Our Complete Guide to Sandalwood Essential Oil: Benefits, Uses and Cautions

Sandalwood ― the holy oil that has traveled the world. Use the oil to soothe the mind, ease insomnia, and calm irritated skin. Learn more about the benefits of one of the most popular essential oils.

Content/Quick links

  • What is sandalwood essential oil?
  • Sandalwood essential oil - quick facts
  • How is sandalwood essential oil made?
  • Benefits of sandalwood essential oil
  •  Relaxing and calming properties
  •  Spiritual benefits
  • Skin care properties
  • Anti-aging properties
  • Respiratory-enhancing effects
  • Being an aftershave ingredient
  • How to use sandalwood essential oil
  • Aromatherapy
  • In the home
  •  Topically
  • Sandalwood essential oil research
  • Stress-reducing effects of sandalwood essential oil - 2016
  • Skin care benefits of sandalwood essential oil – 2007, 2017, 2018
  • Respiratory benefits of sandalwood essential oil – 2016
  • Cellular growth benefits of sandalwood essential oil – 1997, 2016, 2017
  • Side effects of sandalwood essential oil
  • Contraindications of sandalwood essential oil
  • Where to buy sandalwood essential oil
  • Volant
  • Amazon
  • Pharmacies
  • DoTERRA
  • Sandalwood essential oil FAQs
  • What effects does sandalwood have?
  • Does sandalwood darken the skin?
  • What happens if I apply sandalwood on the face daily?
  • In summary

What is sandalwood essential oil?

Sandalwood oil

Sandalwood is probably one of the most used essential oils worldwide. The fragrance can be found in many everyday products such as perfume and air fresheners. Sandalwood comes from the wood and roots of the Santalum album tree, also known as East Indian sandalwood, or Santalum spicatum which is Australian sandalwood. Although many other types of trees are also considered “sandalwood”, East Indian sandalwood has the highest content of santalol, sandalwood’s main distinctive compound.

Sandalwood is considered one of the most valued trees in the world with various uses around the globe. Sandalwood is considered a holy tree and traditionally, the wood and oil were used as incense in religious rituals such as weddings and births in India and many Eastern countries. Today, the oil is used to treat a number of health issues and is used in perfumes, cosmetics and aftershave.

Sandalwood essential oil - quick facts

🪵   Latin name: Santalum album, Santalum spicatum

🪵   Also known as: Chandana, candrah, East Indian sandalwood

🪵   Countries of origin:  🇮🇳 India, 🇮🇩 Indonesia, 🇦🇺 Australia

🪵   Scent note: Base

🪵   Annual production:15,000 tons

🪵   Popular uses:   Aftershave, health care, cosmetics

How is sandalwood essential oil made?

Sandalwood oil is extracted from the wood and roots of the Santalum album tree through a steam distillation process. Santalol and santalene are the main active compounds found in sandalwood essential oil, along with dozens of other minor sesquiterpenoids such as linalool, nuciferol, nerolidol and eugenol, among others.

Steam distillation is the most common form of extraction as it collects the oil in its most natural and purest form. Steam vaporizes the plant material’s volatile compounds and eventually goes through a condensation and collection process which is the point where the oil is then bottled as pure essential oil, infused into soaps, perfumes, cosmetics and more.

Benefits of sandalwood essential oil

Sandalwood essential oil has a wide range of benefits, which is why it is one of the most popular essential oils in the world.

Some of the main benefits of sandalwood oil include:

  • 🪵    Relaxing and calming properties
  • 🪵    Spiritual benefits
  • 🪵    Skin care properties
  • 🪵    Anti-aging properties
  • 🪵     Respiratory-enhancing effects
  • 🪵    Being an aftershave ingredient

Let's look at each of these benefits of sandalwood oil in more detail.

Relaxing and calming properties of sandalwood essential oil

woman drinking tea while enjoying aromatherapy from diffuser

Sandalwood essential oil is often used to induce relaxation and relieve stress, anxiety and depression. A small amount of sandalwood essential oil can help calm anxious and restless nerves.

