Cooling Peppermint Essential Oil – for Sun Burn and After Sun Care.

sun burn treatment after sun gel

I once had a peppermint bath, once being the appropriate word here, it was at a friends house and there was a bottle of bubble bath in her bathroom that had peppermint essential oil listed as an ingredient, happy to have found an essential oil bubble bath, I poured some in and lay down into the bubbles. A very strange sensation then came over me. It was a cold tingling sensation, the water was nice and hot but I had this cool feeling all over and it felt really weird, I have to admit I really didn’t like it and haven’t used peppermint in a bath blend since.

However, this cooling effect of peppermint essential oil is extremely useful in many other circumstances, it’s refreshing in tooth pastes, and tingling in lip balms but it really stands out as an effective ingredient in aftersun lotion and for treating sun burn.

This is a simple recipe for a very effective, cooling gel for sun burn. It is blended with lavender, which is very effective for treating serious burns and pain relieving (it is actually used in hospital burns units), as well as German chamomile which has a powerful anti-inflammatory action. These three essential oils blended in a base of aloe vera gel which is hydrating, soothing & helps heal wounds, make for a powerful treatment for sunburn.

After Sun & Sun Burn Gel (2.5% blend strength)

peppermint essential oil for sun burn and after sun

Ingredients:

50ml aloe vera gel

5 drops peppermint essential oil*

15 drops lavender essential oil

5 drops German/blue chamomile essential oil – you can leave this out if it’s just for after-sun, and replace it with Roman chamomile essential oil which is more gentle, the scent is more pleasing and less intense.

Instructions: mix them all together and apply to the affected area.

Cooling Foot Gel

That cooling sensation is also really welcome for tired & weary feet,  you can use the same recipe above as a cooling foot gel.

Refreshing Shower Gel

For a cool, refreshing shower, just add a few drops of peppermint essential oil to your shower gel – see my blog: Blending everyday products with Essential Oils for how many drops to use.

It’s also a great digestive essential oil but I will talk about that in another post… in the mean time enjoy the cooling effects of peppermint oil.

*Caution ~ Do not use peppermint essential oil if cardiac fibrillation. Maximum blend strength 3%. Avoid use with babies.

You may also like to read A Pot of Fresh Mint Tea with the benefits of Essential Oils and Soothing Chamomile for Skin Conditions.

Essential Oils on Holiday

essential oils on holiday

Inspired by the sprinkling of sunshine over the UK this week, it’s time to share some summertime essential oils, essential for taking on holiday.

Essential oils come in very small bottles so they are a practical addition to your luggage, even if you’re only taking cabin bags. However, it’s still worth considering which are the most useful ones to take with you, so this blog is to help you weedle it down to just a few essentials that will come in most handy.

The main issues or symptoms that are commonly experienced when travelling are: around the journey itself; skin care; insects and first aid, so here I have listed some specific symptoms, some appropriate essential oils and simple, practical ways to use them.

Travel

essential oils on holiday

Travel sickness -cardamom, spearmint, chamomile (roman*)

Jetlag – peppermint, lavender

Anxiety (fear of flying) – neroli, lavender

How to use – make a blend in a ‘rolette’ bottle (see how below) to roll across your wrists and tummy, or sprinkle a couple of drops on a tissue to keep in a pocket or in your bag and gently breathe in as a preventative measure or at the time of feeling the symptoms.

Skin Care

After sun skin care – lavender, palmarosa, chamomile (roman*)

Sun burn – lavender, chamomile (german/blue*), peppermint

How to use – blend in a base of aloe vera gel or add to your aftersun lotion, see my previous blog for Blending every day products – how many drops should I use?

Insects

bee flower yellow

Insect repellent – lemongrass, citronella, geranium, lavender or tea tree -use one or a combination of those you like the most.

How to use – blend in a base of aloe vera gel, add to your aftersun lotion, (see my previous blog for How many drops should I use?) or make a blend in a rolette bottle (see how below). Some of these essential oils combined would double as a perfume – I like geranium, lavender & lemongrass.

Insect bites – chamomile (german/blue*), lavender

How to use – apply directly to the affected area or as a blend in a ‘rolette’ bottle (see how below).

First Aid

Lavender

white lavender

If you only take one essential oil on holiday make it lavender, it’s the most useful essential oil for most minor first aid situations.

It’s antiseptic, anti microbial & cleansing so ideal for first aid, it is particularly effective on burns, so great for skin care and after sun, it’s ‘insecticidal’ so will deter insects and is very relaxing and calming so it helps with easing travel sickness and tension.

It’s also nice to sprinkle a little in hotel rooms if they don’t smell lovely, especially on the pillow.

For more details on how to use lavender essential oil, see my previous blog on ‘Lavender, Essential First Aid’ .

