How To Use Essential Oils
LINDA LEE, Lead Health Writer
January 15, 2018
If you’re new to the world of essential oils and all their uses, it can seem like a daunting amount of information lies ahead. After all, essential oils have countless uses, and there are plenty of different scents, brands, and types to choose from–so where do you even begin? This article will help by breaking down the basics to show you that essential oils can actually be quite a simple (and beneficial) addition to your daily routine.
Determining Essential Oil Quality
Before you do anything with your oils, you first will want to look at the bottle and check the grade. There are a few different grades of essential oils, each one designating it for a different purpose.
Fragrance Oil vs. Essential Oil
Fragrance oil is a synthetic, chemically-derived “perfume” that is bottled for smell good purposes only. If you have fragrance oil, you will not experience the benefits of a true essential oil, which is naturally derived from a plant.
Essential Oil Grades
- Grade A essential oils are also called “therapeutic grade”. They are the most expensive and the highest quality. They come from organically grown plants distilled through steam.
- Grade B essential oils are food grade, meaning you can cook with them and safely consume them internally. These are also ideal for any direct to skin applications.
- Grade C essential oils are perfume grade and are ideal for smelling purposes only.
- The final grade is “floral water” which is a by-product of the extraction process. The quality depends on what grade it is a by-product of. For instance, floral water that results from Grade A distillation will be much higher quality than that resulting from Grade C.
What Benefits Are You Seeking?
Once you have determined what grade your oils are and, therefore, how they can safely be used, you can begin looking into all the different kinds of applications for them.
There are many ways to use essential oils.
Use the Scent
The most popular application for essential oils is to put a few drops into a diffuser. The result will be a scent that is relaxing, rejuvenating, calming, or energizing–it all depends on which oil you choose. There are many resources out there that will share which oils are best for which purpose, whether you are trying to turn your home into a relaxing environment with Clove or make your home office a better spot for concentration with Rosemary or a mixture of Lemon, Cypress, and Peppermint.
Not only do these smell-good essential oils shape the environment of your home, they also make it smell much more inviting for you and your guests, and that in itself makes for a huge benefit.
As a side note, if you have pets in your house, you will want to be sure to check every scent before using it as some effects dogs, and especially cats, negatively. A quick search online will bring up a wealth of resources that you can reference to see which scents should be avoided around pets and even a few that can help keep them relaxed throughout the day.
Apply to Your Skin
Applying a therapeutic grade essential oil to your skin will offer a wide range of benefits, depending on which oil you select. Here are some of the most common essential oils and their benefits when used on the skin:
- Lavender: Aids skin irritations and helps them heal. It can also be beneficial by cleansing scrapes and cuts.
- Geranium: Helps to balance the oil production of your skin and is great when added to a moisturizer.
- Basil: Helps soothe insect bits, and it’s also ideal for sensitive skin types.
- Frankincense: Helps with discoloration and pigmentation issues within your skin and also helps tone and tighten it.
- Ylang Ylang: Perfect for oily and/or acne prone skin, and it also stimulates cell growth.
- Lemongrass: Ideal as a skin toner since it is a natural astringent. Also good for enhancing the skin’s natural glow.
- Cypress: Good astringent and also helps to shrink swollen blood vessels.
- Tea Tree: Its antifungal properties and antibacterial properties are very beneficial, and it can also help treat scrapes and cuts.
- Juniper: If diluted, it can help speed up healing and prevent infection.
- Chamomile: Helps to treat cracked skin along with inflammation, eczema, rosacea, and sensitive skin.
- Clary Sage: Help fight the signs of aging while reducing puffiness.
- Nerole: Can help treat devitalized, aging, mature, and sensitive skin types.
Keep in mind that not all oils can be applied directly to the skin safely. You will need to check and see if your oil needs to be diluted first or added to a carrier oil.
Essential Oils for Consumption
Some people advocate the consumption of essential oils, but whether or not this is a good idea for you will depend on a variety of factors. First, you will need to verify that the essential oil you have is of the highest possible quality. Second, you will want to be sure to check the brand, supplier, and origin to be sure it truly is of the highest quality. Third, you will want to carefully investigate the oil you have on hand to be sure that particular oil is safe for ingestion. Research its potential benefits and side effects, and realize that the great majority of an essential oil’s benefits can be gotten by inhaling or applying to the skin.
In most cases, it is suggested that you do not ingest essential oils if only for the reason that there are many suppliers out there today who remain unverified and carry out harvesting practices that make some essential oils unsafe for ingestion.
Experiment With Using Oils
Even if you’re not going to be eating them, one thing is for sure about essential oils: there are hundreds of types to try! Once you use them for the first time, you will surely be hooked as you begin exploring all the different scents, brands, and benefits these oils can bring.
Whenever possible, try to get the highest grade available to you and be sure to mix-and-match regularly to see what you like best. In no time at all, you’re going to be well-versed in the world of essential oils.