How to do a skin patch test with essential oils

Prior to applying any essential oil topically, one should always perform a skin patch test. This is because certain essential oils may cause an allergic reaction or sensitization on certain individuals. Everyone is different and each person can react differently to essential oils. Some people assume that an essential oil they used topically must be safe and allow others to use it without performing a patch test. This can cause a severe reaction. 

A skin patch test is a method for testing sensitive areas of skin on your body to essential oils to determine whether or not you are able to apply those essential oils topically. Certain areas of skin are more susceptible than others, which is why we use the wrist and the inside of the elbow. We want to measure if an essential oil can cause a reaction even on the sensitive parts of your skin. If so, you should not use the essential oil topically, even on more resilient areas on your skin.

Step 1. Begin by choosing the essential oil you will be using and a vegetable based carrier oil such as olive oil or sunflower oil. The reason for using those types of oils is that they rarely cause an allergic reaction in people. DO NOT USE THE ESSENTIAL OIL UNDILUTED. Pour 5 ml of the carrier oil in a glass dish as shown.

Step 2: Pour 1 drop of your essential oil into the carrier oil and mix.

Step 3: Using a Q-tip, place a small dab of the blend on the inside of your elbow.

Step 4: On the opposite arm place a small dab on the inside of the wrist (the dab should be much smaller than the one in the image, I accidentally applied too much because I used my finger tip and not a Q tip like you should as I already know my wife and I are not allergic to Mandarin EO. I was going to redo it, but then decided it would be better to leave that amount on to let you know that it should not be that large)

Step 5: Apply a bandage to the areas. I used waterproof adhesive bandages so as to keep the areas dry.

Step 5 continued: Bandage on other area.


Step 6: Wait a full 24 hours. Do not allow to get wet. If you experience irritation, redness, any type of rash or discomfort during this time immediately remove the bandage and wash with a mild soap and water. 

Step 7: If no irritation is present after 24 hours, it is safe to use the diluted essential oil topically.

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