Aromatherapy is mainly considered as a form of disease prevention and treatment that is administered through the olfactory senses. The principle behind this alternative form of medicine is that the scents of the different essential oils, infusions, and other substances used in aromatherapy have a direct effect on the limbic system when inhaled by the patient. The limbic system forms part of the brain structure and is connected to the nucleus accumbens, a neural center that plays an essential part in holistic health and overall well-being.
The topical application of diluted essential oils, mineral baths, balms, and herbal distillates is also an important component of aromatherapy. Essential oils are frequently used in massage therapy, and many skin preparations and ointments are based on the use of plant materials and minerals commonly utilized by aromatherapy practitioners. French chemist René-Maurice Gattefossé, the father of contemporary aromatherapy, is said to have effectively healed the skin of his badly burned arm with the direct application of lavender oil. Since then, aromatherapy has been prominently used in different forms for the purpose of skin care.
The synergy between substances used in aromatherapy and the skin has been researched by microbiologists. Many ailments that affect the surface of the skin are aggravated by the presence of bacteria and other microbes. Each of the studied essential oils (orange, eucalyptus, fennel, geranium, juniper, peppermint, rosemary, turpentine, thyme, and tea) have been found to possess antibacterial properties. Since open wounds are susceptible to harmful bacteria, properly diluted essential oils can be applied to cleanse the wound and prevent the colonization of dangerous microbes.
Another crucial aspect of essential oils and their role in skin care is related to their regenerative properties. Skin can become damaged due to many reasons such as trauma, burns, exposure, infections, or disease. The skin’s natural healing and restoration process sometimes results in the formation of unsightly scar tissue or keloids. The proper application of aromatherapy blends and skin preparations can greatly help with the wound healing process and reduce the possibilities of scar tissue and keloid formation. A blend that is used by many aromatherapy practitioners consists of low concentrations of Everlasting Oil (from Helicrysum wildflowers), Rosehip seed, and lavender oil.
The healing mechanisms of essential oils as they apply to skin care and wound healing vary from one substance to another. For example, the anti-inflammatory properties of lavender oil are well-known. The essential oil made from Calendula flowers and jojoba has antiseptic and antioxidant properties crucial to skin care. Sage oil is particularly powerful in stimulating circulation and helping with the regeneration of skin affected by stretch marks. And rosemary oil is known to remove toxins, thereby promoting cellular metabolism.
Aromatherapy is also very useful for beauty treatments and preventive skin care. Dry skin is often the initial cause of many skin conditions. This can be prevented with the regular application of moisturizing creams made with rose, lavender, rosemary, and sandalwood. Oily skin can also be problematic since it can lead to clogged pores and infections. Essential oils that have astringent properties can be used with facial masks to help dissipate excess oil and open up the pores of the skin. Even those who have normal skin can take advantage of aromatherapy to maintain their skin clean and healthy. The right mix of lavender, sage, chamomile, and lemon applied as a facial mist can help in maintaining a healthy glow and preventing wrinkles.
One of the tenets of aromatherapy is that it must be used continuously in order to reap its full benefits. This is particularly true when it comes to skin care. It is important to apply the appropriate botanical infusions and skin preparations regularly and over extended periods of time.