What Are Essential Oils?

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Watercolour Leaves

You’ve probably heard of it in passing but have never really considered what it might be. You might even use a few every single day without even realising. You could be watching a shiny advert on TV right now (get your eyes off the TV and pay attention to me!) that is using them in a way to make their product sound like the greatest thing imaginable. You may know the name but don’t actually know what it all means and that’s where I come in. Essential oils meet reader, fabulous reader meet essential oils.

Before we dive too deep into the essential oils swimming pool, let’s actually talk about what the bloody hell these things are. Essential oils are derived from plants and are used for an abundance of things. Some essential oils are used to help us sleep, to promote calmness particularly in anxiety sufferers, to assist acne prone skin and others are used in perfume. There is a long list of essential oils and as much as I’d love to prattle on about the different type of essential oils, I think we’ll just cover the basics for now.

When I was a kid I had a huge issue with a very dry and flaky scalp caused by eczema. I had to use this foul smelling shampoo for months on end and it was of course made from, everyone’s favourite essential oil, tea tree oil. I detested the scent but it eliminated the dry, flaky skin and stopped me from scratching my head a million times a day (not something you want to do in primary school as it actually makes you look like you have nits!). Tea tree oil can also help with infections, acne and can improve the appearance of scars. It may not be my favourite smell in the world but boy does it get the job done!

Rose oil is something I come across on a regular basis since I have a habit of gravitating towards natural skincare products. Rose oil is used for its scent as it’s believed to give you a little mood boost (some say it’s an aphrodisiac as well but I can’t confirm or deny this) and, let’s face it, it smells delightful. Rose oil is also great at soothing and calming the skin; it probably doesn’t come as a surprise that my favourite moisturisers for battling eczema flare-ups and even sunburnt skin all contain rose oil.

Now for all you stomach issue sufferers out there, you might want to try some peppermint oil if you haven’t already done so. A lot of my family suffer from stomach issues and they all swear by peppermint to keep their symptoms at bay. Not only does peppermint have a calming and cooling effect on the body it also controls symptoms of the likes of IBS; the vast majority of my family who have seen their doctor for their issues have been prescribed peppermint oil tablets.

Hands up if you struggle to get to sleep! Yeah, I feel you! Fortunately, there are some great essential oils to help with that as well. Tuberose oil is one of the real magic oils that does a variety of things. It can help you sleep, relieve stress, help with anxiety and depression and can promote better blood circulation. Frankincense (yeah that thing they brought Jesus) oil can also help you get a better night’s sleep while simultaneously healing acne and preventing the signs of aging. Who doesn’t want to sleep while their body maintains their youthful look?

I have something in common with this oil; we share a name…minus the oil part of course. Melissa oil treats skin issues like eczema while also relieving allergies and fighting cold sores. It can help relieve symptoms of PMS, promote healthier digestion and it puts up a good fight against the cold and flu. This oil is so much more badass than I am, maybe I should change my name as I’m clearly not worthy of it.

If you suffer from dandruff but don’t like using an anti-dandruff shampoo that is full of chemicals and tested on animals (I’m looking at you certain shampoo brand that eliminates the look of flakes from 2 feet away) you might want to check out clary sage oil. Clary sage is an antiseptic and has a calming aroma; it is great at helping fight dandruff and can also be used in facial cleansers. It makes for a good natural deodorant and, like Melissa oil, it can help when menstruation comes to town.

Ok, I think we’ve covered a decent number of oils here so I shall let you jump forth into the essential oils swimming pool and let you choose what you think is best for you. The beautiful thing about essential oils is you’re probably already using the more commonly known ones in your everyday products without actually realising but there are so much more to discover. The majority of them are easily accessible and easy to use but make sure you read any instructions especially since some are more beneficial in a topical cream for certain things. Happy essential oiling...that's not a thing is it?

Disclaimer: This post is in collaboration with New Directions Aromatics

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