If you're new to essential oils, you might be wondering what all the fuss is about. Essential oils are concentrated plant extracts that retain the natural aroma and beneficial properties of the plant. When used correctly, essential oils can provide a host of health benefits. If you're interested in incorporating essential oils into your wellness routine, there are a few things you need to know.
Know Your Essential Oil
Knowing your essential oils and how to use them is very important. Essential oils can be used in a variety of ways, from using it in a diffuser, topically, and even ingesting the oil. It is important to know that essential oils are extremely concentrated substances, many times more potent than the herb or plant they come from. With essential oils, more is not always better. Very tiny amounts are required to produce desired effects, and many times, applying too much can be harmful. It's best to use small amounts of a new oil at first. Remember, it's a lot easier to add more than it is to take some away! Common sense, dilution, and knowledge are key in using essential oils safely.
What are essential oils?
Essential oils are highly concentrated oils extracted from the bark, seed, root, flower, fruit, or leaf of a plant. These concentrated oils are found naturally in the glands of plants as microdroplets, which diffuse towards the plant's surface where they evaporate and release the plant's scent. Essential oils contain not only the plant's aroma, but also its health properties.
Essential oils are composed of tiny, low chemical weight molecules small enough to directly enter the body's cells. Because of this, essential oils quickly act in and on the body, whether inhaled or applied topically. Don't let their size fool you, essential oils are very powerful! Often, only a drop or two is all you need.
The two most common ways of extracting the essential oil from its plant are steam distillation and cold-pressed.
This method of extraction uses steam to distribute the plant material, opening up the plant's pores and releasing the oil molecules into the air. The oil is then collected along with the water vapor and allowed to separate naturally. The essential oil rises to the top and is skimmed from the water. This method does not use any chemical additives or solvents to extract the oil. This is the most common way of extracting essential oils.
Cold Pressed / Expressed Essential Oils
With this method of extraction the plant material (usually fruit peel) is literally pressed to squeeze out the oil. This method does not use heat or any chemical additives or solvents to extract the oil from the glands in the peel. This method of extraction is commonly used for citrus oils.
Essential Oils FAQs
We get a lot of questions about essential oils, so we thought it would be helpful to put together a list of the most frequently asked questions. Whether you’re looking for a natural way to relax after a long day or hoping to find an effective beauty solution, essential oils might just be what you’re looking for.
Why should I dilute?
The strength of essential oils can be hard on the skin. Some essential oils are so strong they can burn the skin on contact and must always be diluted. We clearly label these oils as hot oils and give the safe dilution rates for their use. However, most oils do not need to be as highly diluted and are safe to use at stronger concentrations. Diluting essential oils might sound like it makes them less effective, but it doesn't! Carrier oils slow the absorption of essential oils into the skin, keeping them from overloading the skin and causing a reaction.
How do they affect me?
Everyone's chemistry is different. What causes a skin reaction in one person may be perfectly safe for someone else. Always test a new oil diluted on a small area of skin before use, no matter how long you've been using essential oils. Be aware of any potential allergies with essential oils. If you are allergic to the plant the oil is derived from, avoid inhaling or applying the essential oil.
What is "neat"?
Some oils may be used directly onto skin without a carrier oil. This is called "neat". Oils should only be used neat for small applications over short periods of time and after patch testing the diluted oil. Do not apply oils neat to children under the age of 12. Be sure and check the information found under our oils' descriptions to see if it can be applied neat.
How do I patch test?
When using essential oil for the first time, it's a good idea to do a quick patch test. Apply a small amount of the essential oil (diluted at the recommended rate) to the inside of your wrist or inner elbow. If there are no adverse reactions within the first 24 hours, then the oil is safe for you to use. Adverse reactions include skin irritation, headache, dizziness, nausea and respiratory complaints.
ESSENTIAL OILS DILUTION RATES
When it comes to using essential oils, it's important to remember that less is often more. While these potent oils can offer a wide range of benefits, they also need to be used carefully in order to avoid any adverse effects. One way to do this is to follow the guidelines laid out in the chart below. This chart provides a safe and effective way to dilute essential oils, ensuring that they can be used safely and effectively. By following these simple instructions, you can get the most out of your essential oils and enjoy all of their benefits without any risks.