Perhaps you’ve heard of the “hot” oils sometimes referred to at doTERRA. These are the oils we label as “dilute” or sometimes as “sensitive.” But the term “hot” oil comes from the sensation they give if used topically. These so-named hot oils can give you a burning sensation when used on the skin, or a spicy burning sensation when taken internally. These oils include:
Keep in mind, this is not an exhaustive list of hot oils, especially if you are using oil blends or brands other than doTERRA. For any oils that have the potential to cause skin sensitivity, it is always wise to keep these out of reach of children, consult your physician if you are pregnant or under a doctor's care, and avoid contact with the eyes, inner ears, face, and sensitive areas.
doTERRA also categorizes other oils as “sensitive” but you may have also heard them referred to as “warm” oils. This includes oils like Black Pepper, Lemongrass, Wintergreen, Peppermint, and others. Oils like these can still be overwhelming for sensitive groups (i.e. children and elderly) if not diluted.
Diluting the hot category of oils is the recommendation for all people, regardless of their individual sensitivity level. In this way such oils can safely be used and added to your essential oil repertoire.
Do and Do Not
Let us be clear: there is no need to fear using hot oils in spite of the need to dilute. You only need to use an extra dose of caution to safely and effectively use them. Here’s how:
- Safely apply hot oils topically by diluting them. For hot or dilute category oils, we recommend that adults dilute one drop of oil to 10 drops carrier oil. For sensitive oils, we recommend diluting one drop of oil in five drops carrier oil. For children, additional dilution is needed. (Neat category oils can be applied without dilution if you are familiar with the oil, but dilution is never a bad thing. It doesn’t hurt the efficacy of the oil and may help avoid unexpected skin irritation.)
- Do not add hot oils or even sensitive oils to bath water. A favorite method of topical use, the best oils to use in your bath are classified as “neat.” Always mix oils you are adding to your bath with Epsom salts or soap first to make sure the oil does not simply float on top of the water.
- Use veggie capsules or oils in food. When using hot oils internally, do not place them directly on the tongue or directly in the mouth and swallow. This is due to their individual chemical design and how it affects the body; these oils are merely too strong to be taken directly without altering the application method. But, these oils can be taken internally by adding one or two drops to a veggie capsule and then taking them with food, or by adding them to a recipe.
- Safely diffuse any hot oil. You can safely diffuse the hot oils into the air.
Figuring Out Sensitivity Level
To determine if you are sensitive to an oil or not, perform a patch test. Apply one to two drops of oil (always with five to ten drops of carrier oil for hot oils) to a patch of skin on your forearm. Observe that area of skin for one hour for any noticeable reaction, but you’re most likely to have a reaction within 10 minutes.
You will know if you are sensitive to a particular oil based on responses in the skin, digestive system, respiratory system, or other areas of the body. Some of the signs of sensitivity to an oil include pain, swelling, or tenderness in the skin, skin irritation, difficulty breathing, and upset stomach.
What to Do If You Have a Reaction
If you experience a sensitivity reaction to essential oils in the digestive system, immediately discontinue use of that oil. If a large amount of oil was consumed, contact poison control. But, if only a small amount of the oil was consumed, you can help subside the sensitivity by drinking plenty of fluids. If a skin reaction occurs, apply Fractionated Coconut Oil to the area every few minutes until the reaction is neutralized.
Essential oils are potent, and some have stronger reactions than others. But, this in no way means that the hot oils should never be used. Their benefits when using internally or topically are worth the necessary precautions.