anti-aging treatments. You would use only a tiny dab at nighttime.
6. Olive and Avocado
Got thin or brittle nails? For a simple, all-natural solution, dab a little olive or avocado oil on them before bed. The oils will soak in overnight and nourish with good-for-you fatty acids. You can use other types of oil for this, too.
Could you replace your mouthwash with oil? It’s trendy, but oil pulling, or rinsing out your mouth with oil, is a generations-old remedy for healthy teeth and gums. Research shows it might help. Recent international studies found that swishing with sesame oil (coconut and sunflower work, too) can cut plaque and gingivitis. It may also wash away the micro-organisms that cause bad breath.