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October 15, 2020
I'd like to set the record straight about using oil in skincare due to the misleading information on this topic. In order to do that we must first differentiate between carrier oils and essential oils.
Carrier oils are gentle and nourishing and specifically formulated as facial oils to support the skin’s natural lipid barrier. Carrier oils are oils like rose hip seed oil, jojoba, olive, or macadamia seed (and others).
Essential oils are highly concentrated botanicals derived from the flowers, bark, leaves, and roots of certain plants. Think tea tree, lavender, rose, peppermint, chamomile, cedar, and citrus-variations.
When essential oils are applied to the skin FULL STRENGTH, they can become extremely damaging. While they are technically "natural", they can still contain tons of harmful chemicals, allergens, and irritants.
An example of this is tea tree oil. It is a highly effective antibacterial oil but applied to skin FULL STRENGTH can be toxic and damaging. In fact, tea tree oil is on the top 80 of the North American Contact Dermatitis patch test to find out whether a skin condition may be caused by, or aggravated by, a contact allergy.
For that reason, essential oils should never be used UNdiluted when being applied directly to the skin. They must be blended into a base before application to the skin or you risk contact dermatitis (skin rash).
The combination of an essential oil and carrier oil not only dilutes the essential oils but will make the essential oil less toxic on the skin, slows the evaporation rate, and increases essential oil absorption. Increased absorption is achieved as carrier oils are composed of molecules which make them closely related to sebum (the skin's own natural oil).
So when considering adding an essential oil to your skincare, always ensure it has been diluted with a carrier oil or other applicable ingredients for SAFE, effective results. Always perform a patch test to ensure you will not have an allergic reaction.
A safe dilution rate is 1% dilution for daily or long term use by adding 6 drops of essential oil to each fluid ounce (30 ml) of cold pressed carrier oil, lotion, or other natural lipid/moisturizer.
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