DIY · Essential Oils · Gardening · Skin Care · Summer · travel · Wellness

Summertime Essential Oil Must-Haves…

Alright guys, if you love essential oils and can’t live without them, or if you’re just curious and wondering what this oil craze is all about…I have put together a list of the top 10 must-have essential oils for summer.

I must start up by saying that I’m not going to push a particular brand on you or bash any other brands that I don’t use…for some reason there tends to be this rivalry among oil users to convince others that your brand is the best.   With that said, I have to reiterate that pure quality oils are a must, or they simply won’t be effective, and can even cause harm.  You cannot buy quality oils at the grocery store (not even organic chains), pharmacies or over the counter.  You pretty much have to order from an essential oil company or through someone who sells for the oil companies. If a company’s main focus is not on essential oils I can guarantee that their oils are not 100% pure, organic or therapeutic grade oils. Now,  I know you’re thinking it and yes I do have a company that I use and trust for my family and business.  I could go into a whole other post about why I choose this company, but for now we’ll just say they are 100% pure, organic and grown in the most natural state that the plants thrive in.

Ok, so now onto to the summer must-have list! I will list them from 10 to 1, 1 being my favorite and/or most useful for summer.

10. Vacation Car Oils –  Can I get an amen?!  If you have kids, this is vital in order for your family to arrive at your vacation destination with your sanity and the majority of your hair.   For my family it has double purposes.  I have 3 members of my family that get car sick…seriously bag carrying, pulling over in the nick of time…car sick.  So, it is a must for me to carry peppermint oil and the digestion blend, Digestzen.  Simply applying to the stomach and even just smelling these can ward off this awful feeling for my family.  Secondly, I carry relaxing oils like Lavender, a grounding blend called Balance and a calming blend called Serenity.   You can imagine the value these calming oils can have on a van full of bad attitudes, restless legs and cooped up kiddos.  On a road trip these are priceless to me!!


9. Poison Ivy Blend– Also, a yearly tradition is for someone in our house to get poison ivy or poison oak.  I can testify it is awful and so annoying to have that constant nagging feeling to scratch.  For this you can use Lavender “neat” (undiluted – full strength), or Cypress and Peppermint with just a few added drops of Witch Hazel.  Apply as often as needed.  (Caution: limit use of Peppermint on little ones under 1 year old).

 

8. Allergy Blend– For those summer allergies like Ragweed…whatever may be the trigger… LLP is the relief you need.  Lemon, Lavender and Peppermint blended with a carrier oil (like coconut oil) is a great way to use it topically, but diffusing and/or taking it orally are very effective as well. Remember, do not take essential oils internally if the company advises against it.  My company does inform you if an oil is safe to be ingested or not.


7. Cooling Mist Spray– Oh my goodness, I can’t tell you how great this trick is when you’re standing in line at Disney or some amusement park roasting in the sun.  All you need is Peppermint oil, water and a spray bottle.  The cooling effect peppermint has on you is remarkable. Tests can actually prove that peppermint can lower your body temperature.  Hint: those fan spray bottles (like at Disney) are even better with just couple added drops of peppermint!


6. Super Sleep Blend– Alrighty, I’m just being real. Summer can be hard for us parents to get our kids to bed…and let’s face it, we need quiet time occasionally in order to be fully functioning adults.  There are usually a couple nights a week where I have to whip out this sleep blend to get my rascals to bed.  I blend 30 drops Serenity (restful blend), 15 drops Lavender and 10 drops Vetiver all in a roller bottle with FCO (Fractionated Coconut Oil).  Roll it on wrists, pillows, and (if necessary) on the bottoms of feet and behind ears.  It works like a charm…even for my night owl.


5. Bug Bite Blend– If your family is like mine, and you’re outside a lot, then without fail, someone probably forgets to apply bug repellent and you end up with itchy, scratchy kids.  This blend is a great relief for them when they just can’t stop scratching.  There’s actually 2 variations of this blend, and both are great. First is 25 drops Lavender, 15 drops Melaleuca mixed with some FCO in a roller ball, applying to bites as needed. Second is the allergy blend listed above as #8, which also works well for bug bites.

