Botanicals, Unearthed: Frankincense

Neal's Yard Remedies

Neal's Yard Remedies

Writer and expert

We’re digging deep into the precious skincare ingredient quite rightly crowned a hero, and its ability to transform your skincare routine.

Having earned a few famous places in history, our ongoing love affair with frankincense may come as no surprise. Traditionally used to aid a sense of peace and focus during meditation and prayer and treasured for the calming aroma it emits when burned, its perks don’t stop there; the myriad benefits it brings to skincare are the reason for its growing status as a wonder ingredient.

We’ve been using this essential oil for decades*, and have based many of our skincare products entirely upon it — the latest addition being our new Frankincense Intense™ Age-Defying Overnight MaskBut what is it that makes frankincense so incredibly special?

*Fun fact: Our very first frankincense product was the Frankincense & Myrrh Cream created back in 1983, which you now know as Frankincense Nourishing Cream.

It keeps skin calm

A known antioxidant with powerful protective properties, frankincense essential oil is a powerhouse at shielding skin from damage caused by factors like sun and pollution, making it a saviour for skin prone to irritation and breakouts. Not to mention it’s fantastic at toning, balancing and rejuvenating skin to keep it looking soft, supple and firm.

It’s an anti-ageing wonder

Being a potent antioxidant, frankincense is already two steps ahead when it comes to preventing skin ageing, given its ability to protect against the external aggressors. On top of this, when developing the Frankincense Intense™ collection we partnered with a University Research Centre in Italy to transform the by-product of the frankincense distillation process into an exclusive active ingredient - our award-winning Frankincense Active Phyto Complex. The boswellic acids and polyphenols found within this active ingredient are proven to have a profound antioxidant effect and collagen protection properties.*

*Proven with in vitro study

Its roots are ancient

Frankincense comes from the precious resin of the Boswellia and Commiphora trees which typically grow in dry mountainous regions of Africa, India and the Middle East. During harvesting season, experienced collectors harvest the resin using traditional tools and techniques that go back hundreds, if not thousands, of years. It was originally considered a precious ingredient in incense and perfume; so popular that it alone was responsible for creating the trade routes linking southern Arabia to India and the Silk Road.

The frankincense we use comes is sustainably sourced from the Boswellia sacra trees that grow wild in the Dhofar region of Oman. It’s distilled locally, supporting local collectors and businesses. Back in 2017, we were the first business to sell certified organic frankincense essential oil, and this certification ensures that the trees we source from are inspected annually to confirm ecological and ethical practices.

Its aromatherapy benefits still stand strong

Centuries later, Frankincense is still a cornerstone of aromatherapy. With a warm, woody, balsamic aroma and lemony top notes, it promotes relaxation and inspires a moment of mindfulness as you work your way through your daily skincare ritual. Take the time to pause, inhale, and exhale to discover its calming effect.

Our Age Well, Stress Less bundle is a ready-made skincare ritual that targets deep lines, plumps skin and restores your complexion – all while helping to create a moment of mindfulness. It’s a great place to start with your frankincense journey.