The use of essential oils can be tracked as early as 4500 BC. They were used in spiritual rituals and possibly the first medicinal treatments. Today essential oils are commonly used in skin care products, the foundation of aromatherapy, and healing.
Oils are classified into two types: carrier oils and essential oils.
Carrier oils are usually derived from the seeds, kernels or nut, such as almond oil, apricot oil, avocado oil, and sunflower oil just to name a few. Carrier oils have unique characteristics that can provide therapeutic value in skin care products, aromatherapy and healing.
Essential oils are distilled from leaves, barks, roots, flowers and other aromatic parts of a plant or tree. Essential oils are more potent than carrier oils and if applied to the skin undiluted can cause severe irritation or allergic reaction. Therefore, essential oils are mixed with carrier oils to dilute potency. Additionally carrier oils carry the essential oil too the skin, thus the term carrier oil.
Essential oils are not the same as perfume or fragrance oils. Whereas essential oils are created from botanicals, perfume oils and fragrances are chemically created and do not offer any therapeutic benefits.
In skin care, carrier oils are usually referred to as base oils, vegetable oils or fixed oils. Additionally there are animal based carrier oils such as Emu oil (from the emu bird) and fish oils. In general, aromatherapy blends do not include vegetable oils or animal based carrier oils.
Below is a short list of common carrier oils and essential oils and the therapeutic value of each oil:
Sweet Almond oil: Effective makeup remover and moisturizer. It has a great effect on fighting wrinkles, as well as having an anti-bacterial effect on the skin.
Avocado: Moisturizes, reduces appearance of age spots, heals sun damage and scars. Additionally, avocado regenerates and rejuvenates the skin. Avocado increases collagen in the skin and therefore is an anti-aging ingredient in skin care. Avocado oil has superior moisturizing qualities.
Jojoba: Balances skin’s sebum, therefore beneficial for both dry and oily skin types. Also an eye-makeup remover rich in moisturizing properties.
Olive Oil: Contains natural anti-oxidants and vitamins and acts an anti-inflammatory in skin care products. Also used in scar treatments from acne, eczema and stretch marks.
Chamomile: An excellent skin cleanser. Good for dry and itchy skin, eases puffiness and strengthens tissues. Smooth out broken capillaries thus improving skin elasticity.
Geranium: A good overall skin cleanser. Wonderful oil for mature and troubled skin and brings a radiant glow and promotes circulation. Safety Precautions: Geranium essential oil is well tolerated by most individuals, but since it helps in balancing the hormonal system, care must be taken during pregnancy.
Lavender: Useful for all skin types as it promotes growth of new cells and exerts a balancing effect on the sebum (oil glands). Has a healing effect on burns, sunburns, acne, eczema and psoriasis.
Lemon: Brightens pale and dull complexions by removing dead skin cells. Has an effective cleansing action on oily skin. Note this oil is photo toxic; care should be taken to avoid exposure to sunlight, ultraviolet light and sun beds after application.
Neroli: Useful for dry, sensitive and mature skin as it helps with regeneration of cells and improves elasticity. Helps reduce the appearance of varicose veins, scarring and stretch marks.
Rose: Particularly good for mature, dry, or sensitive skin. As a tonic it is a soothing quality for inflammation and constricting action on capillaries. Consider substituting rose geranium as Rose oil is very expensive, or consider making your own rose oil, get the recipe at Complete Skin Care Therapy and click on the recipes tab, then essential oils.
Rosemary: Helpful for sagging skin as it is a strong astringent. Tones and tightens the skin. Has a stimulating effect on the uterus, so do not use if pregnant.
Sandalwood: A balancing oil and good for dehydrated skin, and dry eczema. Provides a softening affect and makes a great neck cream when mixed with cocoa butter.
Ylang Ylang: Has a balancing effect on sebum so useful for both oily and dry skin types.
Below are a few skin care recipes using the essential oils and carrier oils listed above:
Honey Facial Mask with Rose Oil
2 Tablespoons honey
2 Tablespoons sweet almond oil
5 drops Rose essential oil (very expensive, consider making your own essential oil, see my post - Make Your Own Essential Oils, or use Rose Geranium as a substitute)
1 drop Vitamin E
Mix honey, sweet almond oil and rose essential oil. Massage onto clean face and neck with fingertips in an upward motion. Allow to set on face and neck for 15 minutes. Rinse off with tepid water. Gently pat dry and see the benefits.
Moisturizer for Normal SkinGeranium 1 drop
Lavender 2 drops
Sweet Almond Oil - 1 Tablespoon
Blend essential oils with Almond oil. Apply to face after cleansing and toning. Use a few drops of this blended mixture as needed. Note: when mixing your essential oils with the carrier oil or lotion, let set for 1 to 2 days so the oils can blend thoroughly.
Essential oils are fun to work with and offer so many benefits in skin care, healing properties, and in the home through aromatherapy. The above list is just a sampling of what essential oils can do for you. However, essential oils are very potent and care should be taken when using them. Additionally, a patch test is always recommended as with any new skin care product.
Essential oils are also eco-friendly!
For more skin care recipes and skin care articles, visit Complete Skin Care Therapy
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