“Can I put it directly on my skin?  Where do I put it? What’s a carrier oil?  How do I dilute? Do I have to worry about the sun?”

These common questions tend to slow down your progress with using oils or even stop you in your tracks.  But they are all great questions! You want to make sure you are using them safely. The horror stories we hear about essential oils are most often due to not knowing the safety around using them.

Topical application of essential oils is a popular and safe method. However, using essential oils on your skin can be a bit more complicated than applying your regular body lotion.

doTERRA makes it easy to use oils topically!  

All oils and blends are classified into three categories in regards to how you can apply them to the skin:

  • Neat (no dilution necessary)
  • Dilute (always be diluted for everyone)
  • Sensitive (dilute for sensitive groups including young or sensitive skin).

Remember that diluting an oil does NOT make it less effective. When in doubt, DILUTE!  Even the Neat oils can be diluted to your comfort level. Especially if you are using an oil for the first time, dilute it.
See more about different carrier oils and dilution rates here.

In general, you apply essential oils where you need them for their localized effect. For example: to soothe your body after exercise, you would apply Deep Blue oil to the muscles in your back or legs.  You can also apply oils to the soles of your feet to be absorbed into your bloodstream very quickly for a whole-body effect.

Another reason to use oils topically is to experience them aromatically by putting the oil on your wrists, palms, or behind your ears.  Check out our past blog to learn more about the benefits of using oils aromatically.

Where to Apply:

Due to the potency of oils, you should not apply them on sensitive areas. But, there are many places they can be used safely:

  1. Face (useful for helping with complexion and beautifying the skin)
  2. Forehead, neck, and temples (a target area for dealing with feelings of tension)
  3. Roof of the mouth (for help with balancing emotions and your mood, for oils safe to use internally)
  4. Base of the skull (an external option for emotional and mood support)
  5. Abdomen (to apply over major digestive organs)
  6. Chest (a good area to apply for feelings of clear breathing)
  7. The soles of the feet (to limit sensitivity, soothe the feet, or for massage. Massaging the feet can stimulate nerve endings and generate whole-body)

What to do in case of reaction:

Having a reaction to an oil is rare, but it does happen. You will know if you are having a reaction based on responses in the skin, like irritation or increased tenderness. When trying a new oil, always perform a patch test by applying one drop of oil (with five to ten drops of carrier oil for hot or sensitive oils) to a patch of skin on your forearm. Observe that area of skin for one hour for any reaction, though you are most likely to react within 10 minutes. Keep Fractionated Coconut Oil on hand to immediately reduce the effects should a reaction occur.  Read more here about sensitivity reactions.

* Beware of sun sensitivities (12-24 hours) with topical use of some citrus oils, including Lemon, Lime, Bergamot, Grapefruit, Tangerine & Wild Orange! 🌞

Green Mandarin has become one of my favorites to use topically.  Unlike other citruses, Green Mandarin is not photosensitive so no worries using it topically out in the sun!

* Special caution should also be taken with any of the oils that are considered “hot.” These include all the oils in the Dilute category mentioned above. Always dilute these oils and be aware of other ways to use them other than on the skin.  Some “hot” oils include Ginger, Cinnamon, Clove, Oregano and more.

Now that you know the safety, how & where to apply essential oils…

Get Oilin’!

Want to learn more about using essential oils topically?

Watch my FB Live on using EOs topically!

Read our blog on the 3 Ways to Use Essential Oils!


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