Manufacturers use essential oils to create a range of products. The cosmetic and makeup industry use essential oils to create perfumes, add fragrance to creams and body washes, and even as sources of natural antioxidants in some beauty care products.
Many natural medicine practitioners, such as aromatherapists, use essential oils. Aromatherapy involves diffusing these essential oils into the air.
Aromatherapists believe that breathing in essential oils might allow them to enter the lungs and bloodstream, where some of the potentially helpful compounds may benefit the body.
Anyone who has used a mentholated vapor rub to help clear their sinuses has used a form of aromatherapy. As the authors of a 2013 study note, inhaling menthol in this way can reduce feelings of congestion and shortness of breath.
As well as inhaling them, adding essential oils to a carrier oil and massaging them into the skin may also deliver the active compounds to the body.
People should never apply essential oils directly to the skin without diluting them, unless under the direct guidance of a healthcare professional.
It is also dangerous to swallow essential oils. Not only are essential oils extremely concentrated, but they can also irritate the sensitive cells inside the body.
In rare cases, some people might take oral capsules containing essential oils. However, people should only do this under the guidance of a healthcare professional.
Typically, however, a person should not put regular commercial essential oils anywhere near their mouth or other places where it may enter the body, such as the eyes, ear, anus, or vagina.
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