Topical application is one of the ways you can experience the benefits of doTERRA essential oils. This form of application is unique because it allows for localized effects in the area of the application in addition to providing whole body support. Additionally, you can use essential oils topically when you want an easy way to target specific areas on your body.
Dilution is a process in which essential oils are mixed with a carrier oil—a pure vegetable oil that helps “carry” the essential oil onto the skin. There are many benefits to dilution, including increasing the surface area of absorption, enhancing absorption through dry skin, and preventing sensitivity responses.
doTERRA’s carrier oil of choice is Fractionated Coconut Oil due to its long shelf life and lightweight texture.
Classifications of Essential Oils for Topical Use
Neat: Oils categorized as “neat” can be applied topically without dilution because of their exceptionally mild chemistry. Frankincense, Lavender, Melaleuca, Melissa, and Sandalwood are good examples of “neat” essential oils.
Dilute: Oils in this category have potent chemistry and should be diluted with a carrier oil before topical application in every case. “Dilute” oils include Cassia, Cinnamon, Clove, Oregano, and Thyme.
Sensitive: “Sensitive” oils are those that should be diluted before use on young or sensitive skin. Bergamot, Black Pepper, Eucalyptus, Ginger, and Peppermint are examples of “sensitive” oils.
Although unusual, occasionally it is possible to have a sensitivity response to an essential oil. This occurs when there is heightened reactivity of an essential oil that may result in an unwanted response in the body or on the skin. Awareness of your body and how it reacts to different essential oils, amounts applied, and location applications can help minimize risk and ensure safe usage.
Essential Safety Tips
Citrus oils contain a unique category of photosensitive compounds called furocoumarins, so it is important to avoid exposure to sunlight, sunlamps, or other sources of UV light for up to 12 hours after topical application of these oils.
More is not always better! Essential oils are very potent, so a little goes a long way. Start with 1–2 drops and then increase the dosage as necessary.
Dilute, dilute, dilute! Dilution in no way diminishes the efficacy of essential oils and offers many benefits that can enhance your application experience. Conduct a simple sensitivity test when trying a new oil by applying a small amount of essential oil to an inconspicuous area. Check the spot each hour for several hours to ensure no sensitivity has occurred.
Face: Use essential oil as part of your regular skin care regimen to beautify the skin and promote a clear, healthy looking complexion.
Neck/Forehead/Temples: These areas are good to target feelings of tension.
Abdomen: Application of essential oils, especially over major digestive organs.
Arms/Legs/Back: Massage onto the arms, wrists, legs, feet, or back after physical activity.
Roof of the Mouth (Soft Palette)/Base of the Skull: Applying oils to these areas is an excellent way to help transform your mood and balance your emotions.
Chest: Rubbing oils onto the chest promotes feelings of clear breathing.
Bottoms of Feet: The feet have large pores that rapidly absorb essential oils, making this an ideal application site for generalized effect. Apply and massage in 2–4 drops of essential oil.
Other Effective Methods of Topical Application:
- Add a few drops of oil to a warm bath
- Make a hot or cold compress by soaking a towel or cloth in water, adding essential oils, and then applying to the desired area- Add oil to a lotion or moisturizer and then apply tothe skin
- Mix with water and use as a mouth and throat rinse
Anyone who has topically applied doTERRA Deep Blue® Soothing Blend before and after a workout knows how quickly and intensely it works. But the cooling sensation can sometimes be a little strong for small children or people with sensitive skin. Diluting essential oils in a carrier oil before application is an excellent way to reduce sensitive skin reactions to certain essential oils, but will it reduce its effectiveness? The answer may surprise you. Recent research suggests diluting essential oils for topical applications not only does not reduce effectiveness, but may actually have certain advantages.
The skin is one of the largest organs in the body, by both surface area and weight. Although it regulates several aspects of physiology and manages sensory reception, it is primarily a protector. The skin acts as a barrier to protect internal organs from variations in temperature, pressure and mechanical impacts. It also acts as a defender against unwanted foreign agents such as viruses and bacteria, and it does so with amazing proficiency. For thousands of years it was thought that the skin was essentially impermeable, but modern research has revealed that it is not particularly effective at keeping out water and lipid soluble substances.(1)
How essential oils permeate the skin when applied topically is a fascinating process, and one of the most important concepts in understanding how essential oils influence our health. Essential oils are lipophilic, meaning they are attracted to and are soluble in fatty substances. Diluting essential oils in a carrier before application accentuates this property, providing a number of benefits.
Benefits of dilution
Dilution is one of the most important aspects of effective topical application; it is also one of the most misunderstood. When used properly, carrier oils have been shown to improve essential oil topical application through several different pathways. Evaporation is the primary issue in topical application, as body heat and the skin present a formidable barrier. One of the most important benefits of dilution is that it slows the flashing off of the volatile aromatic compounds, largely through one of the fundamental laws of fluid dynamics: decreasing the surface area of a substance exposed to air reduces the rate of evaporation.
When diluted, essential oil chemical constituents have been shown to pass through the epidermis more efficiently than when applied neat . (2) Furthermore, another study showed that dilution may expedite the process, as varying levels of specific constituents were detected in exhaled air in as quickly as 20 minutes when using a carrier while a neat application resulted in no detection for up to two hours. (3)
Introducing doTERRA Touch Kit
You can now find doTERRA’s most popular essential oils in a base of doTERRA Fractionated Coconut Oil for easy-to-use application.
Understanding proper dilution is an important factor in safe and effective essential oil use. Foremost, any substance that has a near-neutral pH, such as doTERRA Fractionated Coconut Oil, is incapable of altering the chemical makeup of an essential oil. Proper dilution, with an appropriate carrier, will not change the effectiveness. One of the most common concerns is the use of essential oils on those with sensitivity considerations, especially children.
Although sensitivities are rare when proper usage guidelines are followed with neat application, by decreasing the rate of evaporation and therefore further limiting exposure, dilution allows for an even greater margin of safety. Dilution requires you use less oil for the same effect. When trying a new oil or when applying warmer oils such as Oregano or Thyme, dilution can decrease the risk for a hypersensitive reaction, reduce waste, and provide an ideal environment to discover which essential oils work best for your situation.
Along with improving application efficiency, there are also secondary benefits to using doTERRA Fractionated Coconut Oil as a carrier. It has a light emollient effect and is excellent for your skin. Unlike other vegetable-based oils, it does not leave an unpleasant greasy residue or interfere with the valuable properties of the essential oil it is carrying. doTERRA Fractionated Coconut Oil is also very stable, so you don’t have to be concerned that it will go rancid. Learning to use doTERRA Fractionated Coconut Oil appropriately as a carrier will improve the experience for your entire family.
Despite the growing body of evidence regarding the benefits of dilution, both methods of topical application have their place in the developing model of effective essential oil use. Many of the doTERRA essential oils can be used safely and effectively neat, but proper dilution can be used appropriately at any time and may even offer some advantages.