Scent is a powerful mode to immediately changing our mood. Life generally abounds during summer as the herbs, trees and the flowers are in full bloom and the air is filled with aromatic fragrances. But when this same aromatic summer turns warm and sticky, most of our homes can use a little summer scent to feel fresh. Clean summer scents can do a lot for us, but it is very harmful to rely on the Plug-in air fresheners or even the sprays, as both contain harmful chemicals, which can cause harm if inhaled. Instead we can rely on the wisdom of our great grandmothers, or in my case grandfather, by using natural products to make our homes smell clean and refreshing.
So let the delightful aroma of the summer renew your mind and body and melt away your stress. Isn’t it much better to use essential oils rather than the perfumes made with artificial chemicals? Authentic essential oils are therapeutic and also have a fuller and yet a milder caress, as compared to the commercial perfumes. As the essential oils are in a concentrated form even a little drop can work wonders.
When engaging in summertime activities, it’s important to remember to take care of our skin and provide it with the moisturizing and protection that it needs. Now that the summer is almost in full swing, you may have come across some skin care issues that are quite unique to the summer months. Just as winter can take its toll on the skin leaving it dry from extreme cold and lifeless from lack of sun as well as the dehydrating nature of indoor heaters. The summer too has its own unique set of skin care concerns. More time spent outdoors means coming into contact with mosquitoes, bees and other bugs, sun burn, dry dehydrated skin and dry cracked heels from pounding the pavement in sandals and open toe shoes. The following essential oils are good to have on hand going into and through the summer months and will make your skin feel calm, hydrated, refreshed and restored after dealing with the humidity, pollution, outdoors and the scorching sun.
Lavender (Lavendula angustifolia) France: One of the best essential oils to invest in for your summer skin is lavender essential oil. It is good anytime of the year, but it is especially good in the summer as it has a few key properties to help heal summer skin. One of the best qualities of lavender essential oil is that it heals burns. Any kind of burn really, especially sun burn. It is one of the few essential oils that can actually be used neat on small areas of the skin (applied directly to the skin as opposed to being diluted). Lavender essential oil is soothing, calming, cleansing and relaxing so it is a perfect essential oil to use on dry dehydrated or sunburnt skin. It is also excellent for healing insect bites. It is a good oil for regenerating the skin.
Chamomile German (Blue) (Matricaria recutita) Bulgaria: Chamomile and its essential oil both have a lot of healing qualities. They are good for stress relief, as well as aiding in sleep and reducing headaches. As far as the skin goes the oil is effective in healing rashes, insect bites, burns, and cuts. For these reasons it makes a great addition to both your skin care regime and your summer first aid kit. What makes this chamomile essential oil so healing is the fact that it is high in azulene, which is blue in color and has an anti-inflammatory healing agent. It also has a lovely smell which is both sweet and grassy, or similar to the smell of straw and apples. If you end up with Poison Ivy or a bad bug bite, a bath of oatmeal and chamomile is one of the best remedies to sooth the skin. Also apply the essential oil in a blend with an nut or fruit oil (such as almond or olive oil) and rub onto the skin after the bath for more soothing comfort.
Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus) India: Lemongrass is similar to citronella essential oil in the fact that it comes from a long wild grass that is grown and produced in South East Asia. It has a warm lemony smell and it is both soothing and invigorating. It works well as an anti-bacterial and deodorizing essential oil. One can use it to treat athlete’s foot, excessive perspiration, and poor circulation and to repel insects. It is perfectly safe to use at home on the skin as long as it is diluted first.
Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) Australia: This is a good oil to include in your first aid kit or to have in your medicine cabinet. The oil originates from the leaves and twigs of the tea tree shrub, which is native to Australia. Some describe the oil as hot and spicy while others describe it as cooling. Either way, the oil does have a medicinal smell and is very effective in killing bacteria, fungi and viruses. It is effective in healing cuts, burns, acne, stings, blisters, herpes and nappy rash. Add several drops to a foot bath to relax cleanse and cool hot achy feet, or addressing athletes foot. It can also be added to a base or carrier oil as part of a blend of essential oils for soothing burns, cuts or stings.
Sandalwood (Santalum spicatum) Australia: This essential oil comes from the roots and the heartwood of the Sandalwood tree. Sandalwood essential oil has many uses and properties. It has long been favored for its fragrance which is sweet, fruity and woody all at the same time. It relieves tension and insomnia and is favorite winter oil because it acts as an expectorant for those suffering from colds and coughs. It is also a favorite aphrodisiac. However, it is on this list of summer essential oils for its amazing skin softening affect. It both cures skin inflammation, and helps to heal cracked or chapped, dry skin. It is perfect for those summer feet that have walked a few too many trails and streets in sandals and other open toe shoes. Add it to a sea salt foot scrub or to an after bath essential oil for dry skin. This oil is perfectly safe for home use as long as it is diluted before it is used on the skin.
