Aromatherapy to Enhance a Facial Treatment

Aromatherapy is the use of aromatic compounds to create a desirable therapeutic action. The most commonly known Aromatherapy practices involve essential oils, the volatile oils found in the secretory structure of aromatic plants. Essential oils are often diffused, applied topically at various concentrations, or added to wash off bath and body products. An esthetician has a unique opportunity for integrating essential oils into her practice and can make a profound impact because of the intention she sets for a relaxing and rejuvenating client experience. Most importantly, essential oils can be safely applied, not by adding them to skin care products (because that would often be too harsh for the skin), but by using them on hot towels. Simply dropping one or two drops on the towel positioned on the client’s chin, and allowing them to breathe it in for a minute or two, is enough to positively alter the facial experience.

I change the Essential Oils used in my facial room seasonally. After being closed for 4 months due to COVID-19, I had to reflect on which oils would help people the most as they re-enter to the Apothecary. Returning to touch, while living much of our day socially distancing, requires trust. To ease any anxiety and to help people relax deeper into the experience, I have carefully chosen specific essential oils to use on the warm towels throughout the facial.

🌸 In the beginning of the facial, I created a blend of Cedarwood (Juniperus virginiana) and Melissa (Melissa officinalis) . Cedarwood is a base note which means that it has a larger molecular structure and slower evaporation rate. It is grounding and fortifying. One of my favorite descriptions of Cedarwood is by Gabriel Mojay in his book, “Aromatherapy and Healing the Spirit”. He says, “Steadying the conscious mind, it helps us to resist the sudden events and powerful emotions that threaten to undermine our confidence and morale.”

Melissa, or lemon balm, is a powerful anxiolytic. I have personally helped a loved one out of a panic attack within just minutes of administering inhalation of this oil. My teacher, Florian Birkmayer, MD, in his years as a Psychiatrist, Equine Therapist, and Aromatherapist, says that in addition to relieving “overstimulation, stress, anxiety, insomnia, depression, (Melissa) lowers high blood pressure, and calms over-rapid breathing and heartbeat”.

🌸 In the middle of the facial, to help create greater ease in the body and mind, I use my Stony Creek Aromatics Restorative Mind-Body Diffusing Oil. I’ve sung the praises of this research conducted on the five oils in this blend in my article, https://jessicasapothecary.com/aromatherapy-the-stress-response-cycle/. This blend of Sweet Orange, Lavender, Sandalwood, Patchouli and Rose sinks us deeper into our heart center, reminds us to take a deep breath, and lowers heart rate and cortisol.

🌸 To conclude the facial, I choose either Corn Mint (Mentha arvensis) or Grapefruit (Citrus paradisi). Both essential oils are top notes that help give a mental lift after the hour-long trance of a facial. Corn Mint, or Wild Mint, contains menthol that awakens the senses. Andrea Butje, director of the Aromahead Institute, describes it best when she explains how the plant part used in the distillation has an effect on the therapeutic action. As in the case of corn mint, she says, just as leaves allow the plant to breathe, “We can use oils made from leaves to support respiration and deeper breathing. They can help us breath when we feel stress and anxiety, while supporting expansion and creativity.”

As with all citrus oils, Pink Grapefruit contains d’limonene, which can relieve anxiety and give a sparkle that lifts the mood.

Integrating essential oils into our facials helps to create a more holistic experience. Not only is our goal to rejuvenate the skin externally, but foster well being that promotes the longevity of skin health! For more on how mental health effects skin health, check out Psychological Stress & Skin Barrier Function.

Psychological Stress + Skin Barrier Function

Skin is our first line of defense against irritants, pathogens and environmental stressors. The epidermis contains sebum (a mixture of lipids, wax esters, fats, and fatty acids) (1), layered with keratinocytes and corneocytes (skin cells in the epidermis) that help seal in moisture while keeping viruses, bacteria, and allergens out. The barrier function is easily disturbed, however. External factors, namely UV exposure and pollution, are well known to compromise the barrier of the skin. In my studies I have discovered that increased cortisol levels and inflammation that occur during psychological stress also contribute to the deterioration of the skin barrier. This blog will focus on the science behind psychological stress and its role in the disturbance of the skin’s barrier function. Don’t worry, I will also tell you what you can do to protect and strengthen it too!

