May 2008 Ageless herbal newsletter
This is an alternative therapy, which uses selected volatile substances extracted from plant material in massage mediums, lotions and inhalants in an effort to affect mood and help promote better health.
Although some people may think that aromatherapy only refers to aromatic massage, it really goes far deeper than that. Essential oils, which form the base of aromatherapy, are also used in a purely medicinal way, and here we can look at the work done by French doctors, Lapraz and Duraffourd - where essential oils are used as a medicine.
Essential oils should, however, never be ingested without being prescribed by a licensed medical practitioner who is adequately qualified to do so.
Although conventional medicine sometimes scoffs at holistic treatments (or if you want to call it complementary or alternative medicine), many people do believe that they have improved their health by using these alternative methods.
Aromatherapy massage is truly a great way to relax and de-stress, the essential oils do offer the added extra of their therapeutic properties to the body during massage, as they are absorbed through the skin.
Although general aromatherapy (excluding medicinal use of essential oils) is not meant to replace standard medical advice and treatment, it has however been shown to be effective in helping with some ailments and problems.
To view a list of different ailments and what essential oils can be used to help ease or perhaps prevent them, please use this link to our sister website: http://www.essentialoils.co.za . This site also sells a vast range of pure essential oils, including specific blends and carrier oils, at very competitive prices.
Please note - if you have a medical problem, please consult your licensed medical practitioner and note that all information contained on this site, is purely for information purposes.
Essential oils are extremely powerful and concentrated compounds, and each oil can consist of several hundred different compounds. Since they are powerful, they must be used with proper care, and the person using them should abide by certain safety rules to ensure that they can cause no harm. Using the correct quantity for a therapy is very important, as too much of a certain oil may make you feel sick and may also cause problems.
However, the following essential oils may on their own be of great benefit to the skin, and you may decide to make your own specific blend or cream at home. For more information about blending oils and dilution rates etc. please click here for a link to our sister site, http://www.essentialoils.co.za
Optimum skin health demands that the skin should have a certain level of moisture, as well as lubrication, to keep it firm, elastic and healthy.
When the skin has a tendency towards having too little moisture and lacking in normal lubrication (a too low level of sebum) the result would be a dry, lifeless and vulnerable skin, lacking in good tone and elasticity, which could be accompanied by flakiness and a distinct scaly look, which becomes far more pronounced in cold and dry weather.
Our research into essential and carrier oils have found the following oils to be of great benefit to the skin:
All of the following oils can be purchased individually from our sister site, http://www.essentialoils.co.za
Since jojoba oil is composed of wax esters, it is an extremely stable substance and does not easily deteriorate. The structure closely resembles that of your own skin sebum, making it an excellent moisturizer and ideal for all skin types.
When used as a massage medium, it acts as an emulsifier with the skin's natural sebum and gently unclogs the pores and lifts grime and imbedded impurities.
It contains myristic acid, which also has anti-inflammatory actions. Since its structure is similar to that of the skin's own oils, it is quickly absorbed and is excellent for dry and mature skins, as well as any inflamed skin conditions.
If a good nourishing ingredient is needed for hair care, jojoba oil is also sometimes added to commercial hair care products, but due to the cost of jojoba oil, the quantities included are usually low.
It can in most cases be used on acne skin without any problem as it helps to control acne due to its anti-bacterial and cleansing action. It has antioxidant properties - so the oil does not become rancid easily and can prevent rancidity in other oils. It can be used pure in massage, or can be mixed with other carrier oils.
Sweet almond oil is obtained from the dried kernels of the almond tree and it is an excellent emollient (softening and soothing to the skin) and also helps the skin to balance its loss and absorption of moisture.
It is further a great moisturizer suitable for all skin types, helps relieve irritation, inflammation and itching, and is greatly lubricating. It does not penetrate the skin overly fast, making it a good massage medium to use to help spread the oil and essential oil mixture, while still allowing you time to do a good massage before it is absorbed by the skin.
Not only does almond oil help protect the surface of the skin, but it has great value to act as an emollient, skin soother and softener, while conditioning the skin and promoting a clear younger looking complexion - it also helps to relieve muscular aches and pains.
It has a high concentration of oleic and linoleic essential fatty acids, and it is often used as a massage carrier oil.
