Essential oils - powerful substances in tiny bottles
How did you enjoy creating your own hot oil treatment? Have you come up with any other ideas? I thought I'll do a little post about essential oils as we used one in the latest recipe.
Essential oils also come from plants but are very different to carrier oils - they are volatile and all have gorgeous scent. The most common method of extraction is distillation, either using water or steam: plant's seeds, roots, flowers or leaves, wood and bark can be used to produce essential oils.
🔍 Fun fact 🔎
Citrus essential oils are the only ones that are produced through pressing the peel of the fruit. They can also be extracted through distillation.
Another method of obtaining essential oils is through the use of CO2 ( carbon dioxide ) - these are called also CO2 extracts and are thought to be finer products - because heat is not used in this process the scents are clearer and therapeutic benefits are much improved. I will do a separate post about CO2 extracts as they are super interesting😃
There is also a third method with use of a solvent - alcohol or fat, but I found through the research that many herbalists, aromatherapists and skincare formulators don't call oils produced this way essentials. What is your opinion about this?
The first thing that comes in mind when you hear 'essential oil' is the scent and how it can affect your mood. This is true - essential oils can calm your nerves, boost your mood and many more. They have also countless therapeutic properties ( like in last recipe I gave you a link to a study from 2016 where lavender essential oil has been tested for its ability to improve hair growth). Each essential oil has different properties and combination of few can really support and balance not only skin's own processes but also your mental state.
So that was the fun part, now we have to get serious - improper use of essential oils, CO2 extracts and absolutes can be very dangerous for your health! It doesn't mean that you now have to be scared of using essential oils, it means that you must educate yourself how to use them before you begin your experimenting and creating skincare products. Every essential oil has a dermal limit - the maximum amount you can use on skin in your formulations. It is usually up to 1% of the total, some essential oils have even lower dermal limits e.g. carrot seed essential oil ( Daucus Carota ) is 0,5%.
It is very important that you follow these rules.
Never apply undiluted essential oil on your skin!
Some essential oil can cause photosensitivity. According to the book 'The complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy' by Valerie Ann Worwood photosensitivity is 'an increased skin reaction to the ultraviolet rays of sunlight'. BTW - I love this book! 😍 The main culprits here are furocoumarins. It is best not to use essential oils with high level of these constituents if you know you are going to expose your skin to the sun. If you cover the area where you've applied them you will be fine.
Usually citrus essential oils are considered photosensitive with bergamot EO at the top of the list (you can buy bergamot EO without furocoumarins - FCF - furocoumarins free), but on the other hand Neroli essential oil and Sweet Orange essential oil are not phototoxic and are fine to use even before sun exposure (make sure your skin is not oversensitive - everyone is different and skin reactions can vary). Some essential oils like Lemon EO can be produced using distillation or can be expressed. The distilled form is NOT phototoxic because furocoumarins cannot be extracted with this method. You can still use citrus essential oils safely - just read the labels and choose ones either FC-Free or distilled EO❤️
Don't be afraid to experiment and create essential oils blends for your burner or for your massage oils, just do it with care and always check dermal limits,
Happy experimenting! Let me know what scents you love and you've created.