The Benefits of Essential Oils
Our skin is the interface between our body and the world. It shelters the body and helps to eliminate waste. As a porous surface, whatever this protective organ is exposed to is absorbed to some degree into the blood stream. Learning how to make homemade skin care products is a way to introduce only pure and natural substances to the body.
Despite the fact that skin care products are supposed to benefit our skin, many of the chemical substances found in commercial cosmetics are actually toxic. Some are only mild irritants while others can be carcinogenic. Essential oils on the other hand are the pure, concentrated form of plant essences. They are made, usually through steam-distillation, from herbs, flowers, bark, stems, or any other component of a plant. They serve to nourish the skin, offering valuable phytochemicals which have a wide range of positive effects, from killing bacteria to improving circulation. Using essential oils for natural skin care is extremely beneficial; they are meant to be absorbed into the body. On their own they are much too intense to be directly applied; always mix essential oils with a carrier substance, such as water, almond or jojoba oil, or an unscented and lanolin-free lotion.
There are a number of essential oils which can benefit dry skin conditions by balancing the skin’s natural oil production with its moisture content, improving circulation, and generally relaxing skin cells. Linden essential oil is one of the best essential oils for dry skin. It is a very calming, soothing plant essence which works to moisturize the skin. Use linden on its own, or in combination with lavender. To make a calming floral water mist, add six to ten drops of essential oil in four ounces of distilled water. Put this mixture in a spray bottle, and mist dry areas regularly to replenish moisture.
Sandalwood, cedarwood, and patchouli are all excellent for dry skin, as well as having antiseptic, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties. The three fragrances blend well together. Try making a moisturizing, nourishing oil. Blend six drops of essential oil for every two ounces of grape seed, almond, apricot, or olive oil.
Acne is generally attributed to a hormone imbalance. Essential oils that work well in natural skin care remedies for oily skin work to protect the skin from bacteria and infection, reduce inflammation, and/or balance hormones. Tea tree oil is probably the most potent antibiotic, antifungal, and antiseptic essential oil. It can be used on its own as a refreshing cleanser. Simply dilute about twenty drops of the oil in a cup of water, then dab troubled areas with a clean cotton ball.
Geranium essential oil is effective as it helps to balance hormones, as well as cleanse. It can be blended with lavender, to calm and soothe any inflammation. Mix the two oils in a carrier oil, the same six drops for two ounces. Jojoba oil is the best carrier oil for oily skin because its chemical make-up is the closest thing in nature the human skin oil, known as sebum.
Mature skin has often lost some of its elasticity, so it benefits from essential oils that work as astringents, as well as those that increase circulation. A good combination for wrinkled or mature skin is clary sage, grapefruit and rosemary. Clary sage essential oil calms the skin and is an anti-inflammatory, while grapefruit cleanses, detoxifies, and regenerates. Rosemary has both astringent properties and it enhances circulation.
An essential oils skin care idea for mature skin would be a facial compress. Simply soak a clean cloth in a bowl of water and essential oil, ten to fifteen drops for every eight ounces of water. Lay the cloth on your face for ten minutes. Do this once or twice a week.
Make sure to always use only organic essential oil for your homemade skin care products. Imitation oils do not have the same properties, and are likely to be irritable to the skin. Also, although all citrus oils, orange, lemon, grapefruit, and bergamot, are beneficial, be sure to stay away from direct sunlight after applying these essential oils as they can compound the negative effects of the sun. Experiment with different essential oils to find what homemade natural skin care method works the best for you.
Balch, Phyllis A. “Prescription for Nutritional Healing.” Fourth Edition. (Element Books, 2006).