What are Hot Essential Oils?
Essential oils that have been given the term “hot oils” aren’t temperature hot, the term is referring to how these oils interact with your skin when applied. They can give a burning sensation, similar to how your mouth feels when you have ate a spicy meal.
In general it is best to always dilute essential oils before application. However, with experience you may feel comfortable to use “neat” application, which simply means you are applying these essential oils without dilution in a carrier oil. The oil that I apply with neat application most often is lavender by dabbing a bit behind my ears or on my wrists.
Always Dilute Hot Essential Oils
With hot oils, you will never want to apply these oils without diluting them first because the burning sensation is so intense and can be painful to some. In my opinion, oregano, is the most hot oil. I carefully dilute it with a heavy carrier oil, such as castor oil, because even when diluted with coconut oil this will still cause an intense burning sensation on my skin. Except when applying it to the bottoms of my feet, in which case I do not experience a burning sensation when applied neat.
Dilution with a carrier oil does not reduce the efficacy of the essential oil, and in most cases it improves the absorption of the essential oil. Using a carrier oil helps to avoid skin sensitivity. By using essential oils diluted in a carrier oil roller bottle, this can prolong the use of the oil and help you maximize the value of your essential oils.
The essential oils that are considered to be hot and should always be diluted first are:
- cinnamon bark
I also include in this group as mildly-hot, or warm oils that should also be diluted; especially for those with sensitive skin:
- black pepper
Oils that have a mild cooling burn, and should be diluted for those with sensitive skin:
Should I Be Afraid to Use Hot Essential Oils?
Definitely, not! Do not fear using these oils because their benefits far exceed the bit of caution. So long as you practice safe and appropriate application there should never be a problem.
- Safe dilution ratio for hot oils. When used topically, dilute 1 drop of essential oil with 10 drops of carrier oil. For children, I would double this dilution to 1 drop essential oil with 20 drops of carrier oil.
- Do not add hot or warm oils to bath water. The best way to use essential oils in the bath is choose only those that are appropriate for neat application by first adding the oil to Epsom salts. This will help disperse the oil throughout the water, rather than leave it floating on top of the water.
- For internal use, take in a veggie capsule or mixed in with food. Hot oils should never be dropped on the tongue, always put one to two drops of the essential oil into an empty veggie capsule and fill with hemp or flax oil to take with a full glass of water. When cooking with hot oils, because of the strength of their flavor, it is often appropriate to only dip the end of a tooth pick into the essential oil bottle and stir the toothpick into the food. For instance, flavoring your pasta sauce with oregano, one drop may be too strong. By using the toothpick for application you have more control over the flavor intensity.
How to Determine Sensitivity
Essential oils are potent, it takes many pounds of plant matter to make a bottle of essential oil. Because of this, we need to respect essential oils because of their strength an also for the benefits. The more that you use and experience different essential oils, the more you will understand how your body responds to those oils and how to safely use them. It is similar to anything new that you learn in life. It will take some time to educate yourself about how to use essential oils, but once you have done this you will also become comfortable with how to safely use them.
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