Dermal Absorption of Essential Oils

Like most aromatherapists, I was taught that essential oils penetrate the stratum corneum via the skin surface and then pass through the dermis, entering the general circulation. This is accepted as being the most important route for essential oils to work in aromatherapy and a full body massage is the usual way aromatherapy is administered, although the oils are also used in lotions, creams and other carrier media, compresses and baths for dermal absorption. Where a full body massage is not possible, a back massage is indicated because “the back presents the single largest expanse of skin of any body area” (Davis 1988 pp.218). According to Gattefossé (1937 p.62), who is considered to be the

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