Rolette Bottles

Here’s how to prepare a rolette bottle:

Using a ‘rolette’ bottle (as pictured) is very practical as you can keep it in a pocket or handbag and it is easy to use. It comprises of a small glass bottle (10 or 15ml), a roller ball top (that releases a little oil across the skin when you pass it over), and a cap.

rolette bottle

Instructions

Fill the bottle with a base oil eg. olive oil, then drop appropriate essential oils directly into the bottle, if you have a 10ml bottle, then you will need between 2 and 10 drops of essential oil, see my previous blog for more details on How many drops should I use? Fix the roller ball cap and lid and give it a shake to disperse the oils evenly.  Make a label for the bottle so you don’t forget what it contains.

Holiday tip: Rather than take bottles of essential oils you could prepare the blends that you are likely to need in rolette bottles and take these with you instead.

chamomile & blends

* Chamomile roman or blue/german – There are two types of chamomile essential oil: roman chamomile is more gentle, and german/blue chamomile, which is deep blue in colour, is more powerfully anti-inflammatory in action. I have recommended the german/blue chamomile for sunburn and insect bites, but the roman chamomile is also suitable in each instance.

Travel Tips: here’s a blog to help you in general with how to pack your suitcase: ‘Travel Suitcase – What to Pack?

Patch Testing Essential Oils for Sensitive Skin

Essential oils are highly concentrated and can sometimes cause irritation and are generally diluted before using them on your skin.

Even when diluted essential oils can cause reactions to more sensitive skin types and so carrying out a patch test before using the oil in certain circumstances is recommended.

When to carry out a patch test?

It is worth carrying out a patch test before using essential oils on your skin in the following situations:

  • if you have very sensitive skin,
  • if you are generally prone to allergies,
  • if you have very young or aged skin,
  • if your skin is diseased or injured.

How to carry out a patch test:

  • Mix a very small amount of the blend you intend to use. (See blog post on blending for safe blend strengths).
  • Using the inside of the forearm, apply a couple drops of your blend to the pad of a band aid and keep the bandage on the skin. After 48 hours remove the bandage and check for irritation.
  • If the skin under or around the bandage becomes red, swollen, itchy, or develops blisters, that is a reaction and you should avoid skin exposure to the blend you tested. 
  • You can remove the bandage as soon as you become aware of a reaction, you do not need to leave it on for the full 48 hours.

Note: It is generally accepted that lavender and tea tree essential oils can be used neat on the skin, and they are very useful to apply to minor first aid situations, like small burns, cuts, spots, bites, but again it is worth carrying out a patch test if you have any of the above mentioned conditions.

Diluting essential oils in a base oil (eg. Olive oil, Almond oil) is ideal as they themselves have many nourishing properties that your skin can also benefit from.  Generally they are full of vitamins and fatty acids that help keep skin healthy and vital.  They also help the essential oils absorb into your skin more easily.

You do not need to dilute essential oils when using them in a burner, diffusor or for inhalation, in fact using a base oil in a diffusor may damage it.

Gargling with Myrrh Essential Oil

After recently blogging about Myrrh essential oil and how amazing it is for massaging the wrists, I am now presented with a new opportunity to use it to support myself.  I’ve come down with a very sore throat, and have been using it in a mouth gargle to help soothe and disinfect my mouth.

Mouth Gargle Recipe:

A mouth gargle is so simple to prepare.

All you need is a trusty egg cup (or any little container to hold enough water for a mouth full),

some water,

and one or two drops of essential oil.

Instructions:

Fill the egg cup or small container with water, and add 1-2 drops of essential oil, then take the water into your mouth, and gargle for as long as you can.  Do not swallow.  I usually rinse my mouth with water afterwards as the taste isn’t that good.

You can also use lavender or tea tree essential oil in place of myrrh.  Or you could try one drop of myrrh and one drop of lavender.

I chose to use myrrh essential oil because it is very good for oral care.  It is antimicrobial, anti-septic, anti-inflammatory, anti-catarrhal and an expectorant so very useful for coughs and sore throats.

You can use this same recipe for a natural mouth wash after cleaning your teeth, and peppermint would be a refreshing essential oil to use here.

Myrrh is also very useful for other oral issues such as mouth ulcers, bad breath, laryngitis,  gum disease and oral thrush because it is anti-fungal, and can be used as a gargle or mouth rinse to help with these conditions.

Lavender and Chamomile for Hay fever

white lavender
I had a lovely email from a friend last week who was inspired by a previous blog (‘Lavender, Essential First Aid) to use lavender essential oil when suffering symptoms of hay fever.  I asked if I could post it here since it was so timely for me, as I’m sure it will be for others, so thank you Catherine Jones for sharing your experience.
‘I felt to share how lavender oil is helping me right now, as it has taken me by surprise.  I have hay fever, and so have very itchy eyes, an itchy & runny nose, and my face is generally congested and reactive all over. I don’t have any drugs yet, and last night I felt to try dabbing some cool wet cotton wool on my eyes to calm them down. I added a drop or so of lavender oil, and it made such a difference. I used it a few hours ago, pretty much all over my face, but paying attention to the area around my eyes, and across my cheeks, and down the gall bladder lines from nose to chin. It was amazing. I often use lavender in things, but it had never occurred to me that it might ease an allergy. Right now I am not sneezing, nor itching, and I am breathing freely. ‘
Chamomile
Her message inspired me, as I was experiencing similar symptoms at the time, and I have since tried the same technique using roman chamomile essential oil, as it is specifically good for allergies and particulary soothing and calming.  For more details on chamomile essential oil see ‘Soothing Chamomile for Skin Conditions’.

