Essential oils can be used individually or in blends combined with other essential oils. They can be applied through diluted topical application or they can be experienced via inhalation through a diffuser. The choice depends on the desired psychological and physical benefit. Primarily, their usage falls into three categories: Odorants, Flavors, and Pharmaceuticals.
Used as odorants, they are found in cosmetics, perfumes, soaps, detergents, and insecticides. Used as flavors, they are found in food products such as baked goods, sweets, meats, pickles, soft drinks, and animal feeds. Used as pharmaceuticals, they are often found in products for dental hygiene as well as in products meant to relieve muscle aches and pains.
Some DIY recipes that use essential oils include cosmetic cleansers, moisturizers, fabric fresheners, bug repellents, and household cleaners. Regardless of the type of product in which an essential oil is being used, when applied it must be diluted. There is a misconception that diluting an oil reduces its effectiveness; however, when used in this recommended manner, the fatty carrier oils instead allow the essential oils to remain on the skin for longer periods of time while prolonging their therapeutic effects. With dilution, there is also an increase in surface area of absorption.
The minuscule molecules of essential oils are able to penetrate skin cells, enter the blood stream, and move to different internal regions of the body to disperse therapeutic benefits. The difference between them and fatty oils, such as vegetable or nut oils, is that the latter cannot penetrate cells due to their larger molecule size, which means they are less therapeutic than essential oils. According to scientific study, skin should be able to absorb a substance that weighs less than 1000m (m = weight of molecule), and essential oils have a weight less than this. The most common way to use essential oils is in DIY personal care products, which improves the health of body and mind, enhancing the appearance of each.
Diffused essential oils are absorbed by the blood vessels in the lungs, which circulate the oils throughout the body and get absorbed into the bloodstream. When diffused, some essential oils with the corresponding constituents can help reduce stress, eliminate odor-causing bacteria and purify the air, improve cognitive function and create emotional uplift, and enhance a spiritual experience.