Do I Need to Dilute Essential Oils before Applying Topically?
Phototoxicity + Sensitization
We can find essential oils recipes just about everywhere to make our own aromatherapy products, but is it safe to just start blending body care products at home? It turns out there's more potential danger than a minor skin irritation to consider when using undiluted essential oils or in overusing properly diluted essential oils in body care products. Discover why it's essential to protect your skin from phototoxicity and your immune system from sensitization- but what exactly do these terms mean?
A Damaging Immune Response
Sensitization might sound like the skin may just become a bit sensitive to an essential oil, but it can actually be much more severe than that. Sensitization can be tricky because it doesn’t happen right away. If someone smokes a cigarette, it is unlikely to be the cause of lung cancer, however if they continue this habit for several years, it increases the chances of affecting the lungs’ ability to handle the exposure without a reaction. Essential oil sensitization can occur when repeated exposure to an essential oil leads to the body's recognition of that essential oil so much so that a chemical change occurs in the immune system. Due to this inflammatory immune response, the body becomes reactive to the essential oil and its bio-chemical constituents whenever it is exposed to them. For example, if one becomes sensitized to Lavender essential oil, a very common skin sensitizing oil, they may not only need to discontinue using Lavender - they may also need to discontinue using Geranium essential oil due to some of the bio-chemical constituents that Lavender and Geranium share. Low dilution and low frequency is extremely important when using essential oils.
Sunlight & Tanning Beds
Certain essential oils may increase photosensitivity when applied topically, and others are not recommended to be used topically at all. Before blending your own concoctions at home, consult with our trained Aromatherapists. A fun and safe way to start blending at home is to add a total of up to 5 drops of your favourite essential oils to your diffuser.
Did We Mention Money?
Consider for a moment how much money you have spent on essential oils! Not only will your immune system benefit from limiting your use of essential oils and diluting in a carrier oil before applying topically- your bank account will too. Think of how much money you'll save when you start using essential oils diluted at 3% in a carrier oil...that's close to 100 times more!
We recommend to always dilute your essential oils before applying topically- our trained aromatherapists are here to answer your questions and to consult with to be sure that the oils you intend to use are safe for you and your family and any health concerns or conditions you may have or be experiencing.
- Amy Reedman