There are some great natural and non-invasive ways to boost collagen, but there are also several myths surrounding it. People may want to find out about the many options to boost their collagen before adding any sort of collagen treatment to their personal routines.
What is collagen?
The body produces less collagen as people age, causing wrinkles and stiff joints.
Collagen is the most common and abundant form of protein in the body. It is found in many tissues of the muscles, bones, tendons, blood vessels, and the digestive system. However, when people talk about the importance of collagen, they are generally referring to its benefits for the skin.
What does collagen do for the skin?
As a person ages, their body produces less collagen. This lack of collagen results in the common signs of aging. Wrinkles, sagging skin that has lost its elasticity, and stiff joints are all signs that the body is producing less collagen.
When collagen levels are high, the skin is soft, smooth, and firm. Collagen helps the skin cells renew and repair themselves. Collagen also helps keep the skin moist. This is why collagen has been seen as a very important ingredient for skin care over the years.
Ways to boost collagen
There are many ways to boost collagen levels. A person can simply add a different food to their diet, take a supplement, or add a new practice to their daily routine.
Hyaluronic acid is an important compound for collagen in the skin. It is found in foods rich in amino acids, such as beans, root vegetables, and soy. Adding hyaluronic acid to the diet through food can easily help to boost collagen levels. Hyaluronic acid is also available as a supplement.
Vitamin C is one of the best-known vitamins. The human body cannot make vitamin C, so it is very important to get it from the diet.
Vitamin C is an important part of a healthful diet and can be found in foods like citrus fruits and leafy green vegetables.
Research from the Indian Dermatology Online Journal suggests that vitamin C also plays an important role in protecting the skin and creating more collagen in the body.
Many skin care companies add vitamin C to their protective creams for good reason.
Vitamin C can be taken as a supplement or added to the skin and is found in many foods. Citrus fruits, green leafy vegetables, papaya, strawberries, and broccoli are all rich in vitamin C.
Aloe vera gel
People often use aloe vera gel to treat the skin after sunburn or to ease a rash. But new research posted to Clinical, Cosmetic, and Investigational Dermatology suggests that aloe vera may have more benefits. Rather than waiting for skin damage to appear and treating it with topical aloe vera, researchers gave people an extract of aloe called Aloe sterols to take orally.
The results showed that the production of hyaluronic acid and collagen almost doubled in the participants. There was also a significant reduction in facial wrinkles. It appears that aloe actually stimulates the correct cells to grow.
People may find it very beneficial to use skin care products that contain aloe. It can be used as a topical cream or taken as an oral supplement.
Ginseng has been used for centuries in traditional medicine. A study posted in the Journal of Ginseng Research in 2012 found that ginseng increases the amount of collagen in the bloodstream.
Ginseng also has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative properties. Researchers also noted that ginseng might have the potential to stop skin cells from aging. Ginseng is often found in the form of tea, tinctures, and supplements.
Antioxidants are substances that help to protect the body from free radicals. Free radicals are molecules that can damage the body. Not all antioxidants will boost collagen production, but they will help the collagen that is present to do the best job it can.
There are many different types of antioxidants that can protect and rejuvenate the skin in various ways. Antioxidants can be found abundantly in nature and in food. According to research posted to Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, foods and drinks that contain antioxidants include:
Green tea contains antioxidants that may help collagen renew and rejuvenate the skin.
- green tea (or EGCG, its active component)
- yerba mate
- licorice extract
- mulberry extract
- pomegranate extract
- coffee extract
- basil, oregano, and thyme essential oils
Retinol is another type of antioxidant that is commonly used to boost collagen levels in the skin. It helps to increase the lifespan of collagen, as well as block certain enzymes that destroy collagen, making it a perfect addition to many skin care kits.
Red light therapy
Some skin treatments, such as microdermabrasion, chemical peels, and laser resurfacing can lead to complications. After these treatments, the skin needs a lot of time to recover.
According to a study in Seminars in Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery, red light therapy is a quick and safe way to increase collagen in the skin.
Red light therapy, or low-level laser light therapy (LLLT), has been shown to increase collagen growth and improve wrinkles and skin elasticity. Red light therapy is a non-invasive method of boosting collagen that has no side effects. Red light therapy kits are available over the counter, and people can do the treatment at home.
Protect the skin from the environment
Wearing sunscreen will help protect the skin from damaging sun exposure and UV rays.
Skin cells are always in a cycle of being created and destroyed. However, there are some factors, such as the environment, that make matters worse. Harsh weather, pollution, sun exposure, and even dust particles can damage the skin.
