According to one article, “Phytoncide, a volatile essential oil produced by plants and trees, has not only anti-microbial activity, but also a stress- relieving effect.”
Skin Lovin’ Oils
Now, time to get some geek-on with skin and essential oil facts.
I was elated to read a recent article by a fellow naturopathic doctor who explained the mechanism behind the dermal application of essential oils. In the article, Dr. Miller discusses how essential oils penetrate the layers of our skin for absorption:
As their name would imply, essential oil constituents are lipophilic (“fat-loving,” or fat-soluble). This suggests that essential oils mix well with oils, and poorly with water. As discussed previously, the keratinized nature of the epidermis is primarily designed to prevent desiccation; thus, the skin is a relatively lipophilic/hydrophobic barrier. Since both essential oils and the epidermis are relatively lipophilic, they “mix” relatively well together; consequently, essential oils have a greater tendency for transdermal absorption.
A study in 1992 reported on the clinical response of the application of lavender oil topically, “The percutaneous absorption of a massage oil containing lavender oil was studied following application to the skin of a male subject (age 34 yr). Within 5 min after application, traces of linalool and linalyl acetate, the main constituents of lavender oil, could be detected in the blood. After 20 min, maximum concentrations of 100 ng/ml linalyl acetate and 121 ng/ml linalool were reached. Within 90 min most of the lavender oil was eliminated. It was concluded that lavender oil is rapidly absorbed through the skin and is excreted within 90 min.”
Interestingly, when researchers studied the absorption of isolated components of an oil using different delivery vehicles, they found, “Cutaneous accumulation of terpenes is several times higher when they are applied in pure essential oils than in topical vehicles.”
Furthermore, a rodent study determined that three essential oils enhanced the delivery of a drug.
What this means is that using topical methods of application of essential oils will deliver the active components into our blood stream. Furthermore, it provides evidence that essential oils can act as a delivery vehicle for substances on the skin, so no mixing oils on top of toxic beauty products, ok?!
Disclaimer: This information is applicable ONLY for therapeutic, Grade A essential oils. This information DOES NOT apply to essential oils that have not been AFNOR and ISO standardized. There is no quality control in the United States and oils labeled as “100% pure” need only contain 5% of the actual oil. The rest of the bottle can be filled with fillers and sometimes toxic ingredients that can irritate the skin.
Please consult the original reference for sources. This blog is not specific for any essential oil company or brand.
This information is for information purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prescribe for any illness.
Miller, T. Dermal Absorption of Essential Oils. NDNR. June 2015.
Jager W, Buchbauer G, Jirovetz L, Fritzer M. Percutaneous absorption of lavender oil from a massage oil. J Soc Cosmet Chem. 1992;43(1):49-54.
Abdullah D, Ping QN, Liu GJ. Enhancing effect of essential oils on the penetration of 5-fluorouracil through rat skin.Yao Xue Xue Bao. 1996;31(3):214-21.