Stress activates two major neuronal pathways: the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) Axis and the Sympathetic Nervous System (2). In my blog, Aromatherapy & the Stress Response Cycle, I mention the HPA Axis and how high levels of cortisol, our primary stress hormone, can lead to imbalance in the body. To recap, during acute stress the Hypothalamus in the brain sends signals, via the pituitary gland, for the release of corisol by the adrenals. An exciting finding is that various organs in the body, including skin, have their own peripheral HPA mechanism. In this way, the skin “acts like an endocrine organ” (3).

The way in which cortisol is released into the skin is via an enzyme in our Keratinocyte cells. That enzyme is called 11 beta-Hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase 1 (HSDI), or Cortison reductase. It activates endogenous, or naturally occurring, cortisone and converts it to cortisol. HSDI is also activated by UVB light, which then increases cortisol in the epidermis (3). This is one of the factors responsible for delayed wound healing, the disturbance of keratinocyte proliferation, as well the destruction of fibroblasts which are responsible for the creation of collagen and elastin in the dermis (4,5). Stress is a major factor in delayed healing of acne lesions, dull or thick skin, a dehydrated or rough skin surface, and loss of elasticity and density. Psychological stress triggers HSDI and disrupts homeostasis, the delicate balance in the skin.

In addition to the HPA Axis, stress also activates the Sympathetic Nervous System (2). According to the research gathered by A. Garg, “The peripheral nervous system and the skin are intimately connected via free nerve endings that extend to the epidermis” (6). Nerve fibers (and cortisol levels) activate cytokines, or stress mediators in various cells, and have an inflammatory effect. During acute psychological stress the skin’s immune cells are the target of a cytokine assault. Specifically, nerve fibers activate mast cells and cortisol activates Th1 cells to product cytokines (7). Immune cells can become overreactive and cause allergic reactions and itching, and even auto-immune disorders like psoriasis.

The collateral damage of these complex neuroendocrine and immune responses is that they “impair the ability of the skin to respond to environmental challenges” (8). When the skin barrier becomes compromised, it no longer functions effectively. Water loss (called Transepidermal Water Loss, or TEWL) occurs when the barrier can no longer keep water from evaporating. Dehydrated skin with a compromised barrier exacerbates inflammation and disease and can lead to various dermatological disorders. Dermatitis, Psoriasis, Eczema, Acne, Rosacea, and allergic reactions can all become worse when undergoing psychological stress.

If you skimmed through the scientific breakdown in the last few paragraphs, we have finally reached the point of discussing the ways you can improve barrier function! Managing stress addresses the skin from the inside, while treating with lipid rich and anti-inflammatory skin care products supports it from the outside. Looking inward, for individuals struggling with depression, studies show that taking an SSRI decreased the levels of HSDI in the skin (3). Also, created to support a decrease in cortisol and relief from depression, I recommend using my Stony Creek Aromatics’ Restorative Mind-Body Massage Oil. Clinical evidence shows that the barrier function can be improved by inhaling essential oils with a sedative effect (3), in particular the rose, sandalwood, and lavender in this blend. In a zoom class I attended this month with Aparna Ishvari on Abhyanga massage, I learned that in Ayurveda the application of plant oils is understood to “anchor the nervous system” by providing calm to the nerve endings. In a base of Jojoba, Apricot Kernel, Almond, and Avocado, the Restorative Mind-Body Massage Oil can be applied to the full body, excluding the face, every day to support wellness.

As I mentioned in opening, the skin barrier contains lipids, fats, wax, and fatty acids. Healthy skin contains adequate amounts of linoleic acid, according to Brian Goodwin, International Educator for Eminence Organics Skin Care. Linoleic Acid is the omega 6 fatty acid and can be found at high levels in many of my favorite plant-based fatty oils. Looking at a typical analysis provided by Mountain Rose Herbs, some of the fatty oils with the highest amounts of linoleic acid are Grapeseed (containing 65-85%), Evening Primrose (containing up to 72%), Sesame (containing up to 45%), Borage (containing up to 38%), Argan (containing 29-36%), Baobab (containing 24-34%), Apricot Kernel (containing 19-33%), Almond (containing 7-28%), Sunflower (containing 3-20%), and Olive (containing up to 17%). When plant oils are applied to the skin they help to occlude the barrier and seal in moisture. The Eminence Organics Facial Recovery Oil contains Olive and Sesame Oils and have been shown, in third party studies, to increase hydration in the skin up to 53% in 28 days. For those of you that are acne prone, rest assured that the healthy fats in the Facial Recovery Oil plus the antimicrobial, anti inflammatory, anti fungal essential oils of Tea Tree and Clary Sage will improve your condition. Mixed with the Rosehip & Lemongrass Repair Balm, which contains plant waxes, this combination creates a semi-occlusive barrier that helps the skin recover from damage as well as supporting it to prevent further compromise.

