Today begins our journey in a series about essential oils, unique oil blends, and aromatherapy. There are so many wonderful essential oils available today, and many have multiple benefits. We'll learn a brief history of aromatherapy, discuss the difference between essential oils and fragrance oils, and also share some wonderful recipes using essential oils.
What are Essential Oils?
The term "essential oil" is a bit misleading, truth be told. An essential oil is actually a concentrated compound and not an oil at all. These compounds come from various parts of plants. They can be extracted from flowers, bark, resin, leaves, roots, and peels. They are typically extracted through a method called distillation. Distillation can occur chemically or through steam and you really want them to be steam distilled. It is not always an easy process, as it is sometimes much more difficult to extract these natural compounds. You can tell how easily an essential oil is distilled by the cost. The more expensive the essential oil, the more difficult it was to extract the natural compounds from the plant.
Essential Oils are very concentrated and need to be diluted prior to usage in almost every instance. The most common method is by adding Essential Oils to what is known as a Carrier Oil. Adding the concentrated Essential Oils to Grape Seed Oil, Olive Oil, Sweet Almond Oil, Safflower Oil, Avocado Oil, etc. makes it easy to reap the benefits of Aromatherapy because you can apply the oil right to your body.
Essential Oils are the backbone of a practice known as Aromatherapy.
Quite simply, Aromatherapy is the practice of using Essential Oils in order to promote wellness and good health. Aromatherapy used one of our key senses, that of smell. Your nerve receptors, once hit with a fragrance, send a message right up to something called the Limbic System. This is within the brain and it essentially processes a scent and gives you a certain reaction. This is the system that triggers emotional responses to fragrance. Many people associate a certain scent with a person or memory.
Whenever I smell a certain department store perfume, I am reminded of my late grandmother. She always wore it when I was a child and even though she is gone, I instantly think of her when I smell it. When I smell tulips, I am always reminded of the garden I played in at my childhood home. The salty scent of ocean air reminds me of the summer we lived in Coastal Georgia planning our wedding.
Before I further discuss Essential Oils and using them for Aromatherapy, I would like to clear up a common area of confusion.
A common misconception is that popular Fragrance Oils are basically the same as Essential Oils. This could not be more false. Well over 95% of an actual finished Fragrance Oil comes from petrochemicals (crude oil) and are hazardous to your health. These oils are created in a lab and are made to mimic a particular scent. You can buy bottles of synthetic fragrance oil in every type of scent these days--from rose to chocolate chip cookies to pumpkin to the scent of pizza and popcorn. It is important to remember that these highly scented oils serve no benefit, are completely synthetic, and may be very harmful. Even though much has been done to raise awareness of certain toxins, synthetic fragrance oils often contain a harmful range of toxins known as phthalates.
Beginning next week, we will look at certain Essential Oils, from the most popular to the lesser known. I will discuss them with you at length and then share ideas for blending oils. I will devote each "chapter" of this series (which will go through the end of the month) to certain ways to use the Oils--ranging from cold and congestion relief to relaxation to stress relief to energy boosting and so much more.
It's an often asked question of skin care professionals: "Is toner really necessary?"
In a word, yes.
I think that some people are skeptical of trying toners because they associate toner with the old SD alcohol-based astringents that used to strip skin and leave it feeling tight and dry. Many toners out there still have some less than stellar ingredients, but that's not what we're talking about.
Vitamin E is one of the most well-known antioxidants used in skin care. While it is common knowledge that Vitamin E is useful for the skin, many people are unaware of why it is beneficial. On the Seed blog today, we are sharing the clinical science behind Vitamin E and skin care, as well as ways it will help improve the appearance of your skin.
What is Vitamin E?
Vitamin E is a powerful fat-soluble antioxidant that can help repair damaged cells. Naturally occurring Vitamin E includes eight different isoforms. These include alpha-, beta-, gamma-, and delta- tocopherol and alpha-, beta-, gamma-, and delta- tocotienol.
Vitamin E is one of the most studied skin vitamins because it was discovered so long ago. In fact, it was back in the early 1920s when Berkeley biologists Dr. Herbert Evans and Dr. Katherine Bishop made the discovery.
In the field of skin care, Vitamin E has been used for more than half a century -- and with good reason.
The leaves are changing and it's getting darker earlier and earlier. Fall is officially here. With the changing seasons comes a need to adjust your skin care routine a bit.
Autumn is a time of transition and it is the ideal time to repair and renew your skin. The recent summer temperatures -- and extra sun exposure -- likely did a bit of damage to your skin, so now is your opportunity to do a bit of repair and prep your complexion for the upcoming winter.
1. Exfoliate your skin.
Lift dead skin cells, which make your skin look ashy and dry, with a gentle exfoliant. Exfoliation is one of the most important steps in any skin care routine, yet it continues to be one of the most overlooked. Everyone needs to exfoliate.
Why? When dead skin cells are sitting on top of your skin, pores become clogged. You will likely either experience acne or your skin will just look dull and flaky (or both). Helping your skin slough off dead skin cells is essential because those clear pores will more readily absorb your other facial care products, helping them to work more effectively.
Use a gentle facial scrub or facial brush to manually exfoliate, or choose a chemical exfoliant such as AHA (alpha hydroxy acids). If you are oily or prone to blackheads, look for an exfoliant with salicylic acid (BHA).
Seed offers free shipping for orders $59 and over, $3.95 flat rate shipping on small orders up to $10, and $5.95 flat rate shipping on all others. Orders over 1 lb ship via US Priority mail automatically, under 1 lb, via US First Class Mail.