What is old is new again when it comes to natural beauty and the use of essential oils. Many spa skincare and body treatment lines are based on aromatherapy and the use of botanicals including Pevonia, Aveda, Sisley, and Decleor to name a few. This has generated an increased interest in aromatherapy and the use of essential oils for home beauty treatments.
Before you start to invest in essential oils or have spa treatments that incorporate them. You should read about essential oils, and become familiar with their proper use and care. If you are working with aromatherapy and essential oils for the first time, try visiting a health food store, herbalist, or a retailer with a good variety of premium, high-quality essential oils.
Take advantage of testers and simply start smelling the individual oils. Experts suggest swirling the oil around in the bottle to gently awaken the molecules before you smell.
Sensory overload can develop if you smell too many essential oils at one time. In order to inhibit the sensory overload, I recommend that you smell coffee beans between testers to “clear their palate.”
Because there are no laws governing the purity and labeling of essential oils, being an educated consumer is the best way to ensure your money is well spent. You should definitely read up on the use and safety of essential oils prior to mixing any recipe.
Aromatherapy To Enhance your Facial Appearance
Even a healthy-looking skin can suffer any one of a number of common minor dilemmas. Aromatherapy and natural remedies present one way to approach these with an alternative solution; however, if problems are the result of a serious condition, professional medical help can get to the bottom of the cause. It may be necessary to have food allergy testing or a blood test to check hormone and mineral levels, as any serious disharmony within the body can easily cause regular, repetitive skin conditions.
Aromatherapy and Acne
Aromatherapy has had a reputation as a natural treatment for acne for many years. Of the aromatherapy oils, tea tree is probably the best-known as an acne remedy, though other oils such as lavender have been anecdotally reported effective. It turns out that aromatherapy does work for treating acne, and research now supports this.
In 1990, there was a study published in the Medical Journal of Australia, which reported on a clinical trial comparing the well-known aromatherapy oil tea tree essential oil and benzoyl peroxide used as acne treatments. There were 124 participants in this single-blind randomized trial, and treatments were administered as a 5% tea tree oil gel or a 5% benzoyl peroxide lotion.
Both the tea tree oil and benzoyl peroxide were shown to be effective in reducing acne outbreaks and blemishes. Study participants using tea tree oil experienced a lower incidence of side effects; however, the tea tree oil took somewhat longer than the benzoyl peroxide to show results. Bear in mind, however, that acne remedies always take time to work, whether they are prescription drugs or aromatherapy remedies.
Please note that essential oils are highly concentrated and very potent substances that can be harmful if not handled properly. Therefore, some precautions should be taken in order to avoid damaging effects and enjoy aromatherapy benefits. Read the aromatherapy safety tips LINK TO SAFETY TIPS to get informed about the secure use of the essential oils. However, this page cannot include all the circumstances that you may face. If you have any doubts about the safe use of essential oils, please consult a qualified aromatherapist.
Home Recipe for Face Acne and Back Acne
Aromatherapy Oils Needed:
- 5 drops Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens) essential oil
- 7 drops Lavender (Lavandula augustifolia) essential oil
- 7 drops Atlas Cedarwood (Cedrus atlantica) essential oil
- 12 drops Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) essential oil
- 1/4 ounce Jojoba oil
Combine essential oils and jojoba oil in a small glass vial with an orifice reducer. Use a cotton swab or clean finger to apply a drop directly to acne blemish. Make sure that you do not double-dip your cotton tip after touching your acne or face. You do not want to contaminate the mixture. If you have any left it is best to store in a dark glass bottle in the refrigerator.
Common Skin Problems
- Blackheads (Comedones)
- Bruises (contusions)
- Enlarged Pores
- Rough Skin
Common Skin Problems and Solutions
Blackheads are blocked oil glands (sebaceous) with an accumulation of dead cells and hardened excess oil that blocks the hair follicle. To alleviate this condition, scrupulous cleaning, exfoliating and regular treatments are necessary. Removal may be required, but only under the most sanitary conditions and by a professional. Removal of blackheads at home is not recommended, as permanent scarring is likely to occur.
