Sunday, August 30, 2020

Using essential oils undiluted (neat) on your skin—don’t believe everything you read

I noticed a warning on the package of geranium oil I just purchased. It said the product  should not be applied directly to the skin. I wanted to ask you about this since you recommend putting it on problem spots.

I believe that warning is there to keep people from doing inappropriate things with these powerful essences—namely getting them directly in their eyes or putting a large amount of pure extracts on their skin. Neither one of these things would have a good outcome, and I think the company is just covering themselves.

You absolutely can put a drop of (almost any) pure essential oil on blemishes; in fact, I highly recommend it. I have personally been doing this for decades as well as recommending this practice to my clients with either problem skin or an occasional blemish here and there.

Dotting antibacterial/anti-inflammatory essences, like geranium or almost any pure essential oil, on red, inflammed blemishes will help the infection diminish and will therefore help the spot to heal much faster. All of that plus you won’t get the surface drying effects like you can with some commercial acne spot treatments.

I wouldn’t hesitate to tell you to use essential oils directly on your skin as long as you only use one drop or less at a time. And, of course, avoid the eye area. (You also don’t want to get them in your mouth. It’s not dangerous, but in a word: ICK. Essential oils smell wonderful and taste horrible!)

Can you use geranium oil “neat” on the skin? I was under the impression only lavender and tea tree could be put directly on the skin?

I realize many boxes of essential oils say to not put them neat (straight or undiluted) on skin. However, the way I tell my clients to apply geranium (or lavender if the geranium aromatic is too much) is just to put a single drop on each blemish. If anyone was to put geranium all over their face, that would be too much. I only recommend putting it on the blemishes themselves, and there is no harm in doing this.

Any essential oils in the mint family (like peppermint, for example) should definitely not be used in very large amounts on the skin—neat or otherwise. These oils are way too potent and can cause burning as well as redness. But other than these types, most essential oils used in very limited amounts are fine to use neat—providing caution is used around the eyes and sensitive tissue of the inner nose and mouth. I suppose anything can be misused, and perhaps that is why the manufacturers label their products with that warning.

Peppermint essential oil, however, does make a great bug bite de-itcher. See article below for more details.

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