To address the constant struggle with inflammation that our skin is undergoing, choosing products that are high in anti-inflammatory ingredients is vital to the strength of the barrier function. One of my favorite summer moisturizers is the Eminence Organics Arctic Berry Peptide Radiance Cream. It contains 4 arctic plants that are rich in anti-inflammatory properties, and peptides to soften fine lines. The Birch Water Purifying Essence contains Reishi mushroom which is an adaptogen that may decrease inflammation and mitigate the skin’s stress response. Lastly, protect your skin from inflammation and increased cortisol with the all-natural mineral based sunscreen, the Lilikoi Light Defense Primer SPF 23.

If my research presented here from the new field of psychodermatology wasn’t exciting enough, consider one more finding that brings this psychosomatic research full circle. There is evidence that “stress-enhanced inflammation (can), in turn, effect the brain since neuroendocrine mediators and cytokines released during inflammation cause a feeling of malaise.” (7) This reciprocal effect shows us that self care is critical for our mental health. Keeping the skin healthy also keeps our brains happy, which is needed now more than ever. The good news is, research shows that inhibiting HSDI may reverse barrier damage (5), so if you need a visualization while you are practicing mindfulness during this social distancing time, try to imagine your nerves becoming calmer and your skin cells stronger, to protect you from this world.

Video of this blog available on my YouTube channel.

1. Pappas A. (2014) Sebum and Sebaceous Lipids. In: Zouboulis C., Katsambas A., Kligman A. (eds) Pathogenesis and Treatment of Acne and Rosacea. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg
2. Jafferany, M. (2011) Psychodermatology: When the Mind and Skin Interact. Psychiatric Times V 28.
3. Choe S., Kim D., et al (2018) Psychological Stress Deteriorates Skin Barrier Function by Activating 11B-Hydroxysteroid Dehydrogenase 1 and the HPA Axis, Scientific Reports
4. Tiganescu, A. etal. (2014) Increased glucocorticoid activation during mouse skin wound healing. The Journal of Endocrinology 221, 51-61
5. Terao, M., Tani, M., et al (2014) 11β-Hydroxysteroid Dehydrogenase 1 Specific Inhibitor Increased Dermal Collagen Content and Promotes Fibroblast Proliferation, PLOS One
6. Garg A., Chren M. et al (2001) Psychological Stress Perturbs Epidermal Permeability Barrier Homeostasis Arch Dermatol. Vol 137
7. Peters, E. (2015) Stressed skin? a molecular psychosomatic update on stress-causes and effects in dermatologic issues. Journal of the German Society of Dermatology.
8. Bin Saif, G., Alotaibi, H. et al (2018) Association of psychological stress with skin symptoms among medical students, Saudi Medical Journal, 39.

“At Home” Facial

Many of our clients have expressed how much they miss our facials at the Apothecary. Facials provide a much needed break from the world as well as increased radiance and skin tone! Our services also foster a trusted relationship that you may have come to value. While I cannot offer much more than a virtual face-to-face at this time, I can give you some instruction on how to build and maintain healthy home care rituals that support your skin care goals and help you manage stress.

This 2-part “At Home” Facial includes practices I have cultivated during this pandemic for health and beauty. Part one involves self care steps you can take in the evening and part two details a routine for morning. You can pick and choose aspects you personally want to embrace, and for specific product recommendations don’t forget to reach out for a free skin consultation!

