The National Association of Holistic Aromatherapy defines it as “combination of art and science utilizing naturally extracted aromatic essences from plants to balance, harmonize and promote the health of body, mind and spirit.”

Aromatherapy is extracted oils from flowers, seeds, barks, roots and herbs. While there is not enough evidence to support its effectiveness in preventing illness, but there are clinical studies found to be an effective complimentary therapy to: anxiety reduction, lessens depression and headaches, while others increase energy and healing, boast immunity, improve digestion, aides to more restful sleep pattern and even increase circulation.

How aromatherapy is used

Facials – ashwagandha is spicy and woodsy scent, often used to rejuvenate skin and diminish dark circles under the eye. “A staple of Ayurvedic medicine, this oil is prized as an adaptogen and is traditionally used to help increase the body’s resistance to stress,” says Barbara Close, founder and CEO of Naturopathica. Clary sage, neem, thyme, cucumber, juniper and rosemary is ideal for combination, oily and blemished skin. They help to purify skin, reduces oil production and tightens enlarged pores and rebalances the skin. Rose oil softens, hydrates and soothe the skin, while frankincense provides relief to stressed skin. Lavender, petitgrain, ylang ylang, bergamot is highly popular for spa professionals as it is used to calm and relax the mind and body. Grapefruit, lemon, vitamin c and licorice root are natural skin brighteners. These are just a fraction of essential oil blended into skin care products.

Massage – basil helps to soothe and calm, hyssop is healing and soothing, immortelle repairs scar tissue. Kanuka is anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory, relieve muscle pain and swelling, making it an excellent ingredient in massage oil for sports massage.

Inhalation – eucalyptus oil is widely popular to clear upper respiratory congestion. Grapefruit, bergamot, ylang ylang, lemon, peppermint is often used as an uplift that energizes the mind and body. Melaleuca and rosemary is healing and stimulating, clear foggy thoughts, aid in concentration. Vetiver is earthy and the smoky scent helps with grounding and promote relaxation. There are multiple methods to inhale these wonderful essential oils, using in a diffuser or burner allowing the scent to fill the entire room is widely popular, adding it to steamer during a facial treatment or adding couple drops to a cotton ball, hold it few inches away from your nose and breathe deeply.

Soaking – adding couple drops to a nice warm bath soak is an effective use of essential oils, not only will the warm vapors absorb into your skin to relax you, the oils will make your skin silky smooth.

Few cautions while using essential oils

Proper care should always be taken. Essential oils are highly concentrated so when apply directly to skin may cause burning, stinging or allergic reactions, while others may react with certain medications, or shouldn’t used with certain health conditions. Due to high concentrated levels of essential oils, they MUST be diluted with carrier oils such as: almond, jojoba, flaxseed, safflower, apricot, borage, cranberry, evening primrose, hazelnut, hempseed, coconut, avocado, vegetable, grapeseed or olive oil. Avoid mineral oil and petroleum jelly, as they are byproducts of petroleum, therefore, is not natural rather more harmful. Mineral oil is used in baby oil and lotions because it is inexpensive to product, however will clog pores, prevent skin’s ability to breathe naturally, prevent essential oil absorption and toxins from excreting the body through sweating.

Have fun with essential oils

The rule of thumb for mixing: 1 drop of essential oil to 1 teaspoon of your favorite carrier oil. Always store your mixture in a sterilized glass bottle. Mix your oils with fine sea salt for body scrub, or couple drops in distilled water to use as toner or room freshener, add your scented water mixture to old flannel sheet as a fabric softener in your dryer, or add a few drops to unscented lotion! Unlimited of uses with aromatherapy!

Here are a few of my favorite mixed scents:
Woody/earthy – cedar wood, patchouli and sandalwood
Floral – lavender, geranium and jasmine
Citrus – ylang ylang, grapefruit and bergamot
What are your favorite scents?  Be creative!
As always, if you like it, share it!

Debbie Kho
Your Skin Concierge


Expert Fall Skin Care Tips

Expert Fall Skin Care Tips

As we enter October we say goodbye to summer and welcome the cool, crisp weather and beautiful colors of fall.  Some parts of the country are lucky enough to have an extended “Indian Summer” and other parts get slammed with the first snow!

While some skin types love the cooler weather, becoming soft and silky, others are not so lucky!  Their skin becomes dull, dry, itchy and flaky with the cool temps. UGH! I am one of those!

One common mistake I see is that many push their sunscreen to the back of the drawer because they think they don’t need sunscreen in the fall, right?  WRONG!  Even though it may be cooler, the sun still takes a toll on our skin if we skip protection.

It’s time to start adjusting your skin care for fabulous fall skin

Humid temps, sweat, chlorine, heavy sunscreen and saltwater may have done a number on your skin from the summer – now that it’s fall it is time to start repairing the summer damage and prepare your skin for the winter by making a few adjustments to your products and routine.

** Depending on your skin type, if you are naturally on the drier side, switch to milky, creamy, soothing cleanser rather than soap or gel cleanser.  This hydrates your skin while gently cleanse at the same time.  If you are on the oily or acne side a gentle gel cleanser without alcohol or witch hazel is ideal.

** Use a gentle exfoliant more frequently to slough off dead skin cells for a healthier glow.  When using a product to exfoliate remember – always be gentle with your skin and avoid exfoliating around your eyes.  Let your skin care therapist take care of that area.  If you use an at home exfoliating brush make sure to be EXTRA gentle.  For those troubled with acne, use the exfoliating brush with extra care, as not to increase irritating breakouts and spread the acne bacteria.  FYI… exfoliate your puckers for smooth silky lips.

**  Change out your summer moisturizer, add a more hydrating moisturizer and invest in a nice, nourishing serum for added protection for colder temps.  This provides a barrier to prevent water loss and has the benefit of adding hydration at the same time.

** Winter is about PROTECTION, PROTECTION, PROTECTION! – Save your skin from harsh wind, sun (yes, I did say sun!) freezing temps and high indoor heat that will suck the moisture from your skin.  Load up on lip balm, lather up your entire body with lotion – even your hands!  I always get a few chuckles but it’s just as important in the winter, so I repeat… SUNSCREEN!

By making small changes to the products you use regularly and your skin care routine you will keep your skin hydrated, glowy, healthy and youthful while you enjoy the change of the seasons!

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