Essential Aromatherapy Oils for Skin Care

These oils embody the aroma of scented plants and have many therapeutic and skin-beautifying qualities.

Essential oils are very concentrated - it takes around 200kg (440lb) of fresh flowers to make just 1kg (2 2lb) of oil - so use them sparingly to lend your skincare preparations a pleasant aroma as well as boosting their potency. They should never be used neat on the skin — always blend with a carrier oil.

Choose and use the oils whose scent you find attractive - there is no pleasure in wearing a cream that smells repellent to you — as well as considering which is best for your skin. Aim to have about ten favorite oils in your basic reper­toire and gradually build up.

Basil

A tonic for the nervous system with antiseptic properties. Good for relieving stress-induced fatigue and anxiety. Helps to normalize men­strual cycles. Use in revitalizing baths or massage oils for skin that develops spots before a period.

Camomile

A soothing and calming essence. Good for problems related to nervousness, over-excitabil­ity and irritability. Helps allergic conditions and premenstrual tension and irregular periods. Benefits sensitive skin and conditions such as acne, rashes and eczema.

Frankincense

Also known as olbanum, the use of this rich, resinous essence dates back into antiquity. The ancient Egyptians certainly knew of its skin regenerative and anti-ageing powers. One of the most healing oils, it is also slightly sedative and antiseptic. Soothes inflammation and redness. A wonderful aid to meditation. Benefits ageing skin and wrinkles.

Geranium

A sweet-scented energy tonic for restoring natural vitality. Helpful for menstrual problems and fluid retention. Stimulates circulation, soothes itching and promotes healing. It also has rebalancing qualities and helps repel biting insects. Good for treating all kinds of skin problems such as acne, burns, cuts, bruises and eczema. Benefits all skin types.

Ginger

A warm and spicy essence with stimulating and aphrodisiac qualities. Helps to boost the circula­tion, especially during the colder months. Benefits cellulite-prone skin.

Jasmine

A heavenly perfume that combines beautifully with ylang ylang, neroli and rose. Soothing and energising. Renowned as an aphrodisiac, jasmine lifts the spirits. It also encourages tissue repair, calms inflammation and eases pain. Try massag­ing it into the tummy to reduce labor pains. Benefits oily, mixed and sensitive skins.

Juniper

A pungent and detoxifying essence. Promotes healing, soothes inflammation and keeps bacteria in check. Diuretic and circulation-stim­ulating properties make it good for preventing and treating cellulite. Helps to treat stretch marks and skin problems like psoriasis, eczema and acne. Benefits oily and blemished skin.

Lavender

A cool and fragrant essence with remarkable powers to heal Calms and revitalizes. Boosts the circulation. Encourages skin repair, reduces inflammation and relieves irritability. Helps to treat burns, cuts, acne, eczema and swelling. Good for keeping cellulite at bay. Benefits all skin, especially oily types.

Lemon

A fresh, citrusy aroma with uplifting and stim­ulating qualities. Astringent, antiseptic and rejuvenating properties make it helpful for treat­ing congested skins prone to blocked pores, blackheads and spots as well as wrinkles. Stimulates circulation and is good for broken capillaries and thread veins. Benefits oily and ageing skin.

Myrrh

Like frankincense, myrrh has been used for centuries. It is a superb healer with anti-­inflammatory properties. Helpful for treating very chapped, cracked skin and eczema. Regenerative and possessing hormone-like prop­erties make it good for keeping wrinkles at bay. Benefits dry and ageing skins.

Neroli

Extracted from the fragrant blossoms of the bitter orange tree, this essence not only smells divine but is incredibly therapeutic too. Tranquillizing and peace-instilling qualities make it good for stress-induced skin problems. It also encourages a good night's sleep, so add to evening baths and include it in preparations used before bedtime Good for broken capillaries and poor circulation as well as preventing stretch marks and wrinkles. Normalizes sebaceous secre­tions making it good for oily and dry skin. Benefits all skin types, particularly ageing and problem skins.

Nutmeg

A warming, spicy and reviving essence useful during the winter months. Stimulates circulation and is good to include in invigorating body oils. Combines well with orange. Helpful for keeping cellulite and general fatigue at bay.

Orange

This comes from the same bitter orange tree as neroli but is extracted from the citrus fruits. Rejuvenating essence that is good for reducing wrinkles, especially those due to the sun. Helps to treat acne and eczema. Benefits sallow and ageing skin.

Palmarosa

A cooling essence with lemony overtones. Gentle yet antiseptic, it is useful for treating acne and will help to clear scars left behind by spots. Good for broken capillaries. Benefits dry, ageing and problem skins.

Patchouli

A musky smelling essence widely used in India with healing and anti-bacterial properties. Soothes inflammation. Helpful for treating acne, eczema and dry, cracked skin Benefits problem skins.

Peppermint

A cool and refreshing essence containing menthol. Reduces swelling and stimulates the circulation which helps keep cellulite at bay. Cleansing and antiseptic qualities make it good for skins prone to spots. May be too irritating for sensitive skins. Benefits oily and sallow skins.

Rosemary

A truly aromatic essence with stimulating quali­ties. Good for banishing tiredness in both mind and body. Boosts circulation and is a useful ingredient in energising body oils. Helps keep cellulite at bay. Benefits dull, lifeless skin.

Sandalwood

Has been used as a perfume and medicine in India for centuries and remains one of the main Ayurvedic remedies. A gentle, soothing oil with Moisturizing and antiseptic qualities. Helpful for treating damaged, chapped skin and acne. A wonderful aid to meditation. Benefits all skins, especially dry, sensitive types.

Tea Tree

This oil comes from the leaves of a tree native to Australia and boasts potent antiseptic, anti-viral, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial qualities. Seems to act selectively to disarm pathogenic bacteria while leaving the friendly skin bacteria unharmed. Helpful for treating and preventing spots, fungal infections, burns and acne. Benefits skin prone to blemishes.

Ylang Ylang

Prized for its delightful perfume, this oil also has soothing and relaxing qualities. Good for all kinds of stress-linked skin conditions. Wearing preparations made with this essence help you to keep your cool. Benefits most skin types.

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