How to Apply Essential Oils to Your Skin

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Essential oils are becoming very popular nowadays. They promote physical, emotional, mental and psychological well-being while providing a unique aromatherapy or scent experience. There are different ways to use the oils, depending on your individual needs and preferences.

How to you apply essential oils to your skin? Well, essential oils can be used in three ways: diffused and then inhaled in the air, applied topically with or without a carrier oil and ingested with or without either food and/or water. This article will focus on how to use essential oils correctly, paying particular attention to how they’re applied to the skin.

So, if you’re ready to learn all you need to know about essential oils and how they used, then let’s get started!


Where Do You Put Essential Oils on Your Body?

The best areas to apply essential oils (on the body) include the following:

  • Crown or top of the head
  • Temples
  • Under the nose
  • Behind the ears
  • Back of the neck
  • Shoulders
  • Upper back
  • Lower back
  • Abdomen
  • Over vital organ area
  • Ankles
  • Soles of the feet

How Do You Use Essential Oils?

There are three ways to use essential oils:

  • Applied topically to the skin
  • Diffused in the air and inhaled
  • Added to water or food and then ingested

Applying Essential Oils

Some essential oils you can apply topically directly to the skin, others you should dilute with a carrier oil (such as coconut, olive, argan, almond or jojoba) beforehand. Pure essential oils come with an increased risk of allergic skin reactions if they aren’t used properly. Always do a patch test first on a small area of skin and if it does not itch, burn or turn red, then it’s okay to use on other, larger areas of the body.

Diffusing Essential Oils

Diffusing essential oils so you can breathe in the vapors is easier than you may think. Put a small amount of water into the diffuser basin. Then, add up to 5 drops of essential oil to the water in the basin. Plugin the diffuser and voila, you’re good to go! This is one of the best ways to get the aromatherapy benefits of essential oils.

Ingesting Essential Oils

Ingesting essential oils is a way of taking them orally, either with or without food/water. Any time an essential oil is taken by mouth and enters the digestive system, it is considered internal use. It is not recommended to take essential oils internally without consulting your doctor or an experienced naturopath first.

With that being said, you can often reap the health benefits of the oils just as well by applying them topically or diffusing them in the air. In fact, there are a select few essential oils that are considered safe for internal use. These include the following:

  • Basil
  • Black pepper
  • Cardamom
  • Cilantro
  • Cinnamon
  • Clove
  • Coriander
  • Fennel
  • Frankincense
  • Geranium
  • Ginger
  • Grapefruit
  • Lavender
  • Lemon
  • Marjoram
  • Oregano
  • Rosemary
  • Sweet orange

What are the Benefits of Using Essential Oils?

The main benefits of using essential oils include the following:

  • Improving mood and creating a positive atmosphere
  • Promoting relaxation and inducing sleep
  • Reducing inflammation
  • Relieving muscle and joint pain
  • Regenerating skin cells
  • Balancing hormones and boosting energy levels
  • Promoting healthy digestion
  • Preventing illness and boosting the immune system
  • Healing and soothing chronic skin conditions
  • Reducing emotional stress and alleviating anxiety
  • Improving brain function
  • Providing a safer, more effective alternative to candles and incense

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What Essential Oils Are Good for the Skin?

The 15 best essential oils include the following:


This essential oil has a mild, earthy scent with a sweet, floral bouquet often compared to that of apple blossoms. It is useful for:

  • Promoting relaxation and inducing sleep
  • Elevating mood and reducing depression
  • Fighting germs and bacteria
  • Soothing digestive issues
  • Promoting healthy-looking hair and skin

Chamomile oil can be added to a cool-mist humidifier and placed in any room to promote feelings of calm and relaxation. Or, you can add a few drops to a water bottle and spray the mixture on your pillow or around the room. Try adding a few drops to your favorite herbal tea or put some directly onto the skin near the abdomen to soothe digestive issues.


This essential oil is warm and cozy, reminiscent of pumpkin pie and hot apple cider. It is good for:

  • Killing germs
  • Improving blood circulation
  • Boosting brain function and improving memory
  • Relieving sore joints and muscles
  • Maintaining a strong and healthy immune system

Cinnamon oil can be diffused in the air to reduce headaches, balance emotions, and calm negative thoughts. Add a few drops to a carrier oils such as coconut, olive or argan and apply it directly to areas of joint pain and muscle aches.


