The epidermis is the body’s largest organ. It protects by keeping toxins out, a vital function in these days of air pollution, germs on every surface we touch, and an overload of chemicals in the environment. This outer layer seals in moisture, keeping us as hydrated as possible as we go about our daily routine. It also releases toxins through perspiration, and takes in oxygen that we need to live.
Most things do not get through this protective layer, but some harmful chemicals can. Others, like mineral oil, may deplete the skin of valuable vitamins and minerals, making it more vulnerable to the aging effects of wind, water, and pollution. Some petroleum-based cosmetics actually dry faces, lips, and hands, even as they promise to moisturize and protect.
Essential oils come from plants. Processing separates the oils from the rest of the botanical, using either steam processing, cold pressing, or chemical extraction (these are the only methods suitable for mass production). Most all-natural companies use one of the first two processes and avoid chemical extraction. The goal is to get pure, undamaged elixirs that concentrate the beneficial effects of the whole plant.
The list of healing, cleansing, toning, and purifying plants is a long one. Familiar ones include lavender, chamomile, and rose. Others are bergamot, frankincense, and helichyrsum. Manufacturers select the perfect combination to fight wrinkles, balance both dry and oily complexions, control acne, and soothe redness or uneven tones.
Aromatherapy is the science of using fragrances for their inherent healing properties. Although many know lavender and rose for their exquisite scent, fewer realize their emotional and physical health benefits. Over eons, people have studied and used fragrance for relaxation, stimulation, spiritual uplift, physical healing, and pure pleasure.
Aroma does more than smell good. It is almost unparalleled in stress reduction. Stress is a factor of modern life that contributes more than we know to the breakdown of mental and physical health. Relieving the constant burden of anxiety and tension is one of the best things we can do for ourselves. Relax in a warm, scented bath or sleep on a fragrant pillow and see the benefits on your face in the morning. Smooth on a cream or lotion that smells wonderful while doing good things for your skin – a win win every time.
Of course, there is also a whole science of aromatherapy, which touts the emotional balancing, cleansing, relaxing, and energizing properties of many flower essences and herbal extracts. As the oils act on emotional centers of the brain, they also work their physical magic of clearing the complexion, smoothing wrinkles, tightening pores and facial muscles, and sealing in moisture. Try a routine of facial and body care that effects the improvements you want while evoking fond memories, promoting peace and happiness, and making your whole world a nicer place.