Friday, October 09, 2009

Hydrosols for Skin Care

12 Best Hydrosols for Skin Care – and which are Best for You
Excerpt from The Essential Herbal Magazine Sept/Oct '07
Marge Clark
Nature’s Gift Aromatherapy

Hydrosols are among the gentlest and safest aromatics for use in caring for your complexion. We use them as toners (saturate a cotton ball and wipe your face carefully to remove all traces of cleanser), refreshing “spritzers” during the day to revive your make-up (or your spirits), soothing and calming anti-inflammatories to ease the redness of rosacea or sunburn, or gentle anti-bacterials to help calm troubled skin and acne. Hydrosols may be used as the water phase of a cream or lotion. If you want just a tiny amount, and don’t want to go to the effort of emulsifying the ingredients, you can try an instant “non-cream”. In a one ounce bottle, pour approximately 2/3 ounce of your chosen hydrosol. Top the bottle off with one/third ounce of your favorite skincare carrier oil. Shake well, and apply a few drops to your freshly washed face. This mixture makes a wonderful night-time moisturizer. Basically it gives you the ingredients of a cream or lotion, without any need to emulsify.

Use your favorite hydrosol as the water portion of a simple clay mask, or to remove a mask.

The wide range of available hydrosols make it easy to select the appropriate distillates for your particular skin.
Carrot Seed Hydrosol: Just as Carrot Seed essential oil is one of the most recommended treatments for mature skin, Carrot Seed Hydrosol is highly recommended for treating mature and wrinkled skin. Carrot Seed Hydrosol is also reputed to have cellular regenerative power and thus recommended for easing razor burns and irritations.)

Chamomile (Roman) Hydrosol Soothing and relaxing, useful for helping dry, flaking itchy skin from rashes or eczema.

Cistus Hydrosol (Rock Rose): Cistus water has been recommended as a toner for wrinkled, mature skin since it can “plump up” skin cells and erase fine lines. Cistus is also an astringent, so would be useful both for oily skin, and as an aftershave toner since it can help stop bleeding of minor cuts and scrapes.

Rose Geranium: Geranium is thought to be a cellular regenerative, thus Rose Geranium Hydrosol is a toner of choice for mature skin, or the perfect liquid to use in creating a facial masque. Like Geranium EO, Rose Geranium Hydrosol is recommended for balancing combination skin, since it balances both oily and dry skin.
Suzanne Catty says that it is a humectant, wonderful for dry skin, or mixed into a clay and honey mask.
She also recommends it as an anti-inflammatory, useful for sunburns, Rosacea, rashes, any condition where redness or heat is present. (I think a touch of Helichrysum hydrosol would increase the effectiveness.)

Helichrysum Hydrosol: Helichrysum italicum essential oil is the most powerfully anti-inflammatory essential oil, and an essential component in Rosacea and bruise blends. The gentler helichrysum hydrosol is the perfect toner for Rosacea, couperose (thread veins) and inflamed or irritated skin. I've heard back from people using Helichrysum Hydrosol and Roman Chamomile hydrosol together to sooth sunburns, radiation burns, rashes, skin irritations of all types. Our clients rave about the combination in keeping eczema manageable. In spite of its cost, Helichrysum Hydrosol has traditionally been our best selling hydrosol, month in, month out. Nothing else that I know of is its match for gentle care for sensitive skin.

Lavender Hydrosol: The all purpose floral water. Lavender doesn’t excel at the treatment of any single skin condition, but it is helpful to almost every skin type. Lavender hydrosol is a very gentle antibacterial, making it useful in treating acne, and can help balance both oily and dry complexions. Lavender water can help ease the pain of sunburn and windburn. Please note, most lavender hydrosols do not smell as pleasant as the essential oil. We have found one Lavender Mailette hydrosol from California that smells delightful, but we suggest getting a small sample of most Lavender waters before investing in a large quantity.

