Aroma Cosmetology is the branch of Aromatherapy that deals with skincare, beauty and cosmetics.
Essential Oils are used in skincare for both their aromatic and skin healing qualities and when used for their therapeutic properties we use the term aromaceuticals.
Essential Oils are naturally occurring hydrophobic, volatile, aromatic compounds that are very powerful, healing and complex. They are extremely small molecules that can pass through the deep layers of the skin and enter our blood stream. They are extracted via steam distillation, resin tapping, and cold pressing the seeds, bark, stems, roots, flowers, and other various parts of certain medicinal or fragrant plants. Essential Oils have been used throughout the world for their healing and aromatic properties for millennia. The Egyptians used aromatic botanicals in the process of mummification – when preparing the bodies of the deceased for burial, embalmers used various botanicals such as cinnamon, frankincense, myrrh and juniper berry. Now days we are still slathering on powerful botanical elixirs in the hope of preserving our skin.
I should point out that I am not an aromatherapist though I did study essential oils as part of my Botanical Medicine and Organic Skincare Diplomas, I use essential oils for their therapeutic properties both at home and in creating my Botanically based skincare range – Wildcrafted Organics. When I talk about essential oils I am referring to Organic, Wild- harvested and or Therapeutic grade, unadulterated, 100% pure essential oil
Here are some of my favourite aromaceutical essential oils for skincare.
Helichrysum (Helichrysum Italicum)
Helichrysum – known as Immortalle or Everlasting is a member of the Asteraceae plant family and is native to the Mediterranean region where it has been used for its medicinal properties for thousands of years, especially in countries like Italy, Spain, Turkey, Portugal, Bosnia and Herzegovina. I use this gentle, golden hued essential oil with an aroma of honey and Hay for its healing and regenerative properties - it increases collagen production thus minimizing fine lines and wrinkles. It is supportive in the healing of wounds, bruises, and scar tissue, and significantly enhances skin health and increases radiance.
Rose Otto (Rose Damascena)
These beautiful, elegant and fragrant flowers have been adored for centuries and are a symbol of beauty and love. Roses have a comforting effect on the emotions and a nourishing, moisturizing effect on the skin. I use Rose both for its intoxicating scent and its ability to give dry, lifeless, ageing skin a radiance boost while increasing tone and reducing the appearance of wrinkles. I also use it for its ability to increase the uptake of bio actively nutritional ingredients in my formulas and its anti oxidant content. In 2010, Chinese researchers published a study uncovering that rose oil exhibited one of the strongest bactericidal activities compared to 10 other oils. They also discovered that just after five minutes of a 0.25 percent dilution, Propionibacterium acnes (the bacteria responsible for acne) was completely destroyed! This precious skin loving oil is beneficial for all skin types from Acne to Dry and Mature as well as for those who suffer from Rosacea and have Sensitive skin.
Cacao CO2 extracted Absolute (Theobroma cacao)
Cacao absolute is extracted from the bean or pod of the cacao tree, botanically known as Theobroma cacao, which comes from Sterculiaceae family. It is dark brown in colour with a deep chocolate aroma. The reason I love using cacao CO2 absolute in my formulas is because Cocoa is a rich source of the anti oxidant compounds - polyphenols and flavonoids, specifically flavanols. A research team in South Korea found that cocoa contains more polyphenolic compounds and a higher antioxidant capacity than teas and red wine. Because antioxidants are effectively neutralising free radicals and preventing damage in the skin they affectively help to prevent a loss of firmness and elasticity and help to prevent wrinkles caused by sun damage. Who doesn’t like chocolate the sent of this extract is simply delicious.
Frankincense (Boswellia carterii)
this resinous, slightly spicy oil is thought to be a superior anti-ageing essential oil. It was often used as an ingredient in mummification and is thought to rejuvenate mature skin. Frankincense oil may also help in healthy cell regeneration and keep existing cells and tissues healthy. It's useful for skin health, and can help treat dry skin, reverse signs of ageing and reduce the appearance of stretch marks and scars. The most exciting news of all is research showing Frankincense can target and kill cancer cells. This ancient oil smells divine and is incredibly healing so what’s not to like.
Neroli (Citrus aurantium dulcis) also known as the ‘Queen of Essential Oils’, Neroli is extracted from the fragrant flower of the Seville orange tree. One of the most precious oils on the market today. This incredible smelling anti ageing skin regenerating essential oil is extremely effective in reducing and healing scar damage and stretch marks caused by acne or pregnancy. Neroli oil with all of its extensive benefits is very easy to use on all skin types due to its non-sensitizing and non-irritating nature. It is also one of the only citrus oils that are not phototoxic. Neroli oil regenerates the skin from a dermic level making the effects of this ingredient a main contender in the fight against ageing.
So as you can see Essential Oils play an important part in Natural Skincare but it should not be forgotten that they are extremely powerful, complex compounds. Their use is highly regulated in the EU where cosmetic regulations require that 16 of 26 allergens/ sensitisers present in some essential oils are declared on both skincare and perfume boxes when used at a certain level. If you are sensitive to essential oils the good news is that there are quite a few natural brands now offering essential oil free products. Either way there is something to suit everyone’s skincare needs in the world of High Quality Natural/Organic Skincare.