The damaged cells have to be replaced, which reduces collagen levels even more. An easy solution to this is to simply keep the skin clean. Washing and exfoliating daily can help to protect the collagen already in the skin.
On sunny days, people should always wear a good sunscreen. They should also protect their face with a hat whenever possible. On very bright days, sunglasses can help protect the delicate collagen around the eyes as well.
Myths about boosting collagen
One of the biggest myths about boosting collagen levels is that you can apply it directly to the skin. For many years, body creams, lotions, medicated ointments, and moisturizers containing collagen have claimed to boost collagen levels.
However, in truth, collagen molecules are too big to cross into the lower layers of the skin and are of no real use. This means that some of the creams on the market that contain collagen may be a waste of money.
Another myth surrounding collagen is the practice of adding collagen to a morning cup of coffee, so it serves as a supplement. Research posted to Drug Design, Development, and Therapy has found that caffeine actually has a negative effect on the aging process of the skin. This could mean that the collagen added to a cup of coffee may simply minimize the damage caused by the caffeine.
If collagen and skin health is a top concern, it may be best for people to avoid caffeine altogether.
A craft making revolution is underway. Crafting culture is elevating and expanding the traditional economy of handicrafts. The recent developments have been stimulated by online media sites like Pinterest, which provide interactive forums for learning and sharing thousands of creative projects, while e-commerce sites like Etsy provide a global market reach for what are still essentially small-scale, locally produced goods. A know-the-producer connection has sprung up from social media interaction via blogging, personal websites and Facebook. While the tradition of handicrafts is maintained, the newly transformed economy has made crafting a lot more viable and lucrative as a result of the burgeoning, internet-connected crafting movement.
Despite the modern developments in the crafting community, however, much of the same basic and traditional things still go into making crafts: a good idea that encompasses a made item that’s unique, beautiful and useful. Crafting has, and always will involve creativity, talent, time, and attention to details while fashioning the item. One of the most important elements in the mix are the interesting and unusual materials that crafters utilize to bring their vision to life and functionality. While ideas have the potential to be trendy, cycling in, then out of fashion, or even utility, one crafting material, in particular, seems only to be growing more popular with time: essential oils. Crafts that are imbued with the rare aromas of these oils have another dimension of appeal that can’t be attained with anything else.
Essential oils are the extracted essences of various flowers, leaves, woods, etc. These are being employed in handcrafted home and body care products as well as in the alternative practice of aromatherapy. For crafters, essential oils offer a kind of powerful aromatic DNA signature to the crafting process, adding another aesthetic dimension and point of creative inspiration beyond the usual ideas or materials.
Getting Started with DIY Body Care
I love to create easy, effective products to use in my body care routines at home. I infuse homemade body butter or deodorant with essential oils for their specific aroma and effect. I make nutrient dense facial masks and moisturizers with organic, single ingredient skin care oils, raw foods and clay powders to have a deeper connection to what comes directly from the earth. And I take the time to really consider what I put on my skin and in my body because I know it all has a greater effect on my whole sense of wellness.
This is part of my self-care, but what does this type of care truly mean? For me, self-care is a deep belief that embodies many small rituals and practices I try to incorporate in my daily life to achieve an overall state of balance and vibrant health. Every aspect of my life is part of my understanding and practice of self-care because I know that each element has an influence on the next. With that mindset, I have spent several years improving on what I put on my body to make the most out of the practice of body care.
Ultimately, true self-care is a practice in mindfulness. The beautiful thing I have learned over the years from experimentation with making products on my own at home is that once the basics of DIY creation are understood, the practice of creating something very specific to my own needs is fun, engaging, meditative and empowering. Here are some things I incorporate into my practice of homemade body care, which may help you get started down this path as well.
1. Know that you are the expert of YOU
For years, I chose the wrong facial products because I listened to other people tell me about my skin. When I started paying attention to what my skin actually needs and stopped treating my skin as a whole, I was able to take better care of my skin. My skin changes with the weather, climate, location, time of month/year, etc. and I cannot use the same product on it day in and day out and expect to glow every day. If I use argan oil as a moisturizer in the winter (which I do) it is the right fit for me. But in the summer, it feels too heavy and I adjust it or use a lighter fatty oil that doesn’t leave my skin feeling oily in the summer heat.
2. Take time to create something at home to save time and money in the store
I don’t need a product designed to sit in a warehouse or on a shelf for years to take care of my skin. If I spend a little time researching organic or raw ingredients and following simple recipes, I am sacrificing the convenience of a finished product. But I am giving up on a high product price by creating something very specific to what I need right in my own kitchen. This creates more space in my life for quality time at home doing what I love where I love to do it rather than chasing down the next quick fix product.
