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Top Essential Oils for Skin Care

Top Essential Oils for Skin Care

Essential oils and skin care go hand in hand.  When used properly they can have a healing affect on the mind and body.  Essential oils can nourish and rejuvenate your face, hair and body.  Read on for a list of my favorite essential oils for skin care products:

  • Chammomile (Roman and German) – this floral oil is known for it’s ability to relax the mind and soothe the body.  It is used frequently in skin and hair care products.  This is a good choice for people who have sensitive skin, inflammation, acne and/or anxiety.  Most people like the way it smells.
  • Geranium – this is a bright, floral almost fruity oil that people either love or hate.  I love it but unfortunately my husband can’t tolerate the smell.  It’s used commonly in perfume and body care recipes.  It’s known as a balancing oil and can benefit all skin types.
  • Lavender – this relaxing oil is the first oil I recommend for the essential oil beginner.  It has nearly unlimited uses in skin care, first aid, cleaning and relaxation.  This is a well known and well loved oil that most people enjoy.
  • Sweet Orange – this oil has a happy scent that works well in lip balms and some body balms.  The scent is very uplifting – like biting into a real orange.  Kids usually love it and most adults too.  Safety note: Sweet orange (as well as most citrus oils) can have a phototoxic effect on the skin – this means your skin is more sensitive to light and puts you at increased risk of sunburn.
  • Peppermint – this fresh, minty oil is a personal favorite in lip balms, toners, hair care and foot care products.  It’s particularly good in the summer and can give your products a refreshing zing.
  • Rosemary – this fragrant oil is a traditional herb for hair care.  It is often used for dandruff, hair darkening and to stimulate new hair growth.  It has a healing affect on hair and body and is particularly useful for people with normal to oily skin.  Safety note: Rosemary should be avoided if you are pregnant or epileptic.
  • Tea Tree – this useful oil is a must have for the home medicine chest.  Its antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral properties make it a good addition to acne formulas, foot products, healing balms and cleansers.  It is known as a very safe oil.  My only criticism of this great oil is that it has a very strong, medicinal smell.

Safety Notes:

  • Essential oils are powerful substances that should be used with caution.  As a rule of thumb, do not let undiluted (neat) essential oils come in contact with your skin.  With few exceptions, essential oils should be diluted in a base oil before applying to the skin (see http://youngmotherhubbard.com/ingredients/ for definition of base oil).  For safety reasons (and because I can’t stand an overly scented product), I dilute most of my recipes to 1% or less – this equates to 5 drops or less per ounce of carrier oil.
  • Before using an essential oil, you should educate yourself about its healing properties and its safety precautions.  Some oils can cause sensitization, allergic reactions or aggravate medical conditions such as Asthma.  Some oils should be avoided all together including (but not limited to): bitter almond, camphor, pennyroyal, rue, wintergreen, wormwood
  • If essential oil comes in contact with your eyes or nose flush them immediately with an unscented base oil such as olive oil or vegetable oil.  If that is not available, flush with whole milk.  Essential oils are fat soluble, not water soluble so flushing with water will not help.
  • Occasionally people have allergic reactions to essential oils.  Before using a new oil use the following allergy test: Mix 2 drops of the essential oil with 1 teaspoon of carrier oil.  Apply a small amount on a small patch of skin (I usually use my wrist because it’s easy to observe).  Wait a day and see if a rash or irritation forms.  If not, the oil is safe for you to use (in moderation of course).
  • Some essential oils should be avoided during pregnancy.  Please research this and any other safety precautions before using an essential oil.
  • Always keep essential oils out of the reach of children.

Photo Credit: lavender, a photo by M@rg on Flickr.

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