Honey mixed into a clay mask is soothing and nurturing and is a gentle way to draw out impurities. A mild exfoliation, massaged in circular motion, made up of almond meal, honey, yogurt, with a few drops of lavender and tea tree essential oil, after cleansing, will gently cleanse the skin and help to soften and dislodge blocked pores.
Bruises are the result of tissue damage and bleeding beneath the skin caused by severe pressure or direct force. Immediately apply ice to reduce swelling and minimize bruising by slowing the blood flow and activating coagulation. To alleviate pain after initial icing, add a blend of rosemary, geranium, and lavender to an icy cold compress. As the bruise is healing, use this blend of oils (in an arnica tincture or cream) to massage the area and dissipate the bruise by stimulating circulation and fresh blood flow to the area. I find that this works well on sprained ankles and black and blues.
Couperose is the visible redness under the skin caused by tiny dilated or broken capillaries on the nose, chin, and cheeks. The redness may be easily aggravated by harsh chemical products, massage, climate, sun, wind, change in temperatures (heat to cold or cold to hot), smoking, alcohol, hot and spicy foods. To alleviate this condition, your circulation needs to be balanced. Juniper will assist in regulating the circulation.
Weak blood vessels may also need to be strengthened, as broken capillaries are easily inflamed. Try a blend of neroli, Roman chamomile, and rose in a base oil of Vitamin E. Apply this under a mask, or add it into your moisturizer. Oils such as chamomile and rose contain vasoconstriction properties to assist the narrowing and contraction of small blood vessels and decreasing blood flow in that area.
To prevent this, avoid known irritants; increase vitamin C and eat foods that are easy to digest, as well as making sure that you protect your skin from extreme temperatures and weather conditions.
Enlarged Pores are due to the natural aging process and/or oily skin that has been over dried, forcing dead skin cells to harden in the pores and stretch them.
If enlarged pores are due to blackheads stretching the entrance of the pore. First, see your aesthetician or dermatologist and have the blackheads removed. To assist in the contraction of the pores, blend sage or thyme in a base of jojoba oil. Use as a compressor mix in with your moisturizer and apply it to affected areas. Jojoba is easily absorbed into the skin and balances oil levels
Pigmentation yellow, brown, red, pink, white, or dark red/purple discoloration of the skin may be caused by hormones, pregnancy, the pill, or sun damage. Although age spots occur naturally in maturing skin, long-term treatment with lemon oil will provide visible improvement when applied topically, as it works to gradually lighten age spots. This blend may also lightly bleach pigmentation and freckles. You should have all moles checked regularly by your doctor, and any changes in freckle color or size should be monitored.
Pimples appear as inflamed, hardened lumps (papule), which may later develop pus (pustule). If left alone and not extracted then the healing process should dissipate the pimple, without any damage or scarring. In more serious cases, the pimple may rupture and damage the dermal layer of the skin, or spread infection creating further problems.
Tea tree or lavender oil is the best essential oils to use unless sensitivity is known or the skin is broken. Dip a cotton tip into either one or a mixture and apply directly to the affected area. It is preferable to use a cotton tip, to minimize spreading bacteria from fingertips by touching acne/pimples. Be aware not to keep touching the area, as sweat, dirt, and bacteria transfer from your fingers, and will discourage the healing process.
Once your face and hands are thoroughly clean, gently, but firmly massage the spot in a circular motion for about 20 minutes. This will help to stimulate the elimination of any infection into the bloodstream. Finish with a dab of tea tree or lavender oil on the spot, and most small, newly formed pimples clear up with this treatment.
Next, hold a piece of ice (wrapped in gauze) on the blemish for as long as you can – repeat a few times. If any stinging occurs discontinue. The ice helps to constrict the small blood vessels, as the blood drains from the spot it removes the infection. If prone to broken capillaries do not apply ice to your face.
Rough Skin is the buildup of dead skin cells, exfoliating treatments combined with massage will remove excess rough skin.
For Face: Apply a blend of lavender, geranium + sandalwood, in wheat germ oil, morning and evening, until skin texture becomes smooth and pliable.
For Body: bathe in a blend of rosewood, geranium + neroli, or massage into dry patches in a base of avocado oil (smoothes scaly, dry skin) and aloe vera (regenerative properties, prevents premature aging).