3. Keep the ingredients clean and simple
Many of the elements we crave in our skin care routines are found in foods and simple ingredients. From fresh avocado to lavender essential oil, I know that using just one or two elements at a time is often all I need to create something meaningful, useful and effective for my skin.
5 reasons to create your own body care products
Creating your own body care products can be very rewarding for a variety of reasons. From having control over what goes in them, to customizing according to your preferences, to reducing waste, saving money and more.
1. You decide what goes in them
When you make your own DIY body care products, you know exactly what’s in them. If you choose to reduce your exposure to the common preservatives, fragrance and color chemicals found in many commercial body care products, then you can when you DIY.
2. You can customize according to your needs and preferences
DIY body care products let you customize the aroma, batch size and benefit from your own personal preferences and needs. Need a relaxing massage? Just mix a small amount of skin care oil with your choice of a gentle essential oil. Want a soap-free hand gel with a purifying benefit? Mix aloe vera gel with tea tree essential oil.
3. You can reduce waste
DIY body care products help you reduce waste because you’ll throw the less unused product away while reusing your own custom containers. Amber glass is the premium container for your DIY products because it’s recyclable, dishwasher safe and provides great protection against light degradation. Cut down on plastic waste by using your amber glass bottles over and over again.
4. You can save money
Yes, in addition to other great reasons, DIY body care products can save you money because you can buy ingredients in bulk and make just the amount you need. Aura Cacia skin care oils, for example, come in a variety of sizes so for instance, you could buy a 16-ounce container of sweet almond oil and fill a single 2-ounce amber glass bottle with a sweet almond oil based bath, body or massage oil 8 times over rather than buying the products 8 times.
5. Engage in simplicity and mindfulness
Finally, when you engage in the practice of making your own DIY body care products, you engage in simplicity and mindfulness. The process can be approachable for anyone who cares to be creative, cares about what they put on their body and cares about the impact those products have in the world. You don’t need to be a cosmetic formulator with a technical degree in product development when so many easy-to-make recipes are available and you have access to ingredients.
Quick tips for DIY hair care
Finding the right products to highlight the best aspects of my hair has been challenging, to say the least. After being told far too often as a child that my hair was ‘difficult’ and a myriad of bad salon experiences in my young life, I was left with some angry follicular issues as I moved into adulthood.
A trial and error approach
As I learned more about myself and my hair, it became clear to me that the solution was within my grasp. I figured out that I couldn’t wash my hair as often as my friends because my fine, tight curls are also very delicate and both dry out and break off easily. I discovered that I needed a whole lot more moisture and way fewer drying agents. It was a true trial and error process.
What I learned
My hair responds well to deep conditioning. Coconut oil and argan oil are mainstays in my weekly organic haircare regimen, along with a little help from rosemary essential oil and apple cider vinegar. I treat my hair as I treat my children – with a lot of love and care and respect. The result is that now, my hair once maligned by stylists for its difficulty is easy to manage and thrives without much shampooing. While I once spent hours straightening, spraying, gelling and mousing my curls into submission, I now run some argan oil through it while it is wet and I let it air dry. Easy, nourishing and authentic to the hair I have.
Try it for yourself
DIY hair care is all about learning what fits YOU. With the right amount of understanding of what your locks love, you can simplify your hair care regimen and feel good about what you put in your hair. Here are some tips I like to rely on with DIY hair care:
1. Know that if your hair is oily and thick, a coconut oil hair treatment, while trendy, isn’t the best fit for you. Stay true to your hair and pick the right oil to use in conditioning based on what your hair needs, not what your favorite blogger recommends.
2. Simple, naturally derived ingredients like clay powder, cornstarch, argan oil and avocado oil can go a long way in the creation of dry shampoos and homemade conditioners.
3. The right essential oils can help with the aroma of your DIY haircare product AND can contribute to a happy scalp.
4. Organic vegetable glycerin is an ideal swap for heavily formulated, silicone based frizz and flyaway serums. A couple of drops can tame flyaway hair with ease.
Homemade deodorant: The quest for a clean counter to body odor
For years I have searched for the perfect clean alternative to commercial deodorant. Perfect for me, that is. Not one to be overly concerned about sweat or perspiration (it is natural and healthy for the body to perspire, so why to suppress it?), I wanted something that was a good counter for body odor that was also effective — meaning, something that would last longer than an hour or two.
