Essential oils are intense concentrations of the potent chemicals contained within all types of plants: herbs, spices, barks, and resins. They are powerful, which makes them extremely helpful, but also worthy of caution and respectful use.
Some essential oils in particular are described as “hot”, based on the sensation they give when applied to skin. A few of the notable hot essential oils are:
- Cinnamon Bark
Guidelines in dealing with all essential oils –
- All essential oils should be diluted before applying to skin. This means adding the essential oil to something like fractionated coconut oil before using it on skin. You will get the benefits of the essential oil, but the carrier oils are gentle on skin and help distribute smaller amounts that are less likely to cause a negative reaction.
- Essential oils should be skin tested before using large amounts. Take a dab of diluted essential oil and apply to the back of the hand or a small area of an arm, you will be able to ensure that if your skin reacts poorly, you can quickly wash the test area and know not to use that oil topically.
- Don’t add directly to bath water. Essential oils are still oils, and will float on the surface of the water if dropped directly into the bath. You can help the oil disperse safely by adding the essential oil to epsom salts or soap first, then adding those to the bath.
- Don’t take directly by mouth. Even if an oil passes the skin test, they may react differently inside your body. Use these oils inside a veggie capsule, or in food, and use them sparingly. Remember, they are concentrated!
- Diffuser safety: It’s generally safe to put any essential oil in a diffuser. However, be sure to monitor yourself, and your family and pets, when trying an essential oil in the diffuser for the first time. Pets in particular may experience negative reactions to certain oils (whether they’re hot or not!) from breathing them in. If you notice any unusual behavior in pets, or if anyone complains of headaches or uncomfortable eye/nose sensations, discontinue using that oil right away.
There are some essential oils that can be added directly to water and applied to skin or taken internally, but all hot oils should be put in carrier oils, veggie capsules, or food before coming into contact with your skin or mouth.
Always take it slow and remember the rules they used to give about glue in school “a little dab will do”. As you get more comfortable and familiar with essential oils, you will find they’re very easy to use safely!