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  • Making Scents of Essential Oils

    Lavender field

    If you visited the dentist recently, there could be a chance that you were offered inhalation of lavender to reduce anxiety pre-procedure. This is because dental practices and hospitals are now including the use of essential oils in the hallways, rooms and reception areas to relax patients and visitors.

    I am a true fan of using essential oils in the treatment room and for use at home, as I often notice changes in the skin as well as the client’s demeanor. How can this be? In Chinese medicine, when a plant herb or flower is turned into an essential oil, it is said to have its “soul freed”. And now more than ever, we can rely on science to help explain how they can change your mood, your energy and your day.

    Channel through the body

    The most effective way for the body to absorb the therapeutic components of an essential oil is through a combination of inhalation and topical application.

    With inhalation, oil molecules are dissolved in nasal mucous, produced by the outer tissues of the nose that are packed with millions of sensory receptors. Nerve impulses travel through to the cranial cavity followed by the olfactory bulb and eventually into the limbic system, also known as the “emotional brain”. This area is directly connected to parts of the brain that control heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, memory, stress levels and hormone balance. Essential oils also enter the lungs and alveoli during inhalation, where they get picked up by the circulatory system and delivered throughout the body.

    When applied topically, usually through the form of a carrier oil base, essential oils are attracted to lipid portion of the sebaceous gland to the surrounding tissues and into the blood stream. This is the fastest route, whereby remaining oil components are absorbed via the follicle. Most essential oils, unless they are water-soluble, enter via the sebaceous follicle when applied topically.

    Calming arrival

    We know the traditional uses of essential oils for massage or as an addition to a product for the aroma, but there are so many other aspects and uses we can all embrace.

    Too many times the client arrives at their appointment late or rushed, where you feel the need to calm them down before the start their service. If this occurs, you can start their visit with some inhalation therapy by applying a small amount of oil above the upper lip or rubbed into the scalp. You can also try a steam towel followed by an oil to their feet, this pulls the energy away from the head and gives them permission to switch off.

    A good blend of oils to center this client would be Lavender, Cypress and Eucalyptus.

    Treatment room scents

    Before you begin, make sure the client likes an essential oil or blend before applying them during the treatment as they are difficult to remove once applied. It is said that we are drawn to the oils that benefit us the most. Sometimes memories linked with aromas can be powerful and also positive or negative depending upon the emotion that is conjured up. Essential oils also stimulate the immune system and are strong antioxidants, creating an unfriendly environment for free radicals, so there’s no denying their skin benefits. You can further customize the treatment by utilizing a blend of oils and adding to steam towels, rinse water, linens or compresses.

    Try an essential oil or blend containing Ylang Ylang for breakout-prone skin, Neroli for aging skin and Cypress for sensitive or sensitized skin.

    Aromatherapy at home

    Don’t forget about the many uses of essential oils in our personal space. Oils such as Peppermint and Lemon can provide an uplifting mood booster and set the tone for the client’s home environment. They can also be used as simple home remedies, especially during the cold season. Recommend adding Cypress, Tea Tree, Peppermint or Eucalyptus to steam inhalation—these are great for decongesting the respiratory tract and are anti-viral. Have clients experiencing trouble sleeping? Rose Oil or Jasmine can be beneficial when applied to facial pressure points. And nothing beats a muscle soak at the end of a stressful day with Cedarwood, Orange and Sandalwood added into warm bath water.

    Our sense of smell is 10,000 times stronger than our other senses, so why not capitalize on the many uses of essential oils in your business or home life. Start making scents work for you!

  • Pregnancy Skin Care Dos and Don’ts

    Pregnant

    The body goes through many changes during pregnancy and the skin is no exception. Skin changes occur in about 90% of pregnant women in one form or another; and Mom-to-be’s will have some pressing skin care questions on ingredients and treatments.

    There are many opinions between doctors and different studies with varying information, so it’s imperative that your clients consult with their physician prior to the use of skin care products and receiving treatments.

    Here are three of the most commonly asked questions by professional skin therapists when it comes to treating pregnant clients.

    1.  Can I use Salicylic Acid?

    This Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA) is an excellent exfoliant and can be used to treat acne. In high concentrations it is considered a risk during pregnancy and should be avoided, especially in professional resurfacing. Small percentages used in skin care (for example less than 2% in a wash off) are considered safe.

    2.  What about the use of aromatherapy?

    It’s recommended to avoid using essential oils during the first trimester. This topic is controversial between practitioners and there are varying opinions to safety, however, it depends on the type of oil and dilution. Usually approved non-toxic blends around 1-2% dilution are considered safe for body massage and skin products. Hydro-essentials, which are water-soluble fractions of the essential oil, are safe as they do not penetrate the blood stream. Your client should consult her doctor before any essential oil use.

    3.  Can I use technology in my treatment room?

    The use of electrical modalities is not recommended, which includes Galvanic, High Frequency, Microcurrent, Ultrasonic and Laser. Microdermabrasion has mixed expert reviews, with most stating to use with caution. We would not use microdermabrasion over aggravated acne or dilated capillaries. Be mindful when using it on hyperpigmented skin as causing more inflammation can make this condition worse.

    This handy ingredient checklist (below) can help you decipher the dos and don’ts when treating pregnant clients. When in doubt, have your client discuss their skin care options with their OBGYN and/or general physician if they are currently pregnant, nursing or considering pregnancy in the near future. Always work with caution if the client is in her first trimester and/or has had complications with her pregnancy or previous pregnancies. If she opts to avoid certain ingredients and/or products, the best course of action is to honor her choice. What is most important is that we help the new mother achieve her skin care goals safely and effectively.

    Pregnancy Yes and Nos