Before I explored homemade deodorant, I tried many naturally derived, store-bought deodorants, which have a bit of a bad rap. They aren’t as effective as the consumer wants them to be, often requiring reapplication throughout the day. In some cases, the ingredients in these deodorants aren’t as clean as we want them to be, which can also prove to be a challenge.
After a little bit of digging, I found a couple of recipes online that were quite simple to make in my own kitchen. I tweaked the recipes to create a formula that incorporated some of the best aromatic effects of the chosen essential oils and to give them a stronger odor fighting punch. Once all the ingredients were gathered, it took less than 15 minutes to create a cream deodorant that rivaled a natural version I paid a tidy sum for someone else to make for me. Never again with this recipe. I am happy to report it worked well — sometimes for a couple of days at a time, and didn’t leave permanent white streaks on my clothing.
What you need to make your own homemade deodorant:
1. Baking soda
A key ingredient in clean deodorant, baking soda can be used on its own for a simple deodorant as a paste made with water. It is a must-have in any homemade deodorant recipe, as it is free of harsh chemicals and very effective at keeping odor at bay.
2. Powdered clay
Another great component used to fight odor, clay comes in a lot of varieties. I like bentonite clay, but other powdered clays can be used as well. However, color rich clays are generally not recommended as they could cause discoloration to the skin.
3. Coconut oil
Great for fighting odor and for moisture, coconut oil was is the key binding ingredient for the dry powders.
4. Cornstarch or arrowroot powder
Either powder can be used to absorb moisture. This is great for keeping underarms dry.
5. Essential oils
Essential oils contribute the desired aroma to homemade deodorant. Choose gentle oils like bergamot (bergapten-free), lavender, coriander or geranium because the underarm is a sensitive area. Bergamot (bergapten-free) essential oil, in particular, is great because it is a terrific odor fighter with a fresh, light scent. Be sure to use a bergapten-free version because the bergapten in standard bergamot essential oil makes the skin susceptible to UV radiation should your skin be exposed to sunlight.
It’s important to know that these ingredients function primarily as deodorants and not antiperspirants. Perspiration, specifically underarm sweat, is a normal function of a healthy body. The body odor that sweating produces can be a nuisance, but fortunately, it can be controlled naturally through regular washing and the application of a deodorant. Unlike antiperspirants, which can be formulated with substances which plug and suppress the sweat gland, deodorants won’t interfere with the normal functioning of these glands. Deodorants can interrupt the formation of body odor by decreasing the bacteria that cause body odor, as well as helping to mask body odor when it does occur. Essential oils provide cleansing and purifying aroma benefits to the mix. Essential oils are easy to incorporate into completely natural DIY homemade deodorants which will feature less worrisome, more wholesome ingredients than conventional commercial versions which often rely on odor neutralizing chemicals, drying alcohol, bactericides, and synthesized fragrances.
Powder Deodorant with Ylang Ylang Essential Oil
- Total Time: 15 mins
- Hands-on Time: 15 mins
- Makes: 4 ounces
A deeply floral DIY powder deodorant made with baking soda, corn starch, rice, and ylang-ylang essential oil.
- 48 drops Ylang Ylang Essential Oil
- 4-ounce Amber Wide Mouth Jar with Writable Label
- 1/4 cup baking soda
- 1/4 cup corn starch
- 1 teaspoon uncooked rice
- cotton ball or powder puff
1. Into jar, measure baking soda.
2. Add ylang-ylang essential oil and stir until a damp powder form.
3. Add corn starch and rice and stir until well mixed.
4. To use, apply deodorant to under arms using a cotton ball or powder puff.
The beauty industry has an ugly secret. Most skin care products–both regular and “organic”–contain harmful chemicals. When it comes to cosmetics, no one regulates what “organic” or “natural” means.
Your makeup, face cream, skin moisturizer, or cleanser may deliver short term smoothness and brightness, but it may disrupt your hormones and fertility, expose you to known cancer-causing pesticides, and deliver dangerous toxins that penetrate and age your skin. That’s right. The cosmetics you use may actually speed the formation of wrinkles, age spots, and worse.
In the US, researchers have found 1 of every 8 ingredients used in cosmetics is an industrial chemical. Many of these were originally created to keep concrete soft, remove grease from auto parts, and as surfactants paints and inks.
You might think if these industrial chemicals were that bad they’d be banned. Well, in fact, many are…in Europe. European authorities have banned more than a thousand of these chemicals. In the US, the FDA has banned eight.
Lookout for These 19 Ingredients
To protect your skin and keep it looking young, firm, and bright, look for these chemicals in all skin care products–and avoid them.
