There are many irritants that may cause nasal congestion or a stuffy nose. Irritants like cigarette smoke, air pollution, pollen and pet fur may trigger allergy reactions causing inflammation in the nasal membranes. The common cold may cause congestion which may lead to a bacterial or viral sinusitis infection. Mucus membranes that line the cavities in your nose produce a combination of mucus and fluid designed to wash away impurities. When the nose dries, it impedes this important function.
Our microbiome (good bacteria) helps to modulate the immune responses when there is an infection or inflammation and are a very important part of our makeup. Over use of anti-biotics are killing our good bacteria and now becoming more resistant to bacterial infections.
Here are some possible causes are nasal congestion:
Aromatherapy and essential oils can be used as a natural remedy to help fight against the symptoms of hayfever and allergies. Essential oils are known for their anti-inflammatory and decongestant properties to help fight against colds and flus. Using an oil diffuser or candle burner will act as a humidifier helping to keep the air moist and ridding the air of impurities. Essential oils help to tackle stress which is often a cause for the fight or flight response which leads to sugar imbalances in the blood and more inflammation in the body. Essential oils are not only known for their relaxing & uplifting properties they have natural antimicrobial properties aswell.
A saline solution spray is often a good remedy helping to clean the nasal cavities, reduce the risk of infection and reduce excess mucus.
Johann Callaghan talks to Mary Anderson on NearFM (90.3) Lifeline about the benefits of essential oils and how they can help you in your everyday life. Johann talks about the power of inhalation, how to use the oils and what to look out for when you are buying essential oils.
Mary: Well, I told you we were going to a great conversation this morning about all things essential oils, and I have on the line with me, Johann Callaghan, an aromatherapist. Hello Johann.
Johann: Hi Mary. How are you this morning? I’m doing fantastic, especially after your meditation. Thank you for that.
Mary: Ah did you enjoy that.
Johann: Oh, it was amazing!
Mary: And did you dance in the kitchen?
Johann: I sure did, with my dishcloth.
Mary: With your dishcloth, like a pasodoble, flinging it around lol
Mary: So you are going to talk to us a little bit this morning about essential oils and a lot of people are beginning to turn to essential oils to help them in everyday life, why is that, what are the benefits of essential oils, what do we get from essential oils?
Johann: 0:52 Absolutely, well the power of smell with essential oils is really what’s attracting the people and how the oils are making people feel. Essential oils work on all levels of the body, so they work physically on the body so if you have a sore knee or a muscle ache you can use the oils for that process, you can use the oils to life the spirits on a spiritual level and also on a mental level and emotional level. And really what’s coming to mind with people is the effects of inhalation with the essential oils are really starting to be acknowledged now. We don’t actually appreciate the power of smell, we take it for granted. Just to give you an indication, with smell and all our senses, how it works with the brain, when you inhale a smell it goes up into the olfactory bulb and into the nervous system and into the amygdala and then into the limbic system. This is the emotional seat of the brain.
Mary: 2:00 So the amygdale is our emotional space.
Johann: Yeah, exactly. The sense of smell is the only thing that will activate the amygdale and this helps to recall memories. Through the process of conditioning from when we where growing up, from our parents, society and teachers etc., we’ve learnt to associate smells with different things. We hold a lot of emotions in different parts of our body, we are not aware of this, we don’t acknowledge this. The essential oils help to facilitate the process of releasing all these emotions in a safe environment. It’s profoundly effective and it works quite quickly aswell. When you inhale a smell it’s only 1 synapse away from the limbic brain. You sense of sight and sound is about 3-4 synapse, they go through the thalamus (central hub of the brain) which redirects the signal to the visual cortex or where ever else in the brain. Whereas smell is 1 synapse, so it is profoundly effective.
Mary: 3:15 And the synapse would be the junction where it travels through.
Johann: Yeah, in the nervous system.
Mary: So that would make sense, sounds like its an explanation why we can have a smell that takes us immediately back to childhood or some positive memory like the smell of my mother baking breads.
Johann: 3:40 Yeah and the thing to remember is we know certain oils are good for certain things. For example lavender essential oil, we know is calming and cooling but lavender was a big favourite smell years ago. Your grandmother could have grown the lavender our her back garden and your grandmother could have beat you around with a sweeping brush and you could have hated your grandmother so when you smell lavender again you are not going to like it cause it reminds you or your grandmother. So you have to like the smell to work with it.
