Immortelle (or Helichrysum) has a long history and tradition in beauty treatments. Because of that, it has become one of the most studied plants. Immortelle essential oil is a precious active ingredient in many natural cosmetics and blends.
In the past decade, the oil has drawn a lot of attention. It has done so because of its great ability to repair the damaged tissue. Bruises, skin infections, wounds, and cuts, they all leave scars behind.
The concentrated essence of Immortelle has many beneficial effects on the skin. Once applied, it can soothe and calm down inflammations and throbbing sensations. On top of that, it can improve the blood circulation underneath the bruise and help it heal faster. This way, the skin heals beautifully, with little to no scar tissue at all.
It all depends on the age of the scars. Read more on how to deal with old and new scars in the following chapter. You’ll also find helpful blends and serums to help you in your new mission. Your skin can (and probably will – if you try it) look a lot better after using this oil!
There’s more knowledge on Immortelle essential oil in the last part of the article. Learn how to choose a good quality oil and what to be cautious about when using the oil. This oil is very concentrated, so obviously, there are a few safety words to be said. But don’t worry; Helichrysum is among the few safe essential oils that can also be used undiluted.
Did You Know?
- Immortelle flowers have a beautiful golden color and the ability to never wither. Because of that, ancient civilizations used them to make garlands and crown their gods with them.
What You Need to Know about Scars and How to Improve Their Aspect with Immortelle Essential Oil
Botanical name: Helichrysum italicum (Helichrysum angustifolium)
Texture: Smooth, thin oil.
Color and Aroma: Pale yellow to greenish oil, with an herbaceous, pungent curry-like smell.
Other names: Curry plant, Helichrysum, Everlasting or Immortelle (Immortal).
Shelf life: 4 – 7 years, if the storage conditions are optimal.
This aromatic essence has a long tradition in skin care treatments. Because of it, scientists have studied many types of Helichrysum essential oils so far. They’ve discovered that each type has a different chemical profile. It all depends on the soil and climate conditions.
Ultimately, this different chemical profile affects and changes the properties of each oil. For instance, an Immortelle essential oil (EO) from Corsica will be very different than the one in Tuscany.
From all the other types, Helichrysum italicum is the most popular. It is so because it has great anti-inflammatory and skin rejuvenating qualities.
The oil’s complex chemical composition is made of:
- 25 – 75% Neryl acetate. It has pain relieving effects (analgesic).
- 15 – 20% Diketones (diones). This substance is non-toxic to humans. It is useful in reducing discoloration and bruise coloration too. In other words, it’s a great anticoagulant, preventing the blood from clotting or staying in one place, as is the case with fresh bruises.
- Alpha pinene and limonene. They both make the oil easily absorbed and have stimulant effects. They give the oil anti-viral and anti-tumor qualities.
- Italidione. This substance gives the oil the power to heal the skin and improve the aspect of scars. It is most useful in treating hematomas. Italidone works in complete synergy with all the other molecules.
- Gamma-curcumene and beta-caryophyllene. They work together to soothe and sedate painful areas, and relax the mind and body.
- Antioxidants. The only ones that can fight skin cell degradation and maintain the skin supple and moisturized. They can protect against intrinsic (organs) and extrinsic (skin) premature aging.
Helichrysum oil is very versatile. Its composition is so complex that it is most useful in skin applications and diffusions. It is also safe to use undiluted, as long as you use it with moderation and not for long periods of time.
What are Scars, How Do They Form and How Can Immortelle Essential Oil Help?
Before being able to improve the aspect of scars, you must first understand the way they form. There will always be more stubborn scars or those that are too old to fade away for good.
Not to worry though! Scars usually take up to 2 years to complete the regeneration process. So, what you would, most of the times consider old scars, can still be treated!
The skin is the largest organ and it has the difficult task of protecting all the other organs. It is seamless, so any small bruise or tear can make a significant difference in the way it looks.
Bruised skin is like an open gate for bacteria and viruses. Nonetheless, people will always experience skin bruises, injuries or traumas (surgery).
Accidents happen and most of the times, we don’t even notice a scratch or a small bruise. That is often the case with those that stay hidden, underneath the clothes. Depending on how serious the skin injury is and how much you care about its aspect, you can let it heal on its own or you can try to speed it up.
Tip: The way you take care of a wound before the regeneration process is complete, matters a lot. It can make a dramatic difference in the way the skin looks when the scab falls off!
Scars are part of a complex healing process. This process has 3 stages that the skin needs to go through, before finishing repairing the damaged tissue.
