The sense of smell is one of our strongest senses. It immediately connects us to memories and feelings, it can make us feel good or not so good. Different smells have different effects on us. And it is extremely personal. I once met someone who hated the smell of Lavender. Most people love the smell of Lavender and it has therapeutic properties. I myself did not like the smell of Rose when I was younger. I associated "old and dusty" with that smell. But, like everything in life, we change and what I disliked in the past, I now love!
Over the years I have observed myself, as well as friends and family pick out a particular skincare product or makeup based on the smell. Again, this is very personal, but it is also a complicated choice for those that are aware. Modern cosmetics can have beautiful, complex perfumes. It wasn't until I started making my own skincare years ago and started researching ingredients that I began to understand the difference. Most of us do not have time to research the plethora of ingredients on the various bottles we purchase. So here are a few things I have learned along the way.
Fragrance and Fragrance Oils
The term "Fragrance" or "Fragrance Oil" sounds innocent enough but can be deadly. Fragrance is usually used for chemically produced synthetic smells. Until very recently, they contained, among other chemicals, something called Phthalates (pronounced THaˌlāt/).
According to the Guardian article, "In the past few years, researchers have linked phthalates to asthma, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, breast cancer, obesity and type II diabetes, low IQ, neurodevelopmental issues, behavioral issues, autism spectrum disorders, altered reproductive development and male fertility issues." Read the full article here.
As the article states, phthalates are found in very many things in our environment, not just fragrance, so read your labels. If you don't understand an ingredient, leave it on the shelf. Chances are that you will be able to understand and pronounce all ingredients provided by Mother Nature.
Now for the good news: Recently, because consumers are getting more educated and the demand for all natural products have increased, manufacturers are making phthalates-free fragrance oils. If you are buying a product that uses fragrance, look for it to also say "phthalate free."
Why Essential Oils? Is it just feel good?
At Mayur Naturals, we love Essential Oils. Essential Oils have been used for thousands of years for healing the body as well as the mind. Without getting too much into the weeds, generally, Essential Oils or oils derived from various plants have different properties, based on use. They can be inhaled or they can be topically used.
When inhaled, whether it is just smelling the cosmetic you are using or using a diffuser in your home, it is all connected to the Limbic system.
The limbic system represents the hippocampus, fornic, cingulate gyrus, thalamus, mamillary bodies, amygdala and olfactory bulb. Before the term "limbic system" was used, the system was referred to as the rhinencephalon or "smell brain" and is considered as one of the oldest systems in the human body.
When a smell enters the nasal cavity, it meets up with over 50,000,000 receptor neurons which are located in the upper part of the nose and nasal septum, and the receptors are specialized in such a way that certain react to certain smells.
These receptors then convert the presence of a smell into a message which is sent to the olfactory bulb (which is seen as part of the forebrain and its main sensory input) where the processing of the smell is started and is then passed onto other areas of the brain which control emotions, behavior as well as basic thought processes.
The limbic system works closely with the endocrine system to help with hormone regulation. It partners with the autonomic nervous system the part of the body responsible for the “fight-or-flight” response, that helps the body recuperate during periods of rest, that regulates heart rate and body temperature, and that controls gastrointestinal functions. It also works with the nucleus accumbens, the pleasure center of the brain which is involved with sexual arousal and euphoric response to recreational drugs.
Essential Oils also have certain properties that are especially important in skincare because of it's therapeutic properties when applied on the skin. Most of us know Tea Tree Oil is used as an antiseptic. Lavender oil has antiseptic and antifungal properties. It has been used to treat various skin disorders such as acne, wrinkles, and other inflammatory conditions. That's why we use it in our signature products like the Face Elixir Serum, the Detox Mask and several other products.
There are so many Essential Oils and each of them are so very special and need individual attention. I will begin a series of Oils and Ingredients we use at Mayur Naturals and why we use them. If there is a particular oil you would like to focus on, let me know in the comments.
Till then, be kind to yourself!
Disclaimer: This article is intended to be a general resource only and is not intended to be nor does it constitute medical advice. Any recommendations are based on personal, not professional, opinion only. Individual results may vary. Please see your doctor before trying any home remedy.