Essential oils have been used for thousands of years throughout many cultures for various medicinal and health purposes. Some say essential oils are the oldest form of a natural health aid, dating back to the ancient Egyptians. The Egyptians may have included a type of essential oils in their religion and cosmetics as well as utilizing them for wellness purposes. Distillation pots have been found dating back about 3,500 BC!
The particles in essential oils come from distilling or extracting the different parts of plants, including the flowers, leaves, bark, roots, resin and peels. In ancient times, Jews and Egyptians made essential oils by soaking the plants in oil and then filtering the oil through a linen bag.
Because of the high concentration, just one drop of an essential oil can have powerful health benefits. By concentrating the oils of these plants, we are literally separating the most powerful healing compounds of a plant into a single oil. Essential oils are rapidly growing in popularity because their natural antioxidant, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties act as powerful remedies without any side effects.
There are many uses for essential oils, including aromatherapy, personal beauty, natural medicine, household cleaning etc. In this post I will explore the topical use of essential oils and how with a little knowledge of different essential oils we can all become our own alchemists and create powerful natural remedies for our skin.
Because of their molecular structure, essential oils are rapidly absorbed by the skin. When applied topically, it takes about 20 minutes for an oil to affect every cell in the body. The oil is then metabolized within a few hours.
Most essential oils are too strong to be applied directly onto the skin, therefore it is very important to dilute them properly. Diluting essential oils also allows them spread over a larger surface area of the skin, which helps the oil penetrate your skin better.
The best way to dilute essential oils is to blend them with a carrier oil. Generally any cold-pressed vegetable/fruit oil can be used as a carrier oil. Its a good idea to research your carrier oils and select the best oil to use for what you are creating.
One of my favourite carrier oils to use is organic coconut oil. Coconut oil is full of naturally present antioxidants and is an excellent antifungal, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial oil. It is exceptional for nourishing the hair, nails and skin. When buying coconut oil look for organic, unrefined coconut oil that has not gone through the process of chemical extraction.
Other good carrier oil options are olive oil, jojaba oil, avocado oil, grapeseed oil, moringa oil, castor oil, hemp seed oil, rosehip oil, flaxseed oil and blackseed oil amongst many others- always organic of course!
When blending essential oils with carrier oils, a good rule of thumb is to add 1-2 drops of essential oil per 1 teaspoon of carrier oil for adults and add 1-2 drops of essential oil per 1 tablespoon of carrier oil for children over 2 years of age (always do your research before applying oils on kids as they are more sensitive than adults. Don’t use “hot” oils like cinnamon bark, oregano, wintergreen and even peppermint with children).
I will write more posts in future exploring the benefits and uses of each of our essential oils, and some recipes to blend, however for now here are a few of my favourite go to essential oil and carrier combos for different skin types:
Carrier oils: coconut oil, jojoba, grapeseed oil, sunflower oil
Carrier oils: coconut oil, caster seed oil, avocado oil, sweet almond oil, rose hip seed oil
Carrier oils: jojoba, sesame oil, argan oil, grapeseed oil, evening primrose
Carrier oils: sunflower oil, jojoba, sweet almond oil, apricot kernel oil, rose hip seed oil, avocado oil, argan oil, grapeseed oil,
Carrier oils: jojoba, argan oil, grapeseed oil
Carrier oils: rose hip seed oil, jojoba, castor oil, avocado oil, sunflower oil, tamanu oil