May is here and for most of the country, that means much warmer temperatures. The warmer temperatures also mean figuring out how to stay active outside while staying cool. Living in the desert for over a decade has taught me a few things when it comes to staying cool with hydrosols and essential oils.
Non – Aromatic Tips to Consider
Before I delve into my aromatic tips, there are a few non – aromatic things I really need you to consider for a moment for your and your family’s safety.
Protect your skin by wearing properly formulated sunblocks/sunscreens. I cannot emphasize "properly formulated" enough.
If you can do your outdoor activities earlier in the day versus later in the day when the sun is at its peak, I strongly recommend it! I personally have a set schedule for my kids during the summer where they play outside between 7 am and 10 am before the 110 - 120° temperatures peak. An alternative you might also choose to do your activities later in the evening as well once the sun has started setting.
Drink lots of water or electrolytes if needed. It is too easy to become dehydrated no matter where you live in the world. Lora Cantele explains that “Electrolytes help to maintain proper functioning of the body’s systems. Without proper functioning, the nervous system can shut down.2”
Be aware of the potential for increased risk of heat stroke during higher temperatures. I mention this because I have had family members and their pets suffer the consequences of not being aware. When I say aware, make sure you know exactly how hot it will be. If you live in a very humid area, please consider the fact that humidity “reduces the evaporation of perspiration and so keeps heat in.”1
I also want to mention that overheating is not something you notice happening to yourself or to a loved one until it is too late. So be mindful of your temperatures, when you play, how often and how much you are hydrating.
Aromatic Tips to Stay Cool
Many of you have heard me raving about hydrosols and for good reason. They are versatile and easy to use! They can be used to make cool compresses, sprays, and so much more! My favorite during the summer is Peppermint Hydrosol. This one I use to spray the back of my neck and arm pits when it is warm – even at 7am here! On occasion I will blend geraniumand peppermint hydrosols together in a misting spray bottle to offer a nicer aroma and also provide more soothing and cooling benefits when it is warm. You can even use Lavenderfor this!
Another way to make a spray might be to use peppermintand lavenderessential oils blended with a high grain alcohol and some water. Add your ingredients into a 2 or 4 ounce misting spray bottle and you are ready to cool off with a spray.
I also use hydrosols to make cold compresses. Cold compress with hydrosols are very easy to make. To make one with Peppermint hydrosol, just pour some refrigerated peppermint hydrosol in a small bowl and add a light weight cloth to absorb a little. Then place the cloth (compress) on the back of your neck, your forehead, armpits, etc. If you have sensitive skin you can dilute the hydrosol with distilled water using a 1:1 ratio.
You can use essential oils to make cool compresses, although formulation isn’t as simple as adding a few drops of essential oils to cooled water. A solubizer or emulsifier will need to be used in order to properly dilute and disperse the essential oils into the water though, so I rarely use essential oils in my compresses.
Remember to also properly care for your skin before, during and after you are out of the sun. If you are curious about essential oils and spf, I encourage you to read the blog I wrote about them here. For now, I hope you have enjoyed the few tips for using essential oils and hydrosols to keep you cool.
1Worwood, V. A. (2016). The complete book of essential oils and aromatherapy: Over 800 natural, nontoxic, and fragrant recipes to create health, beauty, and safe home and work environments. Novato, CA: New World Library.
2Purchon, N., & Cantele, L. (2014). The complete aromatherapy & essential oils handbook for everyday wellness. Toronto, Ontario: Robert Rose.