Skin Care

New AromaWeb Article: Guide to Diluting Essential Oils


Carrier Oils
Adding essential oil, drop by drop, to carrier oil. 
As I was recently reading/reviewing a book for inclusion within AromaWeb's Book Shelf, I read yet another blurb from an author that states that it is safe to use some essential oils on the skin, most particularly lavender and tea tree, without first diluting them in a carrier oil. Using essential oils on the skin without diluting them is referred to as applying them "neat."

As I was facebooking about my review recently, Marge Clark of Nature's Gift and I briefly exchanged comments about our mutual concern over the topical application of any undiluted essential oil. It was during this exchange that I realized that I should be expanding AromaWeb's coverage of the concerns and potential consequences of applying neat essential oils to the skin, as well as a beginner's guide to diluting oils. Read Marge's own history with sensitization to lavender within the Guide to Diluting Essential Oils.

In a nutshell, the undiluted use of essential oils on the skin can be harmful and potentially cause severe irritation or sensitization. You don't need to be afraid or avoid essential oils and I'm certainly not trying to scare anyone out of enjoying all the benefits that aromatherapy offers. Aromatherapy and the safe use of essential oils can be an amazing blessing within a holistic lifestyle. Do remember, however, that when working with essential oils, less is more.

If you are new to aromatherapy, are unsure of how to properly dilute essential oils prior to topical (skin) application and/or aren't sure which essential oils are more likely to cause irritation or even sensitization, I warmly encourage you to read AromaWeb's new Guide to Diluting Essential Oils. And please spread the word about this new guide. My hope is that this article can play a part in reducing the number of incidents of sensitization and irritation caused by the neat use of essential oils and of essential oils more prone to causing sensitization/irritation.

Read AromaWeb's Guide to Diluting Essential Oils...


Organic Body Care Recipes by Stephanie Tourles

Organic Body Care RecipesFor the beginning to intermediate body care product crafter, Organic Body Care Recipes is a must-have for your personal library. This 378-page book includes valuable introductory information, relevant facts and tips, an ingredient dictionary, and as the book title implies, a large selection of recipes.

Unlike many recipe books that I tend to come across, Organic Body Care Recipes includes a bit more complementary information, application tips, packaging recommendations and ideas for customizing your own recipes.

Amazon.com Associate of the Month

Out of 1 million associates, AromaWeb was selected as the Amazon.com Associate of the Month for July, 2001.

The word organic is an adjective that loosely means living matter. It is likely that the use of the word organic in the book's title may confuse some consumers who may think that the book requires the use of certified organic ingredients. Crafters can use conventional (not organic) natural ingredients and do not have to stick with using strictly organic ingredients.

Organic Body Care Recipes is not an aromatherapy-specific book, but it emphasizes all-natural or nearly all-natural recipes and includes recipes that do fit within the definition of holistic aromatherapy.

For beginners, the Ingredient Dictionary portion of the book is worth the cost of the book alone.

Disclosure: This post and AromaWeb's Books area contains affiliate links to Amazon.com. If you click on one of the links below and make a purchase through Amazon.com, AromaWeb will earn a commission. Even if you prefer not to shop through Amazon.com, please use this information and AromaWeb's book reviews to help you select the books that are most suitable for you.

Read the rest of the review on AromaWeb or...
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Aromatherapy Bath Bombs Recipe

Bath Bath BombsI love bath bombs. Dropped into the tub, they fizz and release their nutritive and aromatic ingredients. They make bath time an even more special occasion to relax and cleanse. Children find bath bombs fascinating and fun to plunk into the tub. Adults love the aroma and visual appeal, and they make beautiful gifts.

Once you have made bath bombs a time or two, you will find them quite easy to make.

By making them yourself, you'll know exactly what's in them. Not all commercial or artisan-made bath bombs are all-natural, but you can make virtually all-natural bath bombs at home that fizz amazingly well. Making them yourself will also save you at least half the price of what equivalent bath bombs cost from artisans and bath bomb specialty stores.

Click here to read the rest and view the Aromatherapy Bath Bombs Recipe on AromaWeb....


Easy and Natural Brush-On Treatment for Cuticles

Application of Natural Cuticle TreatmentI am blessed with strong and fast-growing nails. I'm not sure if it's correlated to having strong nails, but my cuticles are a challenge. They'd take over half of the surface of my nail if I let them. I'm exaggerating, but not by much. Wintertime is especially rough on my cuticles, and the skin surrounding my nails becomes tougher.

I love using handmade cuticle balms that are packaged in either small jars or in lip gloss style swivel tubes. There are artisans that make some lovely ones that smell beautiful and work well. The balms, however, can take time to apply and unless I rub the balm in well, it doesn't reach the nooks and crannies between my nails and surrounding skin.

