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How Can Frankincense Oil Aid in Natural Skin Care?

Written by Dr. Group, DC Founder
Frankincense oil and topical products that feature frankincense oil are beneficial to supporting healthy skin naturally.

Frankincense is a special sap from the Boswellia tree and it's had a wide array of cultural applications for over 5000 years.[1] Boswellia trees are hardy trees that yield the valuable resin when the bark is “striped”, or slashed open. It’s a process that’s done by hand to ensure the highest quality resin. Frankincense originated in Africa, India, and the Middle East, with most of the supply coming from the nation of Oman. Trade grew extensive and frankincense eventually became so prized that it was one of the three gifts presented in the Christian Nativity story.[2]

Frankincense has been used in a myriad of ways and, in present times, it’s a popular ingredient in topical skin care products. In this article, we will explore some of the historical uses of this valuable resin, as well as its role in skin care. But first, let’s answer a simple question.

What Is Frankincense?

Frankincense is an aromatic, hardened tree resin. It contains several unique compounds, most importantly boswellic acid.[3] The hard frankincense resin can be refined into an essential oil that offers remarkable health benefits, including boosting the immune system.[4] The regional composition of frankincense is so distinctive that you can trace the source resin by analyzing the oil.[5]

Traditional Uses of Frankincense and Frankincense Oil

Some of the most common uses for frankincense have been cultural or religious in nature.[6] Because of its pleasant aroma, frankincense has been used as incense for centuries. The first recorded use of incense was in Fifth Dynasty Egypt (2345 - 2494 BC).[7] Frankincense was also used in religious ceremonies in the Roman Empire and Ancient Greece.[8] Eventually, its use spread to countries like China, Korea, Japan, Vietnam, and the Philippines. Frankincense saw cultural use in Taoism[9], Buddhism[10], and Shinto.[11] Frankincense became popular in Europe and its use was adopted by the Christian faith, particularly Catholicism.[12]

Modern Uses of Frankincense

As the use of frankincense evolved, it became popular as an ingredient in many cosmetic and skin care products. In some areas, frankincense is found in deodorant and toothpaste.[13] Frankincense is used to create natural household cleaning products and is one of the most common oils used in aromatherapy.[14] You can find it in many cosmetic and skin care products as frankincense is frequently added to soaps, shampoos, lotions, and facial creams.

Its popularity is not simply because of its aroma; frankincense actually helps promote youthful, healthy skin. Mixing the essential oil with liquids (especially distilled water) can yield a fragrant, spray-on skin toner. You can combine frankincense oil can with other products to impart its health-supporting properties. Frankincense has a unique chemical composition and proven skin-strengthening abilities. That's why, after thousands of years, it still remains an important part of natural skin care. Let's take a look at why this is so important.

Why Is Natural Skin Care Important?

Skin is the largest organ in the human body.[15] It is constantly exposed to the external environment and all its challenges. One of the primary responsibilities of your skin is to act as [thin] armor for your internal organs, muscles, skeleton, and more. It's important to take care of your skin so it stays healthy. And, many of the best natural skin care products use frankincense to help achieve this goal.

Don’t underestimate the importance of using natural ingredients when it comes to skin care. If you wouldn’t put toxic substances in your mouth, why would you want to rub them on your skin? Unfortunately, that’s exactly what many people do, as lesser products contain toxic ingredients that can be absorbed through the skin.[16]

8 Skin Care Product Ingredients to Avoid

Eight common skin ingredients that should be avoided include...

  1. Parabens: commonly used preservatives found in many cosmetic products.[17]
  2. Triethanolamine: used in herbicides and petroleum demulsifiers.[18]
  3. Butylene Glycol: humectant that has been traced to contact allergens.[19]
  4. Diethanolamine: can lead to skin irritation but commonly found in soaps, shampoos, cleaners, polishers, and other cosmetics.[20]
  5. DMDM Hydantoin: harsh chemical preservative.[21]
  6. Ethanolamine: listed as a chemical hazard by American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).[22]
  7. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate: widely used synthetic detergent with known side effects.[23]
  8. Sodium Laureth Sulfate: shown to be a skin irritant.[24]

This is by no means a complete list of harmful cosmetic additives. There are plenty more, and finding a safe skin care product may seem like an arduous task. That’s why choosing a product with natural ingredients, like frankincense, is so important.

How to Choose the Right Skin Care Product

Many people go out of their way to eat healthy, natural foods. That’s great! Unfortunately, not everyone puts the same thought into choosing the best skin care products. Your skin is not impermeable. Any substance you put on your skin could be absorbed into your bloodstream and dispersed throughout your body.

I suggest limiting yourself to skin care products made with natural ingredients like frankincense. Luminous is a premium, luxury face cream that was designed to help promote fresh, radiant skin. It’s made with all-natural ingredients, including organic Indian frankincense oil. It’s the perfect skincare product for keeping your face looking its best.