Part one- Evening:
1. Cleanse
2. Masque and Tonique
3. Gua Sha with Rosehip Oil
4. Restorative Mind-Body Ritual Oil
5. Night Cream

In the evening, I recommend cleansing as soon as you know you are “in” for the night. This will ensure that you are not too tired for your self care routine. Apply a masque of your choice and go about your evening with whatever you need to do (check emails, knit, read a book…). For a list of masque suggestions and their benefits check out my recent blog post: Botanical Masques for Self Care. After 10-20 minutes remove your masque, dry your face, and pat with your favorite tonique. My tonique of choice these days is the Eminence Organics Mangosteen Revitalizing Mist because it increases the skin’s ATP and delivers micronutrients. Then, apply a generous amount of your favorite face oil and find a comfortable place to sit for Gua Sha facial massage. Massage using this simple tool helps promote detoxification and increases microcirculation. I find myself spending 15 minutes on this step because it is very soothing. When you’re done, apply the Stony Creek Aromatics Restorative Mind-Body Ritual Oil on aromapoints and pulse points. Instructions for Gua Sha and the Restorative Mind-Body Ritual can be found here. Lastly, on top of the face oil, apply a lightweight moisturizer like the Eminence Organics Lotus Detoxifying Overnight Treatment or the Arctic Berry Peptide Radiance Cream.

Part two- Morning:
1. Steam
2. Cleanse
3. Exfoliate
4. Finishing Products
5. Sun protection

After coffee and breakfast I have been starting my day with an old fashioned steam. In a pot of hot water add one drop of cypress essential oil and 1 drop of eucalyptus globulus and inhale for 10 minutes with a towel over your head. Cypress is high in pinene and cinene, and Eucalyptus is rich in 1,8 Cineole, chemical components that helps fight infection and clear respiratory mucus. I can blend them for you order you can order high quality essential oils from Aromatics International. I recently started incorporating eight quick lung strengthening and clearing breathes during my steams. I learned the technique from my friend and Ann Arbor area yoga instructor, Natasha Schaffer, in this video tutorial. After your face and lungs have been purged, cleanse the impurities from your skin. Following your cleanse I recommend stepping up your exfoliating routine by applying the Eminence Organics Firm Skin Exfoliating Peel or Bright Skin Exoliating Peel. Leveling up to the use of acids on your skin increases the cell turnover and promotes a healthy skin surface. Choose the Firm Skin if you want to see a decrease in fine lines or the Bright Skin if you are concerned with hyperpigmentation. Both of these peels are around 4% so using them every day is safe as long as you are following up with a moisturizer. Now that spring is finally here, don’t forget the sun protection too!

As with everything during this pandemic and in life, don’t let what you see other people are doing on social media make you feel like you aren’t doing enough. Try choosing just one or two things you could incorporate that helps you feel healthier and happier. You are worthy of love and care, and deserving of positive self thoughts. Stay healthy!

For more tips on how to give yourself a facial at home, visit “How to do a facial massage at home” by Eminence Organics.

“At Home” Facial VLOG:

Rosebud Woman- Intimate Skin Care

Over the last several decades there have been many products on the market for a woman’s intimate area, but many of them are designed to medicalize or sexualize a woman’s body. Rosebud Woman is a woman-owned small business that has created products to care for the labial area. At the Apothecary, we believe that the quality of care for the delicate labial skin is just as important as the care we give to our faces. Having conversations in our store is not always as comfortable as “which eye cream is best for me?” so I thought I would take a moment to detail the benefits and uses of our new pelvic skin care line!

Rosebud Woman’s flagship offerings:

HONOR- Everyday Balm 1.7 oz $90
Honor promotes skin density, structural stability, tissue regeneration, moisture content, and repair of microabrasions. Honor supports woman who are experiencing dryness due to a decrease in estrogen during perimenopause and menopause. It’s also wonderful for breastfeeding mom’s to apply to their nipples. It’s safe for ingestion and child safe! Bisabolol, a constituent found in Chamomile, is one of many high quality plant-derived ingredients in Honor. This cream to oil makes a nice lubricant.

SOOTHE- Calming Cream 2 oz $40
Soothe addresses redness, chafing, swelling, abrasions, razor burn, eczema, itching, and bruising. It has all of my favorite ingredients; arnica, chamomile, comfrey, calendula, peppermint, and aloe. Vitamin E also adds some healing benefit.