Mary: And essential oils can have a negative effective?
Johann: Absolutely, like the grandmother.
Mary: Yeah, my mother used to always give me milk of magnesia when I was young. When I became a nurse, and I would give this to a patient, it would remind me of that yukey smell, even though I wasn’t taking it. So smells are very powerful.
Johann: Yeah, and when you are smelling something, the first thought that comes to mind is “oh what does that remind me of”? and you are trying to associate it with a person or an experience or a situation. That’s what’s going on in the brain when you are smelling a smell.
Mary: 5:13 How can we use essential oils? Is smell the only way or are there other things we can do to use them?
Johann: No, a lot of people associate essential oils and aromatherapy with massage. Aromatherapy is a stand alone treatment aswell. You can diffuse essential oils in the air to kill airbourne germs. Lemongrass, eucalyptus and tea tree are good. I love the eucalyptus radiate because it’s more gentle that the other eucalyptus. So you can use essential oils to kill airbourne germs and also to get rid of those excess positive ions in the air. We have so many devices in our homes from tablets, laptops, tv screens, mobile phones and they produce positive ions in the air (static electricity). So the essential oils helps to neutralise them. Also we have the aroma which gives that uplifting smell or calming smell or whatever mood you are looking for. You can also use it topically. So you can add some drops to your shower gel, or a lotion or cream or you can make an oil blend. Just get some almond oil (basic vegetable oil) and add some drops to it and you have a massage blend. I do have a lot of recipes on my blog, so you can get them there. There are lots and lots of ways to use essential oils.
Mary: 7:15 So I was reading the other day, that a lady who has epstein barrs, a virus, and she was using tea tree oil (melaleuca). She used it topically and she also used it in capsules. She had black mould in her blood. She used a combination of cinnamon and other essential oils and she used them in capsules. Is this a way to take them?
Johann: 7:45 I don’t really go down that path of ingesting essential oils. I haven’t really done a lot of research in that area but it would be a last resort. There are lots of other ways you can use essential oils before you start ingesting them. I know a lot of people put drops of oils in water and use capsules to get them straight down into the stomach. But just be mindful that the oesophagus is only one cell thick so you need to be very experienced and know what you are doing when you are ingesting essential oils.
Mary: 8:25 So we can inhale them, we can use them topically (diluted) and they can help us release emotions and feel better in ourselves. So what so of tips would you give if someone is looking to buy an essential oi? What do they need to see on the label when they are buying them?
Johann: 8:55 That’s very important. Essential oils are so potent and to give you an example it takes 50 roses to make 1 drop of essential oil so you can appreciate the cost of some of the oils. So jasmine and rose are very expensive oils and you would be looking to pay about 40 – 50 euro for a 10ml bottle of oil. There are other essential oils that are more cost effective oils that you can buy like your lavender, lemon and all the citrus essential oils. The one thing to look out for is it must have the latin name on the label and that denotes what plant it comes from and what part of the plant and the country of origin. Also know your supplier, make sure you know your supplier. Essential oils go through a series of tests aswell. You should be able to get a safety sheet, if you are in the business of aromatherapy. But just for the regular buyer, make sure the latin name is on the bottle and the country of origin and know that it is a reputable reseller you are buying from.
Mary: 10:15 Now you yourself are running an online course to help people understand better how to use essential oils for their own health and wellness.
Johann: It’s and amazing course. I have lots of students lined up on it at the moment. It’s a five week course and I have a special offer that I’ll tell you about in a few seconds.
Mary: Yeah, if you could just tell us a little bit about the course so people could know and then tell us about how people can find out more information.
Johann: Sure, it’s a five week course. I did a survey and I asked people what is it that frustrates you what is it that really keeps you up at night in relation to your health and well-being. So, the response I got back was that a lot of people are fed up with the cold and flu epidemic in the winter season, the second thing I got back was a lot of people are experiencing a lot of allergies and skin irritations, psoriasis and eczema and the last thing was people are having great difficulties around sleeping so getting to sleep and staying asleep. So I designed the course around those three topics. So using essential oils and healthy living, holistic living. I bring a bit of diet and nutrition into it and lifestyle aswell. So on the course I teach you how to make up your own products and it’s a very simple process that only takes 5 minutes. That’s my mantra it only takes 5 minutes to make up.
Mary: I love it!