Used to lighten skin, BHA and BHT are considered by the National Toxicology Program as a likely carcinogen. In studies, animals exposed to these chemicals developed stomach cancer and liver damage and developed problems with their thyroid and reproductive organs. Banned in Europe.
2. Sodium Borate / Boric Acid
These chemicals interfere with hormones and cause infertility in men. Regular exposure is linked to low sperm counts. It absorbs easily into the skin and is used in diaper creams. Banned in Europe and Canada, and the cosmetic industry states it’s unsafe for infants.
3. Coal Tar
You can find coal tar still used in hair dyes and dandruff and psoriasis shampoos. It’s recognized as a carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. On ingredient lists, it goes by aminophenol, diaminobenzene, and phenylenediamine.
4. Formaldehyde-Releasing Preservatives
Another known cancer causing agent, formaldehyde also harms the brain, interferes with growth and development in children, and induces asthma. These preservatives slowly release formaldehyde to keep the skin care product from spoiling. These often trigger allergic reactions on the skin. If you’ve ever experienced a contact allergy after using a skin lotion, it probably had one of these ingredients: DMDM Hydantoin (very common), Diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, methenamine, and quaternium-15.
5. PEG Compounds
These go by many names like Propylene glycol, polyethylene glycols, or polyoxyethylene as they are petroleum-based compounds. But they go by other names too; If you see a word with “–eth” or “–oxynol” in it, it’s likely one of these PEGs. These chemicals can be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, a chemical the FDA says may cause cancer.
You know mercury is bad, but some cosmetics use it to lighten the skin. It absorbs easily through your skin and with enough use can develop into mercury poisoning. Steer clear of products with “calomel”, “mercurio”, “mercurio chloride” or just plain old “mercury”.
Another skin lightener, it causes a skin disease called ochronosis that features black and blue lesions that can become permanent. In animals, studies have found enough exposure leads to tumor development.
Sunscreens use oxybenzone to absorb UV light. In humans, this chemical causes skin irritation and allergic reactions. Animal studies report it acts as an endocrine disruptor and interferes with hormone activity.
You’ll find this one in many antibacterial hand soaps and hand sanitizers. But it’s also used in deodorants, skin cleansers, and toothpaste. It’s another endocrine disruptor that harms your thyroid and reproductive hormones.
You’ve probably seen a slew of products marketing themselves as “paraben-free”. These chemicals mimic estrogen and lead to hormone imbalance. Now, CDC reports suggest their presence in every American’s body. Whether they are or aren’t, avoid products with parabens to prevent reproductive problems like infertility or slowed growth and developmental disorders in children.
Also called a perfume, these terms indicate a mixture of ingredients that cosmetic companies don’t have to legally tell you about. Three thousand or more chemicals may be used to create a fragrance. Some “Unscented” products contain fragrances with masking agents. Some fragrances have been linked to allergic reactions, asthma, and breathing difficulties while others have links to cancers.
A common ingredient in “fragrances”, phthalates block testosterone and damage a man’s reproductive system. These dangerous chemicals have also been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer.
13. Petroleum distillates
Used in mascara, these ingredients come from oil refineries and often contain impurities linked to cancer.
These, and similar ingredients labeled as “methicones”, soften and smooth skin. They also disrupt your hormones and interfere with fertility and libido.
15. Sodium Lauryl (Laureth) Sulfate
You’ll find this one in most shampoos, soaps, and cleansers. It may contain 1,4-dioxane, a known carcinogen, and ethylene oxide, a chemical known to harm your nervous system. The California EPA has even identified it as a possible developmental toxin.
Used in nail polish, toluene is also used in paint thinners. Research suggests it interferes with the human immune system and may be tied to the development of malignant lymphoma.
17. Retinol, or Retinyl Palmitate/Acetate
This vitamin A compounds are not safe for skin use. Sunlight breaks them down and creates free radicals that increase the risk of skin cancers. Avoid all skin and lip products with any of these vitamin A chemicals.
Used in dandruff shampoos, these ingredients wreak havoc when rinsed down the drain and into nature. Researchers report that one fungicide, climbazole, kills tiny organisms like algae and stops growth in larger plants and fish.
Many cosmetics now use nanoparticles to deliver chemicals to the surface or even into the skin. Many of these products have not been evaluated for safety. Some are even used in sprays that make it possible for particulates to enter your lungs and blood stream.
Best Options for Natural Skin Care
Even though the cosmetic industry is largely unregulated, with a few mindful steps, you can protect, heal and restore your skin. Many natural products including olive oil, coffee berry, and green tea can treat and prevent premature aging of your skin from UV exposure. Here’s what to do…
First, don’t buy or use any cosmetic product, cream, sunscreen, ointment, or lotion that has any of the ingredients listed above. This may take a little work, but you and your family will be far better off in the long run.
