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Essential Oils and Wellness: What you Need to Know

Essential Oils and Wellness: What you Need to Know

We all want to feel our best. Most of us take a multifaceted approach to making that a reality. We work out, drink enough water, get ample sleep each night, and eat healthy. But what if we could be doing more? And what if one of the most practical additions to our daily lives was also one of the easiest?

Enter essential oils. Prized throughout the world for their therapeutic properties, essential oils help support optimal health. 

If you’ve ever wondered about essential oils for wellness, or how to weave them into your daily life, here’s what you need to know.

What are Essential Oils?

Essential oils are pure compounds extracted from plants. To capture the flavor, scent, and medicinal properties of a plant, manufacturers obtain essential oils through a distillation or pressing process. Typically, essential oils are cold-pressed, although some manufacturers process them with steam or water. 

Once the manufacturer has extracted the essential chemicals from a plant, they may blend the extracts with a carrier oil. A carrier oil is an oil like coconut, jojoba, or sweet almond oil, which helps deliver the plant’s nutrients to the skin, without interfering with the oil’s properties. This process creates a shelf-stable and skin-safe product that’s ready for use.

At Sage & Cedar, our oils are un-diluted until we add them to lotion, bath salts, or into a carrier oil, which dilutes them just enough to make them skin-safe.

An important note on buying essential oils: Not all essential oils are created equal. In fact, the quality of essential oils varies widely. Today, essential oils come from around the world, and it’s hard to assess the quality of the oil without knowing what to look for. 

If you’re going to purchase essential oils, buy from quality brands with a reputation for producing reliable products. Here are a few additional guidelines for determining the quality of essential oils, from the University of Minnesota. 

How do People Use Essential Oils for Wellness?

Essential oils have a variety of uses, although they’re most common in aromatherapy. While essential oils should not be ingested, inhaling them and applying them topically has well-documented benefits. Some oils are antiseptic and antibacterial, for example, while others function as antidepressants.  

Inhaling aromatic essential oils, for example, stimulates the limbic system. The limbic system is the part of the brain that controls emotions, sense of smell, long-term memory, and behavior. Applying oils topically, meanwhile, can treat headaches and skin conditions, among other things. 

5 Essential Oils to Try

If you’re new to essential oils, it can be tough to know where to start. We recommend building your collection with these five oils:

1. Lavender

Lavender is a fantastic starter oil. It helps with a variety of conditions, including acne, allergies, anxiety, depression, and insomnia. Apply it topically to soothe insect bites or rub some on the temples to lift your mood. 

2. Rosemary

Rosemary is a potent oil that’s also a key ingredient in many beauty products, and for a good reason. It works to resolve issues like dry skin and dandruff. It also promotes healthy circulation, strengthens hair and promotes a vibrant shine, and alleviates stress and anxiety. 

3. Peppermint

Peppermint is a powerful, invigorating essential oil with a variety of medicinal uses. In aromatherapy, people use peppermint as a decongestant and to treat conditions like asthma. Applied topically, it’s a powerful treatment for headaches (if you’re pregnant or nursing, it’s a great alternative to OTC meds like Tylenol). 

4. Tea Tree Oil

Tea Tree oil, like peppermint, is a potent oil that can irritate the skin if misused. It’s a particularly effective treatment for skin conditions like acne, cold sores, and dandruff. It also treats respiratory ailments and fungal, bacterial, or viral infections.

5. Bergamot

Used in aromatherapy to elevate mood and alleviate stress, bergamot oil has properties similar to grapefruit essential oil. It is antiseptic, antispasmodic, and analgesic (pain-relieving). 

What About Blends?

Essential oil blends are a great way to enjoy the benefits of complementary essential oils, without the guesswork of blending them yourself. Today, there are dozens of essential oil blends on the market, most of which treat issues like insomnia, stress, anxiety, and fatigue. 

If you’re interested in trying some wellness blends, check out our Essential Wellness Blend Roll-Ons.

essential oils for wellness

We produce eight high-quality essential oil blends with jojoba oil, each of which offers a specific benefit and serves as an easy on-ramp for anyone interested in exploring the benefits of essential oils. 

What is Vitamin C Serum, and Why Should you be Using it?

