Read by Anne Thestrup Meimbresse

Pharmacist, Varde Pharmacy

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What are essential oils?

Essential oils are also called aromatic oils and fragrance oils. They are concentrated, aromatic plant extracts that have been used for centuries for various purposes, including cosmetics.

The oil is obtained by steam distillation of flowers, stems, leaves, bark, fruits and roots.

After distillation, the result is a highly concentrated essential oil that has the characteristic odour and properties of the plant from which it is extracted.

What can you use essential oils for?

Essential oils can be used for many purposes in cosmetics, wellness and home use.

Read on below for concrete examples.

Aroma therapy

An essential oil contains the true essence of the plant it comes from. This includes not only the aroma, but also the healing and therapeutic properties of the plant.

A good example is aromatherapy, an ancient practice in which essential oils are used by either applying the oil to the skin or by inhaling it. The aim of aromatherapy is to use the highly concentrated, liquid extracts from plants to promote physical and mental wellbeing - and to counteract conditions such as stress, anxiety and depression, among others.

Typically, aromatherapy is carried out by an aromatherapist, but if you know the oils well enough, you can try it yourself at home.

For example, if you need a relaxing and calming evening, try Australian Bodycare's Tea Tree Oil with Lavender - lavender is known to relieve stress, anxiety and irritability, among other things.

Home scent

Essential oils can add a lovely scent to your home, for example in the form of scented sticks or scented candles. Just like aromatherapy, you can use the oil to spread a mild and pleasant scent in your home.

Cosmetics

Essential oils are absorbed through the respiratory tract and through the skin and mucous membranes, where they awaken the senses. That's why you'll often find them in lotions and other hair and skin care products, making use of their fragrant and energising properties.

A good tip: Add 2-3 drops of essential oil to your bath or shower and experience its healing properties. For example, use the oil with lavender for a relaxing and calming effect in the bath.

You can also update your daily skincare routine and add a few drops of Tea Tree Oil with Lemon Myrtle to your skin cream for an anti-itch and healing effect.

Fresh, fragrant laundry

You can use essential oils in your laundry by adding a few drops to your bed linen or workout clothes, for example. This is a good alternative to fabric softener if you want to avoid the many substances that fabric softener contains.

Of course, if you can't tolerate perfume, don't use it because essential oils can still cause allergic reactions even if they are natural.

How do you use essential oils?

The most important rule when using essential oils is that you should never use them undiluted.

The oil should be mixed with carrier essences such as vegetable oil (e.g. almond oil) before applying it to the skin or inhaling it. This provides a more appropriate concentration and reduces the risk of irritation and allergies.

Need tips on how to use the oil? Below are three good examples.

1. Foot baths and bubble baths

Do you need a relaxing bath? Or maybe you'd like to pamper your feet with a foot bath? Then add a few drops of the pure oil to your bath to freshen the water and cleanse your skin more deeply.

You can also use Tea Tree Oil for skin problems, which is anti-bacterial and effective against pimples, blemishes and skin problems.

2. Minimising skin problems

Do you suffer from blemished skin and acne? Then you could benefit from lemon essential oil. As well as invigorating the senses with a lovely, tart and refreshing scent, the oil is also suitable for blemished skin.

For example, Tea Tree Oil with Lemon Myrtle is effective against pimples and blemishes. It also has an antipruritic effect, with Tea Tree Oil's antibacterial properties making it suitable for insect bites, cuts and other skin problems.

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3. Aroma therapy

Aromatherapy aims to stimulate the sense of smell and the part of the brain that controls emotions, memory and stress levels to improve mood, promote healing and reduce stress and inflammation. And you can do this in many ways.

For example, you can inhale the oil directly from the bottle or through your nostrils out of a cloth to clear your sinuses and promote good breathing. Or you can mix a few drops with a massage oil for a therapeutic treatment for body and mind.

You can also mix a few drops with a base oil of your choice (such as coconut or almond oil) and apply directly to your skin. For example, dab Tea Tree Oil essential oil directly onto a pimple or insect bite to relieve itching and irritation.

What essential oils are good for what?

Each oil has its own unique aroma and therapeutic properties for the body and mind. Below you can find out more about the popular essential oils and their effects

Lavender

Lavender is one of the most popular essential oils. Its lovely scent can help relieve stress, anxiety and mental fatigue. It also helps with panic attacks and depression, as well as promoting better sleep.

For example, try Tea Tree Oil with Lavender from Australian Bodycare for a relaxing and calming effect.

Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus has an invigorating scent that can help lift your mood.

It is also good for opening the airways if you have a blocked nose due to a cold or flu. Boil water in a large pot with a few drops and remove the pot from the heat after a few minutes. You can then place a towel over your head and inhale the vapour from the pot for 5 to 10 minutes.

The eucalyptus vapour will relieve nasal congestion, allowing you to breathe normally again. Eucalyptus oil from Australian Bodycare with Tea Tree Oil also helps to keep insects at bay and is good for disinfecting wounds.

Lemon Myrtle

Lemon Myrtle har antiseptiske egenskaber og er god til at rense luften i rummet. Olien fra Australian Bodycare med Tea Tree Oil virker opfriskende, hvorfor du med fordel kan bruge den i hjemmet til forfriskende og energigivende aromaterapi.

Rose geranium

Rose geranium has a lovely calming scent that can help reduce stress. If you suffer from acne caused by a hormonal imbalance, you can benefit from using Tea Tree Oil with Rose geranium, as Tea Tree Oil is effective against pimples and acne.

Mint

Mint has a cooling, energising and stimulating scent. It can help relieve headaches and promote clearer thinking.

If you've had a bad day, add a few drops of Tea Tree Oil with Mint to your bath and get revitalising energy from the oil's therapeutic properties that will calm your thoughts and clear your mind.

FAQ

Are essential oils dangerous?

Essential oils are not dangerous if you dilute them with almond oil or other base oils. Doing so will bring you down to the recommended dose, which removes the hazard label. At the same time, you avoid allergic reactions - because even though it is a natural product, it can still trigger allergies if not diluted.

What do the different essential oils do?

The effects of essential oils are diverse. They can be used for everything from relaxation and de-stressing to purifying the air in the room.

What are the differences between aroma oils and essential oils?

Essential oils and essential oils are two different names for the same product.

Which essential oil should I choose?

The choice of essential oil depends on your purpose, because there are different kinds. For example, you can relieve stress with lavender oil or open the airways and lift your spirits with eucalyptus.

Are essential oils helpful?

Essential oils have many health benefits, but it is important to be careful and use them wisely. Never use them in their pure form on the body.

Can you put essential oils in the washing machine?

Essential oils can be used with the washing powder in the washing machine as an alternative to fabric softener. It is recommended that you wash at a minimum of 40 degrees centigrade, as at lower temperatures the oils will not dissolve properly.