AROUSE- Stimulating Serum 1 oz $75
Arouse is not a lubricant! Arouse was designed to stimulate the Bartholin Gland and activate mucus membranes. There are many factors that contribute to a lack of sensation and/or lubrication of the tissues but the progressive use of Arouse can train the body to reteach body lubrication. Arouse utilizes a plant called Spilanthes Acmella, or Buzz Buttons, to stimulate blood flow and push the body’s natural moisture to the surface. Damiana and Maca are a few other plant-based ingredients that support an aphrodisiacal effect.

REFRESH- Cleansing Spray 1.7 oz $40
Refresh is a gentle leave-on cleanser and toner. It is not intended to perfume or deodorize you! The vulvar tissues are not self cleaning, but they are too sensitive to wash with soap. We recommend using just warm water and the application of Refresh when you get out of the shower or bath. It supports a healthy pH and has antimicrobial ingredients like tea tree, lavender, and hydrogen peroxide. If you prone to UTI’s Refresh should be your friend.

I am so proud of Rosebud Woman. Their timing couldn’t be more perfect in introducing a line with the intention to shift the narrative around women’s bodies. The owner, Christine Mason, has also written a book that we are carrying called The Invitation: daily love for your intimate self. She also has a fabulous BLOG.

Rosebud Woman products are soy free, gluten free, cruelty free, vegan or beegan, organic whenever possible, allergy tested on humans. No petroleum products are used.

Rosebud Woman products can be purchased on our website.

Date published: 27 July, 2019
Categories Body Care

Stone Crop

Eminence Organics has a NEW Summer launch. Can we ever have too many Stone Crop products? The 4 H’s remind us that Stone Crop can be beneficial to us all summer:

-Hydrating
Stone Crop adds hydration when the summer sun takes moisture from our skin

-Healing
Stone Crop has regenerative properties that heal damaged skin

-Hyperpigmentation
Stone Crop brightens and lightens pigmented skin

-Heat
Stone Crop removes heat from sun exposed skin

My review of the new Stone Crop line:

Everyone knows I love scrubs and oils. My new farmhouse has a well and septic system. So, while I say goodbye to water bills I also had to say goodbye to my handmade scrubs because we want to reduce how much oil we put into the septic. At first I was skeptical about the new Stone Crop Revitalizing Body Scrub because I love my abrasive salt scrubs and this one by Eminence is so gentle. My skin gets very cracked and dry looking when I go out into the sun. How was this water based exfoliant going to cut it? I was pleasantly surprised that when I applied it correctly (to dry/slightly damp skin) that the fine sugar and rock salt refined my skin surface quite nicely. Aiding in the smoothing and brightening effects are other fabulous ingredients like Green Tea, Turmeric and Lemon Peel.

After rinsing off a scrub it’s a MUST to apply a lotion or oil. Really, the skin’s barrier function stays much stronger if you apply a lotion or oil after EVERY shower or bath. I prefer oils because their large molecular structure makes them more occlusive to better protect the skin against moisture loss. The Stone Crop Body Oil tends to be a little light for me, even though it has nourishing Avocado and Rosehip oils, making it perfect for those that like a “non-greasy” oil. But mixed with the Stone Crop Contouring Body Cream, I get the perfect amount of hydration!

Pro Tip from our Lead Esthetician and resident Eminence Organics Training Specialist, Tiffany: Add a few drops of the Stone Crop Body Oil to your bath. The Arnica soothes sore muscles and when you emerge you feel “magical”.

For those of you who love a lightweight body lotion, the Stone Crop Contouring Body Lotion is lovely. The Caffeine and the Algae doesn’t hurt either, for those of us with some cellulite.

I give the new summer launch a thumbs up, but only time will tell if my cellulite agrees.

Spring-Summer Skin Regimen

This just in from our Esthetician, Tiffany Genter.

“As we move into spring, now is a great time to adjust your skin care regimen for warmer and sunnier weather!!  While I will be heading into winter when I get to Australia it will still be very sunny and the temperatures will be in the 70’s.  Here is a look at what I am taking down under with me and how I am prepping my skin for the change in season:”

Morning:

Eminence Bamboo Firming Fluid – it has a Natural Retinol Alternative minimizes the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles while the coconut water tones and balances pH.