What is Vitamin C Serum, and Why Should you be Using it?

Today, many skincare products work to resolve various skin problems. Unfortunately, most of them only target an issue or two at once. This leaves people with complex skin concerns, like hyperpigmentation and sensitivity, scrambling to assemble an assortment of skincare products that work without negatively interacting with one another. Vitamin C serum for skin, however, offers a different experience.

Long touted as a cure-all product that can help address most common skin concerns, Vitamin C serum is an effective solution for things like sun damage, fine lines, under-eye bags, acne scars, and more.

Here’s what you need to know about Vitamin C serum, and whether you should add it to your skincare routine.

How Does Vitamin C Serum Work?

Most of us know Vitamin C as something we take to boost our immune systems during cold season. But how does it work in skincare products? Vitamin C is an antioxidant, which means it neutralizes free radicals in the body.

While moderate levels of free radicals are beneficial, too many overwhelm physical systems and cause oxidative stress. This, in turn, harms DNA, proteins, and lipids, and can cause cell damage and disrupt the skin’s ability to repair itself. Excessive free radicals also slow collagen production.

Fortunately, Vitamin C comes to bat for your skin by helping your body cope with stress and neutralize harmful free radicals.

4 Benefits of Vitamin C for Skin

If you’ve been looking for a great serum that can truly “do it all,” here are a few reasons to give Vitamin C a try:

1. It Helps Protect Against Aging

According to Debra Jailman, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist, “Serums with Vitamin C stimulate collagen production, which slows as we age.”

Collagen is a structural protein that holds cells together, promotes skin elasticity, and strengthens the dermal layer. Because of this, decreasing collagen levels lead to a dull, lackluster complexion. Fortunately, Vitamin C serum boosts the skin’s ability to produce collagen, softening fine lines and wrinkles while also protecting against further skin aging.

2. It Reduces Acne Scarring

If you have acne or acne-scarred skin, you’ll be happy to know that Vitamin C is a potent anti-inflammatory. Used regularly, it helps clear up existing acne and redness while also enhancing the skin’s tone and texture and lessening the appearance of old acne scars.

If you have adult acne, you can boost the effectiveness of this serum by exfoliating gently before applying the serum, as this promotes penetration of all the skin’s layers. For best results, apply Vitamin C serum after you wash and tone your face. Add a few drops to the palm of your hand and massage the serum gently into the skin and neck with your fingertips. Allow the serum to sink in for a few minutes before you apply moisturizer.

3. It Protects You From Sun Damage

According to recent research, UV exposure is the cause of 80% of skin aging. Luckily, Vitamin C can reverse sun damage and protect your skin from UV rays. Still, it’s not a substitute for sunscreen, so don’t forget to wear SPF daily.

4. It Decreases Hyperpigmentation

Hyperpigmentation has lots of causes: it can arise as a result of pregnancy, sun damage, and age, among other things. When you use Vitamin C serum regularly, though, it inhibits the tyrosinase enzyme that is responsible for melanin production – the underlying cause of discoloration. This brightens dark spots without lightening your overall skin tone.

Choosing the Right Serum

As you shop for a Vitamin C serum, look for one with a high VItamin C concentration. This will boost collagen without creating redness and irritation, even on sensitive skin. Most dermatologists recommend finding a serum with at least 15%-50% Vitamin C.

Keep in mind that Vitamin C is not shelf-stable, which means it will degrade and lose its efficacy over time. This process speeds up when the product encounters light, heat, or air, so it’s best to buy a serum in an opaque, airtight bottle.

Finally, remember that there are many different Vitamin C derivatives, such as ascorbic acid, magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, and sodium ascorbyl phosphate. If one derivative doesn’t work for your skin, you can always try another. L-ascorbic acid is a particularly popular type of Vitamin C, as it tends to be more gentle than other varieties.

If you’ve never tried Vitamin C serum before, our popular Elite Vital C Complexion Serum is a great place to start. Containing 18% Vitamin C and 76% organic ingredients, this unique serum lightens sun spots and discoloration. It also refines and improves skin texture and reduces the appearance and formation of wrinkles and fine lines – for a more beautiful complexion every day.