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Sunday, July 16, 2006

Home-made Aromatherapy Blends for All Skin Types

Using natural botanical skin care is a wonderful experience. With uplifting aromatic essential oils and other natural carrier ingredients, it is easy to nourish the skin in a very special way. While dramatic effects can sometimes be had using synthetically created products, natural botanical blends can bring about a lasting healthy glow free from the possibility of side-effects.

While some of the most highly regarded therapeutic grade oils may seem expensive at first, they are effective in such small concentrations as to really make them worthwhile. And their efficacy is well-known; that's why so many laboratory-made preparations use components of essential oils in their formulas. With a one or two ounce bottle to mix in, and an eye dropper, you can easily mix your own blend with the aroma and actions you desire most.

Several essential oils and carriers are held in high-esteem for their regenerative and nutritive properties. With only a small collection of oils, you can make highly-effective recipes applicable to particular skin conditions such as premature aging, UV and other damage, acne-prone skin and more.

Some of the more important aromatherapy oils used in beauty and skin formulas for both men and women include: Helichrysum italicum - a potent skin metabolism stimulator and strong anti-inflammate (inflammation at a cellular level is associated with nearly all skin damage and premature aging). Rosemary essential oil of the Verbenone chemotype - this serves a similar function to the oil of the Helichrysum flowers, increasing skin metabolism and enhancing the removal of cellular waste material. True Lavender, or Lavendula angustifolia, is also a strong anti-inflammate and skin regenerator with a lovely relaxing aroma - it lowers tension in addition to directly treating the skin cells, furthering natural beauty. The oil distilled from the Wild Carrot seed (also known as Queen Anne's Lace) is very regenerating, bringing life to tired, lifeless skin resulting from high-stress and toxic environments. Palmarosa is considered a 'wonder oil' because of it's brilliant aroma and strong yet gentle antiseptic properties; Niaouli is another essential oil commonly recommended for the same reasons, in addition to it's ability to tighten and firm the skin.

This includes only a few of the more commonly used essential oils in skin care formulations. Many oils not listed here have properties which can be highly effective for particular skin conditions - further investigation with the specifics of your skin type will likely uncover these for you. Of course, other oils can be added to your blends simply for their pleasing scent; Neroli and Petitgrain, distilled from the flowers and leaves of the bitter orange tree, are often included for this reason.

On to the base ingredients, the carrier oils. These oils serve several functions - they bring the essential oils into the skin, rather than evaporating in to the air. They supply the skin with essential fatty acids - nutrients that the body cannot make, yet are critical to optimal skin health. Finally, some have their own therapeutic healing properties similar to the essential oils.

Some of the more commonly used carrier oils in skin care are as follows: First is Hazelnut oil - pressed from, obviously, Hazelnuts. This is considered the most gentle of the carrier oils, suitable for all skin types. It often serves as the primary base oil in blends, making up a majority of the mixture. Next is Rosehip seed oil, pressed from Rosehip seeds grown in the mountains of South America. This well researched oil not only has a wealth of essential fatty acids, but contains trans-retinoic acid, a compound similar to the active ingredient of Retin-A (a well known wrinkle cream), but without the drying side effects. Lastly we'll mention Evening Primrose oil, often included in blends for aging skin and for eczema - it has one of the highest known concentrations of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), an essential fatty acid which may be crucial to optimal health.

So there are the primary ingredients, and the reasons behind them. With these, and a few of your own personal touches, you can create a great variety of blends. To go ahead and start mixing, acquire a one or two ounce dark glass bottle to mix in, an eye dropper and a small funnel (you don't NEED this, it just makes the whole process a lot less messy). For the first recipe, we'll start with a blend that's for daily use for all skin types. It's created to give the skin health and vitality, while keeping it clean and beautiful: Pour one ounce of Hazelnut oil into your mixing bottle (double all the ingredients if you'd like to make two ounces). Add fifteen drops (about 2/3rds of a milliliter) Thyme essential oil of the Linalool chemotype (be sure to get this kind, as other types of Thyme are to strong to use on the skin). The add fifteen drops each of Rosemary verbenone, Neroli (or a high-quality Petitgrain - distilled from the same plant as Neroli with a lower cost), Spike Lavender (almost a cross between true lavender and sage - excellent for it's antiseptic properties). While originally created as an acne-clearing blend, it did so well for so many folks it is now used as a basis for healthy 'normal' skin as well.

If your skin has been chemically damaged, is overly-sensitive, or otherwise 'weakened' with broken capillaries, try this mixture, applying frequently: For each ounce of base oil, use three parts Hazelnut, one part Rosehip Seed, and one part Evening Primrose. Add the following essential oils: fifteen drops German Blue Chamomile, fifteen drops Helichrysum, fifteen drops true Lavender, and fifteen drops Roman Chamomile. The Helichrysum, Lavender and Rosehip seed will enhance the skin's own natural metabolism, and the addition of the Chamomiles will greatly reduce inflammation that is found with almost all damage and/or aging.

For excessively oily and acne-prone skin, in one ounce of Hazelnut oil, add 15 drops Green Myrtle, 15 drops Eucalyptus Dives, 15 drops Spike Lavender, and 15 drops Rosemary Verbenone. The Myrtle in this blend dissolves sebum clogging skin pores, while the Eucalyptus Dives calms the hyperactive sebaceous glands.

If your skin has no particular 'condition', but appears tired, lifeless, pallid, or 'worn out', try mixing one-fifth ounce of Rosehip Seed and four-fifths ounce Hazelnut oil. Then add 15 drops each of Carrot Seed essential oil (also known as Queen Anne's Lace or Wild Carrot), Lemon verbena (which helps the skin detoxify), Niaouli (gently tightening the skin), and Rosemary verbenone - this creates an excellent restorative blend. For aging skin needing firming that can be used around the eyes - try this more gentle variety: Mix in five ounces of Hazelnut oil and one ounce of Rosehip seed oil, add fifteen drops of each of Myrtle essential oil (green), Cistus or Rock Rose and Rosemary.

These are only a few aromatherapy skin care recipes for a woman's natural beauty medicine chest. There are many texts available to help you create more complex blends, or one's with your favorite aromatics. Blending your own facial and skin formulas is easy, rewarding, and in the long run, cost-effective. Using natural botanicals in a consistent, mindful manner can lead to long-lasting, noticeable natural health of your skin. Just remember with aromatherapy, essential oil concentrations should be kept low for best results - pay attention to how your own body reacts and you're sure to find the ingredients and measures most effective for you!


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