Essential oils are absorbed into the bloodstream in two ways – via the skin and respiratory system. When these oils enter the bloodstream, they work in three ways:
- Provide physiological benefits to all systems in the body
- Have a psychological effect when the aroma is inhaled
- Bring about chemical changes when these oils enter the bloodstream and react with enzymes and hormones.
Aromatherapy and skin
Aromatherapy for the skin offers excellent therapeutic benefits when essential oils are absorbed through the dermis and epidermis – the two main layers of the skin. The rate of absorption of essential oils into the skin depends on the composition of oils, where oils with lower volatility will take more time to get absorbed, the viscosity of carrier oils and the skin type of the client. Skin with excess fat or edema takes longer to absorb essential oils.
Absorption of essential oils can increase based on factors such as:
- The type of massage that stimulates and increases blood flow
- The heat in the treatment room should be warm so that rate of absorption is faster
- Skin brushing before an aromatherapy massage can remove dead skin, creams and lotions and aid in absorption of oils
- Ensure the client takes deep breaths throughout the massage so that the oils reach the bloodstream faster
Aromatherapy Benefits to the skin
Aromatherapy for the skin offers various benefits like:
- Improves absorption of essential oils into the skin as it is broken down into smaller molecules
- When essential oils like – bergamot, lemon, lavender and tea tree – that have antiseptic, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties are used they protect the skin from various irritations.
- Lavender and neroli are cytophylactic oils, so, using them for a massage helps to regenerate skin cells.
- Chamomile has anti-inflammatory properties and helps to soothe the skin.
- Secretion of sebum can be balanced when the right essential oil is used. For example, geranium helps to balance both oily and dry skin types.
Skin conditions and essential oils
There are specific essential oils that offer several benefits of aromatherapy for skin care. Here we will see some skin conditions and the essential oils that benefit them.
Psoriasis : This skin condition can be very troublesome and produces extremely scaly and dry skin accompanied with red blotches. Psoriasis patients get affected by exposure to sun, stress, bacterial or viral infections. Psoriasis is very difficult to treat and often does not respond to conventional medication. Those who use aromatherapy for skin recommend using specific essential oils individually or as a blend. A few oils that help psoriasis patients are bergamot, cedar wood, geranium and lavender. You can add 4 drops of each of these oils to your bath water and get excellent relief from psoriasis.
Acne : Tea tree is a natural antiseptic and has several medicinal properties that benefit those with moderate or mild cases of acne. Used topically on acne, tea tree has fewer side effects than benzoyl peroxide and is as effective.
Chamomile has excellent anti-inflammatory properties. It is used to treat eczema, psoriasis, acne, colitis and first degree burns. It is also useful to treat diaper and chicken pox rash. German chamomile treats mild eczema. Chamomile can be used as a lotion on the affected areas or as a massage oil to provide soothing benefits to the entire skin.
Frankincense and myrrh are two essential oils are used topically to treat skin cancer along with other cleansing oils like clove, lavender and sandalwood. Apart from this, frankincense also helps to heal and fade stretch marks and scars. The skin can safely tolerate frankincense oil when you use it as a lotion, toner, massage oil or add a few drops to your bath water. Combine frankincense with a few drops of grapeseed or jojoba oil and rub onto the scar and stretch marks daily.
Rose oil helps to stimulate circulation, treat broken capillaries and fade scars. It can be used safely on sensitive skin to treat eczema and dry skin. Regular use is said to delay the onset of wrinkles. Combine rose oil with neroli and frankincense for a wonderful skin application.
Other essential oils for skin care
- Everlasting oil or helichrysum has strong anti-inflammatory and skin regenerative properties.
- Lavender cares well for the skin especially those suffering from traumas like accidents, burns etc.
- Rosemary helps with scar treatment.
- Calendula has wound healing properties.
- Sea buckthorn stimulates skin regeneration
- Sage oil heals unsightly scars
Essential oils used in aromatherapy provide alternative and holistic treatment for various skin conditions with almost no side effects. Make sure that you always perform a skin patch test before using any oil for the first time. Follow all safety precautions and always use the right blend to enjoy the wellness and benefits of aromatherapy for skin care.