AAA: Is Applying Essential Oils to My Feet Effective?

by Bella Martinez July 03, 2019

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 of 10% 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, where the 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 that by 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 already kicked 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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Edens Garden

June 19, 2023 at 11:56 am

Hi Alessandra! Thank you for reaching out :) We have found that studies often show that frequent topical use of essential oils, especially amongst those who use them in their occupations (i.e. Massage Therapists), are highly susceptible to allergic contact dermatitis. While there are many unknowns when it comes to studies like these, what we do know is that less is more with essential oils. They are very powerful and incredibly effective when diluted and they last much longer. They also are far less likely to cause contact dermatitis. Here are a few such studies that support this:

If you have any studies you would like to share with us, we’re happy to review them!


June 19, 2023 at 11:35 am

But there is a ton of studies proving using essential oils neat is on the contrary, very healing. France has been using neat essential oil application for almost 200 years or more and have been at the forefront of scientific studies. Whereas the ango saxon model only just started seeing the importance of science and essential oils..They weren’t even pushing for therapeutic oils to be used..It seems very logical to trust the experts and proven clinical trials and not the uneducated on this matter. People will say not to use pure essential oil internally but eat mass produced food with low quality essential oils in it..makes zero sense.