I recently began using a cuticle oil that I prepared myself and store in a repurposed old nail polish bottle. It does wonders in keeping my cuticles and surrounding skin soft and winter-proofed. I haven't yet seen an all-natural cuticle oil, though one might exist... I can make my own, so I haven't actively searched. I have seen brush-on cuticle oils, but they contain synthetics. One mass-market brand also contains alcohol which is drying to the skin.

Click here to read the rest of this article and to view the Easy Cuticle Oil Recipe on AromaWeb....


Aromatherapy and Nutrition

VeggiesAromatherapy is a remarkable health modality that can help enhance body, mind and spirit, but our nutritional choices can also dramatically impact our health and emotional happiness over the long term. Even the condition of our skin (our largest organ) and hair is directly related to what we choose to eat and drink.

We can and should integrate the benefits of essential oils and other natural botanicals into our daily routine, but attention to what you eat will work synergistically to help enhance your outlook on life and to effect how your body, skin and hair looks and feels.

I once knew a woman who was thin and appeared to be very fit. She was in her late 40s at the time, and I'll call her Jane. Jane was very energetic, perhaps almost to the point of being hyper. A sweet and attractive lady, Jane had the energy of someone much younger, but the skin on Jane's face, neck and hands made her look like she was in her late 60s. We had a brief but friendly acquaintanceship, and as we got to know each other, I would learn that Jane had severe sleeping problems and an auto-immune skin disorder called Lichen Planus. Lichen Planus is a skin disorder that is somewhat rare and can be much more severe than eczema. In some cases, as in Jane's situation, surgery can be required. Because Jane didn't have to "watch" her weight, she also didn't watch what she ate, and she ate a lot of heavily processed foods. She would eat fast food at least once daily, and I had the impression that many days went by in which she ate at least two of her meals from a drive through paper bag. In Jane's case, she barely ate any fruits or vegetables let alone fresh foods, and she barely ate any foods like salmon that are high in essential fatty acids. I suspect this is why her skin was aged beyond its years and why she may have also suffered from Lichen Planus. My knowledge of Lichen Planus is limited, but in my initial research to learn more about her skin disorder, I found an article that indicated that like eczema, intake of essential fatty acids can prove helpful. Jane's excessive intake of processed foods and minimal intake of fresh produce may have also been directly responsible for her sleeping issues.

Jane has indirectly reminded me of the importance of not just nourishing my skin from the outside, but to be sure to also eat foods rich in EFAs. It's also important to increase one's intake of fresh fruits and veggies and limit processed foods. I have my own personal stories to share about the direct benefits in reducing processed foods/eating raw. I'll share those sometime in the near future.

For more information on essential fatty acids, visit AromaWeb's Essential Fatty Acids article.


Buyer Beware! "Made With..."

Natural Products
   
Large brand manufacturers are doing their best to take advantage of (1) the increasing health and environmental consciousness of consumers, (2) lax regulation of marketing claims and (3) greater consumer awareness of buzzwords like "aromatherapy" and the benefits of essential oils. More and more popular brand name products are including essential oils and other natural ingredients. But are these products all that they claim? In some cases, it is a buyer's beware market.

Be on guard for marketing claims that state a product is "Made With Essential Oils" or "Made With Natural Ingredients." Claims like these do not state that the product is only made with the ingredient(s) specified. Such products may contain heavy proportions of synthetic fragrance oils and only contain a minute quantity of the touted ingredient. Products promoted as "Made Without Fragrance Oils" doesn't mean the product is all natural.

Cold Pressed Vegetable Oils
  Cold Pressed Vegetable Oils
Some large brand manufacturers are deliberately adding the bare minimum of a natural ingredient to their product formulation simply to be able to hype that the product is "made with" that specific ingredient. For instance...

In the not-so-distant past, a large skin care product manufacturer contacted a natural cosmeceutical ingredient supplier and asked if the ingredient supplier would create a custom blend for them consisting of only 1% of an expensive and nutritive Brazilian vegetable oil mixed with an inexpensive and common vegetable oil so that their product could be labeled as "Made with...!" I'm not an expert with cosmetic ingredient labeling laws, but apparently the skin care manufacturer could legally list the blend as if it was just the pure, expensive oil. In other words, because it was blended, they may have planned to rank the oil higher in the ingredient list than if each of the two separate oils were listed individually. The natural ingredient supplier that received this product manufacturer's request refused to give the manufacturer a price quote, but I'm sure the product manufacturer had no trouble finding a different supplier that was willing to comply with its formulation request.

Other common occurrences include large companies buying ingredients based on the cheapest source with minimal concern for the actual quality of the particular ingredient.

As a rule, smaller companies like those that support and advertise on AromaWeb take much more pride in their selection of essential oils, other ingredients and readymade products. Although AromaWeb cannot make any endorsement for any of its advertisers and there is no implied guarantee of the quality of the products they sell, AromaWeb does not knowingly accept advertising from any company that is suspected of being unethical.

For more information on this subject, visit AromaWeb's What to Look for When Shopping for Aromatherapy Products article.