Saturday, 14 August 2010

Plant oils have been used for beauty treatments since times began with early records of the use of Lavender, Frankincense and Myrhh.  We even have preserved the cosmetic cases of egyptian queens.

We are often asked which essential oils should be used in cosmetics.  Most professional aromatherapists suggest the use of essential oils should be restricted to when they are really needed and are not sympathetic to cosmetic use at all.  Lavender is safe enough though shop bought cosmetics tend to contain Lavandin or synthetic linalool rather than true Lavender.  We are sometimes asked why true Lavender doesnt smell like Lavender!  All Lavender should have a fresh floral fragrance which lasts for the first year of its life.  For this reason its important for Sp to obtain its Lavender direct from the grower/distiller.   At this time of the year samples are coming in from all over the world and we choose the pick of the crop.

There is no problem though with the use of essential oils for specific care conditions in the treatment of eczema and acne and the normalising of dry or oily skin which they do wonderfully. Sp provides a range of cosmetics to do just this.

Precautions: Essential oils are powerful and not really intended for use day to day.  Of course this is not good news for the more entrepreneural because cosmetics with fruity sounding names can be sold for a high price!  There are real issues with essential oils and all chemicals in that if they not stored and used properly only within their use by dates they can oxidise to allegens and do harm.  Cooking is a great way to get the benefits of essential oils by using the herbs and plant matter from which they are derived while respecting the dose.  For example in time of winter chills and flu cook with Star Anise fruits.

The use of natural plant oils can reduce the amount of synthetic cosmetic use that is clear so it is well worth recording the cosmetic applications of essential oils and persuading clients to consider them.  The use of plant oils for this purpose is very ancient.  The Bibles book of Ester records how the Persian king Xerxes chose his bride from among women who received a year of beauty treatments using plant oils and myrhh.

Essential oils alone cannot meet all the needs of the beauty industry to produce functional products such a skin whitening.  Again this is an ancient use.  Roman writers recorded how students took certain herbs to whiten their faces so their professors would be convinced they had been inside stuying rather than outside in the sun with their friends!!

Ok here we go, this is the received wisom as to which oils are of help, I include some vegetable oils and extracts so the cosmetic is functional

Acne: Aloe Vera, Arnica, Burdock, Calendula, Goldenseal, Lemon, Peppermint, Witchazel

After shave: Aloe Vera, Calendula, Chamomile, Cucumber, Witch hazel

Anti aging: D-alpha tocopherol, echinacea, green tea, yarrow

Anti bacterial: echinacea, green tea, lavender, lemon, myrhh, thyme

Anti inflammatory: feverfew, green tea, witch hazel

Anti-oxident: aloe vera, chammile, D-alpha tocopheral, ginko

Anti septic: bergamot, calendula, chamomile, echinacea, myrhh, peppermint, sage, thyme, with hazel, yarrow

Anti wrinkle: apricot, comfrey, cucumber, D-alpha tocopheral, elderflower, green tea, rosemary, vitamin E nicotinate

Astringent: aloe vera, cucumber, echinacea, goldenseal, sage, witch hazel, yarrow

Bruising: arnica, horse chestnut

Cellulite: Rosemary, Thyme, Green tea, vitamin E nicotinate

Deodorants:  Bergamot, Rosemary, thyme, white willow

Eczema: echinacea, goldenseal

Eye creams: aloe vera, calendula, chamomile, comfrey, cucumber

dry skin: aloe vera, apricot, calendula, chamomile, comfrey, cucumber, echinacea, ginseng, rosemary, yarrow

Skin lightening: elderflower, lemon, uva ursi,

Sun care: aloe vera, apricot, calendula, chamomile, comfrey, cucumber, D-alpha tocpherol, rosemary, yarrow

Varicose veins: capiscum, goldenseal, horsechestnut,

Wounds: aloe vera, arnica, calendula, chammile, comfrey, goldenseal, witch hazel

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