Topical application is one of the ways you can experience the benefits of essential oils. This form of application is unique because it allows for localized effects in the area of the application in addition to providing whole body support. Additionally, you can use essential oils topically when you want an easy way to target specific areas on your body.
Dilution is a process in which essential oils are mixed with a carrier oil—a pure vegetable oil that helps “carry” the essential oil onto the skin. There are many benefits to dilution, including increasing the surface area of absorption, enhancing absorption through dry skin, and preventing sensitivity responses.
Classifications of Essential Oils for Topical Use
Neat: Oils categorized as “neat” can be applied topically without dilution because of their exceptionally mild chemistry. Frankincense, Lavender, Melaleuca, Melissa, and Sandalwood are good examples of “neat” essential oils.
Dilute: Oils in this category have potent chemistry and should be diluted with a carrier oil before topical application in every case. “Dilute” oils include Cassia, Cinnamon, Clove, Oregano, and Thyme.
Sensitive: “Sensitive” oils are those that should be diluted before use on young or sensitive skin. Bergamot, Black Pepper, Eucalyptus, Ginger, and Peppermint are examples of “sensitive” oils.
Although unusual, occasionally it is possible to have a sensitivity response to an essential oil. This occurs when there is heightened reactivity of an essential oil that may result in an unwanted response in the body or on the skin. Awareness of your body and how it reacts to different essential oils, amounts applied, and location applications can help minimize risk and ensure safe usage.
Essential Safety Tips:
Citrus oils contain a unique category of photosensitive compounds called furocoumarins, so it is important to avoid exposure to sunlight, sunlamps, or other sources of UV light for up to 12 hours after topical application of these oils.
More is not always better! Essential oils are very potent, so a little goes a long way. Start with 1–2 drops and then increase the dosage as necessary.
Dilute, dilute, dilute! Dilution in no way diminishes the efficacy of essential oils and offers many benefits that can enhance your application experience. Conduct a simple sensitivity test when trying a new oil by applying a small amount of essential oil to an inconspicuous area. Check the spot each hour for several hours to ensure no sensitivity has occurred.
Where do I apply my essential oils?
Face: Use essential oil as part of your regular skin care regimen to beautify the skin and promote a clear, healthy looking complexion.
Neck/Forehead/Temples: These areas are good to target feelings of tension.
Abdomen: Application of essential oils, especially over major digestive organs.
Arms/Legs/Back: Massage onto the arms, wrists, legs, feet, or back after physical activity.
Roof of the Mouth (Soft Palette)/Base of the Skull: Applying oils to these areas is an excellent way to help transform your mood and balance your emotions.
Chest: Rubbing oils onto the chest promotes feelings of clear breathing.
Bottoms of Feet: The feet have large pores that rapidly absorb essential oils, making this an ideal application site for generalized effect. Apply and massage in 2–4 drops of essential oil.
Other Effective Methods of Topical Application:
• Add a few drops of oil to a warm bath
• Make a hot or cold compress by soaking a towel or cloth in water, adding essential oils, and then applying to the desired area- Add oil to a lotion or moisturizer and then apply to the skin
• Mix with water and use as a mouth and throat rinse