Summer is a time of fun, outdoor play and hopefully, a bit of travel and relaxation. It’s also a time of sunburn, bug bites and crowded travel. We’ve created this Summer Essential Oil Survival Guide to help you survive and thrive this summer.
Before heading out to the beach, on a camping trip or other summer activity, pack an essential oil summer survival kit with some of the following essential oils.
5 Best Multi-Purpose Essential Oils For Summer
Here’s our recommendation of five multi-purpose essential oils from this guide that you shouldn’t leave home without:
Helpful for all skin conditions including itching as well as relaxation, stress and anxiety relief.
Mentally stimulating, uplifting and antiseptic to kill germs and clean wounds.
3. Tea Tree
Helpful for rashes, skin conditions, killing germs and repelling bugs.
4. Roman chamomile
Gentle, calms nerves and soothes skin and bug bites.
5. Lemon eucalyptus
Excellent as a full-spectrum bug repellent, invigorating, increases mental clarity.
Essential Oils For Summer Travel
Whether you’re setting out on a road trip or far-off location by plane, here are three common issues summer travelers face, along with which essential oils can help:
1. Staying Alert While Driving
According to AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, more than one in five fatal crashes involve driver fatigue. If you’re planning a road trip this summer, be sure to get a good night’s sleep before your trip. Choose to drive during normal wakeful hours and schedule a rest stop every two to three hours.
If you start feeling drowsy, roll the window down for fresh air and take a whiff of an invigorating essential oil. Other ways to get an essential oil energy fix include the use of a car essential oil diffuser or a few drops of the following oils in a water bottle to mist in the vehicle as needed:
Fresh, cooling and invigorating, peppermint is a great essential oil for focus. A study performed by Dr. William N. Dember of the University of Cincinnati found that inhaling peppermint essential oil increased mental clarity and accuracy in the students subjects.
This essential oil is versatile, stimulating and helpful for alertness. Its camphor-like scent is fresh. Researchers at the Neuroscience Unit of Psychology found that rosemary essential oil produced a significant enhancement of performance for overall memory and focus quality. Be warned: not all essential oils are appropriate for driving; the same researchers found that lavender oil is sedative and impairs alertness.
2. Fear of Flying Essential Oils
For many, flying is an unpleasant experience. Dealing with crowds, lugging baggage and long periods in small spaces is stressful. For others, plane travel itself creates anxiety. Here are three essential oils and blends that can help combat fear of flying and stress:
- Orange and Lavender
Researchers have found that diffusing these two essential oils together reduces fear and anxiety in patients at the dental office. When flying, try smelling the combination during moments that trigger stress.
Frankincense has an earthy, sweet aroma that’s relaxing without sedating you. It stimulates the limbic part of the brain, helping the mind overcome stress and fear.
- Roman Chamomile
The essential oil is crisp and sweet. It has a calming effect on the nerves.
If you’re afraid of flying, add a couple of drops of your favorite fear-busting essential oils to a handkerchief and inhale as needed to relax. Or try a reflexology-style approach by applying and massaging essential oils diluted in a carrier oil to three body points associated with fear:
- The inner wrists
- The bottom of the feet in the center just below the toes’ foot pad
- The ears
Recommended Reading: How To Treat Anxiety With Essential Oils: 12 Experts Reveal Their Secrets
3. Canned Airplane Air and Germs
Canned air is a term used for the fact that most airplanes recirculate cabin air. Concerns that we’re all exposed to germs and bacteria from other passengers is unfounded, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Most newer-model airplanes use HEPA filters during air recirculation, which capture 99.9% of bacteria and viruses in an airplane’s cabin. The airflow is designed to circulate in bands instead of flowing through the entire cabin. “The air cabin environment is not conducive to the spread of most infectious diseases through air recirculation,” concludes the CDC.
But the CDC’s conclusions do not address the fact that we’re in small quarters in close contact with others. To keep coughing, sneezing airplane neighbors and their germs at bay, all essential oils are effective at killing germs, with some essential oils more potent than others.
Annie Pryor is a stay-at-home mom with a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Ohio State University. She performed her own clinical testing on the bacteria-fighting properties of essential oil blends. Her conclusion showed that essential oils do, in fact, have antibacterial properties. The top performing germ-fighting essential oils and blends in her study were:
- Thieves by Young Living
- Tea tree oil
- OnGuard by doTERRA
- Ameo by Proshield
- Germ Fighter and Germ Destroyer by PLANT THERAPY
If you had to choose one germ-fighting essential oil, Annie has one she likes most:
After testing all of these oils, my favorite single oil is cinnamon essential oil.
When flying, the best way to create a natural airborne filtration system for your body is to place a drop of essential oil under your nose and around your nostrils. You’ll enjoy the aromatherapy effect of smelling the oil while it kills germs before they enter your respiratory system.
Concentrated essential oils like cinnamon may be too strong for some people with sensitive skin. Always test an oil on a small spot of your forearm for sensitivity. If you are sensitive to certain oils, dilute them in a carrier oil like almond or jojoba oil before applying to your skin.
