There are multiple ways to use essential oils to get the wellness benefits they’re thought to offer. People often turn to essential oil diffusers, which are a simple, straightforward way of using essential oils for aromatherapy. But you can apply essential oils directly to your skin, too. If you’re using essential oils topically, you should definitely dilute a few drops of essential oil with a carrier oil -- like coconut oil or jojoba oil -- to make sure that they don’t irritate sensitive skin. Once you dilute essential oils with the right carrier oil, there’s another question you need to answer.
Where should you apply your favorite essential oil mixture? Most pure essential oils provide their benefits through aromatherapy, and so it’s important to make sure that you’re applying essential oils in such a way that you get their full benefits for your well-being, rather than just giving your skin a bit of extra moisture with the carrier oil.
There are a few places on your body and methods of applying essential oils topically in order to get the biggest benefit from using them.
Where To Apply Essential Oils On Your Body
Once you’ve properly diluted your blend of essential oils with a carrier oil, you’re ready to go ahead with your topical application. If you’re trying to use an essential oil like tea tree oil to spot treat a problem area on your skin or use essential oils that promote moisture retention, you might know exactly where you want to apply your essential oil. As long as you’ve done the proper dilution, and you’ve done a patch test on a small area to ensure that you don’t have an allergy or sensitivity, this is fine!
But if you’re trying to relieve pain or help yourself relax, you might be wondering about the best places to apply essential oils when diffusing just isn't cutting it. Whether you’re trying to ease a headache or just trying to help yourself de-stress with aromatherapy, we have some suggestions about the best place on your body to apply essential oils.
Inside Of Your Arm, Wrists, Or Thigh
You may already be aware that the skin on the inside of your arm, your wrists, and your inner thighs is particularly sensitive -- and it’s noticeably thinner than other parts of your body. Depending on your complexion, it’s thin enough that you can sometimes see your veins. This makes it a great place to apply essential oils.
Your radial artery rests along the inside of your wrists, and the combination of thinner skin and an obvious pulse point allows essential oils to permeate your skin faster and be distributed throughout your body more quickly, increasing their effectiveness.
Think of these sensitive points on your body like roots: if you want to water or feed a plant, the roots are where these nutrients are absorbed, so you want to target that area, so the nutrients are distributed easily throughout the plant. Similarly, if you apply your essential oils along particular pulse points, it makes it easier for you to feel the benefits essential oils are thought to provide.
Behind Your Ears
The skin behind your ears is thin when compared to other parts of your body, making it more absorbent than other areas. The mastoid pressure point is also behind your ear, which is thought to help relieve pain and inflammation. So if you’re applying essential oils to help relieve any pain you’re experiencing, like a headache, this is the perfect place to apply some diluted essential oils.
It’s also a good location because, while the skin behind your ears is thin, it isn’t near any orifice that might lead to you ingesting essential oils or cause pain or burning.
On Your Temples
Applying essential oil to your temples is most commonly used when you’re fighting a headache or migraine. In general, temples are known to be a key pressure point -- if you suffer from headaches, particularly tension headaches, you may have found yourself rubbing your temples instinctively to try to relieve yourself.
Using essential oils like lavender, lemon, or peppermint oils are thought to have a calming effect on your body. Oregano oil can also help soothe your sinuses if you're dealing with a cold. Once you’ve properly diluted your essential oil, you can apply it with your fingers, a cotton ball, or with a roller ball to your temples to help you fight any pain you’re suffering from and relax.
On Your Palms Or Soles Of Your Feet
As anyone who’s had a foot rub knows, your feet are full of all kinds of crucial pressure points -- anything that helps your feet relax can make your whole self feel totally blissed out. So your feet are a great place to add essential oils! It’s even rumored that essential oils absorb more quickly into your feet than they would into other parts of your body… although this hasn’t been proven in any way.
Similarly, the palms of your hands are equally sensitive, which means that any kind of care or therapy you direct toward these overworked but under-appreciated parts of your body can be extra beneficial. Try applying your diluted essential oils to your feet or palms when you’re looking to put your feet up and relax.
On Your Chest
If you’re turning to essential oils to help you fight off congestion or a cold, applying your diluted essential oils to your chest might be your best bet. Essential oils such as eucalyptus and wintergreen have a cooling, menthol scent that helps to clear your airways and help you to breathe easier -- it’s the same idea as applying a vapor rub when you’re feeling unwell.
If you have an aversion to menthol, you could use a diluted essential oil like chamomile or lavender, both of which are thought to promote relaxation and healing, which can help you feel more comfortable in your body, even when you feel like it’s fighting against you.
Be Sensible When Choosing Where To Apply Your Essential Oils
While thin-skinned areas, especially those over pulse points, are great places to put essential oils so that they’re absorbed quickly and give you the greatest benefit faster, there are some areas of your body that you’d do better to avoid.
For example, the skin under your eyes tends to be quite thin, and since your temples are a good place to apply essential oils, you might think to apply essential oils there. However, it’s a good idea to avoid putting essential oils too near areas like your eyes, nose, mouth, or any other area where essential oils may enter the body directly, rather than through gentle absorption. You want essential oils to either be absorbed in small, diffused molecules through your nose or gently absorbed into your system.
If you apply your essential oils with your fingers, you should wash your hands after use. While essential oils can be good for you when used properly, you want to be careful not to consume any essential oils orally. Doing so isn’t good for you, and so it’s important you wash your hands after use to avoid getting any lingering essential oils onto your foods or even other areas of your body where you don’t want them.
Be Wary Of Photosensitivity
Some essential oils can cause photosensitivity. Essential oils such as bergamot, grapefruit, or other citrus oils can render your skin more vulnerable to the sun’s damaging rays. If you’ve applied essential oils to your skin, you should avoid spending too much time in the sun and definitely stay out of the tanning booth for a while.
Other Ways To Apply Essential Oils Topically
There are many different places to apply essential oil to your skin after you’ve diluted it safely. If dabbing or rolling essential oils on pressure points don’t appeal to you, you could also use essential oils in your bath to get the same benefits.
Prior to adding essential oils to your bathwater, you should mix them in the appropriate ratio with a carrier oil. Because oil and water don’t really mix, just dropping some essential oils into the bath might still lead to irritation or too much contact between your skin and undiluted essential oils. By mixing your carrier oil in first, you’ll have a better, safer experience. You could also add your essential oil mixture to your bath salts in order to get double the benefits.
As we mentioned earlier, you can also use essential oils (again, diluted with a carrier oil) for spot treatment on minor skin complaints.
The use of essential oils topically can have many desirable benefits. It’s important to dilute your essential oils before applying them directly to your skin to avoid irritation, and once you do, it’s also important to think about where to apply your essential oil to the greatest effect! Thinking about pulse points, and areas where essential oils will more easily be absorbed into the skin, will make this decision simple.