DoTerra and a number of other essential oil brands have quickly climbing the charts to natural home therapies. Essential oils claim to help solve a multitude of issues from skin to digestive to respiratory ailments. I’ve got to say, I am a fan of these more natural alternatives to modern medicine. However, be sure you’re doing your homework before jumping on the essential oils band wagon. As with any product you’re about to purchase, do your research and it will save you some heartache in the end! Here’s a quick and dirty primer on essential oils and how to make sure you’re purchasing the right stuff and using in the right way.
One of my go-to resources for essential oils is Dr. Trevor Cates aka The SPA doctor. She recommends following some guidelines to make sure that you’re safe about essential oils.
Here’s a quick rundown of her safety guidelines:
• Check for purity. If it’s cheap, beware. The extraction process for essential oils can be very expensive, so if you’re faced with oils whose price is too good to be true, you may want to question if the oil has been diluted or if the company is using shady extraction methods.
• Patch test before applying all over. This is kind of a no-brainer. And most of my clients see me because they have skin sensitivity issues to begin with. Don’t just jump right in and apply all over. You may regret it.
• Not too much. When you’re first trying out oils, always dilute with a carrier oil. Don’t just jump in with both feet and apply and undiluted oil directly to your skin. This can cause serious reactions, and some oils are just entirely too strong to use without diluting.
• Citrus and the sun don’t mix well. Citrus oils contains an enzyme called furanocoumarin that causes sun sensitivity and potentially serious damage to the skin when it’s on skin that is exposed to sunlight. You can use furanocoumarin-free oil so that it’s safe for use with sun exposure. Be conscious of finding oils that are sun-safe.
• Be careful if you are pregnant or nusring! Certain components of essential oils such as ketones can be great for healing but can be neurotoxic to sensitive patients such as people with seizure disorders, pregnant women and babies.
• Trust the professionals. If you have specific health or skin issues, it’s best to work with a qualified healthcare provider to help ensure you’re getting the best care possible and your condition can be safely monitored.
Abbie’s top picks:
1. Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties and is well known to help reduce acne breakouts in patients with mild-to-moderate acne. It can also be effective at speeding the wound healing process. Because of its antifungal and antiviral effects, tea tree oil may also help with warts and fungal infections.
2. Ylang Ylang Flower Oil
This beautiful essential oil has an exotic sweet smell and has a euphoric, sedative effect on the nervous system so it often helps relieve tension and stress. Topically, ylang-ylang oil helps with sebum-balance for both overly dry and overly oily complexions. It has an amazing ability to help maintain proper moisture levels by preventing our skin’s water loss which, in turn, makes the skin appear resilient and smooth.
Not only does it smell fantastic, lavender is known for its stress-reducing, soothing and calming properties as well as its antimicrobial activities against bacteria, fungi, and yeasts. It also has anti-inflammatory and immune boosting effects. These benefits plus pain-reducing and wound-healing properties make lavender one of my favorites in skincare and skin healing treatments.
If you’re considering essential oils, you should go for it! Just remember to do so safely and smartly. Essential oils are taking over, and you can start small, by swamping out your synthetic fragrance perfume for essential oils which are not only natural, but give you an added therapeutic benefit too!