Lately I have been reading about essential oils that have antibacterial properties which are good for the skin. I am washing my hands and using alcohol based hand sanitisers more now than ever before. But, I am finding that my hands are starting to feel dry and tight due to all the washing and sanitising. However, if there is one important piece of advice that you should pay attention to, then it is washing your hands to minimise the spread of Corona Virus, also known as Covid-19. So I do not want to stop this practise.
According to scientists at the University of Leicester, washing your hands with soap and water is adequate. The water breaks down the bacteria cells therefore preventing you from spreading it further. Therefore, continue to follow the advice given to keep yourself and those close to you safe.
Practise social distancing until the pandemic is over and develop good permanent handwashing habits. However, that does not mean that you cannot pamper yourself. As my hands started to feel dry and tight from all the handwashing, I began looking into plant-based essential oils that I could use to keep my hands soft. Hundreds of essential oils exist in the market today, but I was more interested in oils that have antibacterial properties for that added sense of safety from the flu germs currently doing their rounds.
Why use Antibacterial Essential Oils for the skin?
Hand sanitisers are a good way to help reduce the spread of flu viruses, especially now during the Covid-19 virus, but the alcohol can dry out our hands in the long term. Nature produces its own array of plant based, alcohol free anti-bacterial sanitisers that we can also use. A number of existing brands, such as Simple already use essential oils such as tea tree, peppermint and eucalyptus for their antibacterial properties. Products like face wash and acne treatment for example contain tea tree oils.
Types of essential oils
There are different types of essential oils currently in the market. For example, some are edible, others are good for topical use, and then there are those that are suitable for cleaning surfaces. So when purchasing the oils check its suitability. To make a hand cream, pick an oil that is suitable for use on the body such as massage oils. Nowadays you can buy essential oils with antibacterial properties for the skin from the internet or local health stores. I stick to doTerra, which is purchasable from Amazon and the home brand from Holland & Barrett.
Essential oils can be dangerous if you use them incorrectly so, if you plan to use an essential oil for internal use make sure you purchase an edible version and dilute it as per the recipe.
Which essential oil antibacterial recipes are good for the skin
There are many recipes on social media nowadays that tell you how to make your own homemade essential oils skin products with antibacterial properties. I tend to make a small amount at a time and use a simple recipe of adding a few drops of my essential oil to a base such as aloe vera gel. I use 5 drops for every 15ml of gel.
Make a small batch and use it frequently. If the sanitiser starts to smell funny or loses its essential oil scents, discard and make a new batch. I prefer to make small batches at a time so I can make sure we use all of the sanitiser before it goes off.
To prevent cross contamination, add the oil directly to the container with your choice of base, such as, a carrier oil, aloe vera gel or cooled boiled water. The carrier oil and aloe vera versions act like creams, whilst the water version can be sprayed.
I use the homemade essential oil gel on myself and also allow the kids to use a little bit on themselves. However, I would not recommend using it on very young children because essential oils are not recommended for children 2 years or younger.
As always, keep your essential oils and the finished product out the reach of children and only use under direct adult supervision.
How to Use and Store Antibacterial Essential Oil Homemade Skin Products
Before usage, always do a patch test on a small area of your skin for sensitivities. Start using it if there has been no reaction for 24 hours. As we approach the summer, try substituting one or two of the oils with a lighter scented oil such as lemon eucalyptus or grapefruit.
Avoid using the homemade cream or spray on broken skin.
Which Essential Oils to Use
Tea Tree Essential Oil
Tea tree essential oil is one of the most popular oils currently found in face washes. Beauty brands love to use tea tree due to its cleansing and bacteria-fighting properties. Studies have shown that tea tree oil has the ability to kill germs on contact. Therefore it is commonly used to treat acne and fight infections.
Grapefruit Essential Oil
Grapefruit essential oil is an oil that I recently discovered. The oil has cleansing and purifying properties. It is often found in cleansers. Grapefruit oil has a light, sweet and citrus scent so it is a good oil to use during the summer months.
Peppermint Essential Oil
Peppermint is a popular oil. It is found in several everyday dental products such as toothpaste, dental gums and mouthwash. Bacteria found in our mouth, which causes bad breath, can be controlled with the use of the oil. The same antibacterial properties that work in our mouth will protect our skin from germs. For example, peppermint essential oil is often used to treat spots.
Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender is a very popular essential oil that is because of its antibacterial properties. Lavender helps us relax and sleep well. I can recall using the Johnson’s Baby Wash that contained lavender when my daughter was a baby. It has a soothing and subtle fragrance. Lavender essential oil is also used as an antiseptic to clean wounds.
Eucalyptus Essential Oil
Like peppermint oil, eucalyptus essential oil is also found in many natural dental hygiene products. I use a few drops of the oil whenever I have a cold as it helps relieve a blocked nose and open ups the airways.
Lemon Eucalyptus Essential Oil
Lemon Eucalyptus comes from a lemon-scented eucalypti plant. The oil has antioxidant properties. It is therefore used as an insect repellent in many parts of the world. The oil has a beautiful fragrance and ideal during the summer months.
Whilst I have outlined which essential oils have antibacterial properties, they also have a number of other health benefits that can improve your life. Many of the essential oils listed here contain properties that cleanse, purify, help with relaxation, improve mood and fight inflammation. Also, using them in homemade products, whether to hydrate hands or clean surfaces will provide you with a fresh and natural scent every time.
Good Hand Hygiene
To ensure you maintain good hand hygiene especially now with Covid 19 making the rounds, keep up with good hand washing techniques. Warm water and soap is the most effective way of getting rid of germs from your hands. Use hand sanitisers when you are unable to wash your hands, but as soon as you can, make sure you wash them. Keep a small container of a homemade essential oil cream or gel to hydrate and sanitise your hands if especially when you are out and about. Wash your hands as soon as you get the opportunity.
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