Sweet almond oil is one of the most popular carrier oils, since it is non-greasy, spreads easily and also is great for nourishing the skin.
Crude Avocado oil is light green in color as it still contains chlorophyll and is classified as a mono-unsaturated oil.
It is often used to treat people with dry and mature skins and also people suffering from eczema or psoriasis. It is very useful when treating sun or climate damaged skin that is dehydrated and under-nourished as it is said to help with regenerating the skin and softening the tissue.
It is not an essential oil, yet is classified under this heading, for a lack of a different heading. It can be used neat (undiluted) on the skin.
It is high in GLA, and helps reduce the signs of aging, especially the fine lines around the eyes (crow’s feet) and lines around the mouth, the drying effects of the sun and climate, as well as assisting with attenuating both accidental and surgical scars.
There have been some reports that it can aggravate acne, but since it is mostly used to counter the effects of aging, this problem is not that relevant.
Rosehip oil is not a volatile essential oil, yet is expensive and scarce due to crop failures, and for this reason is often sold adulterated, and mixed with another carrier oil, so make sure you buy a pure version.
It has great healing properties for damaged and distressed skin which makes it a good choice to include when mixing a massage oil or preparing a carrier oil blend, or to use neat when wishing to give your face a boost.
In a cream or lotion, or used neat on the skin, it is one of the most rejuvenating and regenerating compounds to be found, and for this reason, good quality anti-aging skin care products normally contain rosehip oil.
It is a good source of vitamin C, which is essential in the formation and synthesis of collagen in the skin, without which your skin would not only age prematurely, but will have terrible tone and the elasticity and suppleness of the skin would also be impaired.
On the skin, sandalwood oil relieves itching and inflammation of the skin, and is most effective in relieving dehydrated skin - making it great for anti-aging skin care - and the astringent action has a great toning effect and is also used with great results in oily skin conditions and to prevent the skin from forming ugly scars and for fighting dry eczema.
It is said to help rejuvenate an aging skin, is a skin tonic and is effective with sores, carbuncles, wounds, scars and skin inflammation.
This very fragrant oil helps to tone dry, greasy, irritated and sensitive skin, increases elasticity and is often used to assist with stretch marks and to reduce scarring.
On the skin, lavender oil tones and revitalizes and it is useful for all types of skin problems such as abscesses, acne, oily skin, boils, burns, sunburn, wounds, psoriasis, lice, insect bites, stings - it also acts as an insect repellent.
A study was conducted, which investigated the effects of lavender oil on preventing mutation in the cells and promotes healthy cell division.
The following essential oils were found to be of benefit, if used to combat acne and pimples:
Acne is the most common disorder of the skin. Mild acne is characterized by pimples as well as blackheads, usually found on the face, back and neck.
More severe cases are extremely painful, causing enlarged pores and leaving lasting impressions of scarred skin. Generally acne is caused by a natural over-production of sebum and the skin’s inability to process this, causing blockages and inflammation of the skin.
Women using birth control pills can develop acne due to an imbalance of hormones. Alcohol and cigarettes also affect the skin as well as blood impurities that stem from a poor or unbalanced diet.
Always clean skin meticulously, an acne skin is very sensitive. Eat a well balanced diet, avoid fatty food and take plenty of exercise, especially in the outdoors.
Certain pure essential oils can be applied neat to individual marks or spots (such as tea tree oil or lavender) but must be used with great care, since neat oils can cause an allergic reaction.
Apply very sparingly at night after cleansing the skin using a cotton bud, and continue applying every night until the mark/spot has completely disappeared.
A facial treatment oil can also be made by using a suitable carrier oil, such as jojoba oil, and adding benzoin, cedarwood, German chamomile, geranium, lavender, lemongrass and tea tree oil. The essential oil content in the mixture must not exceed 2% - therefore in a 100 ml (3.52 fl oz) only use 2 ml (0.07 fl oz) of essential oil. In practical terms – 1 ml is approximately equal to 15 drops of pure essential oil.
Some skins may not react well to a treatment oil, but some people have reported very good results.
The beneficial effect of essential and carrier oils is realized by almost all manufacturers of skin care products and these oils are widely used for their different healing, toning and rejuvenating properties.
Aromatherapy has also been found, over the ages, to affect the mood and psychological state and is considered a gentle alternative treatment to many different medical conditions, although it is not thought of as an effective cure in most cases.