Applying *Hot* essential oils

Essential Oils and YOU- A beginners guide to applying *hot* essential oil to your skin

Hello, my lovelies!

Applying HOT essential oils

Applying HOT Essential Oils

After a recent Q&A session, I was asked privately- Can you apply Essential Oils directly to the skin?  The short answer is, yes!  But it can be a bit more complicated than that.

There are loads of oils that benefit us with direct application.  Many can even be ingested.  Few oils are considered HOT- meaning they can feel warm on your skin.  Some oils feel like a tingling sensation while others are straight up HOT.  Like, there’s a fire on your skin, HOT.  This very hot sensation is exactly the reason that some oils should be diluted with a carrier oil before applying.

A few examples of carrier oils are:

  • Olive oil
  • Coconut oil (coconut oil that is always in liquid form is called fractionated coconut oil, or FCO for short)
  • Grape seed oil
  • Almond oil

There are more, but these are the carrier oils that I am most familiar.  Most of the time it’s as easy as putting a bit of carrier oil in the palm of your hand, then adding a drop or two of the oil.  From there, just mix with your finger and apply.


Let’s take a look at some of the oils that require dilution before ever being applied to your skin.  

1. Cassia and Cinnamon bark-

Cassia and Cinnamon bark are two very different oils but are both considered hot.  Most recommendations for use on the skin include adding a drop or two of either oil into fractionated coconut oil, olive oil, or other similar oils that would allow safe use without the heat.

cassia essential oil

Cassia essential oil

How hot is it?  It’s hot.  I LOVE my cassia and admit to doing things with it that everyone says not to… (with great success, too)  I take a drop under my tongue with a drop of peppermint oil and swish with water-  Swallow, then swish again and swallow.  Minty fire.  YUM.  I do this daily to keep my sugar levels stable.  (It makes your breath smell amazing, too)  I haven’t had a single crash since I began doing this.

It is recommended that you put a drop or two of cassia or cinnamon bark in a veggie cap with some coconut oil and consume it that way.  It’s probably a good idea to NOT try some of the things I have done.  In other words- KIDS, don’t try this at home!

It’s seriously hot.  Especially on facial skin.  Don’t risk getting it in your eyes!

While I’m talking about the heat of using Cassia or Cinnamon, don’t forget to wash your hands.  Even if you only touched the bottle and NOT the oil.  Just trust me on this.  It’s a story for another day…

How would I know about the heat of cassia oil on my face?  Well… I just happen to do a facial that includes cassia.  The first time I made the facial, let’s just say I used too much cassia and paced my house like Ricky Bobby and the invisible fire.  It wasn’t pretty.  BUT, about an hour after the flames on my face went out, my skin looked AMAZING.  I’ve since modified the recipe and can finally complete a facial without expletives and pacing.

If you are new to essential oils, please stick to the tried-and-true recipes that you can find online.  Don’t make the same mistakes I’ve made.


2. Oregano oil

oregano essential oil

oregano essential oil

I love Oregano oil for many reasons.  A quick read in the book, Modern Essentials, (a must have for anyone interested in using essential oils) shows us that Oregano has many uses.  I like adding it to my anti-acne after face wash blend that also includes lavender and melaleuca.  It is my number 1 go to product for keeping my cystic acne at bay.  It has been a serious lifesaver when my hormones flip out and yield a huge new crop of acne.  The women’s monthly blend, known as Clary Calm, has also worked wonders for keeping my hormones in check.  I still get occasional acne, just not all over like I used to.  Thanks to my oils, my acne is much more under control and tolerable.

I have been known to use my oregano and forget to wash my hands after handling the bottle- I guess I enjoy some fun tingly discomfort.  You’re probably wondering how intense this stuff could really be, right?  Have you ever used one of those HOT or TINGLE tanning bed lotions? (yes, I was an occasional tanner once upon a time…)  Well, that’s the type of heat, tingle, and discomfort I’m talking about.  Not a tanner?  Remember when you were a kid trying Big Red gum or Red Hots for the first time?  Your mouth was on sweet, delicious, flaming fire.  But, you liked it, didn’t you?  A hot oil on your skin isn’t as tasty or fun…

Just remember to dilute the hot oils and you’ll be just fine.


3.  Clove

Clove essential oil

Clove essential oil

I LOVE the smell of clove!  Especially when mixed with wild orange and peppermint in the diffuser.  MMMM.  Smells like Christmas!  I have ZERO experience with clove on my skin.  I’ve used it in small amounts in some of my homemade lotions and such, but- it was so diluted you barely noticed it.  I mean, I could go put some on my skin right now and let you know how it is… but, I’ve experienced enough hot oils to know better:).

My experience with clove comes in a very different form.

About a year ago, my teeth were so sensitive, I could barely tolerate room temp water.  It was awful.  I even used toothpaste for sensitive teeth, with very little improvement.  A friend of mine suggested that I try clove as a diluted rinse after brushing, so I did.  The difference was immediate and amazing.  I eventually began making my own toothpaste that included clove and peppermint oil.  Today, I can have ice in my drinks again.  That’s something I haven’t been able to do in over a decade.  Needless to say, I really enjoy ice cream now, too.

Mine aren’t the only teeth in the household that clove oil has helped.  My youngest daughter began cutting a wisdom tooth this year.  She was in excruciating pain on a Sunday and asked for the clove oil.  I put some on a q-tip and had her hold it on the emerging tooth.  She found instant and quite lasting relief.  She did reapply every few hours through the day and was given much-needed relief.  Side note-  She says it tastes awful…

Although I can’t speak from experience on the heat of this oil on your skin, I do believe fully that you should dilute it before applying.  Its taste is intense so I can assume how it might feel on the skin, too.


