Essential oils are concentrated extracts from various flowers and plants, encompassing the “essence” of the plant’s fragrance and aromatic compounds. But aside from their intense and often pleasant scent, essential oils are also claimed to carry a variety of health and beauty benefits. Read below to learn about the 5 most popular essential oils and how you can use them.
Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil is one of the most commonly used essential oils, renowned for its antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties. It has been used for centuries to disinfect wounds, treat superficial skin infections and more recently, as a very effective ally against inflammatory acne. It is also one of the most easily tolerated essential oils, as it can be used by both infants and pregnant women and it can even be applied on the skin in non-diluted form.
Add a few drops of tea tree oil to a jar of calendula ointment or to your regular face cream. You can also add a few drops to a pot of fresh chamomile infusion and use it for steam-baths.
Lavender oil is one of the best known essential oils, famous for its characteristic flowery smell and its wide range of health benefits. Aside from its antiseptic properties, making it very useful for various infections and skin problems, lavender is also an effective insecticide, keeping mosquitoes, ticks and fleas at bay.
Add a few drops of lavender oil to your aromatherapy lamp, and you will be both relaxed, and mosquito-free. Use it in synergy with tea tree oil for acne and skin infections, by adding a few drops to your favourite face cream, mask or cleanser.
Especially during the cold season, eucalyptus is a must-have in any household, as it is a reputed adjuvant in respiratory diseases, acting as an antiseptic, nasal decongestant and expectorant. It alleviates flu symptoms when used in aromatherapy or steam-baths.
You can prepare a natural decongestant, by adding a few drops of essential oil to 10 ml of carrier oil (e.g. castor or sunflower oil) and use a cotton swab to gently apply it to the insides of your nose. You can also add 10-20 drops of eucalyptus to your favourite massage oil and use it to rub your chest and forehead.
Chamomile is one of the most gentle and well-tolerated essential oils and its reputed soothing, anti-inflammatory, and anti-irritant properties make it indispensible for any household. It can be used to alleviate itchiness, dry and flaky skin, various irritations and allergic reactions, and it also has a light and soothing fragrance.
It is well-tolerated by children and infants, so you can add a few drops of chamomile oil to a cream or oil base and use it to prevent and treat diaper rashes. You can also add a few drops of chamomile oil to a 50 ml base of jojoba oil and gently massage it on dry and itchy skin patches.
Ylang-ylang is known for its sensual, sweet and intense perfume, which has relaxing, antidepressant and aphrodisiac properties. It can be used in aromatherapy or as an ingredient in massage oils and creams.
You should only use pure and natural essential oils, without any alcohol or synthetic ingredients. Before using an essential oil on your skin, make sure you take a tolerance test first, by applying a couple of drops on the inside of your forearm. If you experience any itching or redness, don’t use the oil topically, only for inhalations or aromatherapy.