This essential oil is strong and spicy with deep, earthy overtones. It helps to:

  • Reduce inflammation and swelling
  • Relieve mouth or tooth pain
  • Treat abrasions and sores
  • Reduce stress
  • Prevent and fight infections

Clove oil can be added to some water and gargled in the mouth for oral hygiene and to relieve toothache pain. It can also be diluted in a carrier oil such as coconut, jojoba or olive and applied topically to acne, boils, cuts, rashes, and sores. Try putting the mixture on the soles of your feet to promote healthy circulation, reduce inflammation and aid in digestion.


This oil is known for its strong, often medicinal scent that has minty undertones with a hint of pine. It is useful for:

  • Reducing nasal and chest congestion
  • Killing germs associated with respiratory infections
  • Stimulating the mind and the body
  • Relieving muscle pain and soreness
  • Boosting the immune system

Eucalyptus oil should be used in a diffuser and inhaled at the first sign of a cold or flu. Try adding a few drops to a pot of hot water, place a towel over your head and breathe in the steam to fight sinus congestion. Adding a few drops to a carrier oil such as olive, argan or jojoba and then massaging it into the skin will help alleviate sore, tense muscles.


This oil, extracted from the resin of a hardy tree, has been used for centuries and has a warm, woody, spicy scent. It is great for:

  • Reducing stress
  • Boosting the immune system
  • Healing the skin and preventing premature aging
  • Improving memory and mental clarity
  • Balancing hormones

Frankincense oil is best when used in a diffuser during the winter months to ward off cold and flu viruses. It can also be applied directly to the skin to prevent wrinkles and fade dark spots. Try placing your nose over the bottle and inhaling the scent to aid with digestion after a heavy meal or to promote restful sleep at nighttime.


This ‘must-have’ oil is best known for its enticing fragrance and soothing, calming properties. It helps to:

  • Relieve stress
  • Improve digestion
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Heal soreness or pain
  • Treats chronic skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis

Lavender oil, unlike most other essential oils, doesn’t need to be diluted with a carrier oil beforehand and is safe to apply directly onto the skin. To aid with sleeplessness, add a few drops to a diffuser, place it on your nightstand and turn it on just before bedtime.

Also there was a study that was performed that shows by blending lavender oil and thyme oil that it effectively reduced the symptoms of eczema (Atopic dermatitis)


This oil is extracted from the lemongrass plant and has a powerful, citrus scent often used in soaps and other skincare products. It is used to:

  • Treat digestive issues
  • Reduce high blood pressure
  • Relieve stress and anxiety
  • Kill germs in kitchens and bathrooms
  • Increases energy and uplifts mood

Lemongrass oil can be added to a spray bottle containing water and vinegar and used to clean windows, kitchen counters and bathroom sinks. It can also be applied directly to the skin to promote healing and relieve muscle tension. Add a drop or two to a glass of water and drink the mixture to help boost your immune system.


This essential oil comes from the marjoram plant and has a scent similar to herbs including thyme, cardamom, pepper and a hint of camphor. It is used to:

  • Fight fatigue
  • Calm hyperactivity
  • Reduce tension and stress
  • Aid digestion
  • Promote healthy circulation

Marjoram should be added to a carrier oil such as coconut, olive or argan and then applied to the back of the neck to reduce headaches often associated with tension and stress. The mixture can also be applied to the soles of the feet to promote hearth health. Add a few drops to a diffuser and place in your bedroom to relieve insomnia, calm overactive nerves and reduce asthma systems.


This oil is notorious for being used by hippies in the 1960’s and 1970’s and is one that takes some getting used to as it is very earthy and quite pungent. It is good for:

  • Relieving anxiety
  • Reducing fatigue
  • Balancing hormones
  • Minimizing depression
  • Reducing gas and bloating

Patchouli oil can be used with a carrier oil such as jojoba, olive or argan and applied to the skin to keep it looking fresh and healthy. You can also put a few drops in the palm of your hand and then inhale the aroma to help ground emotions and regulate hormones.


