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Home Page > Aromatherapy Articles & Guides > Essential Oil Skin Patch Test

Essential Oil Skin Patch Test

Essential Oil Skin Patch TestSome essential oils can cause sensitization or allergic reactions in some individuals. Even essential oils that have been actively promoted as being remarkably safe to use (i.e. Lavender Oil and Tea Tree Oil) have caused instances of sensitization.

When using a new essential oil for the first time, perform a skin patch test on a small area of skin. A skin patch test is pretty easy to do, and it will help you determine if you have a sensitivity/reaction to a particular essential oil while reducing initial exposure to your skin.

A Special Note About Hydrosols and Skin Patch Tests:

Although most hydrosols are considered safe to use topically when undiluted (White Sage and Sweetgrass hydrosols are exceptions), it's prudent to perform this same skin patch test on hydrosols.

How to Perform a Skin Patch Test

  • Read the Guide to Diluting Essential Oils article to learn how to properly dilute essential oils for topical use, and then return to this page.

  • Place 1-2 drops of a diluted essential oil on the inside of your elbow. Never use essential oils undiluted on the skin. Avoid using essential oils that are hazardous. It is best to also avoid essential oils that are known to cause sensitization/dermal irritation.

  • Apply a bandage. Do not get this area wet during the test.

  • If you feel the onset of any irritation or if any reaction occurs, immediately remove the bandage and carefully wash the area with mild soap and water.

  • If no irritation occurs after 24 hours, the essential oil, in its diluted form, is safe for you to use on your skin.

  • Even if a particular essential oil does not irritate you, it still can irritate someone else. Always keep that in mind.

  • Also keep in mind that if you are allergic to a particular plant, you are more likely to be allergic to that botanical's essential oil.

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