4. Stress and Anxiety Blend (Chill Out)– This blend is a must for me when the whole day (for whatever reason) has been difficult or just plain impossible.  This is a 50/50 blend of Serenity and Balance(grounding blend).  Add 30 drops of each, topped off with FCO, to a roller bottle and you’re set. Roll that sucker on your wrists, behind ears, back of the neck, over your heart…maybe not all at once…but really find the area that works best for you, and reapply until your sanity has returned.


3. After Sun Spray– OMG, it’s hard for me to contain my excitement for this blend!!! It has helped me and my kiddos when we have gotten too much sun, and (well, let’s face it) when I (mom) have forgotten to reapply the sunblock.  No more sleepless nights or chills from being severely burned. I apply this blend at the first sight of pinkness on any of us.  I generally apply 2 times before bed and by morning we’re usually tanned already. If not, keep applying. It not only tans, but it also removes the heat from the burn and helps to prevent peeling as well.  The blend is simply 20-25 drops Lavender and 8 drops Peppermint filling the rest of a 2oz spray bottle with FCO.

2. Lavender– Yep, that’s all.  Lavender is a must around the pool and to have readily available if your kids run barefoot outside.  I’m not kidding when I say Lavender will take out a bee sting or wasp sting…any sting…in a matter of seconds!!  Someone in my crew, without fail, always manages to get stung by the pool, and Lavender is my life saver.  I rub it onto the sting area and count to 3 and they’re already jumping back in the pool…after screaming just seconds before from an awful sting.  Seriously, this makes my mom job so much easier!


1. Bug/Pest Repellent– Yes, this is a must-have for our family.  Three of us I think attract bugs from the neighboring counties!  So, I spray us all down…including my dog! It’s non-toxic, and I don’t have to fret over wether or not they get a bath every time I apply this repellent like I did when I used products containing Deet and other harmful chemicals.  The blend consists of  25 drops Terrashield, 8 drops Peppermint, 8 drops Lavender, 8 drops Lemongrass and 6 drops Cedar Wood with the remaining amount of the 2oz spray bottle being filled with spring (or distilled) bottled water.  Be sure to shake well before each use, and you can reapply as needed. Click here for more info on this blend. 


So…there you have it!!  The top 10 oils to make your summer easier and more enjoyable.  If you’re needing a place to buy quality essential oils, click here to access my website.  Feel free to contact me for more information, or with any questions you may have about essential oils.  

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DIY · Essential Oils · Skin Care

Let’s Talk About Skin, Baby: Part 2

In my previous post, Let’s Talk About Skin, Baby:  Part 1, I covered the treacherous ground of acne – at least, my own experience with it and how to get it under control naturally.  As I have stated before, I will never attempt to advise on things that I haven’t personally dealt with in my own life.  Everything I address will always be things that have been a part of my life at one point or another.

This week I’m going to wrap up this bit about skin, finishing my list of skin woes with Eczema and Shingles.  Yes, I’ve had to deal with them both!  I’m just that lucky!!  So, without further ado, let me share with you some things I’ve learned about each!

2.  Eczema:  This condition has affected both my son and myself in different ways. Luckily it hasn’t been severe for either of us, so the tips I am about to share with you are only meant to aid in mild eczema cases.  Anything beyond that should be treated by a medical professional.  The most common form of Eczema is Atopic Dermatitis.  It may resemble an allergic reaction, but it is not caused by allergies.

