All About Essential Oils: Part 2
Hello, (seed) blog readers! Last week, we started an introduction to essential oils and learned some background. Today, I am going to talk about some of the ways essential oils may relieve a bit of stress.
Everyone goes through stressful times. We have all been there. Whether it is something temporary--such as worrying about an upcoming test, or longer lasting such as an unhappy relationship, financial troubles, etc.--stress affects our bodies on so many levels.
If I were to ask you what the main symptom of stress is in terms of health, you might say "a headache." Tension headaches are a very common sign. Other signs, though, is a rapid heart rate, an increase in blood sugar levels, decreased energy, skin troubles ranging from paleness to breakouts, insomnia, and depression.
When I am stressed out, my skin just looks tired. My heart will race. My shoulders will tense up and have knots. I think we've all experiences these symptoms before. Then there's insomnia. If I am stressed, I go to bed and then my mind starts zooming from issue to issue and I cannot relax. Then I worry that I'll be tired the next day for not sleeping well. It's quite a cycle. It's at that time when I experience those symptoms that I realize I really need to get more in touch with my tranquil side once again.
Using Essential Oils can help relieve the symptoms of stress and find our way back to that peaceful and relaxed state. Ideally, you'll also be using exercise, meditation, and healthy eating to help things along as well.
The most well known oil for relaxation and stress relief is Lavender.
I am beginning with this oil because it is, perhaps, the most well known of the Essential Oils.
Lavender, or Lavandula Angustifolia, is commonly grown throughout Europe, particularly in Bulgaria, France, and England. It can be grown here, though. I live in New York and our climate really isn't the best for growing an abundance of beautiful lavender. That is not to say it cannot be done, though. This fragrant herb is just lovely. It works well on its own or can be used in blends to enhance its effects.
Lavender, though, does much more than smell nice. A scientific research team at Texas A & M University conducted a study to measure a human's response to odor. Study participants were asleep and given EEG tests. This study was conducted in 1992 and had interesting results. It showed that Lavender Essential Oil essentially lulled the participants to sleep sooner.
Lavender, though, isn't the only beneficial Essential Oil when it comes to relaxation.
Lemon Essential Oil is another relaxing oil. This is surprising to many people, as Lemon (Citrus Limonum) can also be energizing. When combined with other Essential Oils, it can be wonderfully stress-relieving. It improves mental clarity and can even "lift" heavy emotions when used in conjunction with oils in a blend. Lemon calm help relieve the symptoms of tension and migraine headaches as well. Lemon Essential Oil originated in India.
Ginger (Zingiber Officinale) is said to have originated in India. It also comes from the West Indies, Africa, and China. This warming oil is often used to treat muscle aches and pains and I have personally found it helpful to me when I had knots in my shoulder blades and back and need to relax and de-stress.
Patchouli (Pogostemon Cablin) is an oil used to help alleviate dry and dull skintones, as well as oily skin, but it has other benefits. This earthy, musky oil is anti-inflammatory, may help repel bugs in the summertime, and is soothing. It's common in anti-stress blends for good reason!
Ylang Ylang (Cananga Odoratas) is a known soother. This lovely floral oil was the subject of a study to determine whether it could help alleviate common symptoms associated with stress when applied to the skin. The results of the study provided evidence that this oil, when used in aromatherapy, may help lessen the effects of stress and depression.
Next week, we'll share oils that can help you feel ENERGIZED!
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Also in Lately I've been paying more attention
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).