One of my favorite essential oils to use during the summer is Palmarosa. It has a bright and cleansing aroma that smells slightly floral and sweet, and hints of citrus and cut grass. Many of its most powerful therapeutic properties resonate directly with skincare, and If you are anything like me, the summer sunshine, combined with the humidity, sweat, and general outdoor bumps and scratches, take a toll on both my face and body.
Palmarosa, Cymbopogon Martini var. marinii, is a wild grass that is native to India. The essential oil is steam distilled from the grass leaves and aerial parts, and is often cut into smaller pieces before placing in the still. The resulting essential oil is light and floral, and has often been used to adulterate and extend rare and more expensive essential oils like rose. Because of its rosy undertones, it has also been used to “stretch out” the “rose-like” aroma of Rose Geranium essential oil which can also be more expensive.
On its own, Palmarosa is antiseptic, antibacterial, balancing, cleansing and brightening. It stimulates blood flow and circulation and can support the skin’s own ability to balance sebum production, which helps support skin cell regeneration, elasticity and strength. I particularly like it’s mild astringent qualities, which help cut through and cleanse away my skin’s sweaty build up.
Here are a few ways I like to use Palmarosa essential oil in the summer:
As a facial cleanser: I like to combine Palmarosa with Lavender, to soothe and calm any summertime irritations. The Lavender and Palmarosa are both strong antiseptics, and antibacterials, so they will cut through the sweaty city grime that often sticks to my skin in the summer. I add a total of about 12-15 combined drops of Lavender and Palmarosa, to one ounce of unscented castile soap.
As an acne spot treatment: I always break out more during the summer.Palmarosa is really effective when applied “neat” directly on a blemish. I either drop one drop on a clean fingertip and dab, or I drop a drop or two on a Q-tip and dab. If I want to apply more often throughout the day, I squeeze a dime-size amount of aloe vera gel into the palm of my hand and add about 4 drops of Palmarosa essential oil. mix and then and dab throughout the day.
As a mood balancer/emotional support: Summer heat sometimes brings with it, overheated feelings and reactions – so I have found that using a spray mist with some Palmarosa and citrus essential oils, like Grapefruit, or Tangerine, or even Lime or Lemon, provides immediate relief when I start to feel all hot and bothered. In a 2 oz spray bottle, I fill it first with distilled water and then add about 12 drops of Palmarosa with about 15 drops of a citrus oil of my choice. Shake and spritz. The fresh rose-like aroma immediately soothes my emotions, and dispels anxiety and nervousness. The spray also doubles as an uplifting and refreshing toner, and I’ll often use it to freshen up after a hot subway ride.
Amy Galper, Executive Director and Founder of the NY Institute of Aromatherapy, offering NYC’s first professional training programs in Aromatherapy. www.newyorkinstituteofaromatherapy.com @NYIofAroma @buddhanose