Living Magazine Fall 2015 Living Magazine - Page 32

DILUTE-or- NOT TO DILUTE Dr. David K. Hill, DC Anyone who has topically applied dōTERRA Deep Blue® Soothing Blend before and after a workout knows how quickly and intensely it works. But the cooling sensation can sometimes be a little strong for small children or people with sensitive skin. Diluting essential oils in a carrier oil before application is an excellent way to reduce sensitive skin reactions to certain essential oils, but will it reduce its effectiveness? The answer may surprise you. Recent research suggests diluting essential oils for topical applications not only does not reduce effectiveness, but may actually have certain advantages. LIPOPHILICITY The skin is one of the largest organs in the body, by both surface area and weight. Although it regulates several aspects of physiology and manages sensory reception, it is primarily a protector. The skin acts as a barrier to protect internal organs from variations in temperature, pressure and mechanical impacts. It also acts as a defender against unwanted foreign agents such as viruses and bacteria, and it does so with amazing proficiency. For thousands of years it was thought that the skin was essentially impermeable, but modern research has revealed that it is not particularly effective at keeping out water and lipidsoluble substances.(1) How essential oils permeate the skin when applied topically is a fascinating process, and one of the most important concepts in understanding how essential oils influence our health. Essential oils are lipophilic, meaning they are attracted to and are soluble in fatty substances. Diluting essential oils in a carrier before applying accentuates this property, providing a number of benefits. BENEFITS OF DILUTION Dilution is one of the most important aspects of effective topical application; it is also one of the most misunderstood. When used properly, carrier oils have been shown to improve essential oil topical application through several different pathways. Evaporation is the primary issue in topical application, as body heat and the skin present a formidable barrier. One of the most important benefits of dilution is that it slows the flashing off of 32 / FALL SUMMER 20152015 LIVING LIVING MAGAZINE MAGAZINE the volatile aromatic compounds, largely through one of the fundamental laws of fluid dynamics: decreasing the surface area of a substance exposed to air reduces the rate of evaporation. When diluted, essential oil chemical constituents have been shown to pass through the epidermis more efficiently than when applied neat.(2) Furthermore, another study showed that dilution may expedite the process, as varying levels of specific constituents were detected in exhaled Z\