Johann: 11:42 Yeah, we are so busy, mothers are so buys. We have kids to take care of and men can be a big job aswell sometimes lol. I don’t know whose worse, the kids or the men! I’m talking about making oil blends, balms recipes for kids if they have chesty coughs. You can rub it in through the feet aswell. The oils get into the system within 30 seconds if you do a foot rub. It’s great for relaxing the children and helping them get to sleep aswell. And then I have lots of recipes like aromatherapy inhalers that you can use and I give you a wind down routine that you can use before you go to bed at night. So you’ll see me in the kitchen making us these products aswell. Everything is converted into an audio file aswell, so if you are in an area where there is bad internet you can just listen to the audio or if you prefer to just read you can download the transcript in a pdf file.
Mary: That’s amazing! So how can people find out about you and where can they find out more information about this.
Johann: 12:55 Ok, so I have a website courses.therapeutic-healing.ie. You’ll find all the courses there you can enrol in the school to access some of the free videos and you can also enrol on the paid courses. For the listeners today, you can go to therapeutic-healing/offer you will get 50% off the course of that course until the end of this month.
Mary: 13:44 Thank you so much Johann for coming on and helping us understand a little bit more about how essential oils help us feel better, be better and to remember good things.
Johann: It’s my pleasure Mary. Thank you so much, Have a great day!
Mary: I will, you do the same. Bye bye.
Johann: Thank you, bye bye.
Mary: And that was Johann Callaghan, Aromatherapist, telling us how essential oils can help us take better care of ourselves.
People have asked me many times what is the difference between an oil diffuser and an oil burner and which one is better. I use both interchangeable and I enjoy both but have preferences for when I use them.
The oil burner consists of a bowl on top that is filled with water and essential oils. The tea light candle is placed underneath it and heats up the water. The steam carries the essential oils into the air. The therapeutic properties of the essential oil are somewhat degraded through the heating process. It changes the molecular structure and this is what reduces the therapeutic benefits. This method is suited for aromatic purposes as a nice natural air freshener. I personally love the flame aswell.
There are two types of oil diffusers: A nebuliser and an Ultrasonic humidifier.
The ultrasonic humidifier uses a mixture of water and essential oils. The water carries the essential oils into the air. This cool mist is not heated and safe to use in childrens’ bedrooms. You can also use a portable diffuser for your car.
The nebuliser uses pure essential oils only, requires no heat and does not use any water. It uses pressurised air to atomise the essential oils into micro particles. The aroma is quite potent and remains in the air for a number of hours.
Inhalation is one of the most effective ways of using essential oils. It is a great way to kill airbourne germs and helping to lift moods. The aromatic molecules reaches the limbic brain via the olfactory system and so has an impact on our physical, emotional and spiritual well-being.
Here are some oils that you can use:
Lavender: Calming, relaxing, de-stressing. Great before bed. Lemon: Cleansing, air purifier. Helps fight colds and flus. Peppermint: Focus, Stimulating. Great if you are studying.
If you liked this article and would like to find out more, visit Johann’s online courses.
Which do you prefer, oil burner or oil diffuser? Comment below.
If you like citrusy fragrance, use a blend of lime and grapefruit. You can use orange or lemon instead aswell.
Add organic castor oil to the castile soap and essential oils. Stir slowly with a spoon. Pour the mixture into a container/bottle of your choice using a funnel if required. You can use this homemade body wash for a complete body and skin care treatment while in the shower or bathing.
Carefully mix all ingredients by hand with a spoon in a glass liquid measuring cup. Do not use a blender, whisk or had mixer as this will create bubbles and make it impossible to get into a container.
Pour into a bottle and use in the shower as a body wash.
Note: This recipe will last for several months at room temperature.
If you liked this recipe and would like to find out more, visit Johann’s online courses.
What is your favourite aroma blend to use in the shower? Comment below.
Green cleaning refers to using cleaning methods and products with environmentally friendly ingredients and procedures which are designed to preserve human health and environmental quality.
Why Choose Green Cleaning to Conventional Methods
When we buy commercial cleaning products, we expect them to clean. There are cleaners for everything including the bathroom, kitchen, shower, mirrors and oven cleaners and many more. Many conventional home cleaning products are toxic, non-biodegradable, and and come with warnings such as do “not take internally”, “Flammable”, “Warning. Keep away from children”. Too many companies are using products with specific ingredients to enhance their product performance and this comes with a toxic price. These ingredients can affect neurological functions, cause skin irritations and chemical burns, while other chemicals can act as respiratory irritants, carcinogens or hormone disruptors.
