Essential Oils 101- Methods of Application: Topical

Your skin is the largest organ in your body. The skin regulates your body temperature, keeps bacteria out and excretes toxins out of your body through sweating. Most importantly, it circulates 33% of your blood. There are two layers to the skin, the epidermis which is about as thick as a piece of paper and the dermis which has got your blood vessels, nerve endings and hair follicles. When you apply an essential oil, the molecules are so crazy small that your porous skin rapidly absorbs it. Once the oil seeps into your hair follicles and sweat glands, it reaches the blood and is then dispersed throughout your entire body. Here are some things to look out for when applying essential oils topically:

PHOTOSENSITIVITY

There are some oils you want to avoid applying while the sun is out because they are more prone to absorb the sun’s rays and increase your chances of burning. There are two ways you can easily avoid these problems. 1. Apply them at night before bed 2. Apply them on skin that is covered by clothing. Most citrus oils are photosensitive as well as patchouli, some cedar wood varieties and clary sage. Again I just want to emphasize common sense on this one. If you apply clary sage on your ankles and are wearing shorts, you’re probably not gonna get burned.

IRRITATION

Irritation happens when you apply an oil that your skin considers abrasive and has a reaction. It would be red and irritated within about 5 minutes. If this happens, you can put a fatty carrier oil like coconut or almond oil on it to absorb it. Milk will also help.

SENSITIZATION

This reaction is a little different. As opposed to affecting your skin, your immune system would react. The essential oil attaches itself to a protein in your body and your body releases histamines. The result would be similar to an allergic reaction. In this case you can take an antihistamine (homeopathic or regular, your choice) and find another oil with the same chemical properties you’re looking for just from a different plant. The cool thing about oils is that they’re not like nut or shellfish allergies. You don’t have to swear off the whole category when you have a reaction to something in the family it belongs to.

Now that we’ve got the scary stuff outta the way! We can get into the fun stuff!

SKIN PATCH TESTING

Skin patch testing is one of those optional preventative things you can do to make sure your skin doesn’t have a reaction to essential oils. I personally don’t have sensitive skin and don’t do them anymore unless I know it’s a “hot” oil like peppermint, cinnamon or thyme. There are two ways you can do a skin patch test.

The first is to dilute an essential oil in a carrier oil cover it in a piece of gauze and wait 24 hours if there no reaction, you’re good to go! If there is, try diluting it a bit more and do it again. If there’s still a reaction then don’t use that oil topically, try diffusing it instead. If you have any type of sensitivity reaction though, do not diffuse it either.

The second way is to apply an essential oil “neat” meaning undiluted to the crook of your arm. Close your arm and wait five minutes, again see how your skin react and the same rules apply as above. I’m personally impatient and always do this option.

BASE OILS & DILUTION

Just like essential oils, base oils have different properties. Base oils are fatty and their molecules are bigger, which slows the absorption rate and also creates a barrier between your skin and the essential oil. If you do not have sensitive skin, you don’t need to dilute if you don’t want to. There are a lot of folks out there including myself who prefer to use them neat. Again, it’s totally your choice. If you like to err on the side of caution then by all means, dilute away! If you’d like to start using essential oils neat but want to start off with really mild ones try Lavender, Tea Tree and Chamomile. A few popular base oils are coconut oil, olive oil and almond oil.

Lastly, here is a handy dilution ratio chart they gave me in school to use as a reference:

Dilution Ratio Chart

**For Children and Preggos, stay in the 1-6% ratios**

HERE’S A FREE CHART TO DOWNLOAD AND HANG UP!

Dilution Ratio Chart

Carbonating Kombucha

So last week, we talked about how to make your very own kombucha for a fraction of the price. This post will cover how to kick your kombucha up a notch with flavoring and carbonation! Now that you have an active batch of tea, whenever you add more sugar the yeast in the tea will eat up the extra sugar creating CO2, naturally carbonating your batch of kombucha. Here’s the fun part- the sugar you use will be juice or a juice combination of your choosing. Another option you can use is fresh or dried fruit. This time I made pomegranate kombucha. Behold! DIRECTIONS:

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

  1. 2 Cups of your favorite juice or fruit.
  2. Flip cap bottles (I got these), mason jars or any glass container that has a sealing lid. Make sure to get enough bottles to hold 1 gallon of liquid.