Eminence Rosehip Triple C + E Firming Oil – while I usually like a daytime moisturizer this oil absorbs really quickly. The rosehip oil improves moisture and the seabuckthorn oil brightens.

Jane Iredale Power-Me SPF Dry Sunscreen- since my daytime moisturizer/oil doesn’t contain a SPF, I will be using this dry sunscreen to protect me from the harsh rays. It is a broad spectrum, physical barrier SPF 30.

Eminence Bright Skin Moisturizer, SPF 32 – I will be taking this SPF with me for my sister. She loves this since it not only minimizes her hyper pigmentation but also protects her from the sun!

Night:

Eminence Lavender Age Corrective Night Concentrate – this not only softens fine line and wrinkles but adds hydration along with antioxidants to help with free radical damage.

Eminence Monoi Age Corrective Night Cream – since my skin is always dry this moisturizer is a staple for me year round. The argan oil, shea butter and evening primrose soften and hydrate my skin, especially if I accidentally get too much sun.

Eminence Clear Skin Targeted Acne Treatment – this amazing spot treatment will definitely be going with me. This contains tea tree, salicylic acid, and cucumber to reduce redness and inflammation and kill bacteria.

And of course I will be using the Eminence Tropical Vanilla Body Sunscreen SPF 32 so I don’t get burned while I am there.

Jessica’s Vacation Essentials

After a family vacation to Alabama and Florida, I have compiled a list of what I now covet as my VACATION ESSENTIALS!

1. Eminence Organics Tropical Vanilla Body SPF 32
This product is easily my number 1 pick!  My whole family loved it.  I was prepared with my California Baby Sunscreen that I have used for the past 5 years but I ended up using this one exclusively.  It rubs in really well and Simon loves the vanilla scent.  I used it on my kids face and body.  My husband and I used it on our whole body (see face product next).  I kept one in the beach bag and one in the car and applied it as hand and body lotion the entire trip.

2. Eminence Organics Bright Skin Moisturizer with SPF 30
Both my husband and I used this product on our faces every day.  It is the perfect moisturizer for normal to combination skin even in the humid southern climate.  The stone crop plant in the product lightens pigmentation naturally.

3. Apivita Exfoliating Face Cream with Olive and Lavender
When vacation includes camping, hiking, or beaching nothing makes the skin feel fresher than this product.  The combination of olive seeds, salicylic acid, lavender and grape seed oil deep cleanse and cool the skin.  It eliminates “summer bumps” that sometimes occur on my skin when I am traveling.  I recommend using this every morning while on vacation.

4. Glymed Plus Mega-Purifying Cleanser
Skin always needs balance and this creamy cleanser is my staple.  Use every night to break down dirt and oil that builds up on your skin, without stripping your skin of its natural moisture.  The lavender is cooling for sun exposed skin.

5. Jessica’s Apothecary Coconut Lime Whip

After every shower applying Jessica’s own Coconut Lime Whip is vacation in itself.  With organic, unrefined coconut oil and essential oils of lime, bergamot and grapefruit this whip smells like key lime pie!  Coconut is the most cooling oil available, and rich in essential fatty acids.  Your skin needs it!

6. Eminence Organics Aloe Mint Hydrating Cream Gel-Body
For the record I did not get burned on my vacation.  I reapplied diligently and am proud of it!  There was a member of my family that did not reapply.  I won’t mention names.  Playing in the ocean got the best of him.  Applying this aloe gel cooled the skin and prevented peeling.6.  There are 3 night time moisturizers that all make the list.  I used all 3.  Take your pick:

Eminence Organics Lavender Age Corrective Night Concentrate
This is the night moisturizer I ended up using most of the vacation.  The Argan Oil was just the right amount of nourishment for the skin without being too oily.  And again, Lavender is the best ingredient for after sun.
Eminence Organics Clear Skin Probiotic Moisturizer
I always have this product on hand in the event of breakouts or “summer bumps”.  For acne or oily skin this is essential.
Glymed Plus Intense Peptide Skin Recovery Complex
Addressing fine lines and wrinkles is still a priority while I am on vacation!  I used this as a serum under my sunscreen but you can also use it as a night time moisturizer.  In addition to 5 Peptides that reduce wrinkle depth, this product contains sea whip to help reduce inflammation, licorice and bearberry to lighten pigmentation, ceramides to improve hydration, and vitamin E to fight free radicals.  Last on the list but probably the most potent, comprehensive skin care product in our Apothecary.
I hope you find this information helpful.  As always let us know if you have any questions.

