Essential oils and the skin.
The “essence” means a substance that contains the active ingredients of the medicinal plant. Ayurvedic skin care formulations use plants in a variety of ways to nourish and rejuvenate the skin, including fresh-cut parts, juices, teas, dry crushed leaves or powders, and liquid extracts. However, pure liquid essences – or essential oils- are the most concentrated and refined extracts form of the plant. Their molecular density is so fine they penetrate the skin to the cellular level and produce effects 60 to 70 percent stronger than the herb taken whole, helping to nourish the tissue and stimulate new cell growth. As a source of the plant’s own immunity, they have natural antibacterial, antiseptic, antifungal, and preservative properties, which help heal wounds and infections on the skin. As a result, essential oils are widely used in Ayurvedic skin and body care.
Pure essences are very strong. One ounce of pure rose essence, for example, requires 180 pounds or more of flower petals. You can buy small bottles of essential oils- which are pure essences diluted in a base liquid – in most health food stores. The quality of these products varies, so it is a good idea to find a company you can trust. Essential oils are too potent in their pure form to use directly on the skin, that’s why you should always dilute them in base oil before applying to the skin. These base liquids have their own nutritive and balancing properties that can complement and enhance the effect of the herbs if used properly.
Basic oil. Look for organic basic oils that have been made without use of heat, solvents, or harmful chemicals or preservatives. I recommend “pure cold pressed” or “pure expeller pressed”. Ghee (clarified butter) is also excellent base oil because of its penetrating and soothing qualities. Ghee is usually available in health food stores and Indian markets, but you can make it easily at home.
According to your skin type you can prepare your own skin care product.
Different skin types require different oils (basic and essential).
Dry skin – Vata
Basic oil: Sesame, avocado, olive, almond, walnut, castor, ghee (clarified butter).
Essential oil: Cardamon, jasmine, geranium, lemon, neroli, vanilla.
Sensitive skin – Pitta
Basic oil: Almond, coconut, sunflower, olive, ghee (clarified butter).
Essential oil: Sandalwood, cumin, mint, ylang-ylang, camphor.
Oily skin – Kapha
Basic oil: Safflower, mustard, grapeseed, almond.
Essential oil: Patchouli, eucalyptus, clove, lavender, bergamot.
For face oil, add 20-25 drops pure essential oil into 1oz base oil.
For body oil, add 10-15 drops pure essential oil into 1oz base oil.
To use, apply to wet skin.
TODAY’S TIP: Both solid and liquid soap dry out the skin. Use ubtan -paste made from water and mung dal flour ( the other name -Garbanzo beans flour). I use soap very rear, usually on feet or intimate spots and never on face and neck. It is a good idea to add powdered herbs such as rose petals, sandal wood, neem and others to your ubtan.