Optional Step 2 Equipment: A mesh strainer

STEP 1:

With clean hands remove your SCOBY and separate any babies that have grown, if you plan on giving them to friends (there’s a picture below of OG SCOBY which is darker looking compared to the brand new baby). Place them in clean jars along with ½ of a cup of your freshly fermented kombucha.

 

OPTIONAL STEP 2:

Strain your gallon of kombucha. Sometimes there are floating strands of yeast which are totally okay to drink, but I prefer to not have them in there.

STEP 3:

Pour your juice or fruit into your glass containers. The ratio for juice should be 10-25% juice to 75-90% kombucha. The ratio should be 30-10% fruit to 70-90% kombucha. In each of my 16oz bottles I poured ¼ cup of juice. I eyed it the first time I made it which worked just fine too!!

STEP 4:

Add your kombucha to your glass containers leaving 1 inch of head space or less (the less oxygen the better). I prefer to use a funnel and my beverage dispenser because I am a serious klutz.

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STEP 5:

Place your glass containers in a warm dark spot in your kitchen and wait 3 days to a week at the most. Too much time or heat can make kombucha shoot up to your ceiling (true story). CAREFULLY crack them open to release the pressure and then place them in the fridge, it slows down all the activity. You’re done son! Try not to drink them all in one sitting.

 

This Marvelous Mess: Ze First Post

SO! I’M FINALLY DOING IT. I’m sharing my life on the internet. It’s easy to post funny meme’s about a messy house, but it’s super hard to post a picture of your laundry room that used to have a visible floor. You may not even have a laundry room. You might eat takeout every evening because you struggle with depression and can’t seem to get yourself out of bed to cook dinner. You might be on food stamps and can’t afford super fancy, gluten-free organic meals plans served with chickens who learned their freaking alphabet before they were slaughtered. Sometimes, LIFE HAPPENS.

One of my biggest fears lies in showing my “real self” and leaving others to take it or leave it, with all the opinions and judgments that come with it. What do I mean by “real self”? When someone asks me how I am, it’s easy to say “I’m having a rough week, pray for me!” What’s hard to say is “I’m having a rough week because I feel like I yelled at my kids too much and I got into a huge fight with my husband over something stupid.” THAT is what I mean by real.

Before I share some of my mess with you, let me give you a visual: I’m big and uncomfortable because I’m pregnant and I’ve been having contractions for pretty much a week straight. My youngest is currently making a mess with a plate that I left out last night that had some frosting on it. And I’m totally babysitting my two eldest with a few episodes of “Hey Arnold”, just so I can write this post. Oh and throw in the very timely body flop to the tummy while I’m having a contractions courtesy of my youngest, she’s trying to hug me with her now frosting covered body.

A little bit about myself, I’m a young mom of three kids under five and we are expecting number four any day now. I’ve been married for six years to a man who is as equally strange as I am, possibly worse. Together we make a crazy bunch of folks just trying to find out what normal is for us. My life growing up was not your typical middle class American dream where everyone has the same last name and owning a home was in your future. I come from a single parent home. We were on welfare. We’ve moved more times than I can count and sometimes we lived in hotels for long periods of time. My mother has been clean and sober for 16 years from drugs and alcohol, she did the best she could with what she had. I was in foster care for a little bit. Eventually my mom got clean and then things started to change, we moved less and she got a job that she still works at to this day. I share this with you because as I raise my own children, my normal growing up is nowhere near their normal. They have a stay at home mom for crying out loud! I share this because everyone comes from a different climb and place. My place just so happens to be pretty much from ground zero.  That’s my mess.

What you read here will be from that perspective. What is meal planning and how do you start? What are essential oils and how the hell do those work? What does it even mean to be “real”? How can I eat healthy (sometimes healthy-ish) and not become broke? Each and every individual has a struggle, but that struggle will mold and shape you into something stronger. That’s why my starting point which may be messy, is wonderfully MARVELOUS. Now, let’s do life … shall we?