I hope you’ve enjoyed experiencing the vast array of aromas God created for our senses. Isn’t it wonderful how God gifted us with tools to lift our spirits, wind us down at night and remind us of the abundance of our Giver? We have so much to be thankful for!
This is the third installment of Aromatherapy; did you miss the other two, Aromatherapy 101 and Aromatherapy 102? If so, catch up and then join us as we continue to learn about essential oils…and some of the mistakes I’ve made along the way.
So, let’s open the door to topical application. Essential oils (EO’s) are fat soluble, meaning they combine with fats. This also means they are usually not easily combined with water. You’ll discover this if you ever drop a few drops of EO in a glass of water. The EO floats, most of the time, because it contains lighter molecules. You could take a sip and get a big shot of EO. It’s quite a shock to the taste buds! This is why EO’s should be mixed with either oil or lotion. Combining it this way distributes the EO molecules along the surface of your skin, reducing the risk of irritation.
What I find super cool, is that EO molecules actually penetrate the skin and enter our bloodstream. Once in our bloodstream, our cells take them in! This also occurs just by breathing them in!
What’s Not Cool…
As I mentioned in Aromatherapy 102, some EO’s are “hot”. “Hot” means the EO can cause skin and mucosal irritation, such as temporary burning, swelling or rash. Remember I said I experimented on myself? Let me attest to the power of “hot” oils!
After doing some research I determined some “hot” oils might address an issue I was having.
I neglected however to dilute it properly. My skin turned red, swelled and burned like fire every place I had applied it. Even after a shower my skin still burned for another 5 to 10 minutes. I have also accidently touched a “hot” EO to my lips when smelling it from the bottle. That also felt like fire on my skin. Thank goodness it was a small amount so the fire subsided quickly. I should have applied a little oil to my lip and it probably would have cooled down sooner. I have quickly learned when diluting “hot” EO’s to start with a 0.5% dilution. Brimstone and fire are not for me.
Words of Caution
- Topical application results in more EO entering the bloodstream. No research has been done, that I could find, on EO topical application in women who were pregnant or breastfeeding. Not knowing the effects of an EO on a developing fetus or breastfeeding baby, it is imperative to consult your physician before topical application.
- Children have developing immune systems and the elderly often have compromised ones, so it makes sense that topical application should be diluted to 0.5% after consulting a physician.
- Speaking of children, it goes without saying to keep EO’s out of the reach of children. They don’t have childproof caps.
- If you are taking medication, be sure to consult your physician as I have found research that states EO’s either interfere with the metabolism of medications or increases the effects of it.
- Patch test when introducing a new EO. Dilute to 1% and test on inner arm.
Essential oils can be powerful due to their concentrated plant material. Have respect for the power God placed into His Creation.
Essential Oils I Use Topically & Where I Apply Them
I use a 1% dilution of Cedarwood (Cedrus atlantica)
in hair care. Jojoba oil (which is great for skin and hair)
mixed with cedarwood moisturizes my hair, controls dandruff …and smells nice.
Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) works well on my bug bites or itchy skin at 4% dilution. At a 1% dilution I add it to all my skin care products.
The smell of Orange (Citrus sinensis) relaxes me. I massage it into my feet, neck and shoulders at 1% dilution before I go to bed to help me sleep. Note it is important to stay out of the sun for 12 hours after applying a citrus EO like orange.
Peppermint (Mentha piperita) is a hot and cooling oil. After applying peppermint EO, it creates at first a hot sensation then turns icy. I often use this for achy muscles at a 3% dilution. You might want to start with a 1% dilution until tolerance is assessed.
A 2% dilution of Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) and peppermint in coconut oil is what I use for deodorant.
I hope you have had the opportunity to discover the joys of essential oils during this 3-part series.
Please share below what you’ve enjoyed about your journey!