One of the most-loved essential oil scents, it is reminiscent of chewing gum and candy canes with its cool, refreshing scent! It is useful for:

  • Alleviating headaches
  • Relieving digestive issues such as acid reflux and upset stomach
  • Reducing tension and stress
  • Relieving nasal congestion
  • Treating oily skin conditions such as acne

Peppermint oil is best diffused in a cool-mist humidifier to keep the air in your home clean and free of cold-related germs. You can also add a few drops to some water and use an oral rinse. Put a couple of drops into a carrier oil such as coconut, olive or jojoba and massage the mixture into sore, tight muscles.

Pink Grapefruit

This essential oil is another popular variety from the citrus family and has a bright, uplifting scent. It helps to:

  • Boost energy
  • Stimulate the immune system
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Aid with appetite suppression and weight loss
  • Disinfect against germs and kill bacteria

Pink grapefruit oil can be diffused in any room to help increase energy, balance emotions and suppress sugar cravings. It can also be diluted in a carrier oil such as coconut, jojoba or olive and applied topically to the neck to fight throat and respiratory infections. Add a few drops to water in a spray bottle and use it to clean and disinfect countertops and sinks.


This essential oil has a subtle, woody smell, not rosy like the flower as most people think. It is used for:

  • Healing wounds
  • Reducing the appearance of scars and wrinkles
  • Minimizing the appearance of dark circles and age spots
  • Regenerating skin cells
  • Elevating moisture and collagen levels in the skin

Rosehip seed oil can be applied directly to the skin to treat wrinkles, reduce hyperpigmentation and heal sun damage. It can also be used with a carrier oil such as olive, argan, and jojoba to treat chapped lips, moisturize dry skin and heal acne scars.


This essential oil has a strong, herbal scent with mellow camphor undertones. It is great for:

  • Stimulating hair growth
  • Reducing pain and inflammation
  • Eliminating headaches
  • Strengthening the immune system
  • Healing chronic skin conditions such as dermatitis, eczema, and psoriasis

Rosemary oil can be added to a carrier oil such as coconut, olive or argan and applied to the bottoms of the feet to encourage healthy digestion. Or, it can be used topically to the shoulders, neck or back to relieve muscle pain and tension. When diffused, it can bring a sense of peace and calm to any room.

Sweet Orange

This essential oil is both popular and affordable with the uplifting and energizing scent of freshly-squeezed oranges! It is useful for:

  • Easing anxiety and creating feelings of happiness
  • Boosting the immune system
  • Reducing inflammation
  • Minimizing hypertension
  • Disinfecting surfaces and preventing infections

Sweet orange oil can be mixed with water in a spray bottle and used to refresh a room, disinfect kitchens counters and clean bathroom surfaces. Try adding a few drops to a cool-mist humidifier and diffusing the scent in any room. This helps to uplifts moods, improve blood flow and reduce stress.

Tee Tree

This essential oil, commonly known as ‘melaleuca’, has a very powerful scent that is medicinal with a slight camphorous odor. It helps to:

  • Heal acne and treat oily skin
  • Manage the athlete’s foot and other fungal infections
  • Reduce bad breath and kill oral germs
  • Relieve congestion associated with cough and cold congestion
  • Treat dandruff and other scalp conditions

Tee tree oil can be applied directly to abrasions and sores to kill germs and promote healing. Add a few drops to a glass of water and swish around the inside of your mouth to freshen breath. You can also add multiple drops to a carrier oil such as jojoba, olive or argan and apply it topically to any area affected by athlete’s foot, nail fungus or other contagious infections.


How Do You Dilute Essential Oils for Skin?

Since many essential oils come with a high risk of irritation or a serious skin reaction, it is often best to dilute them with a carrier oil before applying them to the skin. The necessary steps to diluting essential oils correctly include the following:

Step One – Consult Your Doctor

If you are pregnant or have any serious medical conditions, you should always talk to your doctor before using essential oils. Some are potentially dangerous to children and/or fetuses. They can also cause problems for people with heart, kidney, lung or autoimmune disease. Infused oils are less concentrated a good alternative to essential oils, for people with health concerns or conditions.

Step Two – Choose a Carrier Oil

To reduce the risk of an allergic reaction, it is usually recommended to dilute essential oils with a carrier oil such as coconut, olive, argan, almond or jojoba. You can also use a cream or lotion in lieu of carrier oil. Just be sure it is dye-free and fragrance-free with as little chemical additives as possible.

