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Aromatherapy Case Study: Salve for Acne Scars

Teenage years are full of excitement, good times, and changes. And for many teens dealing with acne can be a real downer. Fortunately aromatherapy along with healthy habits can help support healthy skin. My client is a teen and I also created an aromatherapy face wash and gel to address blemishes and breakouts -- but more on those another time. My client asked if I could possibly make a salve to help with acne scars. There were only a few scars located to the left and right of the mouth area.

Organic and unrefined oils and butters along with essential oils can help skin healing and regenerative properties. Some people simply use organic, unrefined shea on scars and report it works amazingly well. I wanted to take advantage of a few other carriers as well as essential oils.

The salve or scar butter I created contained beeswax, avocado oil, shea butter, baobab oil, tamanu oil, jojoba oil, and apricot kernel oil. All organic and unrefined in a ratio of 1:1:1:1:1/2:1/2:1.

Avocado oil (Persea gratissima) was used for its skin regenerative properties and ability to help with scar tissue. It is thick and a rich green color when unrefined and is made from the dried flesh of the avacado fruit. Avocado oil contains oleic, linoleic and palmitic fatty acids and sterolins. Oleic acid is a good skin penetration enhancer and contributes to healthy skin.

Shea butter (Butyrospermum parkii) is rich in stearic and oleic acid and contains contains cinnamic acid along with sterolins and a high vitamin A and E content. These contribute to moisturizing and supporting the skin and sterolins are reported to help with healing scars. Shea reportedly also has anti-inflammatory properties and is useful for burns, wounds, and preventing stretch marks.

Baobab seed oil (Adansonia digitata) comes from the seeds produced by the fruit of it's namesake tree, which can grow to be enormous and live for 1000 years. The oil contins oleic, linolenic, linoleic, palmitic and stearic fatty acids and is rich in vitamin E. It is reported to have skin regenerative properties and moisturizes and softens the skin and promotes skin tone and elasticity. Additionally the oil has analgesic properties and can help reduce dryness, itching, and irritation.

Tamanu oil (Calophyllum inophyllum) is extracted from the nuts obtained from the fruit of the tree. The nuts are dried for eight weeks before the oil can be harvested. It is thick and heavy and renowned for its healing properties. The oil is analgesic and anti-inflammatory and promotes skin cell regeneration. It is noted for treating scars, wounds, rashes, sores, and a variety of skin conditions.

Jojoba oil is actually a wax that comes from the Simmondsia sinensis shrub. It is similar to the skin's natural sebum and helps to keep it supple. It is high in stearic, oleic and palmitic fatty acids and has a very long shelf life. It contains molecules that are said to mimic collagen and helps to relieve dry, irritated, or chapped skin and balances both dry and oily skin.

Apricot kernel oil has softening, regenerating, and moisturizing properties. It also offers anti-inflammatory properties. It is rich in oleic and linoleic acid, and also contains palmitic and steric acid. It is light and is a great oil for skin.

In addition to the carriers essential oils were added to the salve. Since the client wanted something without too much aroma I used only a 1% dilution of essential oils (10 drops in 2 ounces of salve). I would have preferred to use a bit higher dilution to further help the skin.

Essential oils used were myrrh, frankincense, helichrysum italicum, and neroli in a ratio of 2:1:1:3 in two ounces of salve -- (I would have preferred to blend with a higher percentage but my client prefered a more dilute blend. One could use upwards of 30-35 drops per 2 ounces of salve using 3-5 drops of each helichrysum and neroli and 10-15 drops of frankinscense and myrrh). Frankinscene (Boswellia carterii) is anti-inflammatory and cell regenerative for the skin. Helichrysum (Helichrysum italicum) is considered deeply skin nourishing and rejuvenating and is useful for skin healing, has skin regenerative properties, and is a tonic to the body. Likewise myrrh (Commiphora myrrha) has skin healing properties and is excellent in salves for the skin. The last essential oil used, neroli, can bring balance to the body and is deeply skin nourishing and rejuvenating as well.


My client used the scar salve at night before bed as it is oily and leaves the skin a bit shiny as it absorbs. Not a look many enjoy sporting during the day. Her skin and appearance of scars is improving. Several seem to have faded and all have reduced in redness. The client is happy with the salve and will continue to use and hopefully find that the scars have faded. This salve can be used with a number of skin healing essential oils to help with new and old scars and to assist in healing wounds. Even a simplified mixture of shea and jojoba oil with beeswax along with lavender and frankincense would be beneficial.

If you have questions about aromatherapy or essential oils contact Tricia. To order body butter or salve text or send an email or visit the webstore. Body butter butters can be customized or you can order bases to melt and add in your own essential oils.

Essential oils and carriers can help nourish the skin and support skin health and regeneration. A simple natural salve can do wonders.

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