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How does lavender oil work to soothe and heal skin?

Lavender, often regarded as the matriarch of essential oils, offers multiple benefits to both the skin and senses with its sweet herbaceous aroma, and with its vast effects ranging from encouraging restful sleep through to the improvement of breakout-prone skin.

The use of lavender essential oil has been documented for more than 2,500 years, with various civilisations ranging from the ancient Egyptians through to the Romans advocating its use within cooking, bathing and healing. In modern times, lavender has been researched extensively for its practical uses for treating the skin.

In 1910, French chemist René Maurice Gattefossé was involved in an explosion where his hands were severely burned and developed gangrene. Following many failed treatments, as a last resort he decided to apply lavender essential oil to his wounds – the results were rapid and astounding.

Lavender is cultivated and harvested throughout many regions of the world and is extracted using steam distillation. There are more than 400 types of lavender species globally, each with different aromatic scents and properties.

The exact composition of each lavender species relies on its growing origin, which creates a unique scientific molecular structure, with a composition of multiple chemical constituents such as linalyl acetate, which gives lavender its anti-inflammatory properties, and linalool, which has antiseptic effects.

The unique structure of lavender can also enhance the effects of other essential oils and is frequently found in aromatherapy products due to its friendly nature and bringing other oils in a blend together.

As well as soothing the senses, lavender can soothe the skin, making it especially beneficial for those who experience irritation, redness and sunburn. The linalyl acetate content found within lavender reduces skin inflammation, reliving the discomfort associated with it and meaning lavender is often regarded as a “first aid” remedy for minor skin distress.

The gentle actions of lavender, with its generally neutral pH, also assist with skin moisturising and conditioning, giving a rejuvenating effect in those with mature or stressed-out skin.

Those with breakout-prone skin can benefit greatly from lavender too. It’s linalool content gives excellent antiseptic properties to help combat mechanisms that lead to breakouts, while assisting with the reduction of inflammation and discomfort caused by the eruption. The cleansing actions of lavender are well regarded for balancing combination skin and creating equilibrium, and it is found in Eve Taylor’s Balancing Cleanser.

Research also shows that the chemical constituents within lavender can inhibit several neurotransmitters and receptors in the brain, resulting in the lowering of blood pressure, tension, and the slowing down of busy brain waves.

By simply diffusing lavender essential oil in a unit such as Eve Taylor London’s Aroma Diffuser Pod, the inhalation of its aromatic molecules has deeply soothing, sedating actions which have been found to reduce levels of nervousness, anxiety, and depression with its anxiolytic properties.

Matt Taylor is brand and education manager at professional aromatherapy brand Eve Taylor London.

What should I be aware of when performing semi-permanent brow treatments on skin of colour?

Semi-permanent make-up (SPMU) has been helping people enhance their natural beauty for decades, but over the past few years it has become easier for SPMU artists to specialise in melanated skin. For years, artists were told by instructors that they could not perform permanent cosmetic services on skin of colour because they believed it healed poorly on darker skin.

Fortunately, this myth has been dispelled and artists around the world are now showing off beautifully healed results on skin of colour. However, if you want to perform eyebrow processes on clients with deeper skin tones then there are a few things you should keep in mind to ensure optimal healing.

Melanated skin tends to produce greater amounts of sebum and oil, which can encourage pigment migration, so to counteract the risk, artists should be careful not to oversaturate the skin with pigment.

When too much pigment is deposited, the skin is overworked, and then brows could end up with an ashy or cool tone when healed. Regardless of skin tone, overworked skin can also become scarred or hyperpigmented.

Skin of colour can also have a severe inflammatory reaction to trauma, known as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH), which results in skin discolouration. To minimise risk to clients, you should not jump around or work randomly – filling in one section at a time ensures that skin is evenly saturated and the end design is preserved.

You also need to pay attention to the visual cues. When working with lighter skin tones, artists will notice visual cues such as redness and bruising (which are signs of trauma). However, the cues can look different when working on skin of colour, making it easy for uninformed artists to accidentally overwork the skin.

When working with melanated skin, keep an eye out for blood, swelling and excessive lymph. If you see any of these, give your client’s skin a break and then switch to a slower speed. Adjust the needle so that it doesn’t snag, and ensure you’re applying gentle pressure. Also, be patient and take your time, as the slower pace allows the pigment to oxidise, making it easier to see the level of saturation. If you work too aggressively, this could result in hypopigmentation – loss of skin colour due to trauma – which can be permanent if the melanocytes are destroyed completely.

When performing the hair stroke technique, keep ample space between each stroke until the skin is healed. At that point, you can see which lines should be added during the follow-up appointment to complete the design. The best eyebrow techniques for skin of colour are machine stroke and powder eyebrows because they cause less trauma and allow the artist to increase definition. Microblading is not recommended on melanin-rich skin since it is more likely to scar, discolour or result in keloid scarring.

When working on skin of colour, you can also choose from a wide variety of pigments – black and orange modifiers are not the only options. In fact, all-black pigment can lead to poor results when healed. So, to understand the science behind different pigments and how they affect healed results; artists must be knowledgeable in colour theory. Once you’ve mastered this, you’ll achieve brows that retain their warmth even when healed.

Dior Davenport is co-founder of the Black Micropigmentation Association. See her talk “Performing SPMU treatments on skin of colour” on the Skin & Advanced Treatments Stage at PB London on Monday, April 4, at 11am.

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This article appears in the February 2022 Issue of Professional Beauty


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