While essential oils are best used with a diffuser, to be inhaled through the nasal passages, topical application is also an effective way to use them. However, essential oils are strong liquids that may cause irritation or an allergic reaction when used incorrectly. Before you use aromatherapy topically, read this guide first.
Why Use Essential Oils Topically
When an essential oil is applied topically, the skin absorbs the essential oil and allows it to take effect. Topical application of aromatherapy allows essential oils to have a localized effect, allowing it to target specific concerns and work faster.
Guide To Topical Aromatherapy
1. Always Dilute Essential Oils For Topical Use
Essential oils are potent and can cause allergic reactions or irritate the skin. To avoid such reactions, essential oils should always be diluted. Diluting essential oils reduce their potency allowing the skin to absorb it better as well, but it does not change their efficacy.
Carrier oils are mixed with essential oils to dilute them. These carrier oils are gentler to the skin. They also help facilitate the absorption of essential oils into the skin. Carrier oils you can use for dilution are coconut oil, jojoba oil, almond oil, argan oil, and carrot seed oil.
2. How To Dilute Essential Oils
To dilute essential oils, you simply need to mix carrier oils and essential oils. However, you need to follow the correct dilution ratios.
|10 ml Carrier Oil||15 ml Carrier Oil||20 ml Carrier Oil|
|0.5% Dilution||1 drop||2 drops||3 drops|
|1% Dilution||3 drops||4 drops||6 drops|
|2% Dilution||6 drops||9 drops||12 drops|
|3% Dilution||9 drops||13 drops||18 drops|
|4% Dilution||12 drops||18 drops||24 drops|
|5% Dilution||15 drops||22 drops||30 drops|
0.5% dilution is recommended for kids aged 6 to 10;1% dilution can be used for ages 11 to 15; 2% for older kids and pregnant women; 3-5% for adults. If you don’t want to deal with ratios, you can instead purchase a ready-made roll-on essential oil. Organic Aromas’ Roll-on Essential Oils have a 5% dilution, making it perfect for daily topical use for adults.
3. Don’t Use Topical Aromatherapy On Kids Younger Than 5
As you probably noticed, the lowest dilution, 0.5% is recommended for kids aged 4 and up. This is because aromatherapy is not advisable for infants and toddlers. Essential oils are too potent for infants’ and toddlers’ little bodies. In fact, essential oils need to be handled very carefully even for children aged 3 and up. A drop of essential oil is the equivalent of 40 cups of tea for children, which cannot be good. So, it’s best to wait until kids are a little older and to always exercise caution when using essential oils for kids.
4. Some Essential Oils May Cause Sun Sensitivity
Their therapeutic benefits are not the only ones you should consider when using essential oils topically. Some essential oils can cause photosensitivity or sun sensitivity, which means that you should avoid sun exposure when using them. Photosensitivity makes your skin more sensitive to sunlight, which would cause you to get burns and sun damage easily.
5. Where To Apply Essential Oils
While you can use essential oils as massage oils, meaning you can apply it throughout the body, there are certain areas where they are best applied. It goes without saying, though, that essential oils shouldn’t be used in sensitive areas even when diluted. You can use aromatherapy topically:
- Face – for skincare
- Forehead – for headaches and stress relief
- Base of the skull – to uplift the mood
- Abdomen – for digestive concerns
- Chest – to clear breathing and for stress relief
- Soles of the feet – to relieve tension (especially during a foot massage)
6. What To Do In Case Of An Allergic Reaction
If it is your first-time using aromatherapy topically, it is always best to do a skin patch test first. Apply a drop of the diluted essential oil onto your hand or arm. Leave it on for 48 hours. You may cover it with gauze to avoid getting it wet. If no reaction occurs, you can freely use the aromatherapy. However, if you experience an allergic reaction, you should immediately wash the area with soap and water.
Expand your aromatherapy practice to more possibilities with roll-on essential oils that you can conveniently use for topical application anytime, anywhere.