Essential oils are botanical extracts taken from seeds, bark, stems, roots, flowers and other parts of a plant. They are considered volatile because of how quickly they evaporate when exposed to air. They are also crucial staples in any skin-care first-aid kit. In addition to stimulating cell growth and advancing cellular turnover, essential oils sever the adhesion of dead skin cells onto the new growth underneath, removing the dead cells in the process while revealing smoother, softer skin.
Lavender essential oil is a favorite for calming nerves and releasing anxiety. Once used in ancient times to tame lions and tigers, this all-purpose scent can also tame the driest of hands. Mix three to four drops of the oil for every tablespoon of a base oil, such as almond or jojoba, and rub into your hands daily. Lavender can make people who have low blood pressure feel drowsy, so use sparingly if you are going to operate heavy machinery.
Ylang Ylang Oil
Ylang ylang oil is extracted from the Cananga Odorata var. genuina tree, indigenous to Indo-Malaysia, Philippines, Sumatra, Madagascar and Java. Ylang ylang is ideal for balancing the skin's natural oil secretion. Saturate a cotton ball with a base oil, then add two to three drops of this essential oil to the ball. Use the cotton ball to spread the oil on your hands, paying special attention to your driest areas. Use sparingly, as excessive use may lead to nausea and headaches. Ylang yang oil should not be used on sensitive skin, or on skin affected by dermatitis or an inflammatory skin condition.
Rosewood is native to the Brazilian rain forests, and has also been found as far east as India. The oil stimulates cell and tissue regeneration in skin, rejuvenating dry and wrinkled skin. As with other essential oils, pick your preferred base-carrier oil, then add three to four drops of rosewood oil per tablespoon. Massage into your hands daily to help revitalize dry skin.
Jasmine oil is another scent suggested to aid in lifting moods and calming minds. Jasmine oil is also known to be an aphrodisiac, which is perhaps why it's found in so many perfumes. One of the best beauty uses for jasmine, however, is to increase elasticity in dry and mature skin. Use it with a base oil and massage into dry hands.
Working With Essential Oils
It is important to dilute essential oils with base or carrier oils, as undiluted oils may irritate skin. You can also use oils to make an aromatic scrub to help exfoliate your dry hands. Mix two oils, such as jasmine and lavender, with a base oil like almond, then blend the mixture with enough oatmeal to make a paste. Massage the mixture on both sides of your hands, and rinse your hands after five minutes. Moisturize with your favorite blend of essential and base oil.
Essential oils should not be used by pregnant women without consulting with a gynecologist, as some essential oils can trigger early contractions. Additionally, many essential oils should not be used on the skin of babies and children under the age of two, and on the skin of nursing mothers. Check with your physician or pediatrician before incorporating essential oils into a skin-care regime.
- University of Maryland Medical Center Complementary and Alternative Medicine Guide: Lavender
- Thenakedchemist.com: Essential Oils for Dry Skin
- Aromatherapy: Applications and Inhalations; Jeanne Rose
- OilsandPlants.com: Lavendar
- OilsandPlants.com: Ylang Ylang
- OilsandPlants.com: Rosewood
- OilsandPlants.com: Jasmine