Spike Lavender Hydrosol: Spike Lavender is the most powerfully antibacterial member of the Lavender family. We can see using this delightfully soft scented floral water as a toner/wash for oily skin or acne. We’ve tested it out with some teenaged boys. They all liked it and didn't think it smelled too "girly" for their use. We are experimenting with a blend of witch hazel (the kind from the drugstore, with alcohol added) and Spike Lavender Hydrosol for an aftershave for troubled skin. We had expected this lovely water to smell camphorous, as does the oil which is its co-distillate, however, we were pleasantly surprised by the soft herbal scent that we all loved. Unanimously, we prefer its aroma to that of our true Lavender hydrosol. We've read that the hydrosol is also helpful in easing the symptoms of Psoriasis and Eczema, either used as a compress or as an ingredient in a lotion or cream. (I would mix it with helichrysum hydrosol for this purpose!)

Melissa Hydrosol: Melissa is a great toner/astringent for oily skin. I don't recommend the essential oil in skin care since it can be irritating. This is where the gentleness of the hydrosol makes it the delivery method of choice. One staff member uses it as a morning toner for her oily skin and says that the excess oil “just vanishes.” One client writes that it has helped her hormonal acne tremendously.
Jeanne Rose writes that Melissa hydrosol has powerful uses in skin care products, that it is antifungal, relieves skin infection and breakouts and can cure herpes.

Rose Hydrosol: Rosewater stimulates the skin, heightening the blood flow. Rosewater controls and balances sebum production, making it useful for both dry and oily skin. It can balance and restore the skin's Ph and helps tighten pores. Its antibacterial properties help fight acne giving troubled skin a gentle, rather than a harsh treatment. It is reputed to be useful in the treatment of all sorts of dermatitis. Suzanne Catty recommends blending Rose Hydrosol with Cistus (Rockrose) Hydrosol as an anti-wrinkle treatment.

Teatree Hydrosol: All the anti-fungal, anti-bacterial effects of Tea Tree Essential Oil in a delicately herbal scented hydrosol. A superb toner for skin with acne; a mouthwash for infection or for thrush, a baby wipe if baby has a yeast infection, a deodorant spray, a base for a foot spray, washing out wounds or cuts, treating hotspots on dogs or cats...the list goes on.

Witch Hazel Hydrosol: Soothing and anti-inflammatory, anti fungal and anti-bacterial. A wonderful toner for teenage skin, as well as a free radical scavenger recommended for anti-aging skin treatments. One of my mentors uses Witch Hazel Hydrosol in all of her creams and lotions for mature skin. Suzanne Catty says Witch Hazel hydrosol is the most antioxidant of the hydrosols and recommends it for psoriasis, eczema, cracked or blistered skin, for treating insect bites, and as the treatment of choice for varicose veins and hemorrhoids.

Yarrow Hydrosol: This cleansing and astringent hydrosol is one of the toners of choice for skin with acne. It is also useful as an anti-inflammatory for inflamed or irritated skin (although I would reach for witch hazel or helichrysum in addition to the Yarrow.)
I have used Yarrow Hydrosol to ease the sting of sunburn or other inflammation, and been amazed at the results. We’ve heard from clients that Yarrow hydrosol is almost a miracle cure for any sort of itching skin condition. It almost instantly soothes the itch of insect bites, eczema, poison ivy, sunburn... a wonderfully effective skin soother. I've been told that the hydrosol, used as a compress or as the water phase of a lotion is effective in treating both psoriasis and eczema, soothing the itching, calming inflammation, and assisting the basal cells of the skin in healing.


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Deanna Smith said...

Thank you for all your information. Quick question, I'm new to hydrosols and I decided to make Helichrysum my first to try. After I bought my first bottle I thought it smelled strange, kind like it might have gone rancid. So I bought a second bottle, same thing. I figured that it must just have an unpleasant smell and used the second bottle in a cleanser. I added other essential oils but I still can't seem to cover up the smell of the HH. Even after I apply my EO serum and moisturizer it still overpowers everything. Do you have any advise you can give me in terms of covering the odor? Thanks!

Tina Sams said...

Hydrosols can be pretty strongly scented - just like the essential oils, and not all of them are pleasant (that was one of the biggest surprises to me way back when we ordered our first essential oils when we started learning).
You can use less, making the heli a small part of a blend. That's about it.