Coconut Oil & Coconut Water for Summer Skin

This summer your skin will not forgive you if you don’t add at least 1 coconut product to your regimen.  These warm, sunny spring days are just the beginning.  Coconut is the queen of cooling, and its oil, water, and “milk” provide a plethora of benefits.  Coconuts are high in free-radical fighting antioxidants so the damage caused by the sun (and harsh chemical sunscreens) can start to be mended with coconut.

Coconut Oil (the result of the crushed and pressed fruit) provides nourishing fatty acids to the skin that protect it from moisture loss.  It contains 3 fatty acids- Capric, Caprylic, Lauric- that provide antimicrobial and disinfectant properties.  It is also high in skin healing Vitamin E.

Coconut Oil can be found in: Eminence Coconut Milk Cleanser, Coconut Age Corrective Moisturizer, Coconut Cream Masque, Bamboo Firming Fluid.

Coconut Water (the juice on the inside of the coconut shell) is high in Vitamin C, toning to oily skin, hydrating to dry skin, and rich in plant hormones called Cytokinins, which strengthen connective tissue and keep the skin elastic.  Coconut Water is also an aide in combating acne because it is anti-viral, anti-fungal, anti-microbial and may promote scar healing.

Coconut Water can be found in: Eminence Coconut Age Corrective Moisturizer, Bamboo Firming Fluid, Neroli Age Corrective Hydrating Mist, Neroli Age Corrective Eye Serum, and Coconut Firming Body Lotion.

Coconut Milk (the liquid that comes out of the grated meat of the fruit) is high is fatty acids that can soothe the symptoms of many skin issues, includes eczema, psoriasis, and dermatitis.  Coconut Milk moisturizes the skin and cools it after sun exposure.

Coconut Milk can be found in: Eminence Coconut Milk Cleanser, Neroli Age Corrective Hydrating Mist, Coconut Cream Masque, and Coconut Firming Body Lotion.

The skin experts at Jessica’s Skin & Body specialize in matching the right level of fats and water in a product to the needs of your skin.  No matter how dry or oily your skin, there is a coconut product that is right for you.

Carrier Oil vs. Essential Oil

In the past, I wrote about my summer and winter body oils in which I mention carrier and essential oils. Today, I thought it would be helpful to establish the difference between carrier oils and essential oils and the benefits of each one.

Carrier Oil

Carrier oils come from the oils of seeds, nuts, and kernels. They are rich in two main groups of essential fatty acids: omega-3 and omega-6. In skin care, these acids are known for their abilities to nourish the skin.

Extraction:

While there are a few different ways to extract carrier oils from seeds, nuts, and kernels, cold-pressed is the best method for extraction.  Cold-Pressed extracts oils from seeds, nuts, and kernels through the use of hydraulic press machines. These specialized machines crush the seeds, nuts, and kernels; thus, releasing the oils.

What it Does for Your Skin:

Carrier oils dilute and carry essential oils to the skin for absorption. Each carrier oil offers different beneficial properties such as the promotion of cell regeneration, calming inflammation, providing vitamins and minerals, and moisturizing the skin. Depending on the mixture, textures of these oils can be luxuriously rich or charmingly light.

Essential Oil

Naturally occurring aromas come from plants containing special oils known as essences. Certain cells and glands of these plants produce these essences to protect themselves against bacteria, fungi, and herbivores. After distillation humans can use these concentrated substances for similar purposes: to protect against disease and affect our skin and nervous system.

Glass dropper with amber bottle
Glass dropper with amber bottle

Distillation Processes:

The two most common distillation processes to extract essential oils from plants are steam distillation and solvent extraction.  At Jessica’s Apothecary, we only source steam distilled essential oils.  (In a couple instances a CO2 method of distillation comes into play but let’s keep things simple here).

Steam distillation uses only heat and water to transform essences into essential oils. Plants are placed inside a still (a container) with pressurized steam. This steam circulates through plant material to open up the cells and glands to release essences. When the essences release from the plants they follow the steam to the condensation chamber to cool down. During cool down, the oil and water (from the steam) condense and separate themselves from each other.