- Right after the skin is injured, in the first stage there will be inflammation, pain and swelling. This usually lasts a day or two, depending on how serious the damage is.
- Afterwards, you get to watch how a rough crust (scab) starts forming over the wound. That is the body’s own protection measure.
- Underneath that scab, the skin will start rebuilding and regenerating itself. This is the stage that can take up to 2 years to complete.
If you want to make sure that you heal with minimum to no scar tissue at all, you should take these tips into account:
- During the first 24 hours, the wound must be allowed to breathe. This means you should not cover it with thick lotions or ointments, or overclean it.
- If there’s a deep cut, burn or wound, you can apply a drop or two of Immortelle essential oil directly on it and leave it uncovered. That will prevent the risk of infection.
- The next day, you can apply a gentle and natural blend with Immortelle.
- If you need to protect the injury, apply a light bandage on it after you’ve massaged it with your blend. Don’t forget to change it every day. Keep all wounds away from direct sunlight.
- This is probably the hardest part, but you cannot pick at the scab under any circumstance! The scab may take weeks until it falls off on its own, but picking at it will only create a deeper scar tissue. The end result will not be pleasant.
As you can see, there are ways to help a scar fade away quickly, even though genetics play a role in this process too. Your skin, gender and ethnicity influence the skin’s ability to heal. At the same time, inflammation inside the body or a weak immune system can also slow down the healing process.
This is why you need to make sure your body has enough vitamins and antioxidants. It needs to be able to fight off free radicals and stay healthy and strong.
You can take vitamin A, C and E because they are very strong antioxidants. They can help with premature aging, strengthening the immune system and tissue regeneration.
Benefits and Working Mechanisms of Immortelle Essential Oil to Treat Scars
The oil’s anticoagulant and anti-hematoma effects
When the skin is hurt, all the fine veins and capillaries are damaged too. The blood coagulates and lymphs form in that one place. Lymph is small node of fluid that attacks bacteria in the blood and forms around fresh wounds.
That causes the skin to redden and swell, and become painful to touch. Helichrysum has blood thinning effects that allows it to flow freely once again. This results in an improved aspect of the bruise, which is the first step towards a clean healing.
The oil’s antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory effects
Deeper cuts and wounds usually come with throbbing and pulsing sensations. Not long ago, scientists believed that the throbbing was connected to the heartbeat. They thought that because the arteries were damaged, the nerve endings would be sensitive to the heartbeat.
Today, we have more recent studies, on volunteers with toothaches. They suggest that those feelings come from the nervous system, and it’s not connected to the heartbeat. But, scientists don’t really know how that happens yet.
Immortelle essential oil has the ability to calm down spasms like that and help with the inflammation too. Its soothing nature will help your wound quiet down and start healing quicker.
The oil’s antimicrobial and antiseptic effects
Damaged skin tissue can get infected any time if you’re not careful enough. There are millions of bacteria and viruses that live on the skin and in the atmosphere. The essence of Helichrysum has strong antimicrobial and antiseptic effects that can kill most of them.
That is why, by applying a drop or two on the wound, you can protect the skin from inflammation and infections. This in turn, will help the tissue form its scab faster and start regenerating.
The oil’s antioxidant effects
Antioxidants are the only ones that can counteract the effects of free radicals. Free radicals attack healthy skin cells and cause them to sag, wrinkle and loose elasticity. The antioxidants in Helichrysum essential oil can protect the skin cells while they regenerate. These antioxidants are highly active even in low concentrations!
This ability can also help strengthen the immune system and restore the protective barrier of the skin. Not to mention that it will prevent premature aging too!
The oil’s ability to improve the blood circulation
The italidione substance is at work in this case. It is great at improving the blood circulation by thinning the blood and contracting the blood vessels.
This activity results in a firmer skin and a more rapid scarring process. Blood delivers nutrients and oxygen so, the better it flows, the better the skin recovers. This is why Immortelle essential oil is recommended in all scar treatments.
How to Use the Oil of Helichrysum and What is the Proper Dosage?
First of all, this oil can be used in any Aromatherapy and cosmetic blend for local applications. You can either use it undiluted (only for a short period of time), or mixed with a carrier oil. You can also diffuse it for 20 minutes per hour for emotional benefits.
The recommended Aromatherapy dosage:
- For face blends is 6 – 12 Immortelle EO drops (1- 2% dilution) per Oz (30ml) carrier oil.
