Are Essential Oils Good For Your Skin?
Updated At 27 Jan 18
When you think of essential oils, your mind immediately wanders off to a spa day filled with relaxation. You’re probably already imagining sitting in a room enveloped in the aroma of lavender oil. But essential oils can do so much more than just that. Know everything about essential oils and if essential oils are good for your skin.
What Exactly Are Essential Oils?
Essential oils are highly concentrated plant extracts that are made by steam-distillation, cold pressing, or CO2 extraction process. Their high level of concentration is what makes them so potent. They can be extracted from leaves, flowers, roots, barks, and plant peels.
The term ‘essential’ is derived from the fact that they are made from concentrated essences of a plant. They are so concentrated that it can take up to 500-2000 pounds of extracts to make about 1 pound of essential oil.
They are widely used in aromatherapy and serve therapeutic purposes like depression, stress, anxiety and migraine relief.
How To Use Them?
There are various ways to use essential oils. They can be applied to the skin, inhaled or even ingested in some cases.
Essential oils are quickly absorbed by inhalation. Some oils have energizing properties while others help in calming the senses. One of the easiest ways to use them is through an electric or a candle-based diffuser. Some oils can even be used by merely rubbing a few drops in your palms, cupping them around your nose and inhaling. Various other methods include adding them to your laundry or using them as a room mist for carpets, linens etc.
Due to their low molecular weight, essential oils are easily absorbed by the skin. A light massage during application also ensures an increase in blood flow. Moreover, if you’re struggling with dry skin, you can use a carrier oil like coconut oil which will help moisturize your skin at the same time. This is also recommended if you have sensitive skin to avoid any reactions.
The recommended ratio for application is 1 drop of essential oil to 3 drops of carrier oil.
They can be even be added to your bath or body lotion. But make sure you avoid sensitive areas like the skin near your eyes and open wounds.
Although not very common, some essential oils can be used as dietary supplements for a number of health conditions. They can be used as a replacement for herbs and can even be added to water and other beverages. While being ingested, these oils directly enter the bloodstream and internally spread throughout the body. However beneficial they are, they must always be used carefully and in appropriate doses for the body to effectively benefit from them. It is highly recommended to consult a professional before consuming essential oils.
Which Ones To Use?
Some of the popular oils are:
- Peppermint– can be used in soaps, diffusers, cleaners, for feet, to help with and even alleviate congestion.
- Lavender– a relaxant, lavender oil can be used for its calming effects that helps you de-stress and sleep better.
- Rosemary – great for hair growth and scalp.
- Tea tree – has antibacterial properties, can be used in cleaning products.
- Citrus oils – oils like lime, lemon and orange are anti-septic and also astringent. They can be used to stimulate the immune system. However, they make you sensitive to sunlight so its best to avoid it when going out under natural sunlight.
But Is It All Good?
Some essential oils when applied directly to the skin can cause harsh side effects like allergies, irritation and sun sensitivity. Even inhalation of oils such as Thyme, oregano, clove, and cinnamon bark can cause irritation in some cases. Citrus oils like orange, lime, lemon, bergamot etc. can make the skin vulnerable to severe sunburns after application.
It’s best to avoid using undiluted essential oils as they can lead to skin ailments such as rashes and loss of skin pigmentation.
There have also been some undesirable instances when the overuse of essential oils led to health issues. However, this obviously does not apply to all essential oils.
Essential oils are NOT necessarily bad as long as you pick the right products.
It is important to consider the concentration, dosage and method of use before consumption. Like most wellness supplements, quality is of paramount importance.
Make sure you buy your products from a reliable brand/source, and that they aren’t suspiciously cheap.
Research well and you’re good to go!