  • symptoms: patches of chronically itchy, dry, thickened skin, usually on the hands, neck, face, and legs (but it can occur anywhere) – in children, the inner creases of the knees and elbows are often involved
  • causes:  lowered immune system (which is why it can be so common among infants and children), environment, activities that may cause skin to be more sensitive (sports, outdoor activities, etc.), defects in the skin barrier (moisture out, germs in)
  • facts:  it is NOT contagious; it IS genetic
  • remedies: Just to reiterate, these are remedies that have worked on me and my son, and I do not guarantee that they will work for you or your loved ones.  However, they are perfectly safe and natural things to try at home.
    • DoTerra LLP Roller Ball:  This is an essential oil blend of Lemon, Lavender, and Peppermint, which is probably my favorite blend of all.  It is good for a myriad of things, and I use it every day.  It helps with allergies, bug bites, and in this case it helps to soothe irritated skin (even sunburn, fyi).  You can contact Stephanie (aka Nitty) for more information about buying and/or mixing.  For eczema, I simply roll this blend over the affected area 2-3 times a day to help with itching and pain.  The peppermint in this blend may sting if the area has any cracked open skin, so just be mindful of that.
    • Coconut Oil (virgin, unrefined):  This is my go-to home remedy for everything.  Chapped lips, dry hands, feet, and elbows, minor skin irritations, and (yep, you guessed it) eczema.  My son’s eczema almost always flares up each time the seasons change, and it’s always just around his nose and mouth.  I just dig into my jar of coconut oil and melt a bit of it in my hands, then apply it directly to his dry skin, making sure I rub in it really well.  This almost always gets it under control before it gets to the point of itching and burning.  My favorite brand is Spectrum:  518EXDrD2JL
    • Aquaphor:  This is a protective skin ointment that is super-moisturizing.  It is very thick, and I have found that it is perfect for applying at night or before exposing the affected skin to harsh weather conditions.  14oz-jar.jpg

3.  Shingles:  About three years ago, I got what I thought was the beginnings of a cold sore on the corner of my mouth.  I put some cold sore medication on it and went to bed.  By the next morning, the sore had grown significantly and there were several more up my face, in my hairline, and even down inside my ear.  Also, I had a sore throat and sore gums…all on the same side of my head and neck.  This is what I looked like:10455291_10100290182085236_1267328460490394760_n

It was a Sunday afternoon, so I decided to go to Urgent Care.  The “doctor” that I saw there tested me for Mono and Strep (like, really dude??) and he then “diagnosed” me with HERPES (with a smirk on his face, I might add) and wrote me a prescription for Valtrex.  I was so humiliated and angry with him.  How dare he insinuate that I had an STD, when this was clearly something different…not to mention the fact that an STD was not possible!!!  I decided that I would take the medication and see anyway, seeing as cold sores are a form of the Herpes virus.  I thought maybe the medication might help. Well…it didn’t.  By the time Tuesday rolled around, I was in excruciating pain and it had grown even worse.  The pain from shingles is like nothing else I’d ever experienced, because not only is it painful on the surface, but there is also a deep nerve pain that throbs and radiates constantly.  Pure misery.  So, I called my primary care physician and they told me to come in straight away.  As soon as my doctor saw my face she immediately said, “Oh sweetie you have SHINGLES!”  Yep…on my face.  So, she prescribed me something (ironically enough) like Valtrex, which is an antiviral medication.  These medications can shorten the duration of the virus, but it basically just had to run its course and heal over time.  Turns out…I did have a variation of Herpes after all!  Ha!  Shingles is otherwise known as Herpes Zoster…but it ain’t no flippin’ STD!

  • causes:   Shingles is the leftovers of the Chicken Pox virus that is stored in your nerve beds and can be stirred up by stress and resurface as Shingles.  It works through a network of nerves and appears as a band of painful, itchy sores on one side of the body.
  • remedy:  This remedy is what I used to help soothe my skin during the healing process.  Like I said, the virus just had to run its course, but this topical treatment, along with the antiviral medication, is what kept me from going insane, and also from scarring.  Let me repeat that….NO SCARRING!!!  This stuff is that good!  And…it smells like heaven.
    • DoTerra Shingles Blend:  This is something that Stephanie concocted for me as a spray.  The sores were so tender and painful, I couldn’t bear to touch them, so she mixed the oils with distilled water and put them into a glass spray bottle for me.  LIFE SAVER!
      • 15 drops Frankincense
      • 25 drops Marjoram
      • 25 drops Lavender
      • 20 drops Cypress
      • 20 drops Geranium
      • Finish off with distilled water in a 2 oz. glass spray bottle

Thanks for taking the time to read about my skin terrors.  I hope that my experiences and results have been helpful to you.  There will possibly be a Part 3 in the future, but for now I think I’ve covered what I wanted to share.  Please remember that going to the doctor and/or dermatologist is always recommended when something is persistent and worsening.  I like to try what I can at home before resorting to the dreaded doctor’s office visit, but nothing is worth potentially scarring and harming yourself for life.  Listen to your gut and go to the doctor when you know you need to do so!