For Hands (and nails): rub olive oil into cuticles; add lavender, rose and geranium to a moisturizing cream, and neglected hands will benefit from this kind treatment after washing, using harsh chemicals or whenever they feel dry.
To combat premature aging, add frankincense and helichrysum to your moisturizer (about 2 drops to 1 oz). Helichrysum has been studied in Europe by researchers for the regeneration of tissue and increasing blood flow.
When using natural skincare to improve skin tone and texture and specific conditions, remember to drink your daily dose of water to flush out any toxins and maintain skin hydration from the inside; raw fruit and vegetables which are remarkably good for the skin. When you nurture your mind, body, and spirit to generate health and well-being that will naturally reflect on the surface of your skin as a smooth, even-toned complexion.
Aromatherapy Safety Tips
Essential oils are natural plant extracts derived from specific plant species using steam distillation, expression or chemical extraction. These oils are usually used in aromatherapy for therapeutic purposes. They are usually pure and natural and thus can be considered generally safe when used properly.
However, there are some instances when even a natural essence can cause adverse effects or allergic reactions. Always remember that you only need to use very small quantities of these oils and that they should be diluted in carrier oil prior to application.
Before using aromatherapy for therapeutic purposes, be sure to consult with a reliable authority or an experienced aromatherapist. This is important especially for those people with past or existing medical conditions. The reason for this simple, there are conditions wherein the use of some essential oils is contraindicated, and using the oils may only aggravate the situation.
Practice due diligence and do your research before using essential oils. Consult books dealing with the subject, look up the needed information on the internet, or visit an experienced aromatherapist.
There are essential oils that can either enhance or counteract the effects of several prescription and non-prescription drugs. So, if you are taking medications, be sure that the oil and the drug have complementary effects.
These essential oils are very concentrated and very powerful
Never apply essential oils undiluted to the skin. You should first add the essential oils to a base oil (sweet almond oil, hazelnut oil, olive oil, avocado oil, jojoba oil, etc) and then you can safely apply the blend to your body. Only a few gentle essential oils (lavender, chamomile) can be used directly on the skin, in very small quantities. Use small quantities of oils. Remember that only a few drops are needed for any aromatherapy blend. Usually, the body products (for adults) consist of only 2% of essential oils and 98% of base oils. Keep in mind that by using only a few drops of essential oils, you not only save money, but you use essential oils wisely and safely.
Aromatherapy and medical conditions
Special care should be taken in cases of health problems such as asthma, epilepsy, and high blood pressure. Asthmatics and people suffering from respiratory disorders must avoid inhalations. The contraindicated essential oils for epilepsy are hyssop, rosemary, sage, fennel, and eucalyptus oils while for high blood pressure, sage, rosemary, eucalyptus, thyme, and rose.
As with other potent substances, avoid contact with the eyes. Essential oils are very irritating to the eyes so it should not be applied near them. Remember that you should never use essential oils near your eyes. Always close your eyes when you inhale an essential oil and consider that washing carefully your hands after using any essential oil is the best way to avoid eye irritation or damages.
If you are pregnant or lactating, consult with an authoritative resource first before using essential oil. Essential oils are known to have the ability to cross the placental barrier and may cause negative effects to the unborn fetus. However, midwives are known to use lavender oil (Lavandula angustifolia) during and after delivery to ease birth pains with favorable effects. Some of the essential oils contraindicated in pregnancy are jasmine, myrrh, and ylang-ylang essences.
Aromatherapy and Children
Children may use essential oils only under the careful supervision of an experienced adult. Consequently, it is wise to keep the aromatherapy kit out of children’s reach. Moreover, special caution should be taken when using aromatherapy products for babies and children. Many oils are not suitable for babies and children under 12 years of age. For those oils that can be used for babies and small children, it is advisable to dilute the oils 2 to 4 times the recommended adult concentration. Remember that you may cause your children to develop allergies if you use essential oils improperly, so consult with your pediatrician.
Always keep essential oils out of children’s reach
Any essential oil can cause dermatitis and sensitization, especially when used repeatedly. Avoid this by using only very small amounts of oil at any one time. You should also practice substituting the oils from time to time rather than using the same oils every day.