Next, do a little research online. Take a little time and research products that not only claim to use natural, organic products but have ingredient lists that support their marketing. Find out where you can buy these.
Many of the best, safest, and “real” natural skin lotions and cosmetics can be bought online, saving you time and travel. For your most delicate skin, I personally recommend Parfait Visage®, an all-natural facial cream that contains no synthetic preservatives. For more information and as a great comparison label, view this ingredient list of a natural and organic skin care product.
Our skin is designed to do its job naturally. Eating a healthy diet, staying hydrated and using whole, simple products all support the idea that our skin can breathe and do its job naturally. The less we put on our skin and the less we switch up our routines with new products, the more our skin can do its own work. Our skin is the communication between our environment and the inner workings of our bodies! Through our skin, we see the diverse energetic system inside us and any imbalances we may be experiencing. Studies have found that our skin absorbs at least 60-70% of what we put on it. So what goes ON our body, ultimately goes IN the body. There are some nasty products out there full of unnatural ingredients, like parabens. These widely-used preservatives are estimated to be in 60-90 of all makeup and skincare products, so stick to products that are natural, free of toxic chemicals, and products that you could essentially eat.
Rosewater for skin hydration: A spritz after cleansing and again during the day does wonders for the skin’s freshness and moisture, plus you get the added aromatherapy effect from the roses leaving you relaxed, refreshed and feeling pampered. Other herbal hydrosols can be used in replace of rosewater, and you can pair according to your own constitution.
Cleanse and moisturize with oil. It’s simple, and it keeps you away from all the other toxic ingredients out there. Not only can you cleanse, remove makeup, oil pull and moisturize, but oils like coconut are also rich in healthy fats, making it another great thing to eat! Before a hot shower, try massaging oil into your skin. Then wipe off the oil with a warm wet washcloth in the shower. It leaves your skin feeling clean and smooth.
Rose and Chamomile Clay Face Mask: Herbal masks with clay help to pull out toxins and gently exfoliate your skin. Adding honey or coconut oil helps to not to dry out the skin too much. Apply to a damp face and work in circular motions. Allow it to dry (5-10 minutes) and wash off gently with a warm washcloth. Follow with a bit of coconut oil and a spritz of rosewater! Ingredients: powdered rose petals, rose kaolin clay, honey, coconut oil, and a drop of chamomile essential oil.
Dry skin brushing helps support your lymphatic system, which is responsible for ridding the body of stagnation, resulting in the healthy and resilient skin! Skin brushing also supports the immune and digestive systems, both of which are involved in detox.
Sweat: Although it is a major eliminative organ, most people’s skin is very inactive. Sweat is a primary elimination route for toxins. Making a habit of getting a good workout at least once a week, or if you can, a hot sauna or bath works magic for the skin and assists its ability to breath, stay hydrated and glow.
What a winter we have had! The best ever for this girl, filled with lots of snow-filled activities (like skiing on a frozen Utah Lake!) and cozy nights by a fire to keep the balance. The little glimpses of spring that are beginning to unfurl here are a treat for these snow-filled eyes. Seeing bare ground and little crocus flowers pushing through the dirt fuels my excitement to be outside planting and dreaming up our new garden space. More beds for calendula, planters on the back of the building for hops to vertically explore, food production, more elderberries and blueberries, more grass was torn up for more medicinal herbs, and of course, fencing to keep the herds of voracious deer out. I am dreaming of wildflower-covered prairies, western meadowlarks and bluebirds, and ways of infusing that beauty into our new products coming this summer. It has been a very busy and productive winter. Spring doesn’t appear to be slowing down. I am super excited to share with you what we have been up to. I hope the shift in seasons and the return to light finds you happy and healthy and dreaming up new beginnings.
Methods of Applications:
Massage and/or body oils are a combination of one or more vegetable and/or herbal oils with essential oils.
