Essential Oils of Flowers, Fruits and Roots for Exceptional Home Made Skin Care Products
Essential oils have long been treasured ingredients in skin care preparations. You’ll find lavender, chamomile, tea tree and mint oils in all sorts of soaps, shampoos and lotions. New technology is creating a greater palette of organic oils to work from, with profound therapeutic action on the skin. Here’s a review of these “new” oils, and how you might combine them to create exceptional “super extract” for your home made skin care preparations.
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New technology is producing something very much akin to traditional essential oils, but perhaps even better for certain applications. From non-polar molecules, natural seed oils are produced, “favorite fats are from plants.” Now, there is a process called supercritical carbon dioxide distillation. Export that way but at a lower temperature.
The result will be more complex oils and derived from a variety of plants, the oil has greater potential. Some plants which could not processed using steam distillation produce an incredibly healing oil using CO2 distillation.
The CO2 oil that will most likely bring a smile to the experienced natural skin care practitioner is calendula. Until very recently, this has only been available as an infused oil, where the flowers have been soaked in another “fixed” oil such as olive. The olive oil, over a period of weeks, absorbs the therapeutic constituents of the flower, and is then used as a skin care ingredient. No more! Now one only need add a few drops of calendula “supercritical CO2 extract” to their recipes.
Chamomile extract is a very popular skin care ingredient, and a carbon dioxide distillation of German “blue” chamomile is available. It has a lovely blue-green color, unique among all these others which vary between red and orange. The color indicates the presence of a particularly potent anti-inflammatory constituent (which turns blue under the heat of steam distillation). The aroma is pleasingly cool and sweet.
In recent years, sea buckthorn berry oil has become a very popular ingredient in aroma-therapeutic skin care. Its potent mix of healing and regenerative constituents has resulted in it being hailed as the “miracle” ingredient, healing for every possible skin condition. It has even been the subject of research, noting its ability to protect the skin from the sun’s rays when applied before going outside. It can quench free-radicals produce from already having been in the sun as well. Its sweet, fruity aroma and berry-red color are indicative of its high concentration of antioxidants and other nutrients.
Very similar in the respect that it’s distilled from a fruit is rosehip CO2. The cold pressed oil of rosehip seed was made an exceptionally popular skin care ingredient in the last decade, with much research touting its ability to prevent skin aging and reduce the appearance of wrinkles. Now, the CO2 distillation is from the entire fruit of the wild rose, denser in antioxidants and skin-healing nutrients than the oil pressed from the seed. Its aroma is complex and earthy.
Finally we get to the roots: carrot root extract. The carrot has been praised for its richness of nutrients for ages, and this extract concentrates them for topical use. With its earthy aroma and deep orange color, carrot root is clearly high in carotenoids. Its color being clearly different from rosehip and sea buckthorn indicates the its nutrient range is slightly different, and combining them would create a complement of regenerative molecules. It is thought to stimulate the production of new skin cells, as well as the production of the skin’s natural oils.
So there’s our list of super CO2 extracts for skin care. Now how do you go about using them? The crucial thing to understand is that despite their mild nature (you could apply them to your skin undiluted without causing irritation), they’re really very, very concentrated plant medicines. You’ll want to keep their concentrations in your formulas below a total of five percent, just as with essential oils. It’s like these are the vitamins and minerals of the overall “food” for your skin, that will be primarily made up of essential oils and fats pressed from seeds.
To measure for blending, it’s best to use a measuring pipette or dropper with graduation marks — you can estimate the number of drops per milliliter, but it’s best to have done this first with a measuring tool. To make a one percent concentration, use one-third of a milliliter of CO2 extract for each ounce of your final formula. If you’re making four ounces of a blend, you’d use 1 and 1/3rd milliliters of extract for a one percent concentration. You can estimate there are 25 drops in one milliliter, using 8 or 9 drops of extract for 1/3rd of a milliliter, but again, it’s best to use a tool designed to measure liquid in these small amounts.