Why We're Swapping Perfume for Essential Oils
A good smell can lift your mood in an instant and that’s one of the reasons we all fell in love with perfumes and fragrances in our youth before understanding how toxic many of these products can be. Opting for fragrance-free soaps, skincare, and household cleaners will reduce your exposure to harmful toxins, but it’s not easy, especially if you love scents. Afterall, many of us have spent years in the habit of spritzing on a scent before leaving the house.
Making the Switch
I have sensitive skin so I was looking for a way to stop irritating my skin without giving up those fragrances I love so much in all my beauty products, laundry detergent, etc. I did some research on essential oils including dialing into a webinar by a leader in Functional Medicine, Dr. Axe, and realized that this is how we can still have great smelling products without additives like Red #40, parabens, emulsifiers and sulfates.
Furthermore, the FDA does not require fragrance companies to list what chemicals they are using when creating a fragrance which is actually pretty terrifying. How do we know what we are putting on our skin or clothes if they don't have to disclose anything? With that said, I decided it's time to transition to essential oils.
Essential Oils 101
Essential oils are organic compounds extracted from plants, many of which provide tremendous healing properties. Using essential oils for healing purposes is often called aromatherapy, which is a holistic treatment seeking to improve physical, mental and emotional health.
For thousands of years, many different cultures have used these plant oils for a variety of health conditions. You might be familiar with them in terms of aromatherapy at the spa where they can be used for relaxation. However they can be incredibly beneficial in beauty routines, home cleaning and natural medicine. I've used them for all of the above and have been really impressed. I suffer from chronic sinusitis and I have even used them to help open my nasal passages and heal the infection.
Benefits of Using Essential Oils
Just adding some of the most common essential oils like lavender, peppermint and tea tree oil to your natural medicine cabinet may:
Alleviate sinus congestion
Relax your body and soothe sore muscles
Heal skin conditions
Reduce cellulite and wrinkles
Clean your home
Where Do Essential Oils Come From?
Essential oils are extracted directly from the bark, flower, fruit, leaf, seed or root of a plant or tree, and just one drop can have powerful health benefits. They are typically created through the process of distillation, which separates the oil and water-based compounds of a plant by steaming.
These therapeutic oils in plants protect the plant from insects, shield the plant from a harsh environment and help them adapt to their surroundings. By taking essential oils, you are harnessing the protective and beneficial powers of a plant.
Essential oils are composed of very small molecules that can penetrate your cells, and some compounds in essential oils can even cross the blood-brain barrier. They differ from fatty oils (like those in vegetables or nuts) because those molecules are larger, so cannot be absorbed by cells in the same way.
Stay tuned for some great essential oil recipes that will make you ready to give up synthetic fragrances for good!
Julia Blanchard is a content contributor for JUGs by night, by day she works at Amazon on some of Alexa’s feature expansion programs. You can follow her @jcblanchard6 on Instagram.