Essential Oil Safety: Hot Oils

What are hot oils and why does it matter?

As described on Young Living's website, “Hot oils” are oils that can cause a hot or warming sensation when applied to the skin. Examples of hot oils and blends include Cinnamon, Clove, Lemongrass, Oregano, Thyme, Exodus II™, and Thieves®. For some people, Peppermint’s cooling sensation can be too intense.

Young Living recommends using a patch test procedure prior to first use. To perform a patch test, apply 1–2 drops of essential oil to a patch of skin such as the forearm. Observe that area of skin over the course of 1–2 hours for any noticeable reaction; however, reactions occur usually within 5–10 minutes. If you experience a hot or burning sensation or develop a rash, add V-6 or another carrier oil to the affected area as often as needed.

Just a few days ago I was putting Cinnamon Bark Vitality into my morning tea. I was running low on the essential oil, so I took the orifice reducer off the bottle to shake out the final drops. When I was done I put the reducer back on the bottle and sealed the lid.

A little oil had gotten on my hand and I absent-mindedly rubbed my hand across my neck and chest so I wouldn't "waste" any of my precious oil. A few minutes later I felt a burning sensation on my neck and chest.

My immediate thought when looking in the mirror was, "Well that wasn't a good idea..."

A smarter person would have rubbed V-6 or coconut oil on the rash to help soothe the skin. I took a photo so I could share my experience (not every person can be smart ALL the time!). The redness subsided on its own after an hour or so.

Let's talk a little more about the skin irritation, though, as it merits further discussion.

Back to our friends at Young Living:

If discomfort or irritation occurs, stop using the essential oil and apply V-6 or another carrier oil to the affected area. If a rash occurs, this may be a sign of detoxification. Drink adequate water to encourage the release and removal of toxins in your body. Toxins present in petrochemical-based soaps and skin care products, detergents, and perfumes may trigger some of the detoxification reactions. Consider discontinuing these agents if a reaction occurs. Before using the essential oil again, perform a patch test (see above under “What is a “hot oil?”) and dilute with a carrier oil as needed.

Be aware that some documents suggest diluting the oil with water, but water actually drives oil into the skin and eyes. Never use water in an attempt to flush the oil off of the skin, as this may increase discomfort. If essential oil gets in your eye, flush with V-6 or another carrier oil as quickly as possible to alleviate any discomfort. If eye discomfort does not subside within 5 minutes, seek medical attention.

The important message in my story is to stay aware of safe usage of essential oils. Using a carrier oil is always a great first step when you experience any discomfort.

Don't think I'll stop using Cinnamon Bark -- I love I too much!