If I could only pick one essential oil for my skin and mind, it would absolutely be Sandalwood (Santalum album).
Why do I love Sandalwood?
Santalum album oil (“SAO”) has many benefits for human body, skin and soul (please see our earlier blog, Santalum album 101, for discussion on its healing properties). There is a long history, especially in Asia, of use of SAO in treatment of many skin issues and respiratory disorders, as also problems of depression and sleep.
Its first recorded usage as cosmetic ingredients dates back 4,000 years ago. Its anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and anti-oxidation properties have made SAO one of the most valuable cosmetic ingredients for a healthy, luminous and younger-looking skin. Numerous studies have confirmed its efficacy in many key areas.
i. Anti-aging and anti-pollution: Both aging and pollution stimulate production of cortisol, which in turn increases inflammation and oxidative stress of skin tissues to damage collagen – the major protein in the skin connective tissues to maintain the shape and texture of skin. SAO’s anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidation properties can help prevent skin from such damage and repair any damage that has already occurred. It is believed to supercharge the production of collagen.
ii. Anti-pigmentation: Another sign of aging is caused by an over-production of melanin. SAO is reported to inhibit tyrosinase - the major enzymes producing melanin, reduce discoloration and brighten the skin.
iii. Balance skin microbiome: A healthy and younger-looking skin requires balance of skin microbiome environment. Any imbalance, such as when human skin is being attacked by pathological microbes or fungi, will disrupt the healthy synergy between the skin and its natural microbes, causing inflammation and skin disease. SAO can reduce the presence of the pathological microbes.
iv. SAO also inhibits keratinocyte hyper-proliferation. In fact, stress, barrier disruption, infection and inflammation are the major causes for the two skin issues - eczema and psoriasis - and they cross-promote each other. SAO can address all these four factors and, therefore, their most likely successful remedy.