As we age, things change. We becoming wiser, more grateful and usually develop a greater appreciation for the important things in life. But things happen to our bodies, too. Collagen begins to deplete, our bones and muscles become weaker and we produce fewer brain hormones and proteins. All of these processes contribute to the aging process—wrinkles, dry skin, aches, pains and mental fogginess.
And, though there’s no true fountain of youth, there are some things we can do to arm our bodies with the tools it needs to function properly well into our twilight years. One great way to keep yourself looking and feeling young is through aromatherapy and therapeutic essential oils, which deliver potent plant-based nutrients in ways you might not have known were possible.
What is Aromatherapy?
There are a few misconceptions around aromatherapy. First, many people assume that the practice is relegated only to certain therapeutic benefits, like helping to keep us calm and relaxed while we’re seeing the massage therapist or visiting the spa. But, in fact, essential oils are made with plants that have various other benefits, including the ability to ease aches and pains and to gently smooth away wrinkles. You can soak up all of these benefits in various ways, like rubbing diluted aromatic oils directly onto your skin, infusing them into the air with a diffuser or dropping them into a steamy bath.
Aromatherapy Tips for Aging Adults
If you’ve decided to take the aromatherapy route, know that the process can seem overwhelming at first. There are thousands of different oils, all of which promise their own special benefits, but it’s important to zero-in on the ones that will bring about your desired outcome and match that to your aromatic preferences. While one oil might provide powerful anti-wrinkle performance, it may also be too strong for your liking. So, though it’s overwhelming, the great variety of oils is actually a major plus. Here are some great tips to get you started with anti-aging essential oils.
1. Stick to the Core Oils
Doing a little bit of legwork to discover the best anti-aging oils can really go a long way. Not everyone experiences the same woes with aging, but there are some common things that many older adults share, such as the inevitable facial wrinkle or backache. Not all aromatherapy oils provide the same benefits, so understanding which do what really helps.
- For Aging Skin—Look for oils blends that contain antioxidants to fight free radicals, fatty acids to moisturize the skin and vitamins to restore glow and elasticity. We recommend jojoba oil, lavender oil and frankincense oil as well as any oil-based blend or product that uses a non-comedogenic carrier oil, meaning it’s safe for direct skin application because it won’t clog pores.
- For Aches and Pains—Several studies have shown that essential oils and aromatherapy can reduce pain in the back, neck, knee and shoulder. For a natural way to get rid of those physical woes, we’d recommend peppermint oil, rosemary oil, lavender oil and chamomile oil. You can rub these oils directly onto the skin (in the right formulation, they will absorb into the muscles) for instant relief.
- For Mental Clarity—Because so many plants have extremely uplifting and revitalizing scents, they can also help keep you alert and engaged. Rosemary oil, in particular, is known to enhance memory. Peppermint, eucalyptus, sage and basil are also popular choices for improving memory and focus.
2. But Don’t Shy Away from Blends
Of course, pure essential oils are great if you love a specific scent or want the specific benefits from that particular plant. However, blending essential oils in what are called essential oil synergies can provide you with many great benefits from several different kinds of plants. For example, you might choose an anti-aging synergy that contains a mix of beneficial, anti-aging oils. Because it’s not always safe to put pure, concentrated essential oils on your skin, blends are usually diluted with carrier oils like jojoba oil or coconut oil, which also contain beneficial nutrients and fatty acids.
3. Use Them Alongside Conventional Therapies
We’re not suggesting that essential oils can completely replace conventional medicine. In fact, we think they work best when used with traditional therapies. For example, there are measurable benefits to massage therapy, especially for older adults experiencing sore muscles and stress, and you can take these benefits a step further when you integrate aromatherapy into your massage endeavor. You may also prefer to use them alongside lower doses of painkillers so that you can reduce your consumption of medication.
4. Make Your Own Products
Who are we kidding? Once you get started with oils the more you’ll want to explore. Once you know what works for your alignment and smells good to you, blending new combinations will come naturally. DIY skincare and oil blends let your creativity run wild while you infuse aromatherapy oils into your anti-aging creams, serums and elixirs or create combos that do more than just revitalize skin combat aches and pains, and boost brain function. You can combine scents to help you sleep, ease anxiety, and clean the laundry.
5. Take Them on the Go
One of the greatest benefits of essential oils is that they’re extremely portable and easy to take with you wherever you go, especially if you opt for roll-on oils. These to-go bottles feature a built-in roller that allows you to evenly distribute the oil directly onto the skin. You can take these power-packed plant oils with you to the gym, to appointments, on vacation or to work so that you always have a natural stress and pain reliever on hand.
Figuring it Out as You Go
Think of essential oils as ingredients: They work well on their own and when blended with others. Therefore, one of the most important things to know before you dive into your anti-aging aromatherapy endeavor is that your ideal oil routine will probably require some tweaking. We always recommend experimenting with different oils, blends and concentrations until you find something that combats all of your specific issues.