Topical Use of Essential Oils
Most therapeutic grade essential oils can be applied topically. Always follow label instructions of your essential oils and familiarize yourself with recommended dilution ratios.
One of the best places to apply an essential oil topically is to the bottom of the feet. There you have the largest pores and also your skin isn’t as sensitive. The essential oil will be absorbed quickly and enters your blood stream within 30 seconds. Within about 30 minutes, many essential oils will reach their destination cells in your body. People also apply essential oils along the spine and energy meridians, neck and temples, pressure and reflex points, and locally to sore muscles, achy joints, on the abdomen, or directly to the skin where it’s irritated. Please make sure to dilute essential oils when recommended and apply with care. Keep away from sensitive body parts, genitals, eyes, ears, nose and open wounds.
Hot Essential Oils
Some essential oils are considered “hot”. Those essential oils should never be applied neat to the skin. Especially for people with sensitive skin, young children, and babies always follow proper instructions on diluting with a carrier oil. Some good carrier oils include fractionated coconut oil, almond oil, aloe vera oil, and jojoba oil (see below for more carrier options). I often get the question, “What is fractionated coconut oil?“. It is as the name indicates a fraction of coconut oil. A good brief explanation is that it is coconut oil where the long chain Triglycerides have been removed making the coconut oil non-greasy, a thin liquid which can be quickly absorbed by the skin, has no odor, and most important it doesn’t alter the chemical composition of the essential oil you are using.
Here is a list of some essential oils that are considered “hot” and should always be diluted:
Tip: To be on the safe side, always perform a small skin test on the inside of your forearm before applying a new essential oil topically.
Benefits of Topical Use
- works fast
- localized, systemic effects
- benefits autonomic balance
- supports the immune system
- soothes the skin
- soothing and comforting to emotions/moods
- reduces feelings of stress
- can enhance the benefits of a massage
Carrier Oils, Lotions, Butters
Here is a list of my favorite carrier oils, butters and lotions:
- fractionated coconut oil (non-greasy, absorbs completely, no sticky residue, no odor)
- coconut oil (best if diluted with other carrier oils, great support for the skin, coconut scent)
- jojoba oil (balancing to hair and skin, nourishing and regenerative properties, rich in antioxidants)
- almond oil (moisturizing for the skin, soft, non-greasy)
- avocado oil (rich in vitamins and essential fatty acids, very soothing to the skin, blends well with almond oil)
- carrot seed oil (balances moisture in the skin, regenerative properties, also great for hair)
- flaxseed oil (high in fatty acids, rich in Vitamin B and E, regenerative properties, heavy scent, blend with other carrier oil)
- cocoa butter (rich, creamy,high in polyphenols, vitamins and minerals, balances the skin, blend with other carrier oil)
- unscented lotion
Do not use mineral oils or petroleum jelly and make sure to stay away from almond oil if you have a nut allergy or sensitivity.
Phototoxic Essential Oils
Some essential oils contain furocoumarins, a special class of constituent that can cause photosensitization of the skin. When applied topically, the following essential oils could be “phototoxic” or cause “sun sensitivity”:
Angelica Root, Bergamot, Cumin, Grapefruit, Lemon, Lime, Mandarin, Tangerine, Wild Orange, Opoponox, Verbana
Avoidance of sunlight is recommended for up to 12 hours after topical use (this includes tanning beds).
Recommended Dilution Ratios for Topical Use
1% dilution = 1 drop of essential oil in 1 tsp. of carrier oil
2% dilution = 2 drops of essential oil in 1 tsp. of carrier oil
3% dilution = 3 drops of essential oil in 1 tsp. of carrier oil
0.5% dilution is generally recommended for 3-24 months old babies, 1% for 2-6 years old, 2% for 6-12 years old, 2% during pregnancy or with elderly people, 2% for older than 12 and adults with daily or long term use, 3%-5% (or even higher) for temporary use
Need help finding the right essential oils for you? Simply contact me..