A beginner's guide essential oils
by Fatmah Alkaff
What exactly are essential oils?
First things first, essential oils are plant extracts made from certain parts of the plant such as the leaves, fruit, bark or rinds. Methods of steaming or pressing are primarily used to extract the concentrate and compounds to turn them into oils. In their purest forms, essential oils are extremely potent so it’s important to exercise caution when using them, especially on your skin. Always perform a skin patch test first when applying essential oils or any product to your body to see if there is any adverse reaction. If you are unsure, it’s best to consult your doctor first especially if you have any pre-existing medical conditions.
What methods can we use?
When it comes to the different ways that you can reap the benefits of essential oils, there’s just too many options to choose from! Trying to talk about all of them in this little blog post won’t do it justice so here are some of our personal favourites:
Unsurprisingly enough aromatherapy makes it to the top of our list! Essential oil or aroma diffusers are probably one of the most common methods used. If you’re looking for a cheaper option, steam inhalation is the way to go. Simply add a few drops of your favourite essential oils into a basin of hot water and enjoy! The vapours from the hot water help carry and disperse the fragrance that comes from the oils. Other home DIY alternatives include creating your very own room or pillow spray using an empty glass spray bottle, distilled water, witch hazel and a few drops of essential oils.
The idea of applying essential oils onto your body might seem daunting at first, but believe me, once you get the hang of it, you’ll be hooked just as we are! A few things to take note of are diluting the oils and knowing the areas in which they can be safely applied to. But don’t worry, we’ll get to that part in a little while. There is also the added benefit of enjoying the aroma through topical applications, a real treat for your olfactory system! If you don’t feel too confident in making your own concoctions, you’re definitely in luck. Inara Organics carries a range of products that are not only natural and organic but baby friendly too unless otherwise stated.
How can we use them safely?
Consult a health professional.
Again, we cannot stress enough the importance of checking in with your doctor should you be pregnant or have any preexisting medical condition, especially if you are unsure about the use of any of these essential oils. Remember, when in doubt, always ask!
Dilute your essential oils
As mentioned earlier, most essential oils are very potent and thus, it’s important to create a base to dilute them in. Babies and young children have especially delicate and sensitive skin that require a smaller concentration compared to adults. Do make sure to heavily dilute the essential oils when using them on your children. Mama Nina recommends using carrier oils that are organic, cold pressed and don’t have a strong smell of their own. Some examples include jojoba oil, avocado oil and sweet almond oil – the possibilities are endless really!
Perform a skin patch test
Nina always recommends performing a skin patch test first when applying essential oils or any product to your body to see if there is any adverse reaction. Apply a small amount onto your forearm or the back of your hand and monitor the area for at least 24 hours. If you notice any irritation or allergy, immediately wash the area with soap and water. Seek medical attention if your symptoms persist or don’t seem to get better.
Apply only on specific areas
While it might seem tempting to just slather them all over your body, it’s really only necessary to apply them on localized regions while avoiding areas where the skin is more sensitive. Here are some specific areas that Nina recommends applying them on depending on the condition that you need help with:
- Soles of the feet
- Back, along the spine
- Temples, forehead, neck, behind the ears
- Base of the skull
- Stomach, lower abdomen
Take the first plunge!
We hope that you’ll find our little sharing session informative if you decide to take plunge into the therapeutic world of essential oils. Till then, signing off!