Love the “Skin” you’re in…

First Posted June 2017

canstockphoto15433244As I have mentioned in my other blogs I have extremely sensitive skin. I have used a variety of commercial skin care products with varying degrees of success. Let’s just say that I know which stores have the best return policies. I have also been using my own essential oil products for years. I have a variety of blends that I use at different times, for different reasons.

Our skin is the largest organ of our body; the total area on an adult’s body is approx 20 sq feet and is made up of the:skin cell

  • Epidermis or the top layer of skin
  • Dermis which contains supportive tissue, hair follicles & sweat glands.
  • Hypodermis which contains connective tissue & fat.

Our skin protects our inner organs from damage & infections from microorganisms like bacteria, fungi, etc. It also helps to regulate body temperature, & the nerves in our skin allow us to feel physical sensations. The skin is sometimes referred to as our 3rd kidney because it helps the body remove up to 30% of the bodies “wastes” (like excess moisture & toxins) thru perspiration. Our skin is also a good gauge of how we live our lives. Stress, not enough sleep or an unbalanced lifestyle will show up on your skin in the form of dark circles under your eyes, dull skin, acne, rashes or hives.

Essential Oils & Hydrosols are wonderful to use for skin care. Hydrosols are the by-product of the steam distillation process of essential oils. They are much milder, have their own set of properties & work really well as toners. If you choose to use Essential Oils & Hydrosols as part of your skincare routine, be sure to use the appropriate ones for the age & health of the client or family member as well as the proper dilution.

Facial Skincare (Adult): Use a  2% dilution (12 drops of essential oil per 30 ml of a carrier oil, an unscented lotion or gel or an organic liquid soap)

Skincare for the Body (Adult): Use a 1% dilution when moisturizing or massaging your whole body. (6 drops of essential oil per 30 ml of a carrier oil or unscented lotion or gel)

Hydrosols for  Skincare (Adult): May be used undiluted for most skin types. (Can be used at a 50% dilution with distilled water for sensitive or irritated skin if need be)

Skincare for a child age 5 & up or the Elderly: Use a .05% –  1% dilution when moisturizing face & body. (3 up to 6 drops of essential oil per 30 ml of a carrier oil or unscented lotion or gel)

Hydrosols for  Skincare for a child age 5 & up or the Elderly: use at a  25% – 50% dilution (with distilled water)

Skincare for a child age 1 & up: Use a .25% – .05% dilution when moisturizing face & body. (1 -3 drops of essential oil per 30 ml of a carrier oil or unscented lotion)
Hydrosols for  Skincare for a child age 1 & up: use at a  10% – 25% dilution (with distilled water)

Skincare for a Baby age 3 mo & up: Use an appropriate Hydrosol at a 1% to a 5 % dilution depending on the purpose. For more info check out my blog about “Children & Essential Oils”.

When using Essential Oils & Hydrosols for skincare, it’s important to choose the appropriate ones for your skin type or skin condition.

Skin Types:

Normal or Combination Skin: Cedarwood (Atlas), Chamomile (Roman), Geranium, Lavender, Neroli, Rose, Ylang Ylang essential oil. Hydrosols: Lavender, Neroli, Rose Geranium.

Dry Skin: Carrot Seed, Chamomile (Roman), Clary Sage, Frankincense, Geranium, Ho Wood, Jasmine, Mandarin, Patchouli, Sandalwood, Ylang Ylang essential oils. Hydrosols: Rose, Neroli.

Mature Skin: Carrot Seed, Clary Sage, Cypress, Frankincense, Geranium,     Neroli, Patchouli, Rose, Sandalwood essential oil.  Hydrosols: Carrot Seed, Helichrysum, Rose Geranium.

Oily Skin: Cedarwood (Atlas), Chamomile (Roman), Cypress, Frankincense, Juniper Berry,  Lavender, Lemon, Myrtle, Niaouli, Patchouli, Petitgrain, Tea Tree, Vetiver essential oil. Hydrosols: Clary Sage, Melissa, Rose Geranium.