4.  Lemongrass

Lemongrass essential oil

Lemongrass essential oil

Lemongrass is one of my favorite oils for DIY cleaning sprays.  Although I have never noticed it being hot on my skin, it is on most ‘hot’ oil lists floating around the internets.  I have used it, along with several other oils together, on my abdomen before- no carriers, just several drops of different oils with pleasant results.  I’ve had it all over my hands while making cleaning supplies and lotions with no discomfort.  (Most people are not as messy as I am in the laboratory)  This may be an oil that only some are sensitive to, I don’t know… I can only speak of my experience.

*You definitely don’t want it on your face or near your eyes.

This is also an oil I use for my fur babies.  We use Lemongrass and a few others directly on their fur to keep fleas away.  We are avid campers and always have the dogs in tow- not a flea issue since we started this routine.  It’s mid-June now and not a single flea yet!

I have had wonderful experiences with Lemongrass but you may not be so lucky.  Please dilute before using, just like most information on lemongrass suggests.  Not everyone has the same reactions to oils…  Like other *hot* essential oils, they may also be called caustic by some sources.  Always use precaution and dilute before applying any oil that is not considered safe for direct application.


5.  Thyme

Thyme essential oil

Thyme essential oil

Thyme after Thyme I have found out how hot Thyme is.  Okay, so it just happened once.

I had ordered a bottle of Thyme a while back and it sat in my box unused for a few months.  STUPIDITY took over one day and I cracked it open to smell it.  Not a good idea.  Of course, I got too close and had it on my nose.  I wiped it with my hand… smearing it across my face.  Fire.  Pure FIRE.  I had to apply coconut oil several times before I found a tolerable level of heat.  It was intense.

Since that incident, I now refer to my book before sniffing, applying, or tasting new oils.

Thyme has many uses.  Like many other oils, it’s great for cooking.  But, of course, that’s not what I use it for…  Among other things, it’s diluted and used on my fur babies and It’s among the oils I use to make my amazing ‘longer, stronger hair’ shampoo.  I also layer it over melaleuca, lavender, and a few others for bad acne breakouts that refuse to go away.

Thyme is a face tingler.  It’s one of the last oils to go on my acne breakouts and it seems to do its job well.  After all the other oils are on, the tingling begins.  It is not super-intense or I would further dilute with coconut oil.  Again, always dilute the *HOT* oils.  Not everyone can tolerate the tingling or heat of these oils with just laying of other essential oils.  Most people do need to dilute them in order to tolerate them on the skin.  PLEASE don’t do some of the crazy things I’ve tried, and/or accidentally done to myself with oils.



These are the only essential oils ( that I know) that are hot and really should never be applied directly to skin without a carrier.  The only exception on this list is Lemongrass, which has never been hot to me.  There are many other essential oils that are considered warm and often come with a dilution recommendation before applying directly.  That is another list, for another day…  Those with sensitive skin should always dilute before applying, just to be safe.

Citrus oils are photosensitive and should not be applied to the skin before spending time in the sun.  I have read a story online about a woman that used citrus oils and then sat in the sun, causing skin burns.  I do not know how true this story is, if at all…  I do know that I have read several different warnings by essential oil ‘gurus’ that explicitly state to never use citrus (including- orange, lime, lemon, grapefruit, and bergamot) before spending time in the sun.  Use your better judgement.  Always double check uses and precautions.

Want more information about essential oils?  I have more great reading available!  Check out My first experience with essential oils and Why choose a doTerra wholesale membership.

Comments are always welcome and feel free to contact me anytime!





  1. Hi (: Just wonderful!
    There are 101 different uses for essential oils – From cleaning surfaces to healing medical conditions.. ..naturally, without nasty side-effects!

    No secret here, I’m completely new to essential oils,
    but I see immediately a practical use to one of the hot essential oils you’re recommending here.

    Oregano oil caught my attention. You’re pointing it out it’s effective for skin care – It’s great addition to anti acne face wash & working well in your case.
    But, do you also recommend it to male counterparts?
    For same purpose, to treat acne, not on face area but rather on shoulders & back.

    We’re talking about a very mild case here, mostly small cosmetic error.. but hey, then again.. why not to fix up this thing to the point it’s completely disappeared & you’re one version better you, hehe..

    Would love to hear your thoughts on this one

    • hi Henry!

      You can add oregano to your body wash or soap and use it to clear up acne that way, or dilute it like I mentioned.  There are several oils that are great for helping with acne, male or female:).  melaleuca (or tea tree), lavender, peppermint and cedar wood are all great for clearing up acne and keeping skin clear.  Those don’t need to be diluted, either.  If you have any questions, just ask.  I’m happy to share what I’ve learned about oils.


  2. Hi Nicki,

    Very good information you have here. I am a fan of herbs and spices but mainly for cooking only. Never knew that it has valuable usage as you mentioned.
    The most important thing I learned here is that these essential oils are HOT !!! Think I am going to explore further.
    Thank you for sharing.

    • Hi Sharon!

      The hot oils are all very beneficial when used properly.  I’m a big fan of trial and error- but I’ve learned some rough lessons because of it.  Trust me when I say they are HOT. Lol.  No need for two of us to learn the hard way:).  If cooking is your thing, there are tons of essential oils that really kick up the flavor of your dishes.  Come back soon and read about them.


  3. I love essential oils! 

    I am brand new to oils and have so much to learn.  I’m reading all of your info on oils!

     I really like that “carrier oil” part, i had no idea that some oils could feel like a burning sensation on the skin. Although I’m not surprised, they are strong and concentrated.

    I would really like more information.  Can you help me out?



    • Hi Tina!

      Of course I can help you out!  I’ll email you my essential oil guide.  Let me know what you want to learn and I’ll happily help you:)


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