Lavender, Essential First Aid

lavender rows

I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather just recently, and decided to write this post after realising I had used lavender essential oil three times for supporting myself when feeling unwell in one morning.  When I’m run down, my glands generally start swelling up, I get achy and tired and sometimes a headache.  On this morning I applied some lavender oil to my tender glands on my neck, gargled with a drop of lavender oil, to ease my sore throat, and rubbed a little around the top of my neck that was aching a lot.  Later that day when carelessly getting up off the floor and scratching my knuckle with my own fingernail, I applied a drop to the cut as an anti-septic and to help the pain.  Since it was in an awkward place, I then applied a plaster, but put a drop of lavender oil on the padded section first.

I suspect that I’m renowned by my friends and family for saying “you should put some lavender on that” if I happen to see them with a cut, burn or spot, or if they mention an array of other ailments.  Sometimes they will roll their eyes, but sometimes they will try out my advice, and give me positive feedback, along with a little surprise.

Lavender stripes

Lavender really is the most useful of all essential oils, for one thing, you can use it neat on your skin which makes it easy, quick and practical to use which is ideal for little accidents.  Some of the reasons that lavender is helpful in these situations is because it is very antiseptic, pain relieving and cleansing.

Here is a list of common minor complaints that lavender can be really handy and effective for.  Please note that for anything more than a minor condition, you should see your doctor or seek further professional advice.

Spots – apply a drop after cleansing morning and evening, do not pick or squeeze, you can use cotton wool pads or buds to apply.

Burns – extremely supportive for helping to heal burns, apply after you have held the burn under cold water for 10 minutes. Continue neat application or a mix of lavender essential oil and aloe vera gel as this will help to heal the skin and reduce scarring. Lavender is actually used to treat burns in hospitals so it is perfect for the job.

Ear Ache – roll a small piece of cotton wool up, apply 1 drop of lavender oil, and place just inside your ear, do not push it deep into the ear, and remember to remove it.

Head Ache – people often apply a drop of lavender to their temples and gently massage with their fingertips.  I would suggest this, but if you feel the ache somewhere specific like around the back of the neck or in the centre of your forehead then I would apply the oil and gently massage this area instead.

Insect Bites and Stings – apply 1 drop to the affected area.

Cuts, Grazes, Scratches -any little nicks to the skin – apply neat to the affected area, as it has a cleansing action and acts as an antiseptic.  If it needs a plaster, you can put a drop of lavender on to the soft part that goes over the wound before applying.

Veruccas – apply 1 drop of lavender oil to the effected area once or twice a day, using a cotton wool pad or bud.

Warts – apply 1 drop of lavender oil to the effected area once or twice a day, using a cotton wool pad or bud.

Athletes Foot – you can either mix 1 drop of lavender into enough skin cream or lotion to massage into your foot. Do this every day until clear.  Alternatively, make up a batch to use in advance so if you have 100ml of cream/lotion add 250 drops of lavender (this is quite strong so only use it for the athlete’s foot).

Fungal nail infections – apply 1 drop to the effected nail, ensure that it also covers the skin just below the nail, as this is where the new nail is growing from, and you want to be treating this part too.

Genital Thrush/ Candida – for females, put one drop of lavender essential oil on a panty pad and attach to underwear as you would during your cycle.  Change it regularly, applying a drop to each new pad.  I have had some great feedback when suggesting this and it is very simple and non-invasive.

Oral Thrush/ Candida – use an egg cup full of water, add 1 drop of lavender to it, and gargle with it in your mouth for as long as possible (at least 2 minutes) but do not swallow.  Do this 2 to 4 times a day.

You can also gargle with lavender for the following conditions: Halitosis, Sore throats, Tonsillitis, Gum disease, Ulcers, when losing your voice, and for general oral hygiene (once or twice a day after brushing your teeth). For details on how to gargle with essential oils see my blog on ‘Gargling with Myrrh’.

Lavender essential oil really is an essential addition to your first aid kit!

white lavender

Feel free to share any first aid tips or uses you have for lavender.

Note: Tea tree is very similar in action to lavender, and it is also oil you can use neat on your skin, so you can use tea tree in place of lavender for any of the above remedies, however my preference is for lavender as the smell is less medicinal and less aggressive.  I would recommend lavender over tea tree in the case of minor burns.

Caution: There are many types of lavender oil on the market, so please make sure you use a good quality product, from a trusted supplier that is actually pure, undiluted lavender essential oil with the botanical or latin name ‘Lavandula angustifolia’.  Some other types of lavender oil may be either too harsh for using neat on the skin, or may just be a lavender scented product made from synthetic chemicals, which would not have the healing benefits and may irritate the area instead.

Click here to buy Lavender Essential Oil.