Eucalyptus radiata ( E. radiata) Australia/South Africa: This oil is produced from the leaves and twigs of a Eucalyptus tree. It is a great essential oil in the summer because it is cooling and can repel insects. It is also great for relieving aches and pains and is very anti-fungal and anti-viral. It not only helps to prevent bug bites but it also heals them, as well as getting rid of athletes foot and other fungal infections of the skin.
Geranium Rose (Pelargonium roseum) Madagascar: Geranium is a fabulous essential oil for the skin. It is Native to South Africa, but now grows in many parts of the world. It is both relaxing and energizing (depending on what other oils you blend with it). It has a rosy sweet, yet minty smell that is pleasing to most individuals. The oil is distilled from all parts of the plant including the leaves, the flowers and the stalks that create a green liquid. The oil it produces is anti-inflammatory so it helps to heal burns, eczema and ringworm. It is good for moisturizing dry or wrinkled skin, so it does help to replenish the skin after sun exposure. It is also good for reducing cellulite, reducing tension and stress as well as improving circulation.
Summer skin care recipes from the list of best summer skin care essential oils:
Outdoor Adventure Oil:
2 oz. of Almond Oil
1 oz. of Sesame Oil
1 oz. of Avocado Oil
6 drops of Lavender oil
6 drops of Geranium Essential Oil
5 drops of Lemongrass Essential oil
5 drops of Eucalyptus Radiata Essential oil
Directions: Add 2 oz. of Almond oil to a small jar or bottle (glass preferred). Add 6 drops each of: lavender essential oil, eucalyptus essential oil, geranium essential oil and lemon grass essential oil. Swirl and then add 1 oz. of Sesame base organic oil and 1 oz. of carrier of your choice.
Base or carrier oils of Almond, Avocado/Red Raspberry and Sesame have some ultra violet/sun blocking properties, although not as strong or effective as a regular sunblock. Both lavender and geranium essential oils are cooling for sun burns and will also help to block some of the ultra violet rays. Both lemon grass and eucalyptus essential oils help to ward of bug bites of all kinds.
After Outdoor Adventures Healing Spray
2 oz. Witch hazel
2 oz. of Distilled Water
5 drops lavender essential oil
5 drops chamomile essential oil
5 drops tea tree essential oil
4 drops of Citronella essential oil
4 drops of Sandalwood essential oil
1 120 ml (4 oz.) bottle (glass or PET) with an atomizer spray
Directions: Add 2 oz. of witch hazel to a small atomizer bottle. Then add 5 drops each of the lavender, chamomile and tea tree essential oils. Swirl. Then add 2 oz. of distilled water, and then add 4 drops each of citronella essential oil, and sandalwood essential oil. Swirl. Spray this cooling, anti-septic and calming spray on the skin after an outdoor adventure that may have resulted in: a skin rash, bug bites, sun burn or just excessive sun. This spray will help to cool, calm, relax and repair the skin.
Soothing summer foot soak
1 basin of cool to warm water (not hot)
A handful of fresh mint leaves
5 drops of lemon grass essential oil
5 drops of lavender essential oil
5 drops of tea tree essential oil
3 drops of sandalwood essential oil
Directions: Place the mint leaves in a foot basin. Slowly fill with warm water. Add 5 drops of: lavender, tea tree, and lemon grass essential oil. Add 3 drops of sandalwood essential oil. Sit and soak feet for 15-20 minutes, then pat feet dry after soaking. This bath will cleanse, deodorize, refresh and disinfect the feet. For more detoxifying and deodorizing of the feet also add 1/2 cup sea salt to the basin. If you are trying to cleanse and disinfect the feet (in case of athlete’s foot) then add 1/2 a cup of vinegar to the basin as well.
Soothing dry parched skin (for feet or elbows)
1 small jar (4-6oz)
1/2 cup of coconut oil
5 drops lavender essential oil
5 drops geranium essential oil
4 drops peppermint essential oil
4 drops sandalwood essential oil
Directions: Add the coconut oil to a small jar. Add the drops of essential oil to the coconut oil and blend with a wooden spoon or chop stick. Apply to dry cracked heels or dry knees and elbows.
Kimberly S. Seymour is a Clinical Aromatherapist and Office Manager at LovingScents Aromatherapy, a private practice in Greensboro, NC since 2009, specializing in integrative therapies. Kimberly has a passion for teaching and counseling clients to assist them in reaching their goals of optimal health, happiness, and finding your own awesomeness. She currently is teaching to groups, businesses, hospital settings, spiritual leaders and lay persons. Her teaching/education specialties include; Pet Aromatherapy, Mother/Baby/ Pregnancy, Birth & Lactation Aromatherapy, Perfumery and Custom Blending, and Cleaning with Essential oils and Herbs.
LovingScents is a supplier of essential oils and related aromatherapy products. Visit www.LovingScents.com or call 336-294-7727.