The Little-Known Secret of Nails and Essential Oils

I received the following question from a fellow Young Living member;

“Would you have any studies or opinions on the benefits of using essential oils on your nails? Does the oil penetrate through the nail into the blood system and improve health, wellbeing and mood etc?”

Nail Structure Essential OilsI thought this would be a great blog post topic as nail art and nail designs increase in popularity. An article titled “Skin and Nail: Barrier Function, Structure, and Anatomy Considerations for Drug Delivery” available from Particle Sciences here, provides a detailed synopsis of the skin and nails if you want to delve into the anatomy and biological science. In brief the skin and nails are permeable and essential oils molecules do penetrate. The nails are more hydrophilic but hydrophilic compounds such as essential oils have been shown to diffuse into and through the nail. Application of essential oils on the nails will eventually permeate the surrounding cuticle and skin as well.

Did you know the growth rate of nails is highly variable among individuals, with average values of 3mm per month for fingernails and 1mm per month for toenails? A normal fingernail grows out completely in about 6 months, whereas it takes a toenail about 10-12 months.

Do Essential Oils Penetrate Skin?

Chemistry of Essential oils Made SimpleFrom ‘The Chemistry of Essential Oils Made Simple’ by Dr. David Stewart’; The idea that oils molecules do not pass through the ‘skin barrier’ dates back more than 200 years when the skin was erroneously thought to be impermeable to virtually everything. We now know skin is more like a sieve, blocking some molecules and accepting others—especially the small lipid molecules of essential oils.

The following books present considerable research in support of transdermal absorption of essential oils.

Carvone, a ketone found in spearmint, dill, or caraway oils, has been detected on the breath and measured in the blood within 10 minutes of application to the skin and is later found in the urine. Linalol and linalyl acetate from lavender oil, eugenol from clove or basil, and cineole from eucalyptus have been found in the blood in 20-40 minutes and in the urine within 1-2 hours of skin contact. According to Price, a little essential oil on the skin will eventually “pervade every cell in the body,” crossing even the blood-brain barrier.

In raindrop massage, numerous pure oils are applied neat to the skin where they observably penetrate into the body and can administer healing throughout (See A Statistical Validation of Raindrop Technique). Many people have placed oils on the soles of their feet and tasted them on their tongues shortly thereafter. This is often cited as self-verifiable evidence that oils do penetrate skin and travel through the body.

There is an inherent contradiction in the opinions of British-oriented aromatherapists such as Sheppard-Hanger who say you should never use essential oils undiluted on the skin because of their dangers, yet believe that essential oils cannot penetrate the skin. If oils cannot penetrate the skin, then why would you need to dilute them?

MSM Sulfur: An Important Mineral in Sulfurzyme for Nail Health

MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane) is a natural, sulphur-bearing nutrient that occurs widely in nature. It is an exceptional source of nutritional sulphur—a mineral that is vital to protein synthesis and sound health. Poor nail and hair growth are possible signs of sulphur deficiency. MSM may have other benefits aside from its pain and inflammation-reducing properties. Numerous patients have reported a surge in energy levels along with thicker hair, nails, and skin. Some have even reported a softening or disappearance of scar tissue.

Safely and Naturally Remove Nail Polish

Go to Oil Testimonials and conduct a search for ‘nail’. The results will provide different essential oils uses for various toe and fingernail issues. Some great testimonials are for removing nail polish with lemon oil, Thieves oil or Thieves wipes. This is a much safer and healthier option to using carcinogenic acetone nail polish remover.

Brittle or Weak Nails


Singles: Frankincense, myrrh, lemon, Idaho balsam fir

Blends: Citrus Fresh, Di-Gize, GLF

Nail Strengthening Recipe:

  • 4 drops wheat germ oil
  • 2 drops frankincense
  • 2 drops myrrh
  • 2 drops lemon
  • 1 drop wintergreen

Supplements: Sulfurzyme, MegaCal, Mineral Essence, Master Formula HIS or HERS, Essentialzyme, NingXia Red, and Super B.

Application and Usage


You may apply single oils or blends neat or diluted, depending on the oils that are used.

  • Apply 1-3 drops neat on nails and at base of nails daily for 30 days.
  • Apply 1 drop of the blend on each nail 2-3 times daily for 30 days.

The health and wellbeing benefits to using essential oils are beyond my ability to relay in this post, but they are numerous.

Nail Art and DesignsNail Polish Might Contain Toxins

A post relating to nail art, nail designs, manicures and pedicures would not be complete without a little something about the dangerous chemicals in nail polish and nail polish removers. Have a look at this ABC News article about the subject and what companies like OPI, Essie and Sally Hensen are doing.

If you are new to Young Living Therapeutic Grade Essential Oils and would like more information, please contact me via email at and/or Download  a brief presentation about the company, products and business opportunity. Young Living is available worldwide.

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