Essential oils have created quite a buzz in modern-day somatic healing therapies. Almost every health and wellness website seems to be endorsing essential oils’ benefits. Even though essential oils are not the latest discovery, they are as old as Egyptian Mummies. They were said to be in existence and part of the mummification process. They have also been used by ancient Romans, Chinese, and Greeks for holistic care and cosmetics.
How come forward-looking humans couldn’t let go of tiny bottles of oils in ages? Keep reading to find out:
What Are Essential Oils?
Essential oils, aka aromatic oils that come in small bottles, are full of therapeutic properties. Each essential oil is derived from various parts of plants or flowers. They carry the essence (aroma) and flavor (properties) of the botanical of their origin. Steam distillation is the most common process of essential oils extraction. Other methods include cold press, solvent extractions, etc. Essential oils’ unique chemical characteristics are known to support the wellbeing of the mind, body, and spirit.
Despite the widespread popularity of essential oils, most people are still unaware of the effective methods of their use. Understanding how to use them is important to reap their exclusive benefits.
Here is an elaborated guide to walk you through some key points on essential oil’s usage:
1- Dilution of Essential Oils Is A Must
You cannot take dilution of essential oils as an option, as it is an absolute must. Essential oils feature a high chemical density of plants or flowers from which they were derived. Topical use of essential oil without dilution can cause irritation and sensitivity. Besides their potent composition, essential oils have volatile compounds that lack qualities of viscosity and absorbability.
Essential oils quickly evaporate into the air, and for your skin to absorb essential oils, you need a carrier oil. A carrier oil is an oil that carries essential oil to your skin. Kinds of carrier oils are olive oil, coconut oil, jojoba oil, almond oil, rosehip oil, etc. You can choose carrier oil of your choice for dilution, don’t worry, you have a say there.
2- Percentage Of Essential Oil Dilution Calls for Attention
When a recipe says 1 drop of certain essential oil, it really means 1 drop. You can now understand why essential oils are in such small bottles. A drop of essential oil is potent enough to be diluted in 1 teaspoon of carrier oil, and it still wouldn’t lose its effects. Here is how the dilution of essential oil percentage should be:
-1% dilution____1 drop of essential oil with 1 teaspoon of carrier oil (Recommended for children over 5, People with sensitive skin type, elderly, and if you are using the oil on your face)
-2% dilution____ 2 drops of essential oil with 2 teaspoons of carrier oil (Recommended for people who are regular users of essential oils)
-3% dilution____ 3 drops of essential oils with 3 teaspoons of carrier oil (Recommended for short term use, body massage, and quick effects)
3- Do a Patch Test First, No Harm There
Essential oils are strong, but they suit most people. Anyone who has an existing skin condition or is allergic to certain scents and plants must do a patch test. Allergic reactions occur in different ways. Some people might feel bumps and rashes, and others will feel boils and burns. Overdoing with essential oils will only sensitize your skin, and you would not get its therapeutic benefit.
Here is a step to step guide on how to do an essential oils patch test:
- Wash your forearm with unscented soap and pat dry.
- Put a few drops of diluted essential oil on a patch of skin on your forearm.
- Wrap the patch with a bandage and keep it on for 24 hours.
- Keep the bandage dry.
- If you feel any irritation or sensitivity, take off the bandage and wash your skin with water and mild soap.
- If the irritation persists, contact your health care provider immediately.
If no irritation or sensitivity occurs in the next 48 hours, the used essential oil is safe for you. You can keep using it as recommended.
4- Storage Matters, Preserve or Spoil Oils Your Choice
The way you store essential oils will decide their shelf life. Essential oils might lose their therapeutic value even before the expiry date if not stored properly. Exposure to sun, light, heat, air, and humidity oxidizes essential oils, turning them rancid. The shelf life of essential oil begins in its production year, not when you opened its bottle. You can preserve the quality of essential oils by keeping the bottles in a cool and dark place. It is ideal for storing essential oils in dark-colored bottles as they shield against the light. Undiluted oils have potent chemicals that can eat into plastic, so decant into glass bottles. Make sure to lid the caps of the bottles tightly to reduce exposure to oxygen.
Essential oils are highly flammable, so always store them away from heat and flames. The perfect place to store essential oil is the fridge, away from light and heat. However, ensure to place them out of reach of young children.
5- You Can’t Stretch Expiry Date-, It Is What It Is
Expiry dates are there for a reason, and we must not stretch them. Essential oils mostly have 3 years of shelf life, and after that, you will see a change in their color, smell, and feel. Applying rancid oil will not only irritate your skin but can also cause an allergic reaction. Older oils generally spoil because of oxidation, and you shouldn’t keep them any longer than suggested.
6- Don’t Experiment, Use As Recommended
It is better to be patient than to invite unexpected skin sensitivity. Use essential oils as recommended in the recipe you are trying or as suggested by the makers’ guide. Experimenting is never fun when it has the potential to give you a serious injury or damage. Irritated or inflamed skin will absorb more oil than usual, causing rashes and redness. You might experience an allergic reaction that you don’t normally get by the same oil. Being careful with essential oil dilution is the key to safety.
7- Find Out Suitable Essential Oil for Topical Use
Your skin type decides which essential oil is suitable for you. For example, lavender oil is known as the most famous essential oil, and sure it has numerous benefits. However, lavender oil won’t give you any benefits if your skin reacts to it. Just like there are cosmetic products designed for each skin type, nature has tailor-made essential oils for you.
Essential oils have the ability to bring desired results you are expecting out of them. Just get the oils naturally made for you. To learn more, read our blog to get a complete guide on the best essential oils for your skin type.
Essential Oils Are Among Those Gems That Have Survived the Test of Time
It is easy to list the things that have gone extinct and only exist in literature and preserved relics. Essential oils are no less than a wonder to could reach us in their original glory despite centuries of distance. Our ancestors have taken tremendous advantage of these miracle oils, and so should we. By effectively using essential oils, you may even boost up their benefits.