Watch the labels
We are all becoming more conscious of ingredients in our cleaning and cosmetic products with regard to our health and environment. Manufacturing companies are using tactics to make us believe their products are safe and better to use. The term “Natural” is widely used on commercial cleaning products and cosmetics. There’s no standard definition for this claim. The word “natural” can be applied to just about anything including plastic, which comes from naturally occurring petroleum. A study published in the Science Advancesfound 91% of plastic in the world doesn’t get recycled, and around 79% is kept on landfills or other places of the environment. The Guardian reported that 1000000 plastic bottles are bought around the world in a minute and the number will increase by 20% more by 2021. Refusing to buy items packaged in single-use plastic, you help address our environment plastics problem and eliminate toxins and microplastic from your life.
Natural All Purpose Cleaning Spray
100ml Distilled Water
1 tablespoon white vinegar
6 drops Pine Essential Oil
12 drops Lemon Essential Oil
Make your cleaning spray in a 100ml glass spray bottle. Mix all the ingredients together and shake well. You can use it on surfaces in your kitchen, bathroom, and anywhere in your home. I recommend making this blend fresh every few weeks.
Essential oils are one of the most naturally anti-bacterial and anti-fungal options for homemade cleaning recipes. Essential Oils are effective alternatives for home cleaning and are easy to make and use. Other essential oils can used such as tea tree, lavender, rosemary, peppermint and orange.
White vinegar is very effective at removing mildew, grease, odours, some stains and wax build-up.
What do you use to clean your house naturally? How did it work out? Please comment below.
Research shows that carcinogenic and hormone disrupting chemicals have been linked to a number of health problems including infertility, lower sperm counts, obesity, diabetes, thyroid imbalance, and certain types of cancers. The knowledge and information you’ll learn here will inform you and therefore help to empower you to make healthier choices for you and your family.
We are exposed to toxins on a regular basis. TOXINS are anything that can interfere with our body’s ability to function OPTIMALLY. They have a major impact on your SKIN! Your skin is the largest organ and it has many functions often not appreciated. The skin can tell you how your body is performing inside from a cellular level. So the skin is a doorway to how your body is working.
Outdoor Environment:pesticides, electric power plants, factory emissions, cooling systems, and diesel fumes
Indoor Environment: Most indoor air pollution comes from sources that release gases or particles into the air. Carbon monoxide (Blocks the movement of oxygen around the body), Nitrogen dioxide (combustion pollutants- a by-product of gas fires or cookers), Flame retardants in furniture and mattresses, Radon (Radon is a radioactive gas that seeps from the soil and rocks beneath your home). Other sources are Harsh solvents in cleaning products, Mould, Mildew, dust mites and Personal care products.
All of these sources of indoor air pollution can combine to create a toxic mess in the air we breathe. The common denominator is CHEMICALS.
Additives are pretty much what you get in processed foods. It can throw things of metabolically and hormonally. And that’s pretty much what a toxin does.
Personal Care Products contain toxic chemicals like Parabens, SLS and Phthalates which we are going to go into more detail about.
We will Never Rid the body of all toxins BUT we can decrease our exposure and their impact.
Personal Care Products
The health and beauty industry is a business and many companies will do whatever it takes make money. Even if this includes using additives and preservatives that are not safe to put on the human body!
Many people ignore this because they are only putting these products on their skin and not ingesting them. However, this is not the case.
Did you know that your skin is the largest organ in your body and up to 60% you put ON your skin goes INTO your body!
The average woman uses about 12 products daily which contain up to 168 different chemical ingredients. This ranges from body wash, shampoo, shaving gel, body lotion, face moisturiser, deodorant, make up, hair spray and more. The average man uses 6 products daily with 85 unique ingredients. Kids are exposed to more chemicals than adults in the environment around them including the air, water, food and personal care products. Their immune system is less capable of dealing with chemical toxins. Baby wipes containing bronopol, DMDM hydantoin and fragrance are a very big offender. Teenagers are using more personal care products now from hair gels and strengtheners to make up and tanning lotions. EWG detected 16 potentially toxic chemicals including phthalates, triclosan, parabens, and musks in the blood and urine samples from 20 teenage girls. These are hormone disruptors and are carcinogenic. Teenagers are now experiencing earlier onset of puberty as a result.