Step Three – Create the Mixture

Your bottle of essential oil should come with instructions on how to how to dilute it properly. If not, a good rule of thumb is a 2% dilution. This works out to be 12 drops of essential oil to every 30 ml of carrier oil. If you have sensitive skin, are elderly or using the mixture on a child, use a 1% dilution instead which is 6 drops of essential oil to 30 ml of carrier oil.

Step Four – Be Safety Conscious

Even though essential oils are considered safer when diluted, there are still some safety precautions to keep in mind. These include the following:

  • If you feel intense pain or itching on the skin, wipe off the essential oil/carrier oil mixture immediately and rinse the area thoroughly with water.
  • Some citrus-based essential oils such as lemon, sweet orange or pink grapefruit can cause sensitivity to the sun so do not apply them to the skin if you are heading outside or into a tanning bed.
  • Essential oils are flammable so keep them far away from naked flames.
  • Some essential oils may be toxic to pets (tee tree oil, for example, is dangerous for cats) so be sure to let the mixture absorb into your skin completely before touching any animal.

Step Five – Perform a Patch Test

If you are new to a particular essential oil, always do a patch test to a small area of skin first to ensure your skin can handle it. Place a drop of the diluted oil mixture onto the inside of your wrist. If your skin itches, burns or turns within an hour, it is too sensitive. Remove any residual oil still lingering on your skin and wash the area completely with warm, followed by cool water. To learn how to perform a patch test on your skin CLICK HERE  

Step Six – Apply Topically to the Skin

Begin by cleansing the skin with soap and water to open the pores and better prepare it for the essential oil mixture. Put a small amount of the diluted oil mixture onto your fingers and gently massage it into the skin on whatever area you choose to treat (for example, face, neck, shoulders or back). Allow time for the mixture to absorb completely. Avoid immediate contact with the eyes, nose, and mouth.

You can also add essential oils to your bathwater. Simply add 3 to 5 drops to warm/hot water and soak for 15 to 20 minutes. This will allow the oils to lightly penetrate the skin while providing a wonderfully soothing aromatherapy experience.

Creating a compress is another way to use essential oils on the skin. Simply add 6 to 8 drops of the oil to a bowl of warm water. Skim the top of the oil/water mixture with a towel or facecloth, wring it out and apply it to the face, neck or shoulders. Remove the towel when it feels cool to the touch and repeat the process.

Making your own facial mist or spray is another way to use essential oils topically. Add 6 to 8 drops of essential oil to warm water in a spray bottle and shake vigorously. Mist your face lightly with the mixture and follow with a light application of moisturizer, preferably natural and free of synthetic ingredients.

Creating a homemade moisturizer or massage lotion is yet another great way to use essential oils topically. Add 6 to 8 drops of essential oil to a dye-free, fragrance-free lotion or cream and apply it to various areas of the skin including the face, neck, shoulders or back.

Making a dry body rub is also a unique way to use essential oils on the skin. Simply add 3 or 4 drops of essential oil directly to a natural bristle body brush or loofa and then ‘brush’ the skin in a circular motion towards the heart. This action stimulates blood flow and increases circulation while exfoliating the skin.

Can I Apply Essential Oils Directly to Skin

Some essential oils (such as lavender) can be applied directly to the skin. However, most work best when mixed with a carrier oil. Pure essential oils are highly concentrated and could cause a serious allergic reaction to those with sensitive skin. To avoid this, always do a patch test.

Can You Rub Essential Oils on your Skin?

It is safe to rub essential oils on the skin as long as they have been diluted first with a carrier oil. Be sure to use only a small amount of the mixture and gently, yet thoroughly, massage it into the skin. Depending on the oil, you should feel warming (cinnamon or lemongrass oil) or cooling (peppermint and eucalyptus oil) sensation as it is being absorbed.


To conclude, essential oils are used primarily in three ways: diffused and then inhaled in the air, applied topically with or without a carrier oil and ingested with either food or water. They are most commonly used on the skin to treat ailments and provide physical, emotional, mental and psychological well-being through their aromatherapy benefits. Amazon has a pretty good selection of essential oils and also complete box sets of oils. Go check them out online at Amazon.

So go ahead, invest in your health and beauty. Treat yourself to some essential oils today. And just like Amy Leigh Mercree once said, ‘it doesn’t get much greener (or better) than essential oils. When used correctly, they are among Mother Nature’s most potent remedies.’