Garam tel ki malish or champi have never let us down. From being our dadi’s most reliable trick to get rid of a headache to our own version of weekend self-love in the form of a massage, oils are an elixir that is great for your skin, your body, your senses, your wellness, and your mind. But, are all oils the same?

In conversation with TC46, The Blue Pond founder and certified aromatherapist Sakshi Malhotra shares everything you need to know about using essential oils in your day-to-day life for health and wellness.

1. Essential oils are nature’s powerhouse

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Essential oils are mother nature’s powerhouse for natural skincare, therapy, and wellness. Popularly understood as the aromatic essence of the flowers, essential oils can come from the barks, roots, green twigs, leaves, or fruits. They could even come from the rind of fruits. The bitter orange tree has three different essential oils from the same tree – the rind of the bitter orange fruit, petitgrain extracted from the leaves, and neroli which comes from the flower tops. Essential oils are obtained through distillation (via steam or water) or mechanical methods, such as cold pressing.

Essential oils have one the first mentions in 3000BC in the Egyptian civilization, where frankincense and myrrh were heard of. Their benefits have been discovered and rediscovered over time. Their healing benefits are immense, ranging from treating specific skin issues to overall well-being and medicinal benefits even, helping in conditions like depression and insomnia. 

With their anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and soothing properties, essential oils are used for many skincare concerns. With properties ranging from collagen boosting, skin lightening, anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, enriched with vitamin C, Omega 5 fatty acids, essential oils help in combating many skin issues as well as maintaining general skin upkeep.  

2. Essential oils should be diluted with carrier oils

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Carrier oils, as the name suggests, help the essential oils to penetrate better into the skin. They usually complement the essential oils and enhance their overall effectiveness. Also, pure essential oils are highly potent and should not be used without dilution because they can irritate your skin. 

As a general rule, you should keep concentration levels of essential oils below 5 per cent. Most carrier oils are unscented or lightly scented and don’t interfere with essential oils therapeutic properties. They may be used alone or with other oils to nourish your skin.

Patch tests allow you to see how your skin reacts to a particular oil after dilution before you perform a full application. This is carried out on the forearm skin to test for rashes or irritation.

Some essential oils like chamomile eucalyptus, lavender, tea tree (unoxidized), rose, sandalwood can be used without dilution after a patch test and under expert supervision. But the safest way is to use carrier oils for dilution.

3. Essential oils work best when included in a night routine

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You can add essential oils to your daily skincare routine. Using oils at night is usually ideal because your skin, like your body, is in reparative and restorative mode at night. Also, because you’re not going anywhere at night, the oil has more time to penetrate your skin and give you the full benefits.

In some cases, like with certain citrus essential oils like bergamot, bitter orange, grapefruit, cold-pressed lemon, and cold-pressed lime, photosensitivity is a concern. These oils may cause irritation and rashes when exposed to the sun.

The Blue Pond has The Night Ritual Oil – TREPHO as well. This luxurious blend beautifully combines the power of the rare neroli oil, known for its regenerative properties, grapeseed which is a collagen booster, chamomile that fights blemishes, rose and jojoba for hydration and antioxidant properties. Enriched with vitamin C, it works wonderfully to brighten the skin and effectively on pigmentation, age spots and wrinkles. And as recommended, it should be used as a nightly ritual because the blend is perfect to help your skin repair itself after it has endured daily wear and tear.

4. Different essential oils work for different skin types

For dry skin: Frankincense soothes dry skin, assists skin cell regeneration and vitality, and heals irritations. Chamomile is a soothing oil that works well in the dry winter. Jasmine not only smells divine but is also packed with anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties, which makes it excellent for calming dry, irritated skin. Rose oil calms and soothes dry skin as an anti-inflammatory. 

For normal skin: Whether your skin is dry or oily, geranium oil helps balance things out. It has astringent-like qualities that tone and firm the skin, and its anti-inflammatory properties may help minimize redness, dry and irritated skin. Lavender soothes irritated skin, supports healing and overall skin health.

For oily skin: Jojoba oil is the perfect carrier oil for oily skin as it tricks the skin into stopping the overproduction of sebum. Tea tree, eucalyptus, and lavender oils have powerful antibacterial properties that will soothe and treat pimples. Frankincense is a winner for oily skin. A fantastic natural astringent, it helps regulate sebum and stop your face from looking like a hot mess by removing excess oil.

For sensitive skin: Essential oils like lavender, frankincense, and sandalwood are recommended for sensitive skin.

5. Essential oils can help with acne, pigmentation and wrinkles

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The oils best known to treat acne are those which have antimicrobial properties like tea tree oil, frankincense oil, and clary sage. Lavender and chamomile work effectively on dry skin. Even jasmine oil helps in keeping the moisture intact for dry skin. Carrot seed is a natural collagen booster and lavender is very effective for pigmentation. 

Elixir by The Blue Pond, a set of 4 key organic essential oils – lavender, jasmine, carrot seed, and frankincense, is great for use. These oils need to be diluted with an appropriate carrier oil like jojoba, almond, or olive oil.

6. Essential oils can help boost collagen, improve skin elasticity and rejuvenate the skin

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CLEO Anti-ageing blend by The Blue Pond is a luxurious combination of macadamia, jojoba, frankincense, pomegranate, and lavender. It helps boost and rejuvenate the skin. The blend has perfect proportions to boost collagen, firm, tone, and tighten skin for a more youthful-looking complexion. 

Oils like lavender, carrot seed, pomegranate, frankincense, neroli, and chamomile are essential oils whose various yet specific properties work wonders on the skin.

7. Essential oils can be used to manage pain and stress

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Eucalyptus oil, hemp seed oil, wintergreen oil are the frontrunners in stress and pain management. Other oils like cinnamon, black pepper oil, sesame seed oil contain many therapeutic benefits.

8. Aromatherapists use essential oils for their therapeutic properties

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One can consume essential oils in 3 ways – topically, inhalation or ingestion. While most of the oils can be used topically or through inhalation, a few from the vegetable and spices category may also be ingested. You shouldn’t use essential oils internally unless you’ve undergone advanced training and certification or are acting under the guidance of a trained professional.

The Blue Pond recommends its essential oils and blends in the topical category as these are pure and organic.

9. You can usually verify the purity of essential oils by checking the label

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When you ask if the oil has been GC and MS (Gas Chromatography and Mass Spectrometry ) tested, and the brand doesn’t have an answer, it’s a red flag. For organic skincare products, there are two kinds of certifications you need to look out for – Ecocert and Onecert.

For example, all the essential oils from The Blue Pond are Onecert Certified Organic. In the blends, it is their utmost effort to maintain all ingredients as organic with the replacement of an ingredient or two from the pure natural category, if or when any oil is hard to find in the organic category. 

10. Essential oils can cause allergic reactions and have side-effects

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Essential oils do contain potential allergens. But most people have no issue with pure, organic, and unadulterated essential oils and find them extremely therapeutic. If you get a rash or irritation from essential oil, one needs to splash cold water and moisturize the area frequently for the condition to settle. 

Pregnant women should not be using essential oils. Essential oils need to be kept far away from children and pets. Excess use of essential oils may lead to health hazards. One needs to choose their essential oils wisely and not use them indiscriminately. These are natural yet naturally potent ingredients. Whenever in doubt, pre-diluted ready-to-use blends are a better bet.