By using essential oils and plant based oils you can reduce your overall exposure to toxins. Use essential oils instead of synthetic air fresheners and spray deodourants. Essential oils help to bring the body back into balance. They are anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal and help to boost your immune system. They smell amazing and boost your overall well-being and immunity also. Vegetable oils or carrier oils contain phytonutrients that nourish and protect your skin and fight free radicals, the precursor to pre-mature ageing and other skin diseases.
Using and making your own skin and beauty products and personal care products are the only way to guarantee that you won’t be exposed to these dangerous toxins. There are friendly to the environment, your skin will love you for it and you’ll not regret it!
Top 8 Toxic Cosmetic Ingredients to Avoid
This is also known as Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Isoparaben, Ethylparaben, Butylparaben. These are synthetic preservatives found in many cosmetics and personal care products to inhibit microbial growth and extend the shelf life of the product. They act as oestrogen mimics and thus disrupt the hormonal system. They are known to cause rashes and allergic reactions, so not good if you have sensitive skin.
Linked to breast cancer, decreased sperm counts and precocious puberty (early onset of puberty).
Sodium Lauryl/Laureth Sulfate (SLS)
It is an inexpensive and very effective foaming agent. It is used in concrete floor cleaners, engine degreasers, car wash detergents, and just about every soap and shampoo on the market. In the same way as it dissolves the grease on car engines, sodium lauryl sulfate also dissolves the oils on your skin, which can cause a drying effect. They act as oestrogen mimics and thus disrupt the hormonal system.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS), Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES), and Ammonium Laurel Sulfate (ALS) are in most body care products. According to the EWG review, research has shown that they put you at risk for cancer, skin irritation, and organ toxicity.
Mineral oil/ Petrolatum (Petroleum Jelly)
This is a by-product of crude oil and it is used as a very cheap emollient base ingredient. It has no nutrient value and can interfere with the body’s natural moisturising ability. It can not be absorbed by the skin and creates a film on the surface, blocking the pores and preventing the skin from its normal functioning. This petroleum by-product can causes allergies.
This is a blanket term for hidden chemicals that should be avoided. Phthalates (plasticising agent) are included in this.
Used to retain scent in a product. A plasticizer, used to soften plastic and makes pvc flexible. Used in skin moisturisers and skin penetration enhancers in cosmetics. Linked to cancer.
A study published in the journal Environmental Research analysed urine samples of 1040 men for 8 types of phthalates. The average age of the men was 32 – 36 years old. They each gave two samples for the study. The researchers found that the presence of phthalates in the urine was linked to poor semen quality.
Phthalates are chemical plasticisers that can sneak in almost anywhere from milk (the plastic used on the cows’ udders) to shower curtains and toiletries but you must do what you can to reduce your exposure to them. Make a habit of reading the product labels of everything you use around your home and on your body. Phthalates contain hormone disrupting effects in the body.
Talc (Magnesium Silicate)
A natural mineral found to be a lung irritant. It is widely used in makeup and body powders as well as baby powder. cornstarch powder is a safe and reliable alternative.
Made from the purified mineral bearing the same name. Is poisonous when inhaled or swallowed.
An active ingredient in chemical sunscreens that accumulates in fatty tissues and is linked to allergies, hormone disruption and cellular damage
A known neurotoxin and carcinogen and irritant found in personal care products. DMDM hydantoin-(formaldehyde releaser) It increases the shelf-life of cosmetics (e.g. shampoos, skincare products, hair gels, baby wipes etc) by “releasing” formaldehyde and thus killing bacteria.
Don’t be fooled by companies claiming that their products are “all natural” or even “organic.” Empower yourself by not assuming that something is 100% safe. Be a voracious label reader and make sure that you’re not putting dangerous chemicals onto your skin!
As I am so passionate about this, I am looking for your much needed support for something I am so passionate about. If you know me, you will understand this. I have just entered a competition to win an Organic Skincare Entrepreneur Scholarship. I have until 25th Sept 2016 to get as many votes in. Go to this link: http://wshe.es/T2YgYcoS and click the ‘like’ button beside my picture. Scroll down to see my entry. Thanks for all your support. <3
Back To School: How To Make a Natural Hand Cleaner [Recipe]
It’s that time of year again and the kids are heading back to school. It’s a perfect time to make an effective hand cleaner with essential oils to help ward off those pesky germs.