Sensitive Skin: Carrot seed, Chamomile (German), Frankincense, Helichrysum, Jasmine,  Neroli,  Rose, essential oils  Hydrosols:  Chamomile, Rose, Yarrow. Continue reading “Love the “Skin” you’re in…”

Women of a Certain Age…

First Posted May 2017

canstockphoto2737319Women’s lives are full of transitions and Perimenopause is probably one of the biggest.  “It is a time in a woman’s life when physiological changes occur that begin the transition to menopause.” What they don’t mention, is that while you are going thru a lot of physical changes, perimenopause also changes how you see yourself & how you feel in your own skin.
During the perimenopause phase, the hormonal balance in a woman’s body is in flux. The process gradually starts to happen 8 – 10 years before the onset of menopause. What happens during perimenopause is:

  • The ovaries are starting to lose their ability to make estrogen and progesterone and you aren’t ovulating every month.
  • Your periods become irregular and start to taper off until they stop completely sometime around the age of 52.
  • By menopause, most women’s testosterone levels are a lot lower, which can lower their libido.
  • Usually, starts around 40 – 50, but can start in your 30’s or last until your 60’s. Every woman’s experience is different.

I would recommend being proactive and:

  • Get informed about perimenopause/menopause. If you are able, talk to your Mother and/or Grandmother to find out what they experienced. You may have a similar experience, but not always.
  • If your perimenopausal symptoms are impacting your life, talk to your Medical Professional or Naturopath. If you don’t have one, I would recommend finding one that you can really talk to.

There is a lot of talk in the media about different things that you can use to alleviate the physical symptoms of perimenopause. There are also alternatives in the health-food store that you may want to check out. As I mentioned in my “Wise Women” blog, essential oils can help ease PMS type symptoms & they are also useful for many of the physical & emotional symptoms of perimenopause… Continue reading “Women of a Certain Age…”

Heads Up!

First Posted April 2017

headacheI have had headaches & migraines since I was a young teenager. Each year approximately 45 million Americans suffer from headaches. (That is 1 in 6 people). One of the reasons I got interested in Aromatherapy was because I was taking a lot of OTC pain relievers to help with my headaches and they weren’t working all that well; I was also concerned about the long-term effects of pain reliever usage on my stomach. I decided then, that I wanted to go a different route, to manage the ongoing pain that I was experiencing.
With our busy lifestyles, our daily stress can cause a lot of different physical symptoms which can include, you guessed it…Headaches. (Other causes of headaches may include certain foods, air pressure as well as anxiety, lack of sleep, and dehydration). It is important to take the time to manage your stress and to understand your headache and/or migraine triggers.

There are different types of Headaches:

Tension Headaches:
With a tension headache, you tend to feel pain as well as the pressure across your forehead and at the back of your head. You may also find that your neck and shoulders muscles get really tight too.

Migraine Headaches:
If you have ever had a migraine, you know how painful they can be. The main symptoms are feeling the pain on one side of your head, seeing spots or having a sensitivity to light as well as nausea. The duration & symptoms may vary each time you experience one.
Migraines can be triggered by everyday things like stress, foods, too much or too little sleep, hormones, and certain smells.

Sinus Headaches:
If you have had a sinus headache, you will recognize how the symptoms differ from that of a tension headache. Usually, you have some form of sinus congestion, either from a cold, allergies or a sinus infection. While symptoms may vary (You may have a stuffy nose, a cough, or be sneezing) you will definitely feel some form of facial pain and/or pressure.

Hormonal Headaches:
A lot of women have experienced hormonal headaches at some point in their reproductive life. Women who experience PMS may have headaches as one of their symptoms. Dips in hormone levels (Especially estrogen) may be the cause. Hormone headaches can also happen during pregnancy as well as perimenopause & menopause.

TMJ Headaches:
You can get a headache if you clench your jaws either when you sleep, are stressed or if you grind your teeth. There may be pain in your jaw, the Temporomandibular joint, as well as the side of your head. ( Talk to your dentist to get more info.) Continue reading “Heads Up!”

Gut Feelings

First Posted March 2017

canstockphoto19913695Most of us experience stress in our daily lives on some level. When you are chronically stressed or if you add anxiety into the mix, you may experience a whole range of physical symptoms that can include digestive issues; which can make it difficult as you go about your day. Stress can affect every part of your digestive system. An estimated 60 -70 million people in U.S.A suffer from some form of “tummy troubles.”

