There are several methods used to create essential oil. The most common method for extracting the fragrant oil is steam distillation. Citrus based oils are cold pressed from the rind of the specific citrus fruit. Solvent extraction, usually using hexane, is often used for creating the oil from delicate flowers that do not extract well using steam distillation.
Essential oil is used in cosmetics, soaps, cleaning products, perfumes, colognes, massage oil, body lotions, incense and even as food flavorings. It is commonly used in the home in diffusers that gently heat the oil and water mixer and spreads the mist into the room. Other uses are shower diffusers, sachets and stick diffusers.
There are only a few cautions to be concerned about when using essential oils. If you have a known allergy to a scent, food or plant, do not use the oil extracted from that particular plant, fruit or flower because you will likely experience the same allergic reaction to the oil; instead, choose an essential oil that does not cause you an allergic reaction.
Also, if you have multiple allergies, a skin patch test is recommended before using an essential oil. To perform the skin patch test, place one drop of oil on a cotton ball and rub a tiny bit of the oil onto a small patch of skin, usually on the forearm. Wait 48 hours and check the skin patch for any redness or sign of reaction. If none is present, that oil should be safe for use in your home.