This hand cleaner is quite different to the alcohol based cleansers which can contribute to breaking down the skin surface layer and drying out the skin. It is also free of triclosan, a known anti-bacterial chemical ingredient found in hand soaps and body washes which is linked to hormone disruption. This hand cleanser is much gentler and is made with skin nourishing ingredients aloe vera gel and essential oils of Tea Tree and Lavender, full of anti-bacterial properties. Aloe Vera gel is probably best known for treating sunburns and for healing minor wounds. It contains anti-bacterial properties and vitamins and minerals so it is a great one to have for cuts and scrapes. Just what every kid needs!
Use as needed to naturally remove germs from hands.
Use a small funnel to transfer into your bottle. If you wanted to make a spray version of this hand sanitiser, all you have to do is use half distilled water and half aloe vera gel and mix together with the essential oils.
The blend is safe to use on children five years and older. This is a fun and very simple recipe that you can even make with your children. You can use this for cuts and scraps and even as an after sun gel or spray.
Have you ever made a hand cleaner? How did it turn out? Please comment below.
Acne is a disease that affects the skin’s oil glands. Sebaceous glands are tiny, oil producing glands connected to hair follicles beneath the surface of the skin. The sebum moves up the hair follicle to the opening of the follicle. However, if there are dead skin cells, the sebum acts like glue and together block the pore forming a plug. Normally harmless bacteria that live on the skin can contaminate and infect the plugged follicles, causing papules, pustules, nodules or cysts. It can be painful, particularly when it’s severe. It can also cause emotional distress. Acne that appears on your face can impact your self-esteem and, over time, may cause permanent physical scarring. Teenage acne is thought to be triggered by increased levels of a hormone called testosterone. This hormone increases the production of sebum which makes the skin oily.
Increased levels of testosterone in teenagers causes too much sebum production. Women experience hormonal fluctuations during their productive years and in menopause. From the late 20’s, estrogen levels decline faster than testosterone. This can contribute to adult acne. If you have small red bumps or spots along the jawline, this is an indicator of hormonal imbalance.
Dairy consumption can also be problematic for people with skin conditions, especially because of some of the hormones found in milk. Because milk comes from a lactating animal, hormones are present in the milk. These are active hormones which can affect proper functioning of the sebaceous glands, worsening some skin conditions.
Hormone disrupting chemicals like parabens (mimics oestrogen) found in cosmetics can cause havoc with hormones and skin disorders.
Air pollution from car exhausts, factories and power plants etc., contributes to free radicals, and can contribute to other skin-related issues.
Some medications such as cortico steroid medications, lithium (prescribed for bipolar disorders) and the contraceptive pill can trigger acne. These are synthetic hormones.
Skin care and make-up products
Research shows that hormone disrupting chemicals in skincare products have been linked to a number of health problems. Many of them mimic estrogen like parabens. SLS’s can increase the skin’s pH level and can dissolve the natural oil your skin produces. Mineral oil/ Petrolatum (Petroleum Jelly) is by product of petroleum. It can not be absorbed by the skin and creates a film on the surface, blocking the pores and preventing the skin from its normal functioning.
Poor Skin Nutrition
Lack of vitamins and minerals can make skin lifeless, blotchy, dry, or oily.
Poor Consumption of Healthy Fats
We need healthy fats (omega-3 & 6 fatty acids) to absorb fat soluble vitamins. They also improve skin elasticity, and help prevent wrinkles.
Lifestyle and dietary habits
Refined foods and simple carbohydrates causes sugar spikes which increases insulin. High insulin levels increases the sebaceous glands oil production. Dairy is also linked to increased testosterone which is linked to acne.
The truth is that many people turn to prescription medications or chemical treatments to treat acne and other skin disorders. Quite often these products contain harsh chemicals that will have side effects or may not even work at all.
A diet rich in vegetables, fruits, lean protein, healthy fats, nuts and seeds is good for our skin because it contains many vitamins, antioxidants and minerals that promote a healthier skin and help to balance hormones. A good diet combined with movement/exercise will help lymph flow which in turn helps to eliminate toxins.
Stress causes constriction of the blood vessels, creates free radicals and acid environment, disrupts hormonal activity, and impedes the absorption of nutrients and normal cellular activity. Stress disrupts the PH balance of the skin and also the acid/alkaline balance in the body. It produces excess cortisol, which in turn pumps more sugar into the system, creating havoc with our hormones, increasing insulin which leads to overproduction of sebaceous glands and therefore oily skin and it also creates difficulties sleeping well at night. This manifests in high amounts of inflammation creating free radicals and damaging our cellular membranes and in turn pre-mature ageing and problem skin.
