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Thursday, September 3, 2009

Essential Oils for Skincare

As discussed in my previous post, Historical Use of Aromatherapy in Skincare, many ancient civilizations, including the ancient Egyptians used plants for cosmetic and skin care needs. It was perhaps not in the form of essential oils as we know them today, but many of the plants and flowers which we use in skin care today were , in fact, used; examples include rose, lavender and myrtle.

Essential oils access the body in a number of ways, including absorption through the skin. That is why it is important to know the chemical components of an essential oil and know what to use it for, as your body will absorb the essential oils applied to it. However, as essential oils are usually recommended for dilution in a carrier oil first, the amount is usually minute, but still effective, meaning knowledge of the particular essential oil you are using is important.

Your skin will react in different ways to an essential oil depending on a number of factors. These include:

  • your age
  • stress
  • exercise
  • diet
  • lifestyle
  • the environment
  • health.

Depending on your skin type, here's a few recommendations of essential oils for different types of skin:

  • dry skin - dry skin needs moisture; dry skin may be sensitive too so gentle essential oils are recommended such as rose, lavender, roman chamomile, sandalwood and patchouli. Good carrier oils for dry skin include avocado, hazelnut and evening primrose.
  • mature skin - to stimulate cell growth and to treat wrinkles, mature skin benefits from the essential oils of frankincense, palmarosa, clary sage, lavender and neroli; borage, wheatgerm and vitamin E bases are good carriers for mature skin.
  • oily skin - oily skin results in congestion and spots; the PH balance of oily skin can be re-balanced by using the essential oils of geranium, tea tree, cedarwood and lemon or any other essential oil which has astringent or antiseptic properties. Jojoba and apricot kernel are good carrier oils to use as they are light and easily absorbed.

These are just a few of my suggestions for essential oils for skincare; there are many books on the subject, all with a number of aromatherapy recipes for you to try. The only way to know for sure if a blend is going to work for you is to experiment and try a few different essential oil blends before finding an aromatherapy blend for skincare which truly works for you!

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