Curious About Essential Oils? Vital Questions Answered

Do you ever feel tempted to apply Essential Oils undiluted on the body?

Well, I did…a few years back.

And that’s when I realized not all oils can be applied neat directly on the skin!

I happened to apply a drop of peppermint essential oil on the back of my neck to relieve a headache and soon felt an unpleasant irritation there. I immediately washed my skin with cold water and applied some aloe vera gel that I happened to have on hand. Thankfully, the skin just got a little red patch which disappeared pretty soon.

I soon realized that not all brands and makes are created equal and It’s really important to use high-quality therapeutic grade essential oils that are steam distilled.

But it also made me realize that it is very important to know more about essential oils before using (experimenting with) them, expecting to derive their benefits.

Here I have compiled a few basic but vital pieces of information about essential oils that I believe everyone should know as they begin using them.

How much oil is there in a bottle?

A 10ml bottle contains approx. 200-250 drops of an essential oil. If you use 10 drops a day that’s a 20-25 day supply. Approx 300 grams of peppermint leaves go into making a small 10ml bottle of peppermint essential oil!

How many drops to put in a bathtub?

Dropping essential oils into your bath tub just before getting in, isn’t such a great idea.

Essential oils don’t mix well with water so they won’t really be diluted in your bath. Chances are, the oils may stay on the surface or may cling to your skin. And this can lead to undesired side effects!

It’s better to dilute your essential oils in a carrier oil (less than 5% concentration would be safe) and then add that blend to the bath. More effective, fewer chances of side effects and you get the most bang for your buck too!

Can essential oils be applied directly to the skin?

I have found that applying essential oils directly on the skin can work sometimes.You could apply a soothing oil like Lavender but, try the oil on your elbow first. If the elbow skin doesn’t become red and irritated, it’s probably OK to use the oil directly, but not on the sensitive areas.

Essential oils like lemon and most other citrus oils are photosensitive. This means that they will cause your skin burn if you go outside after putting these on, even if you have diluted them. Using photo-sensitizing essential oils before going sunbathing is a big NO NO.

What parts of the body are the best absorption places?

Underarms, groin & the bottom of the feet are actually the best absorption places. Essential Oils are great anti-microbial and make great underarm deodorant. Moisture and heat help with their absorption.Try to dilute your essential oils before applying on the body.

How to store essential oils?

Store all Essential oils in a cool, dark and dry place, such as a closet. Citrus Essential oils like Lemon, are more vulnerable to losing their scent so store them in the refrigerator if possible.

Do not put essential oils in direct sunlight – it can change their constituents. When the light gets to Tea Tree Oil it – it becomes irritating. Tea Tree Oil in a clear glass bottle can convert into an irritant. If you buy essential oils in clear glass bottles, store them in a dark cabinet in a cool corner.

How are essential oils different from carrier oils?

Essential oils are distilled from the leaves, bark, roots and other aromatic portions of a plant. Essential oils evaporate and have a concentrated aroma. Carrier oils, on the other hand, are pressed from the fatty portions (seeds, nuts, kernels) and do not evaporate or impart their aroma as strongly as essential oils. Carrier oils can go rancid (stale or rotten) over time, but essential oils do not. Instead, essential oils “oxidize” and lose their therapeutic benefits, but they don’t go rancid.

Why do we use a carrier oil to dilute essential oil?

In certain cases, essential oils are diluted with water, such as when we diffuse them in a diffuser and get steam from the oil and water into the air, or when we add them to a bathtub for aromatherapy. However, when they are applied to the skin, water doesn’t work well. Essential oils evaporate into the skin very quickly, going deep into the layers of skin where it causes irritation. Diluting them with plain water won’t’ help. However, carrier oil sits on the skin for longer, so you can rub it on the skin with the essential oils. Carrier oil also protects your delicate skin while neutralizing the scent of essential oil.

Is it safe to drink water infused with lemon oil, for its health benefits?

You should be very careful about which oils you take into your body as some may be toxic when ingested. Do not consume essential oils unless the oil that you buy has been specifically advertised as safe for internal use. When in doubt, do not ingest essential oils.

What should be done if skin discomfort or irritation is experienced after using an essential oil?

You should discontinue use of that particular oil immediately. You can dilute and calm essential oils that have already been applied to the skin by adding a few drops of carrier oil to the affected area.

What should be done if our eyes come in contact with essential oils?

If your eyes come in contact with an Essential oil, do not rub them. Soak a cotton cloth with vegetable oil or milk and gently wipe over the affected area. You may also wash your eyes with lukewarm tap water for fifteen minutes by cupping your hands and allowing the water into your eyes.

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