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Are you new to essential oils? Want to know where to apply essential oils safely for personal or home care?
I’m here to share a few tips to help you figure it all out.
Essential oils are not difficult to use, as long as you understand the basics. There are just a few things you need to know about applying them!
How to Use Essential Oils Safely
Learning where to apply essential oils safely is pretty straightforward, as long as you follow these simple steps.
It’s pretty simple but the number rules of using essential oils safely is to always dilute your oils!
No matter where or when you apply your essential oils, you need to dilute them properly so you don’t harm your skin or your body.
Another simple rule to remember is that you can apply essential oils to the skin using a carrier oil, or enjoy them in your home using aromatic methods.
Where to apply essential oils
The first step is to decide whether you want to apply the essential oil to your skin, or whether you should try aromatherapy methods.
1. direct application (diluted of course!)
If the issue you’d like to address is related to the skin, muscles, or other physical concern, then you will want to try direct application.
As long as you properly dilute your oils, using creams, oils, or lotions, you can apply them directly to your skin for instant relief.
Direct application is a very simple and effective way to use essential oils.
There are lots of places on your body that you can apply the oils:
- Upper back
- Nape of neck
- Any point pain or inflammation
- Behind or outside ears (avoid putting oils inside ears)
2. Aromatic application
If your pain problem is related to the nervous system, or if it’s an emotional issue or a respiratory issue, then aromatic methods are a better and safer option.
If you would simply like to enjoy the aroma of essential oils, drop a few oils into a diffuser, or use an essential oils inhaler.
For this method, there is no need to apply them directly to your skin to enjoy the benefits.
There are several ways to use aromatherapy and essential oils:
- Diffuser jewelry
- Essential oils spray
How to Properly Layer Essential Oils
If you decide that direct application is what you need (say, for a muscle or skin related issue), and you’d like to increase the rate of absorption, layering two oils or blends can achieve that goal.
It can also be a nice way to create specific blends for your own needs and increase the potency of the oils.
Dilute with Carrier Oils
To layer the oils, apply the first essential oil with a carrier oil, rubbing it into your skin, before applying the next oil.
A carrier oil is simply a vegetable oil that is used to dilute essential oils so they are safe for everyday use.
Dilution is very important so you will want to keep a few carrier oils on hand.
Top carrier oils for diluting essential oils are:
- Coconut oil (by far the most popular carrier oil!)
- Sweet almond oil
- Jojoba oil
- Avocado oil
- Argan oil
- Olive oil
- Castor oil
Use a Warm Compress
To make the oils even more effective, place a warm compress on the application site. This is especially helpful for pain-related issues like headaches or muscle cramps.
A hot compress is an excellent way to intensify the properties of essential oils. How? The heat from the compress forces the oils deeper into the body.
This works especially well for migraines!
- Apply the oils using the direct application technique (don’t forget to dilute!).
- Soak a washcloth in very warm water then wring out.
- Place on the application area.
- Cover loosely with a dry towel to seal in the heat.
- Leave the cloth for 10-30 minutes.
If you experience any discomfort remove the cloth immediately and apply more carrier oil.
If you are treating an inflamed or swollen area, you’ll want a cold compress instead of a hot compress.
Use either cold water or an ice pack to reduce the swelling or inflammation.
What if an essential oil causes a reaction?
Essential oils can sometimes cause a skin reaction. Why? Because of their potency or if they are photo-toxic.
If they are photo-toxic it means they can cause hyper pigmentation to the skin when they are applied and then exposed to sunlight.
If you overuse essential oils, or don’t properly dilute them, you can develop a sensitivity to that particular oil.
What do you do if an oil is causing a skin reaction?
Wash the area with soap immediately
If an oil feels hot or causes any discomfort, wash the area with soap and water immediately.
This will quickly remove the oil from your skin and help stop any further discomfort or pain.
Stop using that particular oil
If you develop a rash, hives, or other skin irritation, stop using that particular oil.
When the reaction has cleared, try again with a more heavily diluted oil.
If the irritation returns you are probably developing a sensitivity to that essential oil and should avoid using it in the future.
Adhere to proper dilution methods
The easiest way to develop a sensitivity is by improper dilution and applying too much, too often.
Make sure you are properly diluting your oils and not overusing the recommended dosage amounts.
Check out my essential oil dilution guide to make sure you are using essential oils safely.
Vary your essential oil usage
If you develop a sensitivity to an oil, start varying your usage. Many essential oils can often be used to help offer relief for the same issue.
Instead of depending on just one oil, use two or three different oils individually — diluting as needed.
Understand how to use Photosensitive Oils
As mentioned, a few essential oils are photosensitive — meaning that they react to sunlight.
They should not be applied to skin that will be exposed to direct sunlight without proper, safe dilution.
If you plan to apply any of these oils, make sure you apply them in locations that won’t be exposed to the sun. Or make sure they are heavily diluted or properly diffused.
Photosensitive oils can cause a rash, discoloration or pigmentation, or even burn the skin so please use caution when applying photosensitive oils.
The top photosensitive oils include:
Unique Ways to Apply Essential Oils
Topical application of essential oils is fairly straightforward.
Besides direct application, there are more unique ways you can use essential oils topically.
Auricular therapy – applying oils to the rim of the ears
Vita Flex therapy – applying oils to the contact points on the foot
Massage (be sure to dilute oil by 15-30%)
Baths (add 3-6 drops of essential oils to Epsom salts or bath gel before adding to water)
Added to lotions, bath gels, or soaps