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Herbal Essential Oils also used for Wound Care.

   by Jean Patton


   Using natural botanical skin care is a wonderful experience. With uplifting aromatic essential oils and other natural carrier ingredients, it is easy to nourish the skin in a very special way. While dramatic effects can sometimes be had using synthetically created products, natural botanical blends can bring about a lasting healthy glow free from the possibility of side-effects.

   While some of the most highly regarded therapeutic grade oils may seem expensive at first, they are effective in such small concentrations as to really make them worthwhile. And their efficacy is well-known; that’s why so many laboratory-made preparations use components of essential oils in their formulas. With a one or two ounce bottle to mix in, and an eye dropper, you can easily mix your own blend with the aroma and actions you desire most.

   Several essential oils and carriers are held in high-esteem for their regenerative and nutritive properties. With only a small collection of oils, you can make highly-effective recipes applicable to particular skin conditions such as premature aging, UV and other damage, acne-prone skin and more.

   These few primary skin care oils include the following: Helichrysum italicum - the oil of this flower is one of the most highly regarded in aromatherapy for it’s great versatility. It has a pleasant aroma, it contains rare ‘di-ketones’ which stimulate the skin’s natural metabolism, and is a powerful anti-inflammatory (all tissue damage and aging is associated with inflammation on a cellular level). Lavender oil - ‘true’ or ‘French’ Lavender is the most used oil in aromatherapy today because of it’s great multitude of effects. Like Helichrysum, it contains regenerative ketones; it reduces inflammation; it speeds wound healing; AND it has an aroma very well known for its relaxing effects - easing tension while healing your skin - could you ask for more? Next up is Rosemary of the ‘verbenone’ type. It also contains ketones (that the cineol type does not) and is known as a circulatory and metabolism stimulant, increasing the flow of nutrients in, and waste products out, of your skin cells. Palmarosa essential oil is included in many blends for it’s gentle cleansing and antiseptic properties. And last but not least, Carrot Seed oil is the premier oil for regenerating tired, lifeless skin - often a result from too much stress or high levels of pollutant exposure.

   There are several other oils with positive effects on the skin (some will be mentioned in the blends below), these just happen to be the most often used. With research, you can find essential oils that will address particular skin conditions that are not covered here. Further, there are in fact hundreds of essential oils available, each with it’s own unique composition and aroma. Adding a little to your blends simply for their fragrance influence is highly recommended. A few drops of precious oils like Jasmine, Neroli, Sandalwood or Rose can create that aromatic combination you simply love, and will want to wear all the time.

   The essential oils are almost never applied to the skin undiluted (Lavender is a rare exception). Instead, they are added to what are known as ‘carrier’ or ‘base’ oils. Diluting the essential oil in carrier not only stretches your dollar, but the oils actually are more effective this way! Research has shown that most essential oils have the most dramatic therapeutic effects at concentrations of less than 5% of the total blend. And the carriers have their own positive effects; besides helping your skin absorb the essential oils, they provide nutrients such as essential fatty acids, and vitamin compounds which enhance the skin’s health.

    Some of the more commonly used carrier oils in skin care are as follows: First is Hazelnut oil - pressed from, obviously, Hazelnuts. This is considered the most gentle of the carrier oils, suitable for all skin types. It often serves as the primary base oil in blends, making up a majority of the mixture. Next is Rosehip seed oil, pressed from Rosehip seeds grown in the mountains of South America. This well researched oil not only has a wealth of essential fatty acids, but contains trans-retinoic acid, a compound similar to the active ingredient of Retin-A (a well known wrinkle cream), but without the drying side effects. Lastly we’ll mention Evening Primrose oil, often included in blends for aging skin and for eczema - it has one of the highest known concentrations of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), an essential fatty acid which may be crucial to optimal health. So there are the primary ingredients, and the reasons behind them. With these, and a few of your own personal touches, you can create a great variety of blends. To go ahead and start mixing, acquire a one or two ounce dark glass bottle to mix in, an eye dropper and a small funnel (you don’t NEED this, it just makes the whole process a lot less messy).

   Here are several blends categorized by skin type to get you started. For normal skin, used at any time: In each ounce of Hazelnut Oil, add 15 drops Thyme Linalool, 15 drops Rosemary Verbenone, 15 drops Neroli, and 15 drops Spike Lavender; this blend can work well for acne with it’s antiseptic properties, but is an excellent tonic for all skin types.

   If your skin has been chemically damaged, is overly-sensitive, or otherwise ‘weakened’ with broken capillaries, try this mixture, applying frequently: For each ounce of base oil, use three parts Hazelnut, one part Rosehip Seed, and one part Evening Primrose. Add the following essential oils: fifteen drops Moroccan Chamomile, fifteen drops Helichrysum, fifteen drops true Lavender, and fifteen drops Roman Chamomile. The Helichrysum, Lavender and Rosehip seed will enhance the skin’s own natural metabolism, and the addition of the Chamomiles will greatly reduce inflammation that is found with almost all damage and/or aging.

   For excessively oily and acne-prone skin, in one ounce of Hazelnut oil, add 15 drops Green Myrtle, 15 drops Eucalyptus Dives, 15 drops Spike Lavender, and 15 drops Rosemary Verbenone. The Myrtle in this blend dissolves sebum clogging skin pores, while the Eucalyptus Dives calms the hyperactive sebaceous glands.

   If your skin doesn’t have particular damage to it, but appears lifeless due to exhaustion and/or exposure to significant amounts of pollution or environmental toxins, this is the blend for you. Use one part Rosehip Seed and 4 parts Hazelnut as the base. To each ounce, include fifteen drops Carrot Seed (also known as Wild Carrot or Queen Anne’s Lace - a well known skin restorative), fifteen drops Lemon verbena (which enhances the removal of toxins from skin tissues), fifteen drops Niaouli (an all-around brilliant antiseptic oil with firming effects), and fifteen drops Rosemary verbenone (again, for it’s regenerative and stimulating effects). If you are wishing to strengthen, tighten, and firm your skin, try this dilute mixture (the concentration of essential oils is relatively low here for use near the eyes) five ounces of Hazelnut oil and one ounce of Rosehip seed oil, fifteen drops of Green Myrtle, fifteen drops of Rock Rose (a plant grown in very sun-drenched areas, excellent for gently tightening the skin). If you like, add fifteen drops of Rosemary verbenone for it’s regenerative properties, but omit if this causes sensitivity used near the eyes.

   So there are a few tried-and-true aromatherapy skin care blends to use in your natural beauty regime. You can easily mix and match the oils described to create your own blend, and add any oils you really like the aroma of (be aware that a FEW essential oils are VERY strong, and should not be used on the skin - the more common of these include Cinnamon, Clove, Oregano, and Red Thyme - consult with a knowledgeable practitioner if you are unsure about the safety of any oil). A word about purchasing oils for your blends - do NOT use anything labeled as a ‘fragrance oil’ - these are synthetic reproductions of essential oils that will likely cause an allergic reaction. DO seek out a reputable source. And oils, like wine, do vary greatly from maker to maker. A higher price can mean a significantly nicer oil (though not always) - one that is sweeter, or more well-rounded - only a few oils should smell ‘medicinal’ - Spike Lavender is a little ‘camphorus’ in general - but a good Rosemary verbenone should have a very appealing scent . Despite the initial outlay, you are more likely to continue to use a blend that you really like the aroma of, and that has therapeutic effects. Though once you find the oils you adore, you’re more than likely to continue the practice of making your own blends for some time to come.

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