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How to Use Essential Oils on the Skin

The healing benefits of essential oils are wide-reaching and well known, but what is less well known about them is how to go about applying them to your skin! We’ve all heard vague warnings about applying them directly to your skin, but what happens? What steps do you have to take to be able to use them on your skin? Worry not! We’ve compiled a nice little checklist for you to go through if you want to include more essential oils into your everyday skincare.


1.)   Is it the right type of oil for your desired outcome?

Alright, so you know that you want to topically apply some essential oils. Great! The best thing to do once you know that you want to start incorporating them into your skincare or relaxation routines is to figure out what you want to target and how you can best go about it. If you want to topically apply an oil for stress relief, lavender, lemon, bergamot, valerian, and orange are a few good options to consider. Rose, geranium, and patchouli can work great for skin care–cold-pressed rosehip oil, for example, is known to have great skin care benefits for helping ease dark spots and redness.  Peppermint can give you a bit of an energy boost. There are lots of options and once you know that you want to use them, go ahead and pick what you want to target and go from there. The Essential Life book is a fantastic resource for learning more about each essential oil.

2.)   Is the essential oil you want to use on your skin phototoxic?

Most people probably haven’t heard of this term exactly but are familiar with the concept. A phototoxic oil is one that causes photosensitivity, or a reaction when exposed to UV rays. This can lead to irritation, redness, blistering, and burning. Generally citrus oils are known to cause photosensitivity but they aren’t the only ones. And this isn’t always going to be an issue if you plan to use it at night before you go to bed, for example. But if you want to use it in your morning skin care or as a morning pick-me-up, this is a good thing to check out, especially as some of the citrus essential oils can be good for boosting your skin’s moisture barrier due to their vitamin c content.

3.)   Have you diluted your essential oil?

Dilution is an important step in the topical application of essential oils. You want to figure out a carrier oil that works for this. If you want to use your oil as hair care, coconut oil is a great option as on its own, it has great moisture benefits. Rosemary essential oil and coconut oil can be incredible for hair growth, for example. A good ratio to work within is 1 tsp of your chosen carrier oil with 3 drops of your chosen essential oil. The ratio, though, can vary depending on what carrier oil you use and what your intended use of the essential oil is. As a general rule of thumb, 1 tsp to 3 drops is a good starting point. Click to see our handy dilution chart.

4.)   Are you allergic to the carrier oil or essential oil you’ve chosen?

This might seem like a weird step on the checklist, but we promise, it’s not. This point is especially relevant to folks who have tree-nut allergies. A lot of carrier oils are likely to trigger this, such as sweet almond oil, argan oil, and apricot kernel oil. Always do a patch test with your carrier oil first and then proceed with mixing in your essential oils. And if you’re worried about an allergy to the essential oil, try first with a heavily diluted mix and proceed again with a patch test. It’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to allergies.

Once all of these boxes have been checked, you’re ready to go! Welcome to the wonderful world of topical essential oils. There are so many benefits to reap from introducing them into your everyday routines and when executed right, they’re a great natural alternative to some other staples you might have in your life. Research has shown that essential oils can serve as anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and soothing powerhouses. Especially for skin care, they can be the perfect way to remove harmful bacteria and excess dirt without drying out your skin and damaging your skin’s moisture barrier.

Give them a shot and tell us how it goes!

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