How to use Essential Oils Topically

How to use Essential Oils Topically

Topical Uses of Essential Oils

We all love having essential oils in our life, but what are they in essence? How can we best utilize them? To answer these questions, we must dive into the science of where the oils originate and how they interact with our bodies.

Where Essential Oils Come From

Essential oils are sourced directly from medicinal plants; they are made in special cells, usually under the leaves, bark, or peel. There are different compositions of every essential oil that affects how they are absorbed and used by the body. Even oils from different plants within the same species have minute differences in their chemical structure. The oils are distilled by either steam or pressure and are collected for use. For reference, it requires approximately 220 pounds of the lavender flower to create one pound of lavender essential oil. 

How They Are Absorbed into Our Skin

We don’t usually think about it this way, but our skin is the largest organ in our body. It forms a barrier between us and the outside world and is our first line of defense, however it is not impervious. 

The Dalton is the standard unit of measurement for atomic mass. If the molecular weight is under 500 Dalton, it can freely pass through the top-most layer of skin. Essential oils easily pass into our bodies because they are far below that mark. However due to the volatile properties of essential oils, they can evaporate quickly, so they are blended with carrier oils to protect from evaporation and to prevent skin irritation from its high level of concentration. Essential oils pass through the body’s lipophilic (oil loving) and hydrophilic (water loving) layers due to its nature of having an affinity to both.

Benefits of Essential Oils

Essential oils are used to help the mind, body, and spirit. Each oil has their own unique properties that are determined by the plant. They improve quality of life by reducing anxiety, stress, pain, nausea, and so much more. 

How to Apply

Before applying directly to skin, make sure the essential oils you are using are diluted properly, typically in the range of 1-5%. Our CBD products it can be diluted up to 10% for extra-strength relief. Thinner oils (fractionated coconut, sweet almond, or grapeseed oils) will be easier to absorb by the body than more viscous oils (olive or avocado oils).

For topical use, apply to:

  • Large surface areas
    • The larger the area you apply the oil, the more the oil will absorb into the bloodstream
  • The site of pain/irritation
    • Gently massage the oils into your skin for approximately a minute to increase dermal penetration 
  • Pressure points
    • Wrists
    • Jawline
    • Temples
    • Back of neck
    • Shoulders
    • Hairline
    • Third Eye
    • Each side of your nose
    • Chakra points
  • Areas that have thinner skin
    • Palms of the hands and feet
    • Armpits
    • Scalp
    • Behind the ears
  • Apply to feet before bed
    • Cover with socks to prevent evaporation and promote absorption
  • Apply to the areas you hold stress in your body (neck, shoulders, back, forehead, etc.)
    • If you do not know where you hold your stress, find a nice, quiet place to meditate and focus on your body. Start to scan from your feet slowly up to the top of your head and listen when your body tenses or can’t relax
  • Add a few drops to a bath, preferably with Epsom salts
    • The heat will allow the oil to absorb easier and the magnesium from the salts relax the body

Essential oils can evaporate quickly as they are applied to warm skin, however warm surroundings will enhance the ability of the oil to penetrate the skin. Applying oils to a warm bath or warm massage oil will significantly increase absorption from increased blood flow to the area of application. Covering the skin with fabric that is non-permeable will also significantly increase absorption into the bloodstream. Topical use is complemented by aromatherapy, or smelling the oils, which also introduces the oil into the bloodstream.

Our Oils

At the Original Oil Shop, we have choices for our customers to determine what would best fit their needs. We carry both full strength oils and oils that are pre-diluted with a carrier oil in a roll-on bottle (we mostly use fractionated coconut, hemp seed, and arnica oils). Each method has its own benefits. The full strength bottles allow more flexibility in your use; you can combine it with an oil or lotion of your choice, use it in diffusers, apply drops to your vacuum filter, or use in a spray bottle to spritz on your clothes to smell so fresh. 

Dallmeier, Lorraine. “Can Essential Oils Get into Your Bloodstream?” Herb & Hedgerow, 26 Aug. 2018,

“Essential Oils - National Library of Medicine - PubMed Health.” Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 7 Aug. 2018,

Morgan, Leah. “How Essential Oils Enter the Body.” Healingscents, 2018,

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