Well, love chickens, thanks again for reading!  Feel free to message Nitty & Gritty anytime.  You may do so by clicking here or by hitting one or both of us up on Facebook!  For questions and ordering information regarding DoTerra Essential Oils, ask Stephanie (aka Nitty) and/or click here.  And, as always, like and share!  Muah!  Here’s to healthy, happy skin!

DIY · Essential Oils · Skin Care · Wellness

Let’s Talk About Skin, Baby: Part 1

Skin is an incredible thing.  For starters, it’s an organ!  In fact, it’s the largest organ in (or on, rather) the human body.  It accounts for about 15% of your total body weight, and every 28 days, your skin actually renews itself!  Wow, that’s truly amazing!!

Even though it is located on the outside of your body, you should still be very careful of how you treat your skin.  It isn’t just a protective covering.  Though it does renew and regenerate, your skin is still a very delicate part of your body.  You can do permanent damage to it if you don’t take care of it, and that permanent damage can not only harm your self-esteem, but it can also cause other health issues (infections, skin cancer, and nerve damage, just to name a few).

So I just wanted to share a few things with you that I have learned about my own skin — issues I’ve dealt with and how I dealt with them.  This will be a multi-part series of posts (probably just two…maybe three), because of the huge amount of information that there is on this important topic.  So please stay tuned for more!  So, let’s jump in!

I love lists, and I think they make for easier and more efficient reading of informational texts, so I’ve made a list that will hopefully be easy for you to scan through to the things that apply to you or someone that you know.

I’m going to begin with the most aggravating skin condition of all (at least, it is to me):  acne.

