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AAA: Is Applying Essential Oils to My Feet Effective?

AAA: Is Applying Essential Oils to My Feet Effective?

When you read a headline like “The Best Place to Apply Essential Oils,” what comes to mind? For many EO users, it’s the feet. But why is that? There are quite a few claims people use to back this up, such as, “The feet have the largest pores, and therefore soak up the most oil.” Or, “Using essential oils with reflexology can support your body’s systems.” And even, “Unlike other areas of the body, essential oils can be used undiluted on the feet because the feet can endure more.” But is there any truth to these claims? Read on to find out.


The purpose of using essential oils topically is primarily to get the essential oil to enter one’s bloodstream. This is easy for EOs, which are made up of small, volatile molecules that easily penetrate the skin. However, only an average of10% of topically applied essential oils enter the bloodstream. For example, .3% of a 3% dilution of essential oil would be absorbed. When you apply essential oils to the feet, wherethe skin is 100 to 400 times thicker than other areas of the body, this percentage may be reduced. The feet are also regarded as having the slowest absorption rate, whereas the forehead is considered to have one of the quickest. If you’re looking to apply essential oils so that they effectively enter the bloodstream, it would be preferable to apply your essential oil to your forehead, underarms or abdomen rather than your feet.


Furthermore, reflexology theorizes thatby stimulating nerve endings in the foot, this, in turn, benefits other areas of the body that the nerve endings are connected to. Though using essential oils in reflexology may help foot problems or relax the client, applying essential oils to different reflexes in the feet will not effectively serve to benefit a targeted body system. Applying essential oils to reflexes also does not transport the essential oil to another area of the body. When targeting an area of the body, it’s recommended that you apply oils to the affected area, apply where oils are best absorbed (forehead, underarms or abdomen) or inhale the oils.

Not So Neat

Lastly, using essential oils undiluted is simply never recommended. There is hardly a time or place to use undiluted essential oils, and the feet are no exception. And if you haven’t alreadykicked your “neat” use of essential oils, we strongly encourage you to do so. Neat essential oil use can lead to skin sensitization, irritation and other health issues. At Edens Garden, our motto is a little EO goes a long way. 

The bottom line: applying essential oils to your feet isn’t harmful, so long as you’re following proper safety guidelines. However, there may be more effective areas of the body to apply your EOs.

Further Reading

Should I Diffuse or Apply My Essential Oils Topically?

Your EO Cheat Sheet: Where to Apply Roll-Ons


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6 Responses

Edens Garden

July 08, 2019

Hi WellGroundedMom! We’re so sorry to hear that you had an unsatisfactory experience with our customer care team. Our standard at Edens Garden is to give all of our customers an exceptional experience when communicating with us and using our products. This is why we source the best quality products available, without exception.

It is difficult to say why your oil reacted the way it did based on anecdotal evidence and a few details. I’m also unable to lookup your previous correspondence and orders based on the email you provided when posting this comment. We’re happy to help you with this issue, but will need more information to move forward with your case. In the meantime, we’re happy to hear you’ve found essential oils that work for you and again, apologize for your previous experience with Edens Garden.

Edens Garden

July 08, 2019

Hi Robert! Some aromatherapists believe there is some middle ground, but we believe that it’s better to stay safe than sorry, and therefore don’t recommend neat use of any kind. A well known aromatherapist in the industry, Jade Shutes, has a much different take on the use of undiluted essential oil which you can find here: https://aromaticstudies.com/undiluted-application-of-essential-oils/

The article linked to above is not endorsed by Edens Garden.

Edens Garden

July 08, 2019

Hi Amira! When referring to the use of undiluted essential oils, the term used is “neat.”


July 08, 2019

This is why it’s important to use pure, unadulterated oils and way you need far less oil when you are using a superior quality product. You get what you pay for.

Unfortunately. I learned that from EG itself when I discovered a bottle of rancid oil with what is clearly congealed carrier oil or fat in the top 1/3 of the bottle. I called customer service, and not only did they not attempt to find a solution. They made excuse after excuse about how I must have misused the product. (I’m a 20 years essential oils vet.) That day I threw out EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. of those oils. You cheat yourself if you try to pinch a penny and end up using adulterated, inferior product.

I’m glad to say that I’ve found a different source. I’ve observed their distilling and bottling. I’ve planted the very plants. I can feel good about what I’m using.

By the way, I keep that life changing bottle inside a sealed glass jar. And I show EVERYONE I know why quality matters.

robert giovanni

July 08, 2019

“Neat essential oil use can lead to skin sensitization, irritation and other health issues.” And also miraculous healing, as evidenced by your own lavender comments “Gattefossé was able to successfully treat the gangrene that resulted from the burn with Lavender essential oil.” So it can heal gangrene, but is not safe to put directly on the skin? It must be safer than gangrene! I do understand the need to advise caution, but there must be some middle ground…?


July 08, 2019

Isn’t is supposed to be neet instead of neat