RECOMMENDED DILUTIONS for Massage Oils
For infants and young children:
.5-1% dilution = 3-6 drops of essential oil per ounce of carrier
2.5% dilution = 15 drops of essential oil per ounce of carrier
3% dilution = 20 drops of essential oil per ounce of carrier
5% dilution = 30 drops of essential oil per ounce of carrier
10% dilution = 60 drops of essential oil per ounce of carrier
In general, aromatherapy oil based blends are useful for:
- Chronic or acute pain relief
- Arthritis & rheumatism (sub-acute phase)
- Chronic muscular/joint aches and pain
- Pregnancy and childbirth massage
- Reducing inflammation
- Enhancing immunity
- Relieving muscle spasms
- Relax and soothe the nervous system
- Aid in the treatment of sprains, strains, and repetitive movement injuries
- And much, much more…
Facial Creams, Lotions, And Oils
You can purchase unscented facial creams or body lotions to add essential oils to or create a facial oil by using a variety of vegetable/herbal oils and then adding essential oils into the mix. Or learn how to make your own creams and lotions!
Facial oil/cream dilution rates
Sensitive skin: .5 to 1 percent dilution = 3 to 6 drops per ounce
Normal, healthy skin: 1 to 2.5 percent dilution = 6 to 15 drops per ounce
In general, aromatherapy facial oils and creams are utilized to:
- Enhance wound healing
- Influence and slow aging of skin
- Scar reduction and improve appearance
- Support and enhance immune cells of the skin
- Balance sebum production
- Aid the process of detoxification in the skin
- Increase local circulation
- Improve tone of skin
- Encourage hydration of the skin, when used in conjunction with hydrosol/water or cream.
- Soften and soothe the skin
- Address emotional issues
Mix 2 – 12 drops (depending on the essential oil) into a teaspoon of a dispersing agent such as natural bath gel, polysorbate, solubol, coconut emulsifier, etc. Add to bath and stir just before entering the water. Vegetable oil may also be used to dilute essential oils, however, it will not disperse in the water and will make tub surfaces slippery.
In general, aromatherapy full-body baths are useful to:
- Reduce stress/anxiety
- Alleviate muscular aches, pains, and tension
- Soothe mental or physical fatigue
- Stimulate circulation
- Enhance lymph circulation
- Reduce pain and stiffness
- Increase local circulation
- Improve tone and health of skin
- Aid detoxification
Place 3-7 drops of essential oil into boiling water. Some essential oils to consider include Eucalyptus sp. (either E. globulus or E. radiata), Thyme ct. linalol (Thymus vulgaris), Lemon (Citrus limon), and Tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia). Cover head with a towel and breathe through the nose. Keep eyes closed!
Steam inhalations are indicated for:
- Congestion in upper respiratory tract (cold or flu)
- Sinus infection or sinusitis
- Enhancing respiratory function
An aromatic spritzer is a combination of essential oils and water. Often a dispersant such as soluble is used to diffuse the essential oils within the water. Aromatic spritzers can be used as room fresheners, to cleanse the air, to uplift and energize, to scent space, or used during a massage or esthetic practice: e.g. sprayed on face cradles to keep respiratory passages clear.
To make: Add 10-15 drops of essential oil (1-3 different essential oils) per ounce of water. Shake before using or add dispersing agent (e.g. soluble)
In general, aromatic spritzers are useful for:
- Room and air freshener
- Body sprays over which an aromatic blend will be applied
- Reducing undesirable odors in the air
- Enhancing breathing
- Soothing a variety of emotional states
Depending on diffuser type, use as directed.
Aerial dispersion via electric diffuser can be used for:
- Environmental ambiance
- Stress/anxiety reduction
- Insomnia or sleep disorders
- Mood or motivation enhancement
- Increase alertness
- Purify and improve air quality
- Reduce airborne pathogens
Different types of inhalation
Direct inhalation refers to the technique of sniffing or inhaling an essential oil directly from a bottle, a handkerchief or a cotton ball. Direct inhalations are most commonly employed for the relief of emotional distress and as supportive therapy for the relief of respiratory congestion or other respiratory ailments. Direct inhalations are also used for their effect on the nervous system.
Direct palm inhalation
Direct palm inhalation refers to the technique of sniffing or inhaling an essential oil/s or synergy directly from the palms of your hands. Direct palm inhalations are most commonly utilized for the relief of emotional distress, to uplift and transform one’s consciousness, or simply to relax and breathe. It can be used as supportive therapy for the relief of respiratory congestion or other respiratory ailments.
Direct from a bottle: Create a synergy (undiluted essential oils) utilizing 3-5 essential oils and place in a small bottle. Have client waft bottle under nose while taking deep inhalations. This can be done 3-4x a day or as needed.
Smelling salts: Create a synergy with a total of 20-30 drops utilizing 3-5 essential oils and place in a 10ml (1/3 ounce) bottle. Once the synergy is in the bottle, fill the remainder of the bottle with either fine or coarse sea salts. Have client waft bottle under nose while taking deep inhalations. This can be done 3-4x a day or as needed.
