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History and Origin

Lavender blossoms were used in ancient Greece and Rome to scent baths, bathe wounds and prevent infections at communal baths. It has also been valued for its anticonvulsive, antidepressant and carminative effects.1,2 In some cultures it is also believed that lavender oils help treat insomnia, flatulence, bacteria and airborne molds. Essential oils from the herb lavendula have been used for centuries for their anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, carminative, sedative and anti-depressant activity as well as for fragrance.1

Components, Activities and Skin Care Applications




Lavender coumarins,



Adds pleasant scent to baths


Safety and Tolerability - Potential Applications in Skincare

Mild contact dermatitis was demonstrated in one study of the use of dried lavender flowers to scent items such as pillows. Fragrance allergy is a common cause of allergic contact dermatitis.3 Some minority of fragrance-allergic patients may also develop allergy to botanical extracts including chamomile, lavender, and ylang-ylang.4 Positive allergic patch test reactions to Ylang-ylang have been noted by the North American Contact Dermatitis Group in about 1.5% of patients tested.

Potential Skincare Applications

Lavender oils are being used in skincare as additive offering natural fragrance benefits to skincare formulations.


  1. Baumann LS. Cosmeceutical Critique: Lavender. Skin and Allergy News 2003;34:43.
  2. Cavanagh HM, Williamson JM. Biological activities of lavender oil. Phytother Res. 2002;16:301-308.
  3. Rietschel R, Fowler J, Fisher's Contact Dermatitis; Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2001, p393
  4. Simpson E, et al: Prevalence of botanical extract allergy in patients with contact dermatitis. Dermatitis 2004; 15:67.
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