Sandalwood essential oil spiritual benefits

woman meditating while enjoying aromatherapy from diffuser

Sandalwood has been used for thousands of years for religious purposes, and it is still highly prized today for its use in spiritual practices and for its grounding effects during prayer or meditation.

Sandalwood for skin

woman looking at the mirror smiling

Sandalwood has chemoprotective properties (it protects the cells against abnormal growth) and is widely used in facial remedies. The alpha-santolol in sandalwood acts as a tyrosinase inhibitor, reducing skin hyperpigmentation and making it useful for lightening the skin. Dry, itchy skin can also be soothed and moisturized with sandalwood essential oil.

The antiviral and antiseptic properties found in the oil have been found to prevent replication of common viruses like the herpes simplex virus that causes cold sores. It’s also an antifungal agent, fighting Candida which causes various nail and foot fungus and helping get rid of common warts. Sandalwood also fights skin bacteria that are often responsible for skin infections. It also reduces inflammation from mild skin irritations; so, it’s a good idea to pack some into your travel bag.

Anti-aging properties of sandalwood essential oil

woman looking in the mirror looking happy

Sandalwood has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties which can help protect the skin, reduce age-related skin damage from free radicals and soothe irritated skin. Interestingly, even just smelling sandalwood can help reduce age-related hormonal changes which affect muscle mass!

Respiratory-enhancing effects of sandalwood essential oil

woman holding diffuser and enjoying essential oil scent

The common cold is a viral infection in the upper respiratory tract and sandalwood is great when it comes to fighting respiratory pathogens like a cold as it contains high levels of antiviral, antiseptic, and antioxidant properties. Sandalwood may also help those with seasonal allergic rhinitis (seasonal allergies or hay fever) to breathe better.

Aftershave sandalwood

Man, do we love a man that uses aftershave. Sandalwood is an earthy scent that men and women alike love as an aftershave scent. Not only will the scent be a great substitute for cologne, but the antibacterial, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of the oil will keep your skin healthy and free of irritation.

How to use sandalwood essential oil

Sandalwood essential oil can be used in a variety of ways, depending on its intended purpose.

Here are some of the most common ways to use sandalwood essential oil:

  • 🪵   Aromatherapy
  • 🪵    In the home
  • 🪵   Topically

Let’s look at each of these uses of sandalwood essential oil in more detail.

Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy is the oldest method of using sandalwood. They used to burn the wood, but today, you can transform your spiritual practices by adding a few drops of sandalwood essential to your diffuser and turning it on.

If you just want to relax, diffuse some sandalwood, then grab a book or put on your favorite movie, sit back and relax while you enjoy the calming effects of the oil. Apart from calming the mind, using sandalwood essential oil in aromatherapy is known to have sedative effects which means you’ll get all the beauty sleep you need. It’s the perfect therapy for those who suffer from insomnia or who just need help winding down after a busy day. Diffuse it in your bedroom as you get ready for bed or throughout the night to help you sleep.

If you don’t have a diffuser, you can inhale sandalwood essential oil by rubbing a drop or two between your palms and cupping your hands over your nose and mouth, inhaling deeply several times. This might be a quick fix to reduce stress and anxiety on the fly when you’re at work or out and about. Keep a bottle handy in your handbag if this is your preferred method.

If you suffer from seasonal allergies or have a cold, try either of the above methods to help open your lungs, kill germs, reduce stuffiness and enjoy the calming effect of the oil so that you can recover properly.

volant white essential oil diffuser for aromatherapy
volant white essential oil diffuser for aromatherapy
volant's handmade white diffuser is simple yet elegant. Designed for the modern minimalist.
volant white diffuser parts
volant white diffuser

White Volant Diffuser

69 €

In the home

The antiviral and antiseptic properties found in sandalwood make it a popular choice to use in household cleaning products. You can add a drop or two to your products before any household chores. And that’s not all, you’ll enjoy the glorious woody scent of the oil as it fills your living space, making your home feel like a grounded haven.

Topically

woman enjoying aroma scent from diffuser

Make the most of the antiseptic and protective effects of sandalwood essential oil by diluting a drop or two into your lotion or cleansers.