Handkerchief/Cotton-ball: Place 2-4 drops of essential oil or synergy on the tissue or cloth. Hold cloth in the palms of your hand and take 2-3 deep inhalations through the nose. If using a cotton ball, gently waft the cotton ball under the clients’ nose. This technique can be used 2-3x a day or as needed.
Inhaler tubes: Inhaler tubes are designed using 100% essential oil/s saturated on a cotton pad. **NOTE: Please be sure to use organic cotton pads. You can purchase these at a local health food store and cut the desired size to fit the tube. Cotton is considered a ‘dirty’ crop, meaning it is heavily sprayed with pesticides. It is recommended to replace the cotton pad that comes in the tube with a certified organic cotton pad.
To make: Choose 2-3 essential oils to work with based upon a specific purpose. Decide how many drops of each essential oil so it adds up to 15 to 25 drops. Place drops of each essential oil in a small glass bowl/cup then place pad from inhaler into the bowl to absorb the essential oils. Use tweezers to move pad around a bit and then remove pad with tweezers and place in inhaler tube. Close inhaler tube and it is ready for use.
In general, Inhaler tubes or smelling salts are useful for:
- Relieve stress
- Uplift mood
- Relieve nausea
- Support hormonal balance
- Support healthy breathing
- Reduce nasal congestion
- Emotional support
With the recent resurgence in artisanal, organic, and natural products, medicinal plants are getting their moment in the spotlight, too. People have known for thousands of years that plants have potent curative properties, and essential oils are one of the best ways to deliver that medicine where it’s needed most. Unlike botanical beauty products, essential oils contain highly concentrated plant extracts. It’s these distilled essences that have the power to remedy a myriad of common aches, pains, and problems—from cramps to insomnia to the occasional stubborn zit—provided they’re used properly. Just like any other healing art, it takes time and knowledge to learn how to work with essential oils. Follow a few basic guidelines to truly unleash the power of essential oils, and avoid these 7 common pitfalls.
Mistake 1: Underestimating the power of plants
Many people mistakenly believe if something is natural, it’s automatically good for you. Essential oils smell great, and many are derived from beautiful flowers, but that doesn’t mean their medicinal properties are necessarily the cure for what ails you. Do some research on what condition you’re specifically looking to remedy and consider what sensitivities or allergies you have before you spring for a bottle made of the prettiest flower, or the oil that smells best.
Mistake 2: Applying oils in the wrong location
Take care to apply essential oils properly. Generally speaking, oils should be applied at four main locations: wrists, ankles, fingers, and behind the ears. However, oils work best when rubbed on the appropriate acupuncture site—if you want to mitigate your migraines, for example, research where, specifically, to dab that drop of oil. Similarly, don’t apply oils all over your body or face, just in case you have a reaction. Start with a small patch test instead.
Mistake 3: Neglecting dispersers
If you have particularly sensitive skin and don’t want to apply essential oils directly to your body, use a disperser. Dispersers work particularly well for oils used in aromatherapy, like lavender, rosemary, or rose. Filling a room with fragrance maximizes your exposure to the oil’s curative effects.
Mistake 4: Not boosting essential oil remedies with other treatments
Pair essential oils with other relaxing, healing treatments like massage, or hot and cold compresses. Heat and massage increase circulation, helping to distribute oils more effectively. Cold can reduce pain and inflammation, giving essential oils a chance to work their magic. Rose oil, for example, goes well with a hot steaming bath to help distribute the flower’s rich, floral scent: the plant’s properties alleviate anxiety and stress, and the hot, bubbly tub doesn’t hurt either.
Mistake 5: Neglecting quality
Just as you would squeeze and smell a peck of peaches before making a purchase, the quality of essential oils is important too. Essential oils are made from perishable, seasonal products, and both the plant extract and the oil will affect product quality. If you’re serious about using essential oils as medicine, check with an expert on which brands are best. Artisanal, local, or even homemade products generally leave out harmful stabilizers and by-products like parabens.
Mistake 6: Overlooking carrier oils
Essential oils are often pre-blended with what’s known as a carrier oil (such as shea butter, coconut oil, etc.). Choose a carrier that suits your purpose: grapeseed oil is thin and great for massages, while jojoba oil is a super moisturizer for skin and hair.
Mistake 7: Limiting yourself to one single oil at a time
Essential oils love company, so don’t be afraid to pair up some of your favorites—provided they don’t have conflicting properties. Rosemary and peppermint are a perfect duo to harness greater mental clarity, while basil, ginger, and frankincense will help boost your energy levels on those humdrum days.