Do you struggle to create all-natural skincare products that work great AND smell great…but you feel uneasy about using fragrance oils (even “natural” ones), because you can’t be sure of what’s actually in them? If so, you’re in the right place. In this blog post, we’ll explore why essential oils are a great choice for those looking to make their own natural skincare formulations. From providing aromatherapeutic properties such as relaxation, to possessing antimicrobial qualities and aiding in cell metabolism – essential oils offer countless advantages over synthetic fragrances or aroma molecules. We’ll delve into why these potent plant extracts should be included in your personal care recipes to achieve optimal results, and give you some practical safety and usage guidelines!
Some of the most common therapeutic benefits of using essential oils in skincare include:
- Antioxidant properties: Many essential oils contain powerful antioxidants that help protect the skin from free radicals and environmental damage, which can contribute to premature aging.
- Anti-inflammatory properties: Essential oils like chamomile, lavender, and frankincense can help soothe inflammation and reduce redness, making them particularly beneficial for sensitive or irritated skin.
- Antimicrobial properties: Some essential oils, such as tea tree, eucalyptus, and thyme, possess antimicrobial properties that can help combat acne-causing bacteria and prevent infections on the skin.
- Astringent properties: Essential oils like witch hazel and lemon can help tighten and tone the skin, reducing the appearance of pores and improving overall skin texture.
- Moisturizing properties: Oils like rose and geranium can help balance the skin’s natural oil production, providing hydration without causing excess oiliness.
Safety and Usage Guidelines for Formulating Skincare with Essential Oils
Essential oils are safe when formulated correctly and used appropriately. Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation online; promoting improper usage (usually to sell more essential oils without regard for safety, health, or common sense). If you are not a trained herbalist or aromatherapist, I always recommend getting proper, brand-neutral aromatherapy education before using essential oils in skincare.
Misusing essential oils on the skin can have a variety of risks. Essential oils are highly concentrated and can cause skin irritation, burns, rashes, allergic reactions, or systemic (and permanent) sensitization to one or more of the constituents in the oil, if not used carefully. Some essential oils may also be phototoxic/photo-sensitizing, meaning they can cause serious skin damage when exposed to sunlight. It is important to always dilute essential oils with a carrier oil before applying them to the skin, follow the recommended dosage for each oil, and not exceed the dermal limits of each oil.
It is also important to note that some essential oils should not be used on children under three and that certain oils should not be applied within 12 hours of sun exposure. Additionally, it is best to avoid ingesting essential oils as they can be toxic when taken internally.
I highly recommend the book “Essential Oil Safety: A Guide for Health Care Professionals” by Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young for detailed essential oil safety information.
When formulating skincare products with essential oils, it’s crucial to follow safety and usage guidelines to ensure the efficacy and safety of your products.
Here are a few safety tips and usage guidelines for using essential oils in skincare:
- Dilution: Essential oils are highly concentrated and should always be diluted before applying them to the skin. Typically, a 1-2% dilution is recommended for facial skincare products, while body care products can tolerate up to a 5% dilution–but this also depends on the dermal limits for each essential oil in the blend. Many clinical aromatherapists also recommend avoiding using essential oils in any product intended for use in the eye area. Dilute essential oils using carrier oils, such as jojoba, sweet almond, or grapeseed oil.
- Patch test: Before using a new essential oil in your formulation, it’s essential to perform a patch test on a small area of skin to check for any potential allergic reactions or sensitivities.
- Choose high-quality oils: Not all essential oils are created equal, and choosing high-quality, pure essential oils from reputable suppliers is crucial. Look for oils tested for purity and free of adulterants, pesticides, and other contaminants.
- Proper storage: Essential oils should be stored in dark, airtight containers away from direct sunlight and heat to preserve their potency and shelf life.
- Avoid photosensitizing oils: Some essential oils, such as citrus oils (e.g., bergamot, lemon, lime), can cause photosensitivity, making the skin more susceptible to sunburn. Avoid using these oils in formulations intended for daytime use or ensure the user applies proper sun protection.
- Consider individual sensitivities: Be aware that some individuals may have sensitivities or allergies to specific essential oils. It’s essential to clearly label your products with the essential oils used and provide usage guidelines to help consumers make informed decisions.
Are essential oils the right choice for scenting your skincare products?
While I don’t use them for all my skincare formulations, I do use them for many. From promoting relaxation and providing powerful antimicrobial capabilities to aiding in cell metabolism, these concentrated plant extracts offer many advantages over synthetic fragrance oils. If you want to create all-natural skincare formulations that smell great AND work effectively, essential oils might be the right aromatic solution for you. But don’t forget about safety first! Remember these basics when using essential oils: dilute, and research each oil carefully and thoroughly before use.
If you need further support creating a product line with essential oils just right for your customers, I can help you with that! Book a Hash it Out Session with me today.