Why We Made Essential Oils the Heart and Soul of Our Products
Both consumers and producers in the skin and body care community regularly debate the inclusion of essential oils in skin care products. At their root, these discussions can be boiled down to the following: Some people argue that essential oils can be irritating to the skin, while others reply that they are only sensitizing when used incorrectly.
If you’ve ever purchased a Source Vitál Apothecary product, you know our stance on the issue. But since we also believe that education is important, we want to take the time to make our case for essential oils. And to do that effectively, we need to provide background on how they’re derived, their healing properties, and how we use them in our line.
What are Essential Oils
Essential oils are derived and distilled from the seeds, leaves, branches, bark, roots, berries, flowers, sap, needles, and peels of plants. The oil produced by this distillation process contains plant hormones, or phytohormones. Like human hormones aid certain functions of the body, phytohormones help control specific functions of the plant.
Due to similarities between plants and humans, our bodies are able to recognize and adapt essential oils for therapeutic use. Specifically, these essential oils can increase the body’s ability to receive the nutrients needed to maintain optimum health.
The climates and conditions the plants are cultivated and harvested under can affect the elements found in the essential oil they produce. Some oils are of higher quality than others, while others yield a smaller extraction during distillation.
What are the Properties of Essential Oils?
Every essential oil has its own unique chemical structure, which means there is plenty of room to get creative when it comes to application and blending different oils. Because each essential oil has a unique composition, some may be more efficient than others at addressing different ailments, such as respiratory health, circulation, mental clarity, relaxation, and skin care.
Even with each oil having individual attributes, there are four primary properties of all essential oils:
- Hydrating & Remineralizing– In order for the body to maintain ideal hydration levels, it needs minerals. Because essential oils maintain the nutrient composition of the original plant, they bring minerals into the body.
- Oxygenating– We learn in high school science classes that all plants contain chlorophyll. Essential oils are a concentrated form of plant substance. As such, they include chlorophyll. When introduced into the human body, chlorophyll has been shown to increase our oxygen levels. This delivers more oxygen to the tissues to keep them healthy and running at max efficiency.
- Detoxifying– When used in cleansing, exfoliation and massage, essential oils help to promote a feeling of detoxification in the body. The boost in both hydration and oxygen from essential oils helps the body rid itself of unwanted elements more easily.
- Immune Support– As the largest organ in the body, our skin is our first line of defense against bacteria. By helping to cleanse and protect the skin, essential oils work to fortify this barrier and support the immune system.
By using essential oils, we boost our ability to carry more hydration, oxygen, and nutrients into the body, giving the cells the fuel needed to function at their best.
Why Do You Use Essential Oils in Skin Care?
Historically, essential oils have been used in home-grown remedies, religious ceremonies, and enjoyed for their scent. Practically, each essential oil has its own unique properties, making them useful in treating a wide range of skin types and issues.
Many essential oils possess qualities that neutralize germs and other potentially irritating substances. Several of these potent oils also are full of hydrating properties and rich antioxidants that protect the skin from pollutants that can damage and weaken healthy cells. Additionally, some essential oils possess aromatherapeutic benefits that calm the feeling of inflammation.
In terms of applications in skin care routines, different essential oils can be utilized for their unique properties to help care for certain conditions. For example, Lavender essential oil soothes and offers purification properties, making it ideal for cleansing and lending a balancing feel to oily or acne prone skin types. If essential oils can enhance the quality of your skin care, it only makes sense that we incorporate them safely, efficiently, and effectively.
How Do You Use Essential Oils Safely?
The debate over the safety of using essential oils in skin care exists because the essence of these botanical oils is extremely potent. But as long as they are used correctly, we find essential oils offer amazing benefits for the skin.
Pure essential oils can be assimilated into the body in two distinct ways: directly through the skin or via inhalation.
The molecular structure of essential oils is small enough to allow for it to be absorbed into the skin through pores and hair follicles. From here, they make their way into the bloodstream. With the exception of lavender and tea tree oils, most essential oils in their stand-alone state are too strong to be applied directly to the skin. Usually, we take in essential oils by diluting them in creams, lotions, serums, or mixed with a carrier oil, such as sunflower seed oil or jojoba oil.
In skin and body care, when formulated correctly, essential oils provide natural benefits that result in softer, younger-looking skin and promote efficient body functions such as the removal of toxins and sloughing of dry, dead skin. By tapping into the naturally active properties of essential oils, we can avoid using synthetic ingredients that can actually weaken our body’s natural defenses. Plainly, natural, plant-based products work with the body, not against it.
Though we value the effective nature of essential oils for topical products, inhalation is actually the simplest way to use essential oils. When diffused into the air, we breathe them in and transport their properties through the olfactory system to specific structures in the brain. At this juncture, the individual scents of the oils are analyzed by the brain and the specific commands are communicated to the body, whether it’s telling your body to relax, calm down, or even energize. To enjoy essential oils this way, you can just breathe in the scent straight from the bottle, add a few drops to a cotton ball, or use a diffuser.
That being said, it is important to always take the necessary precautions when handling essential oils, as they can be extremely powerful. Before using any essential oil, always read any warning labels. Also, make sure you are using only 100% pure and natural oils, free from any chemicals, pesticides, parabens, synthetic perfumes, or fillers.
Remember, essential oils are highly potent, and it’s important to be mindful of how much you’re using. A small amount goes a very long way, because like many good things (including water!), essential oils can have damaging effects when used incorrectly or in over-abundance.
If you’re looking to incorporate essential oils into your wellness and skin care routines, here are a few tips for working with them safely:
- With the exception of Lavender and Tea Tree oils, never apply essential oils directly to the skin without first diluting in a carrier oil or lotion.
- Avoid direct contact with the eye.
- Do not ingest essential oils. They are for external use only.
- For those who are pregnant, epileptic, battling cancer, have liver or kidney issues, or any other serious illness, consult a medical professional prior to using essential oils.
- Always keep essential oils out of reach of children.
- Lastly, be sure to keep essential oils tightly closed and in stored in a cool location away from light to maintain their efficacy.
At Source Vitál Apothecary, we believe in a well-rounded, holistic, and individualized approach to skin care, so it only makes sense that we’d employ the use of essential oils in our products so that we can assist you in creating the best possible results for you.