10 Things every girl should know about essential oils
As more and more people start to look for natural ways to deal with health and beauty issues, it seems that everyone has started to talk about essential oils as a possible alternative to chemical based products. Essential oils do possess potent healing qualities and they have been used for centuries in medicine and in beauty products, but they are also very strong, so there are some basic facts that you need to know about essential oils before you start using them. Essential oils are not actually oils at all; they are the highly concentrated extracts of plants, which is what gives them their immense potency. Here are ten more facts about essential oils that every girl should know, before she starts to use them.
1. Essential oils are not all the same
The advice that you can get with questions, such as whether or not essential oils can be used internally, can be very confusing. This is because essential oils can be very different from one another, so you have to do your homework on each one. Some very pure oils can be taken internally, when diluted with water, while others cannot. Some essential oils can be applied to the skin undiluted, but others definitely cannot. If you are at all unsure, then don’t use essential oils undiluted, and don’t ingest them, just to be on the safe side.
2. Essential oils need to be stored in a cool, dark place
Essential oils do not last forever and, some oils oxidise when they are exposed to the light. They need to be stored away from the light, in a dark, cool cupboard, to keep their potency intact. You should also keep them away from electrical devices, because magnetic fields can also affect the composition of essential oils.
3. What are carrier oils?
You will often see the advice that essential oils should be used with a carrier oil. Most essential oils are too strong to apply directly to the skin, so they need to be diluted with carrier oil. Carrier oil is simply another oil that can be safely used on the skin, such as olive oil, coconut oil or jojoba oil. The choice really is yours, so long as the essential oil is properly diluted.
4. Essential oils can be used in diffusers
Many of the medicinal benefits of essential oils can be gained by inhaling their vapours. You can buy diffusers, which are similar to humidifiers, which spread the scent of the essential oil into the air. Many essential oils are said to be able to affect the mood and ease anxiety and stress. The best way to use oils for this purpose is with a diffuser set up in your home.
5. They are very, very, concentrated
The reason why we advise caution when using essential oils is that they are extremely concentrated forms of plant extract. To give you an idea of just how concentrated they are: it takes 4,000 pounds of roses to make just a single pound of rose essential oil. Not all essential oils take that much plant matter to make, but they are all very strong.
6. Test essential oils before you use them on your skin
It is always advisable to test a diluted essential oil on a small patch of skin before you use it more liberally, because you may have an allergic reaction to it. Add a drop of the essential oil to half a teaspoon of carrier oil and dab a small amount on the inside of your arm and leave it for a few hours to make sure that you don’t develop any itching, or redness, before you use it anywhere else on your body.
7. The quality of essential oils can vary considerably
Because essential oils are a natural product, they are unregulated, and the quality and the purity of oils can vary considerably. The cheaper the oil, the more likely it is that has been diluted with other oils. The strength of essential oils can even vary from batch to batch too, so it’s always a good idea to do a skin test of every new bottle of essential oil you buy, even if it is the same brand as one you have used before.
8. Less is always more with essential oils
When using essential oils it is always best to remember that a small amount of oil will be the most effective. It is far better to use just a few drops occasionally than to slather it on every day, because your body will become used to the effects of the oil and it will lose some of its potency.
9. Don’t use as a replacement for visiting your doctor
Whilst people have been using essential oils for centuries to treat various ailments, very little scientific research has been carried out into their effectiveness. You should certainly never use essential oils to replace prescribed medication and, if a medical condition persists, you should still make a visit to your doctor.
10. Take care with essential oils
Because of their very high potency you should treat essential oils in the same way as you would treat medicines. Keep them out of reach of children, don’t let it get into your eyes, and only use them in the way that they were intended to be used. You should also be aware that some essential oils are not recommended for use during pregnancy.
Stay happy and healthy!