Using sandalwood essential oil topically is a great way to soothe and moisturize dry, itchy skin, soothe eczema, acne, psoriasis, or help treat warts. Dilute your sandalwood essential oil to about 1.5% (that’s about 2-3 drops per tablespoon of carrier oil) in a non-comedogenic carrier oil such as jojoba oil and massage it into your skin.

Similar instructions go for men using sandalwood as a DIY aftershave. Add a few drops to your aftershave and dab a little on your face as a little facial treatment. Not only will the scent be a great substitute for cologne, but the antibacterial and antioxidants in the oil will keep your skin healthy and free of irritation. Just be sure to do a patch test first to make sure your freshly shaved skin will react positively to it.

volant jojoba carrier oil bottle. the most popular carrier oils  for essential oils because it can be used on your hair or your skin
volant jojoba carrier oil bottle. the most popular carrier oils  for essential oils because it can be used on your hair or your skin
volant jojoba oil carrier oil for your hair and skin
volant jojoba oil carrier oil packaging. best for hair and skin
volant jojoba oil carrier oil rich with the beneficial nutrients, including vitamins A, D and E, making it holistically great for your body.

Jojoba Carrier Oil

13 €

Sandalwood essential oil research

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

Sandalwood is an age-old incense and treatment with many traditional uses. There’s a fair amount of modern research that is backing up traditional beliefs and even discovering new benefits for sandalwood essential oil. Let’s have a look at some of the most promising research.

Stress-reducing effects of sandalwood essential oil - 2016

A Japanese study was conducted using a combination of five essential oils in foot aromatherapy self-massage three times a week for four weeks. The results found that the participants blood pressure and anxiety decreased significantly.

Skin care benefits of sandalwood essential oil – 2007, 2017, 2018

This review discusses the use of sandalwood as a dermatology treatment. Because many skin conditions are characterized by inflammation, the anti-inflammatory properties in sandalwood have eased skin irritation in dermatitis (eczema), acne, psoriasis and other skin irritations.

In a study on aromatherapy massage in elderly women, researchers tested the effects of a topical blend of lavender, Roman chamomile and sandalwood on skin pruritus (dryness and itchiness) and stress. They found that the skin became more moisturized, elastic and less itchy and that stress levels were reduced.

A study was done by researchers to test essential oil and its topical treatment for the common wart. It was then established that sandalwood was successful in reducing the wart, and no side effects were found thereafter. The participants were wart and pain free after the treatment and noted that they did not experience any skin irritation, discomfort, scarring or pain during the treatment.

Cold sores can even be fought with sandalwood essential oil. Studies have found that sandalwood inhibits growth and reduces plaque formation by drug-resistant herpes simplex virus cases which cause cold sores.

Respiratory benefits of sandalwood essential oil – 2016

When compared against two other essential oils and a control, sandalwood essential oil was found to reduce nasal symptoms such as stuffiness, reduce fatigue and improve quality of life scores when inhaled over 7 days in patients suffering from seasonal allergies.

Cellular growth benefits of sandalwood essential oil – 1997, 2016, 2017

A clinical study was conducted to establish the effects of sandalwood oil and turmeric-based cream in preventing radiodermatitis in women that were undergoing radiotherapy for breast cancer. The study concluded that the cream significantly reduced the dermatitis in the patients when they applied the cream to their breasts before and after radiotherapy.

Sandalwood may also have direct effects on destroying abnormal cells in both breast and skin tissue.

Side effects of sandalwood essential oil

Essential oils are concentrated and therefore have the potential to cause skin sensitivities or allergic reactions if used neat or undiluted. In some people, sandalwood may still cause itching, nausea, and even an upset stomach. Use it sparingly, and always err on the side of caution. Always do a patch test before applying an essential oil topically for the first time to check for a sensitivity or allergy.

It is highly advised that you seek the advice of your medical practitioner if you intend on using the oil if you are concerned that you may be at risk of a heart attack, atherosclerosis, a preexisting heart condition or severe allergies.

Contraindications of sandalwood essential oil

It is recommended to seek the guidance of a medical practitioner before using this oil if pregnant, nursing, or on medication. It is best to avoid using sandalwood essential oil if you have recently undergone major surgery.