References (24)
  1. "Frankincense & Myrrh: A Gift of Tree History." Trees & Culture Series (Dec. 2011): n. pag. Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources. University of Georgia. Web. 22 Mar. 2016.
  2. Hillson, R M. “Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh.” Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine 81.9 (1988): 542–543. Print.
  3. Hamidpour, Rafie et al. “Frankincense (乳香 Rǔ Xiāng; Boswellia Species): From the Selection of Traditional Applications to the Novel Phytotherapy for the Prevention and Treatment of Serious Diseases.” Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine 3.4 (2013): 221–226. PMC. Web. 22 Mar. 2016.
  4. Chen, Yingli et al. “Composition and Potential Anticancer Activities of Essential Oils Obtained from Myrrh and Frankincense.” Oncology Letters 6.4 (2013): 1140–1146. PMC. Web. 22 Mar. 2016.
  5. Mikhaeil, Botros R., Galal T. Maatooq, Farid A. Badria, and Mohamed M. A. Amer. "Chemistry and Immunomodulatory Activity of Frankincense Oil." Zeitschrift Für Naturforschung C 58.3-4 (2003): n. pag. PubMed. Web.
  6. Moussaieff, Arieh, and Raphael Mechoulam. "Boswellia Resin: From Religious Ceremonies to Medical Uses; a Review of In-vitro, In-vivo and Clinical Trials." Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology 61.10 (2009): 1281-293. PubMed. Web. 22 Mar. 2016.
  7. Lucas, A. Ancient Egyptian Materials & Industries. London: E. Arnold, 1948. Print.
  8. Ben-Yehoshua, Shimshon, Carole Borowitz, and Lumír Ondřej Hanuš. "Frankincense, Myrrh, and Balm of Gilead: Ancient Spices of Southern Arabia and Judea." Janick/Horticultural Reviews V39 Horticultural Reviews (2012): 1-76. Academia.edu. Web. 22 Mar. 2016.
  9. Mou, Zhongjian. Taoism. Leiden: Brill, 2012. 299. Print.
  10. Bedini, Silvio A. The Trail of Time = Shih-chien Ti Tsu-chi: Time Measurement with Incense in East Asia. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1994. 30. Print.
  11. Hastings, James, John A. Selbie, and Louis H. Gray. Encyclopædia of Religion and Ethics. Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1908. 204. Print.
  12. Ball, Ann. Encyclopedia of Catholic Devotions and Practices. Huntington, IN: Our Sunday Visitor, 2003. 260. Print.
  13. "The Story of Frankincense." Middle East Institute. Middle East Institute, n.d. Web. 22 Mar. 2016.
  14. "Aromatherapy (Essential Oils)." National Center for Biotechnology Information. U.S. National Library of Medicine, n.d. Web. 22 Mar. 2016.
  15. Grice, Elizabeth A., and Julia A. Segre. “The Skin Microbiome.” Nature reviews. Microbiology 9.4 (2011): 244–253. PMC. Web. 22 Mar. 2016.
  16. "What You Know Can Help You - An Introduction to Toxic Substances." New York Department of Health. New York State, Oct. 2013. Web. 22 Mar. 2016.
  17. "Parabens." U.S. Food and Drug Administration. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, 15 Dec. 2014. Web. 23 Mar. 2016.
  18. "NTP Toxicology and Carcinogenesis Studies of Triethanolamine (Cas No. 102-71-6) in B6C3F1 Mice (dermal Studies)." Natl Toxicol Program Tech Rep Ser. 518 (2004): 5-163. PubMed. Web. 23 Mar. 2016.
  19. Aizawa, Atsuko, Akiko Ito, Yukiko Masui, and Masaaki Ito. "Case of Allergic Contact Dermatitis Due to 1,3-butylene Glycol." The Journal of Dermatology J Dermatol 41.9 (2014): 815-16. Web.
  20. "Diethanolamine." EPA.gov. United States Environmental Protection Agency, Jan. 2000. Web. 23 Mar. 2016.
  21. Horev, L., M. Isaksson, M. Engfeldt, L. Persson, A. Ingber, and M. Bruze. "Preservatives in Cosmetics in the Israeli Market Conform Well to the EU Legislation." Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol 29.4 (2014): 761-66. Web. 23 Mar. 2016.
  22. "NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. USA.gov, 13 Feb. 2015. Web. 23 Mar. 2016.
  23. Barkvoll, P. "Should Toothpastes Foam? Sodium Lauryl Sulfate--a Toothpaste Detergent in Focus." Nor Tannlaegeforen Tid. 99.3 (1989): 82-84. Web. 23 Mar. 2016.
  24. Robinson, V. C., W. F. Bergfeld, D. V. Belsito, R. A. Hill, C. D. Klaassen, J. G. Marks, R. C. Shank, T. J. Slaga, P. W. Snyder, and F. Alan Andersen. "Final Report of the Amended Safety Assessment of Sodium Laureth Sulfate and Related Salts of Sulfated Ethoxylated Alcohols." International Journal of Toxicology 29.4 Suppl (2010): n. pag. Web.

†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.


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