From ancient Ayurvedic practices traced back to the beginning of recorded history to a starring role in Le Labo’s cult-favorite, cool girl-approved Santal 33 perfume today, sandalwood has been trending for roughly 6,000 years. Prized both for its warm, distinctive fragrance and healing benefits, the oil from the aromatic wood has made countless appearances in both storied beauty rituals and modern skin-care formulas — and for good reason.
“Sandalwood oil has significant anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties,” explains dermatologist Francesca Fusco, MD, of Wexler Dermatology. Numerous studies have shown that the extract is effective in soothing inflammatory skin disorders, including allergic dermatitis, acne, eczema, and psoriasis — conditions that generally require a prescription to treat. Plus, like sage, sandalwood boasts more than just a proven ability to nix breakouts and calm angry, irritated skin: The oil is said to promote alertness and reduce anxiety when used in aromatherapy.
It’s your call whether or not you buy into sandalwood’s legendary medicinal properties, but you can experience the skin-care benefits firsthand with the best in sandalwood-based beauty products, ahead. A naturally-occurring tree that banishes acne and eases a troubled mind sounds too good to be true, but hey, six millennia of skin-care wisdom don’t lie.