Essential Oils For The Beach and Outdoors
If you’re camping, hiking or going to the beach this summer, essential oils are essential. The beach and outdoor ailments listed below all affect the skin. Lavender oil is useful for all skin related problems, thanks to its pain relieving, anti-inflammatory restorative properties. Here are three common outdoor issues and the essential oils to relieve them:
1. Jellyfish Stings
If you’ve been stung by a jellyfish, you may have been advised to pour urine on the sting to counteract the toxin. This is an old wive’s tale and not advised by the Red Cross. In fact, without knowing the type of jellyfish, water and vinegar could be a bad idea as well. The best advice is to rinse the sting with ocean water and treat for swelling and pain. The best essential oils to use topically for swelling and pain relief from jellyfish stings include:
- Tea tree
Depending on how painful the sting is, use a cool essential oil compress. If pressure can’t be tolerated, spray a diluted essential oil mist on the sting.
Essential oils are instrumental in treating sunburn — not only for pain relief, but to reduce swelling and prevent scarring. To cool and soothe the affected area, mix a few drops of essential oil in cool, refrigerated aloe vera gel. Apply the gel to the sunburned area several times per day. Top essential oils for sunburn relief are:
- Roman chamomile
There is probably no other oil in current circulation which so predictably and reliably heals and rejuvenates the skin like helichrysum. — Organic chemist Kurt Schnaubelt, author of Medical Aromatherapy: Healing with Essential Oils.
3. Poison Ivy
Poison ivy, sumac and oak all release an oil that creates rashes and blisters if you come in contact with the leaves. Because the oil can spread and create more rashes, it’s important to wash not only your hands and body, but all clothing as well.
Identifying which plants are culprits is not as easy as the traditional wisdom of avoiding red leaves, since these poison plants only display red leaves seasonally. WebMD has a good photo identifying what each plant looks like.
To soothe the hot, itchy rash that comes from contact with poison ivy, oak or sumac, try a cool compress of:
- Tea tree
- Roman chamomile
To create a cool compress, add a few drops of one or a combination of the essential oils above in fresh water. Soak a washcloth in the mixture, wring and place in the refrigerator to cool. Apply the cool, damp towel to the affected area for healing relief.
Essential Oils For Bugs and Their Bites
Bug bites and summer are a preventable combination. While most bites are an itchy nuisance, some, like bee or wasp stings are painful. And if you add rare but potential issues like West Nile Virus from mosquito bites or Lyme Disease from ticks, your first line of action against bug bites is to avoid them altogether by using a good bug repellent.
Commercial bug sprays often contain the controversial chemical DEET. It does a great job at repelling bugs, but has a storied past of dangerous side effects in some users. Skin reactions are common and prolonged exposure can affect cognitive functions of the brain. Why risk dangerous side effects when there are essential oils that work as well, if not better than DEET? Here are some bug-repelling essential oils:
- Lemon eucalyptus
This essential oil is so effective against bugs that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registered lemon eucalyptus oil as a natural “biopesticide repellent”. It’s not only an excellent mosquito repellent, but studies show that the oil reduced the number of Lyme Disease carrying castor bean ticks that attached to human participants by half.
- Thyme and Clove
Thyme and clove oils were the most effective natural mosquito repellents from a selection of essential oils tested. A study by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) found they provided one and a half to three and a half hours of protection against mosquitoes.
- Catnip Oil
This essential oil smells similar to citronella. Researchers report that nepetalactone, the essential oil in catnip that gives the plant its characteristic scent, is about ten times more effective at repelling mosquitoes than DEET.
- Juniper Oil
Juniper essential oil is found to be effective at repelling larval ticks, which are difficult to find before they bite.
The best way to use these essential oils is to add a few drops to a carrier oil and apply to exposed skin. Reapply every 1-2 hours. For faster application, try putting the oil blend in a spray bottle. Glass bottles are best, citrus essential oils will eat plastic.
Recommended Reading: 12 Natural Remedies To Treat Mosquito Bites
Treating Bug Bites
For bug bites including bee and wasp stings, apply your choice of these oils diluted in a carrier oil to soothe itching, reduce pain and swelling and speed up the healing process:
- Tea tree
- Roman chamomile
Certain Essential Oils Require Caution on Summer Days
Citrus-based essential oils absorb higher amounts of the sun’s energy, creating sun sensitivities. Avoid applying these oils when planning to spend time outside, as the oils can cause the skin area to burn faster:
- Bitter orange
- Sweet orange
Your Summer Essential Oil Survival Kit Checklist
Put a summer survival kit together including a selection of your favorite oils. Some items worth including in the kit are:
- A portable or car essential oil diffuser
- Quality aloe vera gel
- A small spray bottle (glass if using citrus oils, since they can eat plastic)
- Gauze or a small washcloth (helpful for compresses)
- A handkerchief or cotton balls (for inhaling essential oils on the go)
- A small bottle of carrier oil (such as almond oil) or unscented lotion to mix with essential oils
- Instant ice packs (no refrigeration necessary)
- Essential oils (The best place to buy all of the essential oils mentioned in this “Summer Survival Guide” is from this page on Plant Therapy Essential Oils.
Where To Buy Essential Oils
The best source of high quality, 100% pure essential oils is Plant Therapy Essential Oils. They sell only 100% pure oils, they offer free shipping in the US and 90 day returns if you are not satisfied.
On this page they have a wonderful selection of essential oils. Chances are, if they don’t stock it, you don’t need it! They also stock a variety of wonderful essential oil accessories, such as diffusers, and a whole host of other natural goodies.