At some point in your essential oil journey, you’ve probably wondered whether or not you could apply your essential oils undiluted. Some of you have probably taken a leap of faith and just did it. And a lot of you have probably heard a friend or loved one say that it was completely safe as long as the oils you’re using are 100% pure. Well, we’re here to tell you that applying essential oils undiluted (also known as “neat”) is not only wasteful but can actually be detrimental to your skin or overall well being.
Myth: If Your Oils are 100% Pure, They’re Completely Safe!
This is a common misconception that gets tossed around a lot in the aromatherapy community, especially in certain markets. In order to use essential oils safely and effectively, it’s important to understand that this is not even close to the truth. On the contrary, it’s because your essential oils are 100% pure and natural that they are not completely safe to use undiluted. Essential oils are heavily concentrated volatile oils found in and extracted from plants. These volatile oils are composed of hundreds, if not thousands, of different chemicals that make up the overall oil. It’s these different chemical constituents that give the essential oils their “magic powers”, but also what makes them potentially dangerous. Don’t worry, we’ll come back to this one.
Some Essential Oils Are Phototoxic
Phototoxic? What does that mean? The term “phototoxic” or “phototoxicity” just means that there are specific essential oils that can cause pretty significant damage that when you put them on your skin and go out into the sun. The effects of phototoxic oils include severe burning, blistering, and discoloration. While phototoxicity should not be taken lightly, it’s not something to stress about when you follow proper dilution recommendations.
Two examples of highly phototoxic oils are Cold-Pressed Lemon and Cold-Pressed Lime. In order to avoid phototoxic concerns, Lemon must be diluted at 2% or less, and Lime must be diluted at 0.7%. It’s important to remember that phototoxic reactions can occur up to 18 hours after the oil has been applied to the skin and then exposed to UV light. So even if a reaction doesn’t occur right away, don’t dismiss the idea, it could still happen. A great option for avoiding a phototoxic reaction altogether is to use a personal inhaler.
Applying Essential Oils Undiluted is Wasteful
Essential oils are powerful, volatile oils, that have the potential and ability to change our lives for the better. They can help promote uplifting environments, calm rampant emotions, soothe irritated skin, and much more. And they have this ability, even when diluted. According to Andrea Butje, a renowned essential oil educator, it takes every petal from nearly 30-50 roses to produce ONE drop of Rose Essential Oil. It takes approximately 3 pounds of lavender buds to produce a 15ml bottle of Lavender Essential Oil. When you put all of that into perspective, applying essential oils undiluted isn’t economical and it’s definitely not sustainable.