A woman with long dark hair applying essential oils with a carrier oil on her skin

How to use Essential Oils Topically on your Skin?

Using essential oils topically is a wonderful way to enjoy their therapeutic benefits, such as relaxation, skin improvement, and relief from muscle tension. However, essential oils are highly concentrated and should be used with care. Here's a simple guide on how to use them safely and effectively with a carrier oil or butter.

1. Choose Your Essential Oil

First, select an essential oil based on your needs. Each oil has unique properties. For instance, lavender is great for relaxation, tea tree is excellent for skin imperfections (pimples, acne), and peppermint can soothe muscle discomfort.

2. Select a Carrier Oil or Butter

Carrier oils, like coconut, jojoba, almond, or olive oil, dilute essential oils and help carry them into the skin. Butters such as shea or cocoa butter can also be used, especially for a more nourishing effect on dry skin. Choose a carrier based on your skin type and preferences.

Click here to read our Guide to Carrier Oils for Every Skin Type

3. Dilution

Diluting essential oils is crucial to prevent skin irritation or sensitization. A general guideline for adults is a 2% dilution, which translates to about 12 drops of essential oil per 30ml of carrier oil. For sensitive skin, elderly users, or children, a 1% dilution (6 drops per 30 ml of carrier oil) is recommended.

4. Mixing

In a clean container, measure the desired amount of carrier oil. Then, add the essential oil drops to the carrier oil and mix gently to ensure they are well blended.

Perform a skin test or patch test before applying new essential oils to your skin

5. Patch Test

Before using the mixture over a larger skin area, it's wise to perform a patch test. Apply a small amount to a discreet skin area and wait for 24 hours to check for any adverse reaction.

How to perform a patch test

  1. Select a Carrier Oil: Begin by choosing a mild, skin-friendly carrier oil such as coconutjojoba, or sweet almond oil. Carrier oils help dilute the essential oil to minimize the risk of irritation.

  2. Dilute the Essential Oil: Mix a small amount of the essential oil with the carrier oil. A good starting ratio is 1 drop of essential oil to 1 teaspoon of carrier oil, creating a 1% dilution, which is generally safe for most adults, elderly, and kids. For very sensitive skin, you might want to start with a more diluted mix, such as 1 drop of essential oil in 2 teaspoons (10ml) of carrier oil (0.5% dilution).

  3. Choose a Test Spot: Select a small, discreet area of skin to apply the oil. The inside of your forearm or the back of your wrist are good choices, as the skin is relatively sensitive and easily observed for reactions.

  4. Apply the Mixture: Use a cotton swab or a clean fingertip to apply a small amount of the diluted essential oil to the chosen spot.

  5. Cover the Spot: Optionally, you can cover the test spot with a bandage or a piece of gauze to keep the area undisturbed.

  6. Wait: Leave the oil on your skin for at least 24 hours, unless you start to feel irritation sooner. If you experience any discomfort, such as itching, redness, swelling, or burning, remove the oil immediately with a carrier oil, followed by soap and water. Using a carrier oil first helps to lift the essential oil off the skin more effectively than soap and water alone.

  7. Observe: After 24 hours, check the area for any signs of irritation or allergic reaction. If your skin looks clear and feels fine, it's likely safe to use the oil more broadly.
Applying oil to legs

6. Application

Once you've confirmed there's no irritation, you can apply the oil blend to your skin. Massage gently into the target area, avoiding sensitive parts like the eyes, inside ears, and mucous membranes. It's best used on pulse points, sore muscles, areas of concern, or dry skin areas.

7. Storage

Store your blend in a dark, glass bottle away from direct sunlight to maintain its efficacy. Always label your blend with the ingredients and the date it was made.

Now, Enjoy the Benefits of Your Custom Essential Oil Blend.

Whether it's for relaxation, skin care, or pain relief, using essential oils with carrier oils can be a delightful and healthful practice.

Remember, everyone's skin is different, so what works for one person may not work for another. Listen to your body, and adjust your blends as needed. Happy blending!