If you have read my blog, you know that I am passionate about the safe & the appropriate use of essential oils.
You also know that I love summer… going to the beach, enjoying my garden, and having the time to relax. What I could do without is the sleepless nights due to the heat, sore feet from my cute new sandals, bug bites, sunburn & dry skin from all of the swimming, oh, and snakes. I really don’t like snakes. But other than that I love summer. And when using essential oils in the summertime there are a few things to remember…
Essential Oils & Hydrosols are wonderful to use for skin care. Be sure to use the appropriate oils for your skin type, blended at the proper dilution. If you are using essential oils topically this summer, you also have to consider...
Photosensitivity: Citrus essential oils are the perfect scents to use in the warmer months. Just use caution when using them topically in body lotions/oils or body mists; Photosensitive essential oils are Bergamot, cold-pressed Lemon and Lime, Mandarin Leaf, and Bitter Orange. Cold pressed Grapefruit to a lesser degree (Other photosensitive essential oils are Angelica, Cumin, Cinnamon Bark & Rue as well as St John's Wort infused oil.) These essential oils react to UV light and can cause a photosensitive skin reaction.
A photosensitive reaction may be a severe sunburn, swelling and possible blistering of the skin that you may not even feel when it is happening.You may react to 24 – 72 hours after using a citrus essential oil topically.The signs may be visible for up to a few weeks afterward. (Mandarin, Tangerine, Sweet Orange and Bergamot FCF are considered to be non-photosensitizing)
According to authors Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young, “Citrus scented bath products that get washed off of your skin, (like your body wash, bath soap or shampoo) are generally not a risk.
You also need to be careful when diluting citrus essential oils. (Use a .04% - 1%, depending on the oil).
More ideas for using Essential Oils in the Summer…
Cool Off: If you are finding the heat a little too much make a mister out of Lavender and/or Peppermint Hydrosol & distilled water. Keep one beside your chair or your bed at night, and mist the back of your neck & your chest Shake well before use.
Sunburn: Anyone who has had a sunburn, knows how much they hurt. After a cool, baking soda bath, I like to use a blend of Roman Chamomile, Lavender & Spearmint essential oils mixed with Aloe Vera Gel, and Helichrysum Hydrosol. (The amount of Spearmint that I use depends on how bad the sunburn is.) Use a dilution of .05% or 1%. Shake well before use. (You could also use a cooling blend of Lavender & Roman Chamomile Hydrosols in a mister, this is good for young children too).
After-Sun Skincare: After a day at the beach, try applying a really nourishing body oil to freshly showered skin. My favorites are Helichrysum, Carrot Seed, & Patchouli essential oils added to Camellia Seed & Jojoba carrier oils. It takes some time to soak in, but it feels wonderful on your skin. (For your full body, use at a dilution of 1 - 2%)
Dry Hair: If your hair is looking dried out, try adding 2 drops of Cedarwood Atlas or Rosemary essential oil to 1 TBSP of Jojoba & massage thru your hair & don’t forget your scalp. Wrap your hair in a towel for 30 min, then shampoo it out.
Blisters: try a dilution of Tea Tree, Lavender & Myrrh in a carrier oil. Dab on the blister with a Q-tip. (Use a 1-2% dilution) You can also use Chamomile or Geranium essential oils. Apply up to 3 times per day. (Don't use the Myrrh if you are pregnant or nursing or for young children)
Athletes Foot: For ages 2 & up, try a blend of Tea Tree, Palmarosa, & Cypress in a carrier oil. Dab onto the infected area with a cotton pad or Q-tip. Use a 2 % dilution. For adults and older children, you can substitute Lemongrass for the Tea Tree, it works really for athletes foot. Also be sure to get a new pair of flip flops so you don’t re-infect your feet.
Cracked Heels: After a nice soak, massage your feet & heels with a carrier oil (I like Rice Bran & Jojoba) or lotion blended with Patchouli, Rose Geranium, Tea Tree & Frankincense essential oils, & then put on a pair of clean socks, as it soaks in. Do this often to keep your feet sandal-ready, to avoid the possibility of pain or infection.
Bites: I like to blend Witch Hazel, Helichrysum Hydrosol, & Aloe Vera Gel in a roller bottle with Eucalyptus Radiata, Spearmint, & Lavender Essential Oils. Gently roll on the bug bite to help ease the itching & irritation. Use a 2% dilution.
For adults and children over 8 years old, you can also use Niaouli or Thyme essential oil as well.
Stings: Dab the area with witch hazel, then make a paste out of Baking soda and Lavender Hydrosol and apply to the sting. You can also apply a dilution of German Chamomile and/or Lavender essential oils to the sting along with an ice pack. If you have more than one sting, there is a lot of swelling, the stinger is hard to remove, or you are having an allergic reaction I would see a doctor ASAP. (From past experience, I am very cautious with Bee stings).
Insect Repellent: Check out my blog “Bugs of Summer” for more info.
This summer, you may want to consider adding some essential oils to your 1st aid kit, either in your home or to take with you camping or to your cabin. Store your Essential oils in a cool, dark place; avoid leaving them in a hot car.
Always use a low dilution (.25% – 1%) for children or elderly people.
Have a Safe & Aromatic Summer…
My Blog is for information only & is not meant to diagnose or replace medical advice.
Essential Oils are for external use only & should always be diluted before topical use.
Catty, Suzanne, Hydrosols, The Next Aromatherapy, Healing Arts Press, a division of Inner Trade International, 2001.
Davis, Patricia, Aromatherapy: An A-Z. London: Vermilion, 2005. Print.
Worwood, V. A. (2000). Aromatherapy for the healthy child: More than 300 natural, non-toxic, and fragrant essential oil blends. Novato, CA: New World Library.
Worwood, V. A. (1991). The fragrant pharmacy: A home and health care guide to aromatherapy and essential oils. Toronto: Bantam. Print.
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