Bath Oils: The Ideal Bath Time Experience
Bath oils have long been a delightful additive to cleaning rituals. In this comfortable modern age bath oils serve as a wonderful, easy tool for not only physical well-being, but also the well being of the spirit, and can nourish a body from the outside to the inside. Having an enjoyable bath oil experience merely involves selecting a bath oil specifically designed for the bather’s skin, temperament and health. Understanding the dynamics between the bath oil and the bather is simple, and the result, effective.
Bath Oil Uses and Benefits
Bath oil not only imparts a sense of well being but quite literally permeate bathers’ skin, mood and health conditions. Bath oil products are not limited to simply soothing dry or irritated skin; bath oils can be employed for a variety of reasons. If a bather is tired and has a long week ahead, a bath oil with invigorating properties can be employed. A bather who is harried and stressed might enjoy — even need — a stress-reducing bath oil blend. Or perhaps a couple would like to enjoy a bath and a sensual evening together; this is where a romantic bath oil blend would be used.
Bath oils may also be used as a way to fight off various ailments; there are bath oil products containing anti-fungal properties, anti-inflammatory properties, or scents which will help break up sinus congestion. With careful study, bath oil possibilities are endless. The variety of bath oils available makes certain that anyone can find or create the ideal product with the ideal benefits.
Bath Oil Bases: The Carrier Oils
Ingredients are key when selecting a bath oil for purchase, or blending a custom bath oil, as the ideal bath oil will not sit on the skin, but will soak into the epidermis, thus ensuring the bather gets the most from their selection. For this reason it is important to avoid mineral oil in particular. Mineral oil, though inexpensive and readily available, does not moisturize or allow other ingredients to moisturize, as it sits on top of the skin, and serves to create a barrier against moisture and the aromatherapy or healing properties the bath oil itself might possess. Also stay away from fats or oils which will cause the skin to form acne or rashes; to some extent this will depend on the bather’s physiology.
Another thing to remember when considering carrier oils for bath oils is that there are ways to chemically differentiate between them — drying oils, semi-drying oils, and nondrying oils. Each designation of carrier oil can be good for the skin, depending on the person. This means bath oils are not reserved for those with dry skin; those prone to dry, combination or oily skin can all use bath oils.
Though the classifications may seem straight forward, remember that each individual’s body chemistry will react differently to bath oils’ carrier oils, whether the bases/carrier oils are dry, semi-dry, or drying. According to the Purdue University Center for New Crops and Plant Products, oils like olive, coconut or palm kernel are non-drying. Semi-drying oils include safflower and soy oils. Common drying oils include walnut and linseed oils. Any of these would be ideal carrier oils for bath oil products, and can also be mixed to achieve specific results.
Bath Oil Supplements: The Essential Oils
Paying close attention to the essential oils in a bath oil product will better ensure the bather has an enjoyable, useful experience. Used both in certain aromatherapy and health treatments, essential oils provide an extra kick to bath oils. Nearly any herb, spice, fruit or vegetable can be distilled into an essential oil, so bath oil blends can be tweaked to the bather’s exact desires. Some bath oils may have essential oils purely for scent, some bath oils may employ aromatherapy techniques with the essential oils, and some bath oils may possess essential oils with particular healing properties designed for a specific purpose.
Decide whether or not the bath should be invigorating, stress-relieving, romantic, help with sinus or skin issues, etc., and build from there. Some of this will be common sense. For instance, eucalyptus is an extremely stout scent; one could not call it “relaxing,” because the sheer strength of it will keep one awake and alert; thus it is more likely to be found in bath oils aimed at focus or perhaps clearing sinus problems. Likewise, one would not claim sandalwood to be a lively scent, with its smooth, calming, darker notes, so it should be used accordingly. Other properties may be more difficult to discern; essential oils with anti-fungal or anti-inflammatory properties, for instance, will likely require some study to identify. Time, effort and careful notations will prove the best tactic for identifying ideal essential oils.
Remember, essential oils are extremely condensed substances. Only a few drops of the essential oils will be added to the carrier oils of the bath oil product; a little goes a very long way.
Examples of Aromatherapy Properties
- Invigorating: Mint oil, Eucalyptus oil, Citrus oil
- Stress-reducing: Lavender oil, Sandalwood oil, Ylang Ylang oil, Cinnamon Oil
- Romantic: Rose oil, Jasmine oil, Geranium oil
Examples of Health Properties
- Anti-fungal or Anti-bacterial: Clove oil, Lavender oil, Tea Tree oil
- Body Ache Relief/ Anti-inflammatory: Tea Tree oil, Rosemary oil, Chamomile oil
- Sinus Pressure Relief: Cedarwood oil, Eucalyptus oil, Tea Tree oil
It is important to remember that some bath oils may contain ingredients which could react negatively to an individual’s specific conditions or body chemistry.
Essential oils such as cinnamon or tea tree, for instance, are considered very strong and can often trigger new or aggravated symptoms even if only a small portion is used in the bath oil. Performing an allergy test prior to bathing would be wise; simply wipe a small amount of the bath oil or diluted essential oil on the inside of the wrist, and leave alone for 24 hours. Those with serious ailments, such as volatile skin conditions, high blood pressure, severe or frequent allergies or etc., should consult a physician before using or testing any bath oil product, or even custom blending bath oils.
According to the Better Health Channel, there are several essential oils which may prove problematic; women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant should avoid basil, cedarwood, clary sage, cypress, fennel, jasmine, juniper, sweet marjoram, myrrh, peppermint, rosemary, sage and thyme essential oils, even for use in bath oils. For those with high blood pressure, the channel recommends the following essential oils should be avoided: hyssop, rosemary, sage and thyme. Additionally, those with sensitive skin should avoid eucalyptus, ginger, thyme, black pepper, cinnamon, clove, oregano oil, lemongrass and citrus oils (orange oil, lemon oil, etc.).
Tips and Advice
- Always dilute essential oils in a carrier oil.
- When buying carrier oils, look for those which are “cold-pressed,” “virgin,” or “unrefined.”
- Run a full bath before adding the bath oil.
- Approximately one or two teaspoons of bath oil should be used per bath.
- Bath temperature should be comfortably warm; too hot will scald the skin and/or the bath oil, and too cold will not encourage the infusion of the bath oil into the bath.
- Directly prior to use, shake bath oil container vigorously.
- Store bath oils in dark, temperature-controlled environments.
- No bath tub? Smooth bath oil over body just after showering, but prior to toweling dry. Body heat combined with the heat of remaining water droplets will activate the bath oil, and vigorous toweling will rub the oil into the skin for deeper benefits.