Topical Application vs. Inhalation: How to Choose - Everyday Essentials

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Woman adding grapefruit to the diffuser

Topical Application vs. Inhalation: How to Choose


There are many ways to incorporate essential oils to live life– the natural way. We are often asked, “How do I know where to put these essential oils on my body?” or “Where can I apply ______ for the best results?” There are two main ways to use essential oils: topical application or inhalation. In this post, we’ll discuss which way to go about using them for the best results.

Although there aren’t many concrete rules about using essential oils, we highly recommend learning the safest way to diffuse or dilute them. This can help prevent any irritations that may occur, especially if you are not using them to the appropriate dilution rate. To determine your essential oil’s dilution rate, refer to our chart here.

Woman applying white cream to leg

Topical Application

Whether you’re experiencing aching muscles or having skin issues like acne, topical application may be the best way to go. To properly apply, place the recommended diluted amount into a carrier oil, unscented lotion, or cream.

There are multiple essential oils that are great for skincare. Carrot Seed can help add elasticity back into your skin as well as diminish the appearance of fine lines and age spots. To apply topically, we recommend a dilution of 1% when applying onto your face. On the other hand, Melissa Essential Oil can help restore and soothe skin. In addition, it can help aid in digestion issues like an upset stomach. Dilute to 0.5-1% into a carrier oil and apply to areas of concern. To learn more about these essential oils, read our in-depth post. 

There is also a number of amazing essential oils that can help soothe discomfort due to aging or over-exercising. Frankincense Carterii is one go-to essential oil that can help reduce discomfort from aching joints due to its anti-inflammatory properties. To do so, dilute it by placing 2 drops into a teaspoon of a carrier oil of your choice and massage in areas of concern.

TerraFuse Diffuser diffusing


If your concern is related to an illness or needing some emotional support, using a diffuser or a personal aromatherapy inhaler may be your best bet. A diffuser can disperse the aroma into the air of your living space, allowing you to take in its emotional benefits. Diluting into a personal inhaler allows you to take your essential oils on the go.

Many essential oils provide emotional support. Essential oils like Lemon and Kumquat can help uplift and brighten emotions. Lavender can help promote a tranquil environment for total relaxation. Essential oils like Cypress can help improve a healthy respiratory system when diffused. Experiencing common colds and congestion isn’t the most fun. So, diffusing essential oils can help clear your airways and help you recover quicker. To diffuse, always check the specific essential oil’s directions.

These are not “hard and fast” rules about how to use essential oils, but rather is a general guideline. You may find that a certain way works better for you. So, as long as you are following safety precautions and using essential oils suitable for you or the person who will be using them, then you’re doing just fine.

As always, we want to hear from you! Contact us by emailing [email protected] for any questions, concerns, or comments you may have. You can join our Facebook group Safe Essential Oil Recipes and participate in lively conversation with other essential oils users.


20 thoughts on “Topical Application vs. Inhalation: How to Choose”

  • For oils used for calming purposes, for example- calming the child, how often can this be applied topically when it’s at a 1% dilution rate?

    1. It can be applied as often as you need! A 1% dilution rate is so low that it can be safely used throughout the day 🙂

    1. Thanks so much for your question When choosing to use essential oils with your children, you’ll want to ask yourself a few questions:

      1. For what purpose am I using this essential oil?
      2. For how long do I intend to use it?
      3. Is this oil considered safe for use with children?

      I think the confusion lies in the fact that many people want to have a black & white response. It’s hard to do this, since all families and situations are different. Aromatherapy is a very fluid area of practice. Diffusing can be done safely, provided the oils chosen are KidSafe, for a specific reason & a short length of time. If you’d let me know what the reason for use is, then we can have a dialogue on whether what you are thinking is a good choice or not.

      It’s best to use essential oils only as needed (for an illness or a random sleepless night) and for the SHORTEST amount of time possible, always make sure the oils you choose are safe for use with children. Here is a dilution chart to help you create the proper blend if you choose to make something on your own {see attached} It’s also important to note that there are other options (like hydrosols) that may be a gentler way to use aromatherapy to impact your family.

      1. So is it not a good idea to apply germ destroyer or immune boom on a regular basis? I use the roll on on mu children almost daily

        1. For immune support, you’ll need a multi-faceted approach. Nothing “boosts” immunity, but rather supports the proper function of the immune system. In order to reach optimal levels, you need to have
          1. A well rounded and wholesome diet is KEY for this, as I am sure you know.
          2. Being properly hydrated is also another key factor, being well hydrated allows the body to function and filter properly
          3. Using herbal support to support proper immune function.
          4. use stress reductions like journaling, prayer, yoga, or meditation in order to lower overall stress

          THEN you can diffuse Immune Boom (KidSafe®) or Immune Aid on those days when you have been exposed to an illness or feel something coming on! 😉

          As far as other essential oils are concerned, diffusing Germ Fighter or Germ Destroyer (KidSafe®) a few times a week can be useful when exposed to an illness to reduce duration and perhaps even reduce the chance you’ll be come ill. Immune boom is also wonderful for use in situation (like the first week of school) where exposure to “something” is probably going to happen. HOWEVER, essential oils should be used in a reactive way and not in a daily, preventative way. This can increase your risk of sensitization:

      2. I like to diffuse lavender or stress away in the living room. Most of the time I only diffuse in my bedroom and the kids are not present. Just want to make sure my kids are safe. Thanks!!

    1. Our advice is to always follow your doctors advice. I do understand the aversion to medications, I do not like taking pills either 🙂 However, they are medical professionals and have your health at the heart of all they do. High blood pressure can/will cause many other health complications over time. I strongly recommend he follow the doctors advice 🙂

  • I need to know which of your essential oils you can take internally. I have always used doterra EE’s, but the expense is becoming too great. But, I do take a lot of their essential oils internally and doterra states which ones are safe for internal consumption. They also tell you which ones need a carrier oil for topical use. Can you supply me with anything similar because I would like to switch to a less expensive essential oil.

    1. We actually do not advocate that ANY of our essential oils be used internally on a casual, daily basis. It takes some pretty rigorous training to fully understand how aromatic medicine works – and this is something not to be taken lightly. We don’t “preventatively” use antibiotics to maintain our wellness, and essential oils are much the same way. You an read more information here:

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