Where to buy sandalwood essential oil

Sandalwood essential oil is widely available online and in stores. When purchasing sandalwood oil, be sure to look for a 100% pure essential oil - not an extract. This ensures that you're getting an authentic product with all the therapeutic benefits of sandalwood essential oil. If it’s organic, even better!

Here are some of the places where you can purchase sandalwood essential oil.

Volant

At Volant, all our essential oils are produced using only the highest-quality plants, which are harvested and distilled with the utmost care. You’ll find sandalwood in Volant’s Cabin Blend. You can rest assured that when you purchase Volant’s Organic Cabin Essential Oil blend, a beautiful, exotic and earthy blend of fresh fir, cedarwood, spruce and sandalwood essential oils from Volant, you'll receive 100% pure and organic essential oil with no additives or synthetic ingredients. This ensures that you receive the greatest possible benefit from your sandalwood essential oil.

volant cabin essential oil blend made with fresh Fir, Cedarwood, Spruce, and Sandalwood
volant cabin essential oil blend made with fresh Fir, Cedarwood, Spruce, and Sandalwood
volant clay diffuser using cabin essential oil blend made with fresh Fir, Cedarwood, Spruce, and Sandalwood
volant cabin essential oil blend bottle packaging made with fresh Fir, Cedarwood, Spruce, and Sandalwood
volant cabin essential oil blend made with fresh Fir, Cedarwood, Spruce, and Sandalwood

Cabin

18 €

Amazon

Amazon is a popular place to shop for essential oils. It's important to note that Amazon is a marketplace rather than a store, so there are many different businesses selling essential oils through Amazon. For this reason, we'd recommend checking the ingredients and reviews of any essential oil that you choose to purchase through Amazon, as not all essential oils sold on the platform are pure, organic and trusted.

Pharmacies

If you prefer in-person shopping and holding the product in your hand to get a better idea of what you’re buying, then you will find that your local pharmacies and homeopathic stores will have just what you’re looking for. Always check that the oil you're buying is an essential oil rather than an extract and that it is 100% pure.

doTERRA

doTERRA is a company that manufactures organic essential oils, including sandalwood essential oil. If you’re looking for a 100% pure sandalwood oil, you can be confident you’ll get a quality, therapeutic oil from doTERRA.

Sandalwood essential oil FAQs

What effects does sandalwood have?

Sandalwood is often used in aromatherapy to promote a calming effect, lower stress and anxiety, and help improve sleep. It’s also often used in spiritual practices, so it’s an ideal scent to diffuse in your prayer time, meditation or yoga sessions.

Does sandalwood darken the skin?

While studies are still being done on the role sandalwood has on darkening the skin, some people have experienced scar or hyperpigmentation on exposure to sunlight after applying the oil topically. On the contrary, sandalwood has been shown to inhibit tyrosinase, which has a lightening effect on the skin.

What happens if I apply sandalwood on the face daily?

Sandalwood can be used in the form of an oil or a powder on the face and is able to soothe skin irritations, inflammatory skin conditions and soothes breakouts. The oil is known to relieve the pitta dosha, which means it has cooling properties. Overall, the oil can be used daily, but be sure to mix the oil with a safe carrier oil like rosehip oil, jojoba oil or even blueberry seed oil. A patch test is advisable as the oil can cause irritation to highly sensitive skin.

In summary

Sandalwood essential oil has a number of benefits, but it’s most commonly used for treating skin irritations and diffusing in the home for relaxation and spiritual purposes. However, you will likely find the oil in some cosmetic products as the oil has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antiseptic properties which is beneficial to the skin. So go ahead and use it as your own DIY skin treatment, moisturizer or aftershave and more!

If you have had a long day or are feeling overwhelmed and stressed, make use of the oil’s calming effects to soothe the mind and get a good night’s rest. While studies are still being done on the benefits of the oil, it is safe to say that there have already been several studies done that prove how precious this oil is and why it was considered the holy tree for many Eastern countries before it found its way to Western culture.

We’re here to help if you have any questions about sandalwood essential oil.

You can contact our support team at support@volantaroma.com and we will be more than happy to assist you with any questions you may have.

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