Have you ever tried a body massage with herbal and essential oils? Body oils have been an ancient way of nourishing and hydrating your skin. While the invention of body lotions may have diminished body oils' popularity over time, their benefits remain manifold.
However, to get the maximum out of body oil, you need to follow the right way of application and massage. Read on to learn how to use body oils and pamper your skin thoroughly.
Our Ayurvedic Doctor Speaks
“Ayurveda recommends daily massaging (abhyanga) to stimulate good circulation and promote the excretion of metabolic wastes via sweat. This is recommended before and after daily exercise. It should be followed by Udvartana (scrubbing) and Snana (washing). Daily body massage tones the skin, improves digestion and metabolism, and aids in healthy sleep.”
- Dr. Zeel Gandhi (Bachelor of Ayurveda, Medicine & Surgery), Chief Ayurvedic Doctor, Vedix
What Is Body Oil? What Does Body Oil Do?
Body oils refer to mineral or herbal oils, or a combination of both. Organic and natural body oils are commonly obtained from plant sources. Also, these are applied on and below the neck.
Body oils work by providing hydration and nourishment to the skin. Massaging with these also makes you feel better both emotionally and physically.
A wide range of body oils is available, right from inexpensive mineral oils to luxurious herbal medicated oils. Each oil can provide varied benefits to your skin.
Natural body oils include coconut oil, almond oil, jojoba oil, olive oil, argan oil, grapeseed oil, sesame oil, etc. These are free from artificial fragrance and other chemically treated ingredients. So, these are suitable for most skin types and usually don't cause an allergic reaction.
Dr. Zeel Gandhi, Chief Ayurvedic Doctor at Vedix, says, “Body excretes wastes via urine, stools, and sweat. While urine and stools are taken care of, sweat is something we generally overlook. Ayurveda recommends daily massaging (abhyanga) to stimulate good circulation and promote the excretion of metabolic wastes via sweat.”
“This is recommended before and after daily exercise. This should be followed by Udvartana (scrubbing) and Snana (washing). Daily body massage tones the skin, improves digestion and metabolism, and aids in healthy sleep,” she adds.
- Most natural body oils, like coconut oil, jojoba oil, argon, etc. are rich resources of different fatty acids. Some of the essential fatty acids are linoleic and oleic acