Taking proper care of our skin, the largest organ in our body has many benefits, beyond cosmetic appearance. We should make it a regular practice to feed our skin like we feed ourselves. Nurturing our skin will allow our Integumentary System to work in harmony as a part of our Immune System, as our first line of defense. Serving as a protection, sensory perception housing millions of nerve endings, and regulating our body temperature.
Our skin is a reflection of our overall health and wellbeing. We will discuss how we can nourish and support our Integumentary system. Using essential oils to care for, nourish, and support our skin to delay the inevitable, external signs of aging. First, let's talk about different types of aging. Then what we can discuss how to delay the aesthetic appearance aging.
There are several factors to take into consideration, in regards to the way the skin ages:
|* Genetics||* Environmental Pollutants||* Weight Loss/Gain|
|* Your Age||* Smoking||* Exercise|
|* Sun Exposure||* Psychological Stress||* Diet|
Intrinsic & Extrinsic Aging
Understanding intrinsic and extrinsic aging, what it is, how they are similar and in many cases overlap each other and how they differ. If you understand that then this will help you in the creating a skincare regimen, to assist in delaying and supporting the aging process.
Extrinsic Aging (External Factors)
|* Exposure to UV Radiation||* Extreme Temperatures|
|* Air Pollution||* Quality of your Diet|
|* Cigarette Smoke|
We see the effects of extrinsic aging of the skin. When our skin starts to sag and wrinkles begin to appear. Some have aged extrinsically to an extent that their skin is like leather. We may see discoloration or irregular pigmentation. The thing is that the damage to our skin has already occurred well before we see the results. Most of that damage actually happens before we the age of 18. Out of all extrinsic aging factors, the largest factor involved in photo-damage and daily UV protection is not optional. Please Note: Although some natural oils and essential oils, do offer a degree of sun protection, they are not a viable replacement for sunscreen. While, being sure to take necessary precautions to avoid excessive sun exposure. Remember that some sun exposure is not only healthy but beneficial, in order for your body to produce vitamin D.
Consists of the normal degenerative process of our tissue aging. This type of aging is mainly influenced by hereditary factors, which we have no control over.
- Cellular Turnover begins to slow down usually around 40.
- The epidermal-dermal junction flattens and elastic fibers in the reticular dermis become irregularly thickened.
- We lose our elasticity and collagen production decreases.
The BIG Question: Can Essential Oils Delay Skin Aging?
The bad news is, it cannot be prevented entirely, all together. The good news is there are essential oil’s that can assist you to delay the appearance of aging.
Two things an effective, aromatic, phyto-based, skincare regimen should include (1) Enzyme inhibitors and (2) Antioxidants, which have been proven to deter some aspects of aging.
So what does that mean for our skin?
(1) Elastase is an enzyme. Elastase production increases with age, causing fragmentation of our collagen and elastin. This is why we have less elasticity in our skin as we age. We can see this from the appearance of wrinkles as well as stretch- marks. Essential oils that are effective elastase inhibitors are:
|* Lemon ~ Citrus lemon||* Black Pepper ~ Piper nigrum|
|* Juniper Berry ~ Juniperus communis||* Marjoram ~ Origanum majorana|
|* Grapefruit ~ Citrus paradise||* Roman Chamomile ~ Chamaemelum nobile|
* All show strong in vitro inhibition.
(2) Antioxidant activity in essential oils, or topical application of phyto-based, aromatic antioxidants, have been shown to substantially potentiate the antioxidant network within the skin. Research continues to be done in this area. Essential oils that are effective antioxidant activity are:
|* Yarrow ~ Achillea millefolium||* Myrrh ~ Commiphora myrrh|
|* Frankinsense ~ Boswellia serrate||* Basil ~ Ocimum basilicum|
|* Ylang Ylang ~ Cananga odorata||* Rosemary ~ Rosemarinus officianalis|
|* Lemon ~ Citrus lemon||* Thyme ~ Thymus vulgarus|
* This is by no means an exhaustive list.
Hyperpigmentation is a response to an inflammatory reaction to the skin. It can last for months or years, depending on how quickly you are able to promote cellular regeneration of the skin. AND keep it protected from incoming damaging UV rays.
So you want to use essential oils that are anti-inflammatory AND promote cellular regeneration, known as being cicatrizant. These would be oils that are high in Esters. As well as your Sesquiterpene -Ketones.
|* Balsam Copaiba||* Davana|
|* Carrot Seed||* Helichrysum|
|* Cistus Rock||* Sandalwood|
|* Roman & German Chamomile||* Buddha wood|
Carrier Oils & Anti-Aging
On component to creating an effective an effective skin care blend is choosing an appropriate, carrier oil for your essential oil blend. The goal is to build a proper foundation for your blend. What many fail to realize is, that carrier oils are just that the foundation to an effective blend. They can be partnered with essential oils to create a very effective synergy. Carrier oils have their own therapeutic properties.
For optimal results, you may opt to choose carriers that are cold pressed vs unrefined. Antioxidant components and other therapeutics within the oil are damaged by heat extraction and the refining process.
Carriers With High Antioxidant Activity:
|* Cold pressed, Unbleached Jojoba wax|
|* Extra Virgin Hazelnut|
|* Sesame Oil|
|* Pumpkin Seed (Particularly great because it contains 2 classes of antioxidant compounds)|
| * Wheatgerm (Also very rich in Vitamin E. Due to its short shelf life,
it is recommended it is blended with another carrier oil such as jojoba.)
|* Sea Buckthorn|
Since sun damage is the #1 cause of aging. It’s important to keep in mind that some essential oils are phototoxic. Which means they increase the absorption of the sun's UV rays to the skin, creating burns of various degrees. This definitely speeds the aging process.
Essential Oils That Are Phototoxic:
|* Lemon||* Lime|
|* Bergamot||* Angelica|
Tip: You can avoid cold pressed citrus oils that are phototoxic, by purchasing citrus oils that are steam distilled. To avoid a phototoxic reaction you want to make sure you allow 12 hours after application before you expose yourself to UV rays and wear protective clothing and or sunblock. (Not an exhaustive list of phototoxic oils.)
Proper Essential Oil Dilution In Skincare
Proper dilution is the key to safety. Appropriate dilution is facial skincare is a max of 1-2% MAX, for facial care.
|For the lips and mouth: Focus more of C02’s, which is used in the food and flavor industry VS essential oils.|
|For Eyes: You don’t want to use essential oils in eye creams/gels or the surrounding area. Avoid all together in this area.|
|Neck: The same dilution you use for the f ace is fine for the neck. 1-2%.|
Aging is inevitable. Although, we can delay many of the noticeable effects of aging. We cannot stop it completely, especially in regards to intrinsic aging controlled by hereditary factors as mentioned earlier. Evidenced based research, does conclude that you can experience noticeable improvement of the skin, with certain products. Such as essential oils containing, elastase inhibitors, and antioxidants, applied topically on a regular basis, to the skin.
Aromadermatology, Bensouolah & Avis, 2006, 88-100
Essential Oil Safety, Tisserand & Balacs, 2013, 2nd Edition, 84-87
Interview with Andrea Stein, Licensed Esthetician
I had the opportunity to interview a Licensed Esthetician about how she uses Aromatic Therapies to enhance her practice:
Anna: Why do you use essential oils in your practice?
Andrea: Using Essential oils has brought a fresh perspective into the spa. Diffusing essential oils makes a great first impression. It gets them to relax the minute they walk through the door. Transporting them from a place of stress to a place where they can unwind and trust. The basis of building good client relationships.
Anna: How do you use them in a treatment?
Andrea: When I'm in a treatment, it's one thing to grab an essential oil, just because it smells good and may be relaxing. But it's another thing to actually understand the chemical constituents that give a particular oil their therapeutic benefit and aroma. Giving my client the best choice for their individual needs, producing the desired results for their skin, with the ability to provide relaxation at the same time. My clients really value and appreciate the customized experience to their treatments. I may even send them home with a customized essential oil cleanser, mask or cream. It reminds the client that home care is important. It lets them know we really care about them personally and they love the results!
Anna: Wonderful! What other Aromatic therapies do you use in the spa?
Andrea: We customize essential oil blends to use in massage therapy treatments, body scrubs, detox body wraps, and to use while they are in the infrared sauna. They are also great to relax those nervous first-time waxers!
Anna: What about Hydrosols?
Andrea: Hydrosols are great for toning and prepping the skin after cleansing. As well as a nice refreshing way to finish a treatment. Hydrosols also make a wonderful setting spray for clients who come in for make-up application.
Anna: Has the ability to do this for your clients added value to your spa/practice?
Andrea: Yes! The ability to provide professional aromatherapy consultations, then create a customized blend for their health concerns outside of skincare, has also been very rewarding. We want to help them reach their overall health and wellness goals.
Andrea Stein has been in the Beauty, Health, and Wellness field for 40 years. She is an Organic Spa Owner, Holistic Esthetician, specializing in Acne, anti-aging, and Prenatal skin care. She is also a Licensed Massage Therapist. Andrea is currently pursuing her professional certification as an Aromatherapist at the Institute of Holistic Phyto-Aromatherapy. Her goal is to provide holistic solutions using plant based ingredients and aromatic botanicals.
Andrea's Skin Care & Body Therapy
4825 Stratos Way
Modesto, Ca 95356
If you'd like to enhance your spa or aesthetics practice by designing custom plant-based essential oils treatments. Contact the Institute of Holistic Phyto-Aromatherapy or visit our Courses page. and be sure to enroll in the Institute's FREE CLASS. Grow your knowledge, Grow your business!