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Question: What essential oils would you recommend for someone who is new to natural body care?
Laura Seipp responds: The two essential oils that should be in every household are lavender and tea tree. Both oils have many uses and are the only two essential oils that should ever be used on the body “neat” (without dilution in base oil).
Lavender essential oil calms and soothes the skin, balances oil production, helps heal blemishes, stimulates circulation to the skin, reduces the inflammation of acne and soothes sunburn. Lavender oil strengthens the nervous system, is relaxing and helps to clear thinking and relax the mind. It is gentle enough for use on the most sensitive skin.
Tea tree essential oil is antibacterial, antifungal, antiseptic and antiviral. It helps heal blemishes without causing dryness, itching, stinging, burning, redness or other side effects. Tea tree essential oil can restore energy depleted by everyday stress and reduce or alleviate mental fatigue and exhaustion. Use caution, as tea tree oil can be irritating to highly sensitive skin.
Due to the mildness of these two oils, many of the suggested uses below provide only approximate quantities. When using lavender oil, let your nose be your guide. When using tea tree oil, use more caution, since it can more easily be overwhelming.
Bath and body care
Resource: Mountain Rose Herbs Bath & Body
Bath A few drops of lavender essential oil in a hot bath will calm the spirit and soothe the skin.
Tension relief A drop or two of lavender essential oil massaged into the pressure points just below the ears will help to relieve tension.
Body wash Mix three parts water to one part liquid castile soap and add several drops of lavender essential oil.
Sugar scrub Mix one-half cup of turbinado sugar with 1 cup almond, grape seed or olive oil; add five to eight drops of lavender essential oil.
Bath salts Mix equal parts of coarse sea salt and borax, then scent with lavender essential oil. Mix well with a wire whisk, cover with a porous cloth and allow to dry for four to six hours.
Body oil Add several drops of lavender oil to a base of apricot kernel, sweet almond, olive or avocado oil. Apply to damp skin while still in the shower for the best absorption. May also apply to damp skin at any time.
Shaving oil Add several drops of tea tree and lavender essential oil to a base oil (I like avocado best) and use on freshly washed skin. This oil will give you a very close shave and reduce the likelihood of razor burn and ingrown hairs, while moisturizing your skin.
Body powder Using a wire whisk, mix lavender essential oil into cornstarch or arrowroot starch (or a mixture of the two), cover with a porous cloth and allow to dry for four to six hours.
Face and mouth
Resource: Mountain Rose Herbs Facial Care
Blemishes and cold sores Apply a drop of tea tree oil two to three times a day at the first sign of a blemish or cold sore.
Facial mask Add a few drops of lavender essential oil to a tablespoon of honey for a lovely facial mask. Apply to clean, dry skin, relax for 10 to 20 minutes, then rinse with warm water.
Facial massage oil Dilute a few drops of lavender essential oil in some olive oil for facial massage oil. Massage into damp, clean skin and remove excess with a soft cloth.
Facial steam A few drops of lavender essential oil in a non-metal pan full of very hot water makes a lovely facial steam. (See my response on “Kitchen Cupboard Facials” ) for complete steam instructions -- just substitute lavender oil for the herbs.)
Mouth rinse A couple of drops of tea tree oil in a cup of water makes a good antibacterial mouth rinse. Use after brushing and swish the rinse in your mouth for 30 seconds.
Gum treatment Use a drop of tea tree oil on a plastic inter-dental tip to go around the gum line after brushing. This may help prevent or reverse gum problems. (See a dentist or periodontist if you have bleeding gums.)
Wipe solution Use a small amount of baby shampoo or natural liquid soap in distilled water with several drops each of tea tree oil and lavender essential oil.
Diaper oil Use several drops of tea tree oil and lavender essential oil in a base of olive oil to apply to the diaper area.
Massage oil Mix a few drops of lavender essential oil in a base of sweet almond, grape seed or olive oil.
Nail fungus Massage a drop or two of tea tree oil into the nail bed twice a day, morning and evening. Also apply a drop or two under the nail. The new nail will grow in healthy; allow about six months for fingernails and a year for toenails. Keep the treatment up -- don’t skip a day! It will work.
Insect bites Apply lavender essential oil to insect bites and stings. Lavender essential oil will stop the itch of mosquito bites immediately.
Minor cuts and scrapes Dilute a couple of drops of tea tree oil in eight ounces of distilled water and apply to small scratches, scrapes and minor skin irritations.
© Laura Seipp.
NFO contributor Laura Seipp is a specialist in natural skin care.
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