Solvent Extraction involves pouring a solvent compound (a chemical called Hexane) over the buds and petals of delicate flowers. The essences then dissolve themselves into the solvent.  Many essential oils on the market use this type of process.  Again, we don’t advocate the use of chemically extracted oils.

Quality of Essential Oils:

It is common to hear that an oil is “Therapeutic Grade” in a manufacturer’s attempt to express that their oils are more “pure” than another companies, but there are no established regulations on defining a “grade” of essential oil.  The purity of an essential oil is based on how they are grown, distilled, and packaged.  Jessica’s Apothecary only sources Certified Organic and Wildcrafted essential oils.  The plants will have the highest level of therapeutic effect when they are carefully handled.  We make sure that we only source oils that have been tested with Gas Chromatography (GC).  This quantifiable process tests for purity and identifies the constituents that make up an essential oil.  The oils then need to be protected against extreme heat and light as to not damage its therapeutic benefits.

We are proud to offer the highest standard: Certified Organic, Cold-processed Carrier Oils and Certified Organic and Wildcrafted, Steam-distilled Essential Oils that have all been GC tested and packaged in amber glass bottles.  To see the blends we make visit our products page.

Citations:

Natural Medicine Suite 101. The Extraction of Carrier Oils <http://sharonfalsetto.suite101.com/the-extraction-of-carrier-oils-a181163>
Describes the extraction methods used for carrier oils.

Aroma Web. <http://www.aromaweb.com/vegetableoils/essentialfattyacids.asp>
Contains information about fatty acids found in carrier oils.

Aroma Web. <http://www.aromaweb.com/articles/whatcarr.asp>
Defines carrier oils and how they can be used.

Aroma Web. <http://www.aromaweb.com/articles/whatare.asp>
Describes essential oils.

Aromahead. Free Introduction to Essential Oils,
<http://www.aromahead.com/>
Defines essential oils and how they are distilled.

Tisserand, Robert. Essential Oils
<http://roberttisserand.com/about/essential-oils/>
Why plants produce essential oils.

Young Living Essential Oils. Young Living Therapeutic Grade (YLTG). <http://www.youngliving.com/en_US/company/therapeutic-grade.html>
Describes the importance of therapeutic grade oils.

Amrita Aromatheraphy. Essential Oils.
<http://amrita.net/essential-oils.aspx>
Description of therapeutic oils.

Aroma Web. http://www.aromaweb.com/articles/essentialoilqualitypurity06.asp
Describes the gas chromatography process.

Jessica’s Scrubs, Hydrosols, & Specialty Body Oils

We have been busy!  There are 5 new products to introduce to you!

ginger-lemon-salt-scrub4First off, I have created beautiful body scrubs from (mineral rich) Pink Himalayan Salt and Organic Sunflower Oil.  Directions for use:  Use once per week in the shower on body after cleansing.  Scrub in circular motion and rinse well.  For best results, follow with one of my body oils after bathing. The results are silky smooth skin like you have never experienced before!

The Ginger Lemon is inspired by my favorite tea from back when I worked at Sweetwaters Cafe.  The Ginger stimulates the circulation in the skin while Lemon naturally exfoliates.

The Pink Himalayan Salt Scrub is the same blend of Salt and Sunflower oil.  It has no essential oils added to it so we can customize it for you!   Consider a Lavender Rosemary blend, Orange Lime, or Eucalyptus.

Next, we have HYDROSOLS!

lemon-verbena-hydrosol1What is a hydrosol?  From Andrea Butje, owner of Aromahead Institute, a hydrosol is created when a plant goes through a steam distillation process.  Steam breaks open the structure of the plant that contains its essential oils and its fluids.  The oil and water are separated as the steam cools, leaving us with a hydrosol.

One of the ways I recommend using my hydrosols is simply in place of a toner (after cleansing and before applying a moisturizer).  For other uses see the guest article I wrote for the Aromatics International blog.

Lastly, but the 1st in my Specialty Body Oil line, is the Dancing Without Inhibition Body Oil.  Probably the most sublime product I have made yet, this body oil uses Certified Organic Neroli to lift the spirits and hydrate the skin.

dancing-without-inhibition-body-oil-small3Visit our newly updated Products Page for details on all the products we make!