3 Surprising Beauty Benefits Of Lavender

05/22/2015 12:22 pm ET | Updated May 22, 2015

beauty benefits of lavender
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Ah, lavender. Just thinking about the plant brings on feelings of relaxation. Sipping on tea made out of its leaves, or smelling its scent will calm your mind or help you sleep better. But did you know that you could also use this purple flowering plant for homemade beauty treatments?

Lavender has been used through the ages for of its cleansing and healing properties. Romans started using it to scent and purifying their baths centuries ago, ancient Egyptians turned its essential oil into a perfume for the mummification process and people burned bundles of lavender during the Great Plague of 1665 in London to try to ward off infectious diseases.

Whether used alone or with other soothing ingredients, there are plenty of reasons why you should keep this herb handy. Here are three surprising uses for lavender.

1. Acne treatment. Most people with acne don't realize that a plant oil such as lavender won't clog pores, according to Marina Peredo, a board certified dermatologist at SkinInfluence NYC. "The antiseptic and antibacterial properties may be a more natural solution to mild acne," she says. To create your own facial toner, Peredo recommends combining a few drops of lavender oil to witch hazel. The lavender works to heal and treat breakouts, while the witch hazel tones your complexion. Dab the solution onto a cotton ball and apply to cleansed skin.

2. Scalp rinse. If you've tried just about every dandruff shampoo to relieve dry, itchy scalp, don't give up hope until you've mixed up the lavender hair rinse by Amy Jirsa, a master herbalist and yoga instructor. In her book "The Herbal Goddess," Jirsa shares a recipe that combines dried lavender steeped in boiled water and apple cider vinegar to make a nourishing rinse that will remove build-up, alleviate irritation and restore the natural pH balance of your scalp. Watch her explain the steps on YouTube.

3. Wound care. Suffering from a bug bite? Gary Goldfaden, a dermatologist and founder of Goldfaden MD skincare, suggests smoothing on a bit of lavender oil to reduce the swelling and minimize itching. Because of its anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties, it also helps to soothe wounds and improve the development of scar tissue, which can be beneficial to healing the skin.

Goldfaden notes that many people have allergic reactions to lavender, most commonly in the form of skin rashes. If you have more sensitive skin, Peredo recommends mixing it with natural oils or even your regular moisturizer. But you should always perform a patch test or consult with a physician before trying any homemade beauty recipe.

How do you incorporate lavender into your beauty regimen? Tell us in the comments section.

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