Skin Patch Test for Essential Oils

Before using any essential oil, it is recommended that you do a test to see if you have allergies or sensitivities to it.

First, make sure what you're using is 100% pure essential oil. If it doesn't say it, chances are it is not and it should not be used in aromatherapy applications.

To do a skin test, Daniele Ryman in her book "Aromatherapy – The Complete Guide to Plant and Flower Essences for Health and Beauty" recommends using a cotton swab with a drop of the essential oil*. Touch it to the inside of the elbow, back of the wrist, or under the arm. Cover with a bandaid and protect from water for 24 hours. If there is itching, redness, or other reaction, don't use that oil.

*I would suggest dampening a cotton ball slightly with a carrier oil such as sweet almond oil or olive oil, placing a drop of the essential oil on it, then applying it by touching it to one of the places listed above. (Most essential oils should not be used undiluted -aka "neat"- on the skin and testing them in that manner shouldn't be required to see if you have a reaction.)

If irritation occurs, generously apply olive oil or aloe vera gel to the area then wash it thoroughly with soap and water.

The use of essential oils is not recommended for the very young or aged, or pregnant/nursing women. It is the belief of this site that essential oils should not be used internally, only externally and topically. A skin test should always be done before using an essential oil, especially important for those more sensitive or vulnerable. Consult a reputable and experienced aromatherapist for guidance. If you are under the care of a physician, it is recommended that you contact them before using essential oils.

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