Should I Diffuse Or Topically Apply My Essential Oil?

March 09, 2017

You wouldn’t rub smelling salts on a person to awaken their consciousness, nor would you inhale a muscle gel to soothe soreness. Often times, the way in which we are to use essential oils is common sense, but other times guidance is necessary. When do you use essential oils topically and when do you inhale?

Topical Application

If you’ve ever used a skin patch before, you know that substances can be absorbed through the skin. When a substance is applied topically, it slowly permeates the skin before entering into the bloodstream. The slow permeation of properly diluted essential oils can positively affect pain, inflammation and issues that are skin deep when EOs are applied topically. Inhaling an oil will deliver its chemical constituents throughout the body, but it is better that an oil be applied directly to the area of concern in these cases.

Permeability factors should also be assessed when deciding to use essential oils topically. One factor being that EOs absorb quicker where the skin is thin, such as the face. Another being that heat causes essential oils to penetrate the skin more easily. For this reason, we recommend a lower than average dilution rate when using essential oils on the face and in a bath, spa or sauna.


When and where to use essential oils for pain and injury may seem like common sense, but how to use EOs for issues such as sleep, anxiety and energy can get confusing. Inhaling oils delivers a quick dose of its natural chemical constituents into the bloodstream, as opposed to topical use.

When working with emotional and neurological issues, a faster route of absorption is preferred, which is why we recommend inhalation in these cases. This same rule applies when you have a respiratory issue. For example, it is best to breathe in decongestant-type oils, but you can also apply these oils topically in the form of a chest rub.

Your turn! Let us know when you use oils topically, and when you inhale them in the comments section below...


  • Edens Garden says...

    Hi Kathi! An easy way to use Pest Defy would be to dilute it in a roll-on or bottle and apply topically before you go outside. A 3% dilution rate would be a good place to start

    3% = 18 drops of Pest Defy per 1 oz of carrier oil

    On July 24, 2017

  • Kathi says...

    I am new to Essential Oils. I just purchased Pest Defy as I will be going to the mountains on vacation. How and where do I use this oil?

    On July 23, 2017

  • Edens Garden says...

    Hi Isaac! Depending on what you’re using the oils for, you can receive the most benefit of the oil by either inhalation or topical use. For example, if you have an injury or muscle tension, an oil would best be diluted and applied topically. If you have a respiratory issue, an oil would best be inhaled by diffusion

    On July 05, 2017

  • Isaac says...

    Will I receive the full benefits of these 5 following EO used topically when diluted properly? frankincense, oregano, eucalyptus, peppermint, clove

    On July 05, 2017

  • Edens Garden says...

    Hi Kate! The best way to obtain the benefits of a sleep blend is to inhale it, however, you can also apply to your feet when diluted if you wish.

    On June 06, 2017

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