  1. Acne:  I didn’t encounter this issue until I was WELL into my adult years.  Mine was caused by PCOS (Poly-cystic Ovarian Syndrome).  I had never dealt with this as a teenager, so I didn’t know what to do about it!  It was very humiliating to me, to have so many pimples.  It was never truly severe for me, thank goodness, but the bumps were very large and very painful — wounding both my pride and my skin.  A lot of what I have learned about treating acne at home has been by trial and error.
    • Causes: oil production, dead skin cells, clogged pores, hormones, medications, diet, and stress
    • Remedies:  (These are remedies that I have tried and tested that have worked for me.  I am not going to guarantee that any of them will work for you, but I will never share something that hasn’t had a positive impact on my life.)
      • Green Tea/Honey Mask:  (I use this concoction at least twice a week to exfoliate, soften, clarify, and purify my skin and its pores.  It can be used anywhere on your body that you are having problems.  I love this mask because it makes an immediate difference in the way your skin looks and feels.)
        1. Brew a cup of green tea and let it cool.
        2. Mix a couple tablespoons of the tea with some honey, some sugar, and some apple cider vinegar (ACV) to make a thick paste.  I just keep adding the ingredients until I’m happy with the consistency and then slather it on thick, massaging into the skin as I go.
        3. Let it sit for about 15-20 minutes, then rinse off with warm water.
      • Essential Oils:  (I use DoTerra brand, because it’s the only brand I’ve ever used and they have done wonders for my skin and overall health in many different ways.  Click here to visit Stephanie’s DoTerra site for ordering and/or more information about these glorious oils.)
        1. Acne Roller Ball:  (I use this on breakouts every time I wash my face…before moisturizer.)
          • 10 drops melaleuca
          • 10 drop lavender
          • 5 drops lemongrass
          • 5 drops frankincense
          • 6 drops rosemary
          • fill remainder of bottle with fractionated coconut oil (FCO) – this is just a carrier oil that dilutes the oils and makes application easier
        2. OnGuard:  This is a DoTerra blend that contains wild orange, clove, cinnamon, eucalyptus, and rosemary oils.  It has many uses, and is not typically used for acne treatment, however it is recommended for inflammation, so I had the bright idea to put it directly on blemishes and it works beautifully!  I don’t dilute it with any FCO (fractionated coconut oil).  I just put a drop of it on my finger and dab away.  It almost immediately takes out redness and swelling, and within a day the zit is basically gone.  LOVE IT.
        3. Skin Soothing Essential Oil Cream:  This is a blend of essential oils that is mixed with equal parts raw coconut oil and organic shea butter.  It is highly moisturizing and is perfect to slather on at night.  Plus, it smells divine.  It feels like a small luxury to me when I use it.  I use it on my face, as well as on other areas of my body with problem skin…even my feet.   To make, simply add the following oils to the coconut oil and shea butter.  (It’s a good idea to slightly warm both before adding the essential oils for easier mixing.):
          • 5 drops geranium
          • 4 drops lavender
          • 2 drops myrhh
          • 3 drops cypress
          • 5 drops franincense
      • Washing and Moisturizing:  Lipids are very important.  They are what keep the outer layer of your skin moist and healthy.  When you use harsh chemicals on your skin, you strip away these lipids causing dryness.  Your skin will, in turn, begin to go into overdrive trying to re-hydrate itself by creating excess oils.  When these excess oils mix with dead and dry skin cells in your hair follicles, they create a nice little breeding ground for bacteria, thus causing breakouts of acne.  So, make sure you are using a mild soap to remove dirt and makeup.  I like to use a Castile soap because I know it will be pure, having very few ingredients and zero harsh chemicals.  Dove Soap, white beauty bar, is also an excellent choice that is dermatologist recommended.  Unless you have been sweating or have to remove makeup, don’t bother with using any soap — warm water will open up your pores and cleanse your skin in the mornings.  Also, always moisturize while your skin is still slightly damp.  Moisturizing is KEY to acne prevention!  I promise!!  Just make sure that you are using a light, mild moisturizer that will not clog your pores.
      • Diet:  It has been argued back and forth for years and years about whether or not what you eat affects the condition of your skin.  While some of the information is based on myth (like the indication that oily and fatty foods cause acne), it is true that diet does, in fact, play a large role in what your skin looks like.  Your diet affects your hormones, which in turn can cause acne.  If you are having trouble with your skin, I would suggest cutting back on sugar and carbs.  Increase your fiber and your healthy fats, and limit your dairy.  Also, spring for the organic and grass-fed food items.  The extra hormones that are pumped into the cheaper foods are absolutely TERRIBLE for your skin and just for your overall health.  And as far as fats go, they are actually fantastic for your skin.  As I said earlier, keeping your skin’s oil production at a steady level is ideal.  You want your body to produce those natural moisturizers.  A few months back, I was having a very rough time with my hormones due to my PCOS.  My skin was constantly broken out in acne, and one of the things that I decided to do was to go on the Ketogenic Diet.  I began this way of eating back in March, and my skin has cleared up wonderfully.  There is a lot of information out there about this diet, and I will post a link below to a previous blog I wrote about it if you want to learn more.  It is basically a low carb, high fat way of eating that helps control your insulin levels and helps your body learn to burn fat stores.  It also has many other health benefits, one of which is healthier skin.
      • Informational Links:
        1. DoTerra Essential Oils (distributor:  Stephanie Williams – aka – “Nitty”):  You can find out more about essential oils and/or how to order them here.  Just click the link above!
        2. That Weird Keto Thing (link to an earlier post that I wrote about The Ketogenic Diet)
        3. The Mayo Clinic – Acne Basics (this is an excellent source of information about causes, risk factors, and myths to help you make informed decisions about skin care, per expert doctors)

So that concludes my spiel on the dilemma that is acne!  I speak from personal experience, and while not everyone’s skin is exactly the same and may not react to products in the same ways, much of what I have shared here is mild enough to be universally helpful.  As always, feel free to contact Nitty & Gritty with an email or a comment!  Thanks for reading, and I hope what I’ve written has been of some help to you.  I will continue this series in two weeks with the next few items on my list of skin woes including:  Eczema, Shingles, Aging Skin, and Sensitive Skin/Sunburn.  So stay tuned for more…