Ingredients Showcase

What Is Sandalwood Oil and How Is It Used in Skincare?

The rich scent of sandalwood is prized around the world, not only for its sweet, woody fragrance, but also for its stunning array of therapeutic and medicinal benefits.

What Is Sandalwood Oil and How Is It Used in Skincare?

The rich scent of sandalwood is prized around the world, not only for its sweet, woody fragrance, but also for its stunning array of therapeutic and medicinal benefits.

One of the world’s most expensive essential oils, sandalwood has been valued throughout history for its use in traditional medicines, meditation, and spiritual practices. In recent years, modern consumers have also begun to seek out this beautiful, woody oil, for use in perfumes, cosmetics, and skincare products.

The scent of sandalwood is renowned for its grounding, peaceful, and uplifting feelings when used in aromatherapy, but the versatility of sandalwood extends far beyond its pleasant aroma. Sandalwood has long been touted as a Japanese beauty skincare secret for addressing acne and breakouts, and is now an essential ingredient in numerous skincare products. 

History of Sandalwood Oil

The sweet, soft, woody scent of sandalwood comes from the heartwood of trees belonging to the Santalum genus. Tall, elegant evergreens, sandalwood trees have slender branches covered in small purple flowers and a smooth gray bark. The oil produced by these trees is known as one of the most expensive oils in the world, due to the fact that sandalwood trees can take decades to mature to the point where they can be harvested for oil production.
Sandalwood has been used for over 4000 years throughout India, Egypt, Greece and Rome, as an incense, perfume, or to build sacred temples. Traditional Ayurvedic and Chinese medicines have also used sandalwood for the treatment of common colds, muscle issues, infections, and inflammation. Today, its primary use is as an oil, so rich, creamy, and costly that it is sometimes referred to as “liquid gold”.

Is Sandalwood Eco Friendly?

There are approximately 30 species of sandalwood trees found throughout Asia, Australia and the Pacific, but not all of them can be used for oil production. Classic sandalwood oils originally came from the East Indian variety of sandalwood trees, Santalum album, one of the slowest maturing species of Sandalwood. The International Union for Conservation of Nature has listed Indian sandalwood as endangered due to illegal trading and overharvesting numerous times over the years.

Chemical Composition of Sandalwood

Sandalwood is primarily composed of free alcohol isomers α-Santalol, β-Santalol and various other sesquiterpene alcohols. Typically, the higher the concentration of Santalol (the compound responsible for the rich scent of sandalwood), the higher the quality of the oil. 

α-Santalol has demonstrated numerous benefits in studies, and has been shown to be:

● Antimicrobial
● Anti-inflammatory, and
● Anti-carcinogenic

β-Santalol possesses:

● Cleansing properties
● Anti-microbial and anti-carcinogenic benefits

Sandalwood in Skincare

Sandalwood is a mildly astringent, purifying and soothing oil to use in your skincare routine. When added to moisturizers or cleansers, it adds a soothing, grounding and clarifying effect, aiding in creating a deeply comforting and relaxing skincare ritual that indulges and reveres your skin. But sandalwood has also demonstrated skincare uses far beyond even these.

Sandalwood for Hydrating and Rejuvenating Skin

Sandalwood oil can provide your skin with a refreshing boost of hydration. Working as a powerful emollient, its chemical composition allows it to penetrate the skin deeply to deliver a robust dose of moisture.
Its gentle astringent properties also make sandalwood oil the perfect, gentle toner. Sandalwood oil tightens skin, reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, while soothing skin with calming compounds that even out tone and leave skin renewed and refreshed.

Anti-Aging Properties of Sandalwood

Sandalwood is rich in antioxidants that maintain the buoyancy of the skin, helping skin fight damage caused by free radicals. Its astringent properties lift skin, keeping it from sagging, while preventing fine lines that might be caused by harsh environmental toxins.

Its astringency also promotes skin-cell turnover, keeping skin free from a buildup of dead skin cells. By reducing dryness and hydrating the skin, sandalwood oil also increases elasticity, maintaining the structure of the skin, leading to a plump, youthful complexion.

Does Sandalwood Remove Acne?

Sandalwood has a soothing effect, reducing inflammation caused by breakouts. Its powerful antifungal and antimicrobial properties also work to clean skin, preventing harmful bacteria from entering pores and causing further acne.

When your skin feels too dry, it can often react by over producing sebum, leading to oily skin that can cause acne. Sandalwood can help to balance excess sebum production in the skin by providing a balance of astringent qualities along with nourishing and moisturizing benefits. In India, sandalwood oil is a time honored folk remedy for acne and acne scarring that has been used for centuries to prevent and care for breakouts.

Does Sandalwood Oil Clog Pores?

Sandalwood can help soothe skin after a breakout and reduce the inflammation caused by acne. When judging whether or not an oil is likely to clog pores, we rate oils on how comedogenic they are. Sandalwood oil is moderately low on the comedogenic scale, with about 2 percent Linoleic acid and 50 percent oleic acid. This means it is unlikely to clog pores unless used excessively.
Sandalwood oil also contains about 30 percent ximenynic acid, one of the most powerful anti-inflammatory agents in the natural world. Ximenynic acid helps reduce painful inflammation caused by breakouts and calms irritated skin. This can help reduce excess sebum production on the face, leading to skin that is less oily and less prone to clogged pores.

Sandalwood for Scarring

By improving the elasticity of skin cells and evening out skin tone, sandalwood oil can be beneficial in reducing the appearance of scars. Traditional folklore remedies using sandalwood to reduce the appearance of scars go back for centuries. And now medical studies have shown that use of sandalwood oil can prevent or minimize thick raised scars on the body or face. 

Sandalwood Can Even Skin Tone 

Sandalwood contains high levels of alpha-santalol, which works to inhibit the production of tyrosinase. Tyrosinase is one of the key enzymes that produces melanin in the skin, so by prohibiting tyrosinase, sandalwood oil works to lighten and even out skin tone, preventing and eliminating dark spots and discoloration. By reducing inflammation, sandalwood works further to even skin tone by reducing redness and irritation. 

Keep Reading