It stands to reason that in order for essential oils to work their magic on our bodies, they need to be absorbed into our system. This can happen in one of two ways.
Firstly, when we smell essential oils, a tiny amount is absorbed through our lungs. While this can certainly have an effect on our body, the intensity is nowhere near as powerful as when essential oils (always diluted) are applied to our skin. In fact, when applied topically, the oils are absorbed one thousand times more than when inhaled. The reason being is that they are actually absorbed into our blood via our skin, essentially becoming a part of us (excuse the pun).
Let me explain further.
The ability to absorb a substance through the skin isn’t as simple as soaking up a bit of oil vinaigrette with a piece of stale, crusty bread. Despite what some cosmetic companies will lead you to believe, many products are unable to be absorbed through the skin due to their chemical makeup. According to scientific testing, only substances with a molecular weight below 1000m (m = weight of molecule) can be absorbed by the skin. Since essential oils have a small molecular size and a chemical weight of less than 1000m, they are recognised as a 'natural' substance by the body, allowing them to penetrate further than the epidermis (top layer of skin) and enter the bloodstream.
How Are Essential Oils Absorbed?
Essential oils are transported into the skin through the hair follicle, at the base of which is the papilla or root. Without realizing it, you have probably noticed the papilla when plucking a hair out with tweezers – it’s the black bulb at the end of the hair that's been plucked. The papilla’s job is to attach the hair to the follicle and allow a blood supply to feed the hair. When this happens there is a little gap that allows the essential oil to enter directly into the blood stream. Studies have actually shown that after lavender oil is massaged into the skin, traces of the oil show up in the urine. In other words, the lavender has entered through the skin, into the blood stream and what wasn't used by the body, was filtered by the kidneys and excreted in the urine.
Why Essential Oils Must Be Pure.
Knowing that essential oils become a part of our blood stream and are dealt with by our excretory organs like our kidneys and liver, it stands to reason that you would only use a guaranteed source of pure unadulterated essential oil. Organically sourced and grown are preferred. If there are toxins or pesticides in the oil, as there have been found in the oils produced by less ethical dealers, these harmful substances can enter your body. Our bodies have to deal with enough toxic rubbish on a daily basis without introducing more.
So in future, when it comes to using essential oils, make sure the only thing you’re soaking up is the good stuff.