There is a strong connection between the brain and the digestive tract. Some refer to the digestive system as our “mini Brain”. This is due to the “vagus nerve fibers that carry signals from the gut to the  “real brain”, not the other way around.”    The digestive system is really sensitive to our moods;  “95 % of the bodies Serotonin is found in the digestive tract, not the brain.” (Serotonin is a naturally occurring, mood-boosting hormone.)  Your gut may react if you are feeling stressed or anxious because the brain releases hormones that trigger your fight/ flight response, and this slows down the blood flow to your digestive system.

This slowing of the digestion can cause:

  • Bloating
  • Heartburn
  • Nausea
  • Gas
  • Constant feeling of fullness
  • Constipation

Stress can also increase your stomach acid which may cause:

  • excessive burping or belching
  • a queasy stomach
  • Stomach cramps
  • diarrhea

You may have one or two of these symptoms or a combination from both lists; the intensity may ebb and flow depending on the stress that is going on in your life, or any anxiety that you may be feeling. Taking steps to limit your stress can be helpful to ease your digestion issues. For more info check out my blogs on Stress or Anxiety.
If you are having ongoing digestive issues, you may want to consider seeing a healthcare professional to get a proper diagnosis and maybe some advice on what to do next.

Other things to try to ease your Tummy Troubles:

  • Ginger, Peppermint, Licorice or Lemon Balm Tea are soothing.
  • Probiotics and/or digestive enzymes may be helpful.
  • Examine your diet; some foods may be an irritant to your digestive tract. (Gluten, Dairy, Soy, Caffeine, and Sugar may be a few to look at.)

Essential Oils for Digestion Issues:

Diffusing essential oils like Neroli, Lavender, Frankincense, Geranium or Cedarwood is very soothing when you’re feeling stressed.
If you are feeling nauseated, try a personal inhaler or smelling salts using Grapefruit, Sweet Orange,  Ginger and/or Spearmint essential oils.
You may also want to consider trying essential oils, applied topically to your abdomen for the digestion discomfort.  Continue reading “Gut Feelings”

Don’t worry, it’s just Anxiety.

First posted February 2017

Today is the tomorrow we worried about yesterday. ~Author Unknown

Most people use the term “stressed out” as an umbrella explanation for what is going on anxietywith them. What may be causing some of the confusion is that while stress & anxiety share similar symptoms, the causes are very different.

“Psychology Today” defines stress as, “Simply a reaction to a stimulus that disturbs our physical or mental equilibrium.”  According to the Anxiety & Depression Association of America, “Anxiety is characterized by persistent, excessive, and unrealistic worry about everyday things. The fear of the unknown & the uncontrolled situations in life & and the worry about how to handle it.”

What Causes Anxiety?
It has long been thought that brain chemistry, heredity, and environment may contribute to causing anxiety and anxiety disorders like Panic Attacks, OCD, and PTSD.

Brain Chemistry: Because symptoms of anxiety tend to be helped by medication, experts have long believed that brain chemistry may play a part in triggering anxiety. There are also contradictory studies that state that this is not the case. These findings definitely need more research.

Heredity and/or Genetics: While there is evidence that anxiety runs in families, research is showing that it is because of the handed down behavior and thought processes rather than the genetics themselves that is causing anxiety. Children often witness the ongoing anxious behavior of their parents, which they learn to model.

Environment: There are findings that suggest that people who come from challenging backgrounds are more likely struggle with anxiety. Poverty, as well as traumatic events like abuse, the death of a family member, witnessing violent events, or natural disasters, can trigger anxiety. More research and resources are definitely needed.

If you have anxiety you will find that in your everyday life, anxiety tends to ebb and flow. Some days you are doing ok, some days you are doing really well, and then you get triggered by a person or an event and your anxiety is back… sometimes a little or sometimes a lot. Managing your anxiety, for most people is an ongoing process. Don’t be hard on yourself because you think that you can’t keep it together. Being angry at yourself actually, makes your anxiety worse.  In times of stress and anxiety, we tend to revert to familiar behaviors; so, try to come up with strategies that will help you to manage your anxiety, as well as get you through your more challenging days. Continue reading “Don’t worry, it’s just Anxiety.”