When choosing essential oils, always check the Latin or botanical names to be sure you are using the right oil. Many essential oils may have the same common name but may exert different functions. There are also many essential oils that have more than one common name.
Beware of potential allergic reactions
Before using for the first time any essential oil it is advisable to check for possible allergic reactions. Keep in mind that an essential oil that is described as safe, may cause an allergic reaction to some individuals and therefore you should always test it before use. Dilute only 1 drop of the essential oil with a carrier oil and apply the mix on your skin. Wait at least 24 hours to verify whether it is irritating for you or not.
Essential oils may cause skin sensitivity to sunlight
The essential oils from the Citrus Family (lemon, lime, bitter orange, grapefruit, bergamot, etc) increase the sensitivity of the skin to sunlight. Hence, you should always wait for at least 5 hours after using them and before exposing your skin to ultraviolet sun rays, otherwise, you will redden and burn your skin.
External and internal use of essential oils
Do not ingest essential oils. Use them only externally. Many essential oils are toxic and thus internal use can be extremely dangerous. Oral consumption can take place only under the guidance of a qualified and specially trained aromatherapist.
Potentially dangerous essential oils
There are several hazardous essential oils which only experienced qualified aromatherapy practitioners may use them. Bitter almond, pennyroyal, camphor, sassafras, wormwood, and wintergreen oil are only a few of the oils that are inappropriate for aromatherapy. As a result, always check for the Latin botanical name of the oil before purchasing it, in order to certify that you will not buy any dangerous essential oil available at the market.
Essential oils are flammable
Almost all essential oils are flammable. Thus, you should be very careful when handling them. Do not put the bottles of essential oils near fire or naked flame and never burn pure essential oils (without water) in an aromatherapy vaporizer.
Essential oil storage
Essential oils should be stored in a cool dark place or in the refrigerator. Try to keep temperature fluctuations as less as possible in order to preserve their therapeutic attributes. Essential oils are usually sold in small dark yellow, violet, or blue glass bottles. The dark glass protects the essential oils from ultraviolet rays which may deteriorate their potency. Remember to close tightly the bottles’ lids because essential oils are volatile substances. Properly stored oils have 6 months minimum lifetime and 2-5 years maximum. Oils can become rancid and dangerous as they breakdown.
Contact poison control if you spill by mistake an essential oil into your skin or eyes, wash without delay the affected area, and request your doctor’s immediate medical care. If you accidentally consume any essential oil, contact poison control and go right away to the nearest poison control center for suitable medical care.
Knowing these safety precautions may save you from committing the most common mistakes and help you get the most from your aromatherapy experience.
Favorite Aromatherapy Books:
There is no need to be intimidated by essential oils or understanding how they work in your skincare. If you are already using a botanical skincare line, reading these books will help you to better select and understand the products that you are using so you may combine them more effectively.
Essential Oil Reference Book
This book is a must. Whatever you want to know about essential oil and its use is in this book. It also has a health issue and an essential oil recommendation area.
Aromatherapy for the Beauty Therapist
(Hairdressing & Beauty Industry Authority):
This book is geared more specifically to the use of Aromatherapy in beauty spa treatments.
Facelift at Your Fingertips
An Aromatherapy Massage Program for Healthy Skin and a Younger Face: Perfect book to address the use of essential oils in anti-aging.
This book while it is not directly overt on aromatherapy, is one of the best books on beauty secrets, natural beauty, and making your own beauty care products.
An experienced consumer can learn to tell the difference between genuine essential oils and lower-quality, synthetic versions. If you can’t, tell the difference then purchased reputable aromatherapy essential oil brands only. They may cost more, but they will be higher quality and all-natural if not organic.
The pure essential oils used in aromatherapy can be incorporated into skincare to directly fight bacterial invasions. When combined with massage, the immune system is revitalized, on a physical level, and on an emotional plane by nurturing love, positive outlook, and self-image. Using massage, reflexology, and essential oils to strengthen the immune system, the skin improves while negativity is released, and toxins carried and stored in the lymph glands are stimulated, eliminated, and replaced with fresh blood and nourishment. Relaxation and nutritious food are essential in the elimination of toxins, supplying healthy `skin food’, and the maintenance of good, healthy skin.