Have you ever relaxed with a lavender bath bomb after a long day, or maybe needed a little orange citrus mood boost early in the AM? Then you my friend have benefited from the natural healing powers of essential oils. But are all essential oils safe for our skin? With so many different options out there, it can be confusing to know when to use which oils, and more importantly where we can use them.
Essential oils are a great alternative to a more natural and holistic approach to many different things in life. Tea tree oil alone for instance is a natural antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiviral and antifungal oil. And that’s just ONE of many essential oils, the list goes on.
Now I’m no aromatherapist, but I do know a bit about the power of these oils, and much like everything in nature…moderation is key. Just because something is natural and plant based, doesn’t mean it can’t be harmful.
We’re going over the do’s and don’ts of using essential oils in your skin care products and how they can be extremely beneficial when formulated correctly.
what are essential oils exactly?
The use of essential oils dates back all the way to 4500 BC and were used by the Ancient Egyptians for cosmetic purposes as well as healing ointments. Yeah, they were way ahead of the curve. Essential oils are oils extracted from certain plants and are obtained by methods of distillation or mechanical methods like cold pressing. While essential oils are best known for their aromatherapy properties such as inhaling the aroma, they can also be used on the skin as well. However, you’ll want to make sure they are diluted, as pure essential oils can be too powerful to use on certain areas of the body in their natural form.
There are over 90 different essential oils and each one has multiple benefits so don’t feel bad if you still don’t know what all the benefits of Ylang-Ylang are...great for cramps btw :)
Here are some of the most popular and well known essential oils:
Tea Tree - Used to fight infection and boost immunity
Peppermint - Used to boost energy and aid in digestion
Lemon - Used to aid mood, headaches, and digestion
Ylang-Ylang - Used to treat headaches, nausea and skin condition
Rose - Used to improve mood and reduce anxiety
Sandalwood - Used to calm nerves and help with focus
Lavender - Used as stress reliever
Bergamot - Used to reduce stress and improve skin conditions such as eczema
Chamomile - Used to improve mood and relaxation
Jasmine - Used to help with depression and libido
Thuja - Used to treat bacterial skin infections.
Cupressus - Antimicrobial, antibacterial, & antifungal properties.
Juniper - Considered a “natural skin toner” and can reduce the look of red blemishes.
Bitter Orange Leaf - Can be used as a natural swelling reducer.
Orange - Reduces stress, mood boosting and is often used for its citrusy aroma.
As you can see essential oils offer many different benefits, and that’s only naming a few! But what do essential oils in skin care look like and what different benefits can we get from using essential oils in our skin care products?
the difference between aromatherapy and essential oils
Using essential oils in skin care is very different then using them for aromatherapy purposes. As I mentioned earlier, essential oils in their natural form are quite powerful and not really meant to be used directly on certain areas of the face or body. Seeing as these oils are traditionally used for aromatherapy, it’s important to only use diluted oils directly on the skin, especially the face. Many skin care lines have done exactly that and are now using essential oils in a responsible and safe way and the results can be pretty beneficial.
Most responsible skin care lines (Clear Start included), do not use any artificial dyes or fragrances. Side note: you’ll want to make sure none of your skin care products contain either of those. Most lines have adapted to this thankfully and it is very common to use very low concentrations of essential oils in their products in place of an artificial fragrance. The percentage is usually 1% or less, so sometimes these oils won’t even have any actual effect on the skin. They are used more so for aromatherapy purposes. Basically, it is safe to use a product with an essential oil in it, as long as the percentage is around 1% or lower. Again this just means the essential oils are being used in place of artificial fragrances to make the product smell nicer and allow you to benefit from the aromatherapies. Which is much safer than using artificial fragrances because who knows where that’s even coming from! Yikes…
Benefits of using essential oils include: soothing dry skin, reducing signs of ageing, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and can even help with oily/acne prone skin.
to wrap it up
There seems to be a lot of misinformation around essential oils in skin care, so that is why it is definitely important to do your research if you are looking into purchasing a product that contains them. Here’s a checklist to run by before making a purchase.
1. Which essential oils are used in the product? As previously mentioned, some aren’t safe for application on the skin.
2. Check the quality and make sure that the oils have been diluted in a carrier oil such as argan oil or coconut oil.
3. Make sure the amount is 1% or less to ensure there is no irritation, and that it is being used for scent or aromatherapy purposes only.
While it isn’t a good idea to use pure essential oils on your face, research shows that it is ok and even beneficial to use certain oils in a diluted form. As long as you are using a professional skin care like Clear Start, you can rest assured that if there is an added essential oil, the percentages are low making it perfectly safe to use on your skin!