Physical activity plays a key role in reducing and preventing the effects of stress. Make time for fun and relaxation. It is important to balance all areas of our life for health and wellbeing. The 7 primary areas to a well balanced life arephysical, emotional, mental, occupational, social, financial and spiritual. All these areas must be balanced for us to have a happy and fulfilled life and thus less oxidative stress internally helping us to have healthier skin.
Use the oil cleansing method. Using oils for oily skin is the most effective way to cleanse and balance excess oil (sebum) naturally. Over cleansing and harsh chemical facial cleansers only exacerbate the situation by producing more sebum to counteract what was stripped away.
Using natural home made remedies are gentle on the skin and more effective at killing bacteria and soothing the skin from irritation. These remedies include organic vegetable oils which nourish, repair the skin, balance sebum production and essential oils which help to tackle the root of the problem by balancing the body from the inside out.
Vegetable oils are pure, potent goodness, delivered by nature. Vegetable oils are natural emollients that nourish the skin, protect the skin’s lipid barrier and contains vitamins and essential fatty acids.Vegetable oils are primarily used for their skin repairing properties and cellular regeneration. The molecular structure of vegetable oils are larger than essential oils and so it takes longer to penetrate the skin which enables the skin to be nourished whilst protecting the PH acid mantle. They help to rebalance our natural lipids and normalise skin conditions.
1. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil contains high anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties. It is very effective for acne by reducing inflammation, improving immunity and balancing the microbiome.
2. Unrefined Shea Butter
High in Vitamin A, it is a suberb moisturiser with exceptional anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties properties.
3. Thistle Oil
The plant is a member of the Compositae family which is renowned for it anti-inflammatory properties. It is excellent at clearing congested skin and reducing large pores.
4. Apricot Kernel Oil
Apricot Kernel oil is very light. It is very soothing for inflamed, irritated skin and high in Vitamins C and E. Apricot kernel is a good general moisturizer for most skin types.
5. Evening Primrose Oil
Very high in Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA) – easily absorbed by skin, has moisture-retaining effect and helps prevent drying of the skin. It is closely related to linoleic acid (Omega 3). Both are substances the body needs to create prostaglandins which helps to reduce inflammation.
6. Rosehip Oil
Good for oily, large-pored, combination & sensitive skin, as well as many skin problems including acne. Rosehip is amongst the best vegetable oil source of omega 3 and is also a good source of omega 6 (GLA), both essential fatty acids collectively known as vitamin F, involved in cellular membrane and tissue regeneration and normalising skin with large pores.
7. Jojoba Oil
Jojoba oil is a liquid wax that mimics sebum. This helps to balance the production of sebum which contributes to acne.
Essential oils have the power to kill bacteria on the skin naturally. Essential oils for acne, such as lavender and clary sage, have the ability to alleviate feelings of stress and anxiety, fight sleeping difficulties, and balance hormone levels. They are also gentle on the skin and have a number of benefits that go beyond fighting skin disorders and promoting skin health. Blend essentials oils to a dilution of .5% for the face and 1.5% for the body.
1. Tea tree
Tea tree oil contains anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties.
Lavender oil helps to heal scarring and is soothing on the skin. It has a relaxing effect when inhaled from the bottle. Stress is often connected with skin disorder flare ups in times of increased anxiety and stress. We produce more sebum, making the skin more oily in times of stress. Lavender oil is a powerful tool when it comes to reducing stress levels.
3. Clary sage
Clary sage regulates the production of sebum on the skin and it supports hormonal balance. Clary sage is also know to improve mood in times of anxiety and stress.
4. Juniper berry
Juniper berry is a powerful anti-oxidant helping to combat free radicals in the body and aiding in cell regeneration. Juniper berry has anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties.
Bergamot promotes fast wound healing, scars and inhibits the formation of new infections. It is a gentle skin cleanser and tones the skin. Effective anti-depressant. Highly anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal.
Frankincense boosts the immune system, reduces stress, can reduce acne blemishes, heals wounds and scars and helps reduce the appearance of dark spots on the skin.
Lemon essential oil helps to cleanse the skin, stimulates lymphatic drainage and improves skin complexion.
Have you tried any of these oils yet? Let me know if you use anything in addition to the ones listed here.
