Have you ever thought about skincare as being food for your skin? There’s so much in common… both are a feast for your senses. First there’s the look, we eat with our eyes as much as our tummy’s.. at least that’s what all the famous TV chef’s tell me! Then it needs to smell awesome, like sometimes actually even better than it tastes #Coffee #FruitTea. Finally, after the tummy rumbling wait it hits our mouths like a taste sensation and lends all its goodness to us #HowKind.
Skincare is pretty much the same sizzle, being slightly magpie like in personality, yes-to attracted to all things sparkly and yes-to being a hoarder (no! to the stealing of sparkly things, just to clarify *wink wink*), I am first drawn in with my eyes. Then initially it’s all about the application, the smell, the skin experience. Lastly after a couple of weeks use, we KNOW whether it’s a winner for skin.
WHY CAN ESSENTIAL OILS IRRITATE SKIN?
Essential oils are like a double expresso. You only need a little bit of them to go from zero to hero. Think of a Eucalyptus steam room, so yummy #TakeMeThereNow, they’ll literally be just a few drops of the oil into the steamer to get the whole room singing of Eucalyptus.
So when it comes to essential oils, you don’t need a lot of them to have a big effect. A bit like a diamond ring! If you have sensitive skin and you grab a cleanser or moisturiser that packs a punch when it comes to essential oil juices, it could be an expresso too far for your skin.
Step away from the green-hulk of the fragranced products and towards the ones that scent like a dainty fairy sprinkling magic dust.
2. Alcoholic in nature
They like the bottle, well kinda. Essential oils are basically just really ‘evaporate-able’ juices. That’s the reason they smell so great, they only need a little of your body heat to fly off your skin like a streamer off a fan. What that means is they tend to have ingredients in them that are alcohol based.
Alcohol is really ‘evaporate-able’ if you put it on your skin (like Vodka, but really we wouldn’t waste it like that ey!) it’ll cool skin like you just chucked an ice cube on there. That’s because it’s flying off your skin and packing your heat with it. #HappyHolidays
As well as taking away from your skin, alcohol based ingredients can ‘cut’ through your skins natural sebum layer like a boat through water. Disrupting your skins natural protection causes in-balance which can cause irritation #DominoEffect.
3. Some are just plain old irritants
Have you ever tried a peppermint or even a minty lipbalm? Did you get the tingles? The feeling of tiny little pin pricks like you’ve ended up in the dermatologists chair asking for a vampire facial. Well that’s because peppermint is a mild skin irritant.
WHICH ESSENTIAL OILS TO AVOID IF YOUR SKIN IS EASILY IRRITATED
There is a list, but as I know you are all super busy, multi-tasking, social media hopping pros, I thought I’d shorten it to a quick cheat sheet of general fragrances to avoid.
Citrus and Mint. Simples.
Now that’s the kinda cheat sheet that wins you an A+!
Citrus scents can be anything from lemon or orange, to Bergamot and Lemongrass. You probably don’t need to know those to tell it’s a citrus smoothly, they are pretty ‘fresh’ n ‘punchy’ scents.
Minty essential oils are the trusty peppermint, Eucalyptus and Spear-A-mint. Just think After-Eight mint and you’ll pick out a minty mix like it was Rudolf hiding in a pack of reindeer.
COULD YOU BE ALLERGIC?
Sometimes it’s not irritation, turns out your allergic. Think of it like a vegetable you HATE, you eat it and grimace for a while, then you end up DETESTING THAT TASTE and can pick it out even if it’s in a curry sauce #Aniseed, your face curls up like a super detector.
This is what happens to the skin when you’re allergic, you might be ok using something for a while, then, the more you use it, suddenly your skin waves a white flag, holds its hands up and SCREAMS.
Most fragrances, whether they are natural essential oils or lab made ‘n complex beauties have an amount of what’s called *science-y word alert* ALLERGEN. That means if you use enough of it, you can make yourself allergic.
Have a peak at your beauty bottles (shampoo, conditioner, moisturiser), your 98% likely to see at the end of the ingredient list names like ‘Linalool’, ‘ Limonene’ and ‘Citral’. These guys are ‘sitting on the naughty step’ of your ingredient list. They get special attention as they are allergens. They aren’t put in their on purpose, you’ve probably guessed that already, they are part of which ever fragrance is in the bottle. #DrJekyll&MrHyde
Myrrh, Sandalwood and Patchouli are all essential oils that have zilch, zero, nil-point amount of allergens in ‘em. Look out for these as fragrances if you’re super-sensitive.
Chamomile, Fennel, Ginger, Nutmeg, Rosemary and Parsley are picks for oils LOW in allergens. Just look out for these guys ‘starring’ on the front cover of your beauty products.
An easy screening tip for busybees, most citrus smelling fragrances, so that’s things like orange, lemon ‘n grapefruit are VERY high, like crazy, crazy high in allergens. If you have sensitive skin, steer your beautiful b-hind away from citrus temptation.
THE ESSENTIAL OIL LOW-DOWN FOR SENSITVE SKIN
AVOID. Anything with a Minty or Citrus smell. Flip that lid, get a good ol’ sniff and put back if your nose siren bleeps mint or citrus alert.
GO FOR SUBTLE. The stronger, the more likely it’ll mess with your skin. Sensitive skin just has a lower tolerance for stuff FULLSTOP. Think of sensitive skin in the way your best bud knows JUST how to wind you up, there’s no hiding its weaknesses. #FullDisclosure.