by Nicole P
July 14, 2020
Frankincense is amongst humanity's oldest health secrets. Of course, many of us are familiar with frankincense from the story of the Three Wise Men, but few of us know that frankincense was one of the most valued commodities in ancient times. Yet the practical value of frankincense goes far beyond historical relevance. In fact, frankincense essential oil has even shown signs of potentially mitigating certain cancers.
So what is this mystery ingredient and where does it come from? Today, we will be exploring frankincense as a raw ingredient, how frankincense helps overall skin health, and why we use frankincense for skin cell regeneration.
Frankincense is sap that has been drawn from the Boswellia tree and then dried. Boswellia trees can be found across the Middle Eastern and East African countries of Yemen, Ethiopia, Oman, and Somalia. Tapping Boswellia trees is a time-honored tradition in this region, and many producers still use ancient techniques such as using a sort of chisel to make small holes for the sap to escape.
As frankincense is a sap (or resin), it is thick and sticky in its natural state. It is known for its intoxicating aroma, with some describing the scent as musky, fruity, and even oaky. Frankincense was often burned for the scent in ancient times. Today, frankincense may also be rendered into frankincense essential oils for additional skincare applications.
So far we have talked about frankincense as a raw ingredient, but what skincare applications does it truly have? Here are just a few:
Frankincense is a powerful antioxidant. We know, we know -- antioxidants get all the press these days. But it is for a good reason! The antioxidants found in frankincense essential oils make it the ideal skincare ingredient for anti-aging and for skin cell regeneration (more on this below).
Frankincense as an aromatherapy agent may improve skin health. Along with that pleasant aroma, frankincense when used in a diffuser or as an ingredient in a relaxing bath bomb can help to improve skin by fighting against common conditions such as acne.
Anti-inflammatory properties of frankincense improve skin function. Skin inflammation is common and not always obvious. You don’t need to have red, puffy skin to have underlying inflammation. Frankincense is a powerful anti-inflammatory, which may improve blood flow, reduce swelling, and much more!
Essential oils are well known for their regenerative properties. Frankincense essential oil is amongst the most potent when it comes to skin cell regeneration. Here are just a few skin benefits that can come as a result of the regenerative power of frankincense.
The bottom line is that frankincense promotes skin health in a number of ways! The true potential of frankincense essential oil is unlocked when it is used in a curated skin care product alongside other natural ingredients like eucalyptus essential oil.
Recent reports suggested that moderate amounts of Boswellia serrata oil (frankincense oil) could help to control type 2 diabetes. However, modern scientific studies have largely disproven this particular claim. This type of contradictory information is why understanding the potency and the limitations of natural ingredients is so important for you and your family!
For the most part, frankincense is very safe when administered properly. Certain individuals may experience mild irritation due to allergic dermatitis, but this is uncommon. The key to safely using frankincense (as with most potent oils) is diluting the oil before applying it to the skin. Frankincense is the perfect ingredient for skincare products like face oils when it is combined with carrier oils and other natural ingredients.
It is not a great idea to ingest frankincense. This has much more to do with the power of essential oils than it does with the actual makeup of frankincense itself. The majority of essential oils are best used when diluted with carrier oils or other liquids. When it comes to ingesting oils, safety should always be the first priority.
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