To exfoliate is to remove the surface dry skin cells, the outermost layers of the stratum corneum. This helps to increase cell turnover, improve skin texture and improves skin tone leaving you with a lovely glow.
Exfoliation, derived from the Latin exfoliatus (to strip of leaves), is a term that describes any process meant to remove dead skin flakes from the body.
Why is it important to exfoliate?
Well, by exfoliating you improve your skin function and any skin issues like blocked pores which lead to further problems like acne, dull skin, pigmentation and fine lines. The skin is a major organ in your body and we need it to work well. It protects us from pathogens in the environment and helps with the process of phagocytosis. It enables the production of vitamin D together with sunshine and cholesterol on our skin . So we want our skin to have the right acid mantle levels and we want it looking radiant aswell.
What do I use to exfoliate?
You can use chemical or physical exfoliants or you can take a gentle salt bath.
What is a Chemical Exfoliant?
These exfoliants include ingredients such as AHAs and BHA, and enzymes such as Pumpkin, Papaya, and Pineapple. These ingredients will dissolve dead skin cells and usually have a deeper exfoliating effect. It penetrates further into the pores meaning it helps with blackheads and acne. Using this type can make the skin sensitive to sunlight so it is best to do this at night. Be sure to use chemical exfoliators that are based in natural ingredients, like fruits, milks, or sugars.
These products are facial, hand and body scrubs. These usually include ingredients like fine sea salt, apricot kernel or pumice stone powder. For the facial, I use bamboo powder. It is so gentle and effective for facial skin. You can also use a dry skin brush which can also help to improve your circulation. Using gentle but firm pressure, start at the ankles and rub in circular motions working up towards the heart. If you are taking a shower, use a loofah sponge.
If you wanted a more gentle approach with less physical work, you can take a hot bath using sea salts. Sea salt has a cleansing effect on the skin, gently softens and dissolves away surface dead skin cells. All you need is about 1 cupful. You can add your favourite essential oils to the salt before adding to the water. My favourite is lavender and roman chamomile. It completely relaxes me and really helps with sleeping. Great for anyone with difficulties getting to sleep at night, stress and anxiety. Read my article about various different types of detox baths.
What is your favourite exfoliant? I love to use sea salt with almond oil for it’s rich emollient properties and essential oils of lime and grapefruit for it’s bursting citrusy aroma and detoxifying benefits. Let me know, and if you have any questions, please comment below.
PERMISSION TO REPRINT: You may use any items from this article in your print, blog, magazine or electronic newsletter. But in order to do so, you must include the following paragraph, including a link to www.therapeutic-healing.ie
“Information courtesy of www.therapeutic-healing.ie, a website with skincare and aromatherapy tips and Leah Aromatherapy Skincare Products from Johann Callaghan, Holistic Therapist and Professional Aromatherapist.”
It’s that time of year when you need to protect your child from the flu season and essential oils are very effective in fighting Colds, Flu and Coughs.
Children are probably the most susceptible to picking up bugs and virus at crèches and schools. They play close together and contribute to circulating the nasty bugs.
Essential oils are one of the oldest forms used for medicinal purposes helping to combat colds and flu. They are highly anti-viral and anti-microbial. They are more effective than drugs and antibiotics. Did you know that viruses do not develop resistance to essential oils? There are many cold viruses, each with their own styles but they all have a lot in common. Antibiotics fight bacteria infections and will not fight off colds and flus which are virus related.
In addition to using essential oils, a good diet can work in harmony. Eat foods rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants — these keep your body strong with a healthy immune system. Probioticrich foods give us good bacteria. They help to boost the immune system and ward off colds and flus. Eighty percent of your immune system is located in the digestive system. This is why gut health is so important for every system in the body.
Here Are My Top Six Essential Oils For The Flu Season:
Lemon: Beneficial to the circulatory system and cleanses the body. Supports the immune system. Can cause skin irritation and sensitising in some individuals.
Peppermint and Eucalyptus: Cooling and decongesting. Helps clear respiratory, expectorant and aids decongesting.
Ravensara: Strong anti-viral oil and expectorant properties. Effective against hepatitis, shingles and herpes. Supports a healthy respiratory and immune system.
Niouli: Excellent anti-septic and immune stimulating properties. Used to fight colds, fevers, flu, chest infections, sinusitis, sore throats and catarrh.
Lavindin: Similar to lavender, helps to clear lungs and sinuses from phlegm.