- For body blends, the dosage can rise up to 30 drops (5% dilution). In some cases, the amount can also be 90 drops (15%) per Oz carrier oil, but those are quite rare. A 5% dilution is more than enough as the oil is very potent.
Blend Recipes to Treat or Improve the Aspect of Scars
Old Hematomas Blend
- Immortelle essential oil: 10 drops
- Atlas Cedar essential oil: 8 drops
- Tamanu oil: 2 tablespoons
- Wheat germ oil: 1 tablespoon
Mix all the ingredients together and shake well before each use. Apply 2 – 3 times a day until the hematoma looks better or fades away. Just keep in mind that the older the hematoma is, the longer it will take to look better.
Old and New Scars Blend
- Helichrysum essential oil: 8 drops
- Lavender essential oil: 4 drops
- Rosemary, ct. verbenone essential oil: 3 drops
- Rosehip seed oil: 1 Oz (30 ml or 2 tablespoons)
Shake the blend well before each use, and apply on the affected areas twice a day for as long as it takes. Depending on how old the scar is, it will take longer to heal. Remember that a scar can still be considered “new” or “work in progress” for 2 years after the bruising.
Did You Know?
- General knowledge on Helichrysum family says there are about 600 species all over the world. There are as many as 20 different species in the Mediterranean region alone!
More Knowledge on Helichrysum Essential Oil, Precautions and How to Choose a Good Quality Oil
Now that the oil of Immortelle is no longer a total mystery, you can keep on reading to find out more about it and complete your research.
There are so many good things to say about this oil! Especially since its properties make it useful in all kinds of situations. I will make sure I cover all the other important aspects of this amazing oil in future articles.
Until then, did you know that this plant is part of the sunflower family – the Asteraceae? Its distinctive trait is that it never withers and keeps its golden color even after drying. That is why it got its name of “everlasting” or “immortal”.
The Helichrysum (immortelle) plant is indigenous to the Mediterranean region. It thrives in Corsica, Italy, Spain and Dalmatia. The plant is actually a small shrub with straw-like flowers that grow in clusters.
They love the sun and sandy soils. Helichrysum plants can be grown in Africa and America too, as long as the soil is right.
The essential oil is extracted by steam distillation from the freshly bloomed flowers. That’s the ideal time of harvest as they yield a lot more oil. If they are not fresh, they will start to ferment and spoil the quality of the oil.
But even so, this oils still has a low yield. For instance, to get 1 Liter of Immortelle essential oil, it takes between 700 kilos and a ton of flowers! This is the main reason why this oil is rather expensive. The good part is that it is so concentrated and potent that you only need to use a few drops at a time.
That way you can use it for a long time, especially since it’s also very resistant (up to 7 years). The optimal storage conditions need to be dark, dry and cool.
Sometimes, producers may mix more than one species of Helichrysum in the steam distillation recipient. That can happen due to its low yield. While it is still a good oil to use, it’s not pure and its properties will not be the same as for one single species.
To make sure you purchase a good quality, 100% pure Helichrysum essential oil, you need to:
- Make sure the species and subspecies is italicum. You can check the label or the GC/MS spec sheet from the producer. That’s where you’ll also be able to see what main chemical constituent the oil has.
- It needs to be bottled in small dark, glass bottles with a label containing the country of origin and extraction method.
- The oil needs to have a good price. For that you’ll have to do some price comparing first; Immortelle essential oil is quite expensive.
A Few Safety Words:
- Always test it for allergic reactions on a small patch of skin. Also, avoid using it undiluted for too long! In some people it may sensitize the skin.
- Do not use without medical advice if you’re pregnant. The oil may cause contractions or spontaneous abortion because of the diketones.
- Do not use if you’re nursing either. The small molecules of the oil can get into the milk.
- Do not use on young children for long periods of time without medical consent. You can however, apply from time to time, 3- 4 drops locally for immediate relief.
- Do not take Helichrysum oil internally without medical consent.
- Do not use this oil if you take anticoagulant medicine or you suffer from biliary obstruction.
Immortelle essential oil (Helichrysum) is a versatile essence that can do so much good to your skin. Make use of its properties to get rid of old and new scars, and help new wounds heal properly and quicker.
Don’t forget that you have to have a healthy approach to any new wound or bruise. And whatever you do, don’t pick at the newly-formed scabs! It’s for your own good looks after all.
What is your opinion on this essential oil? Have you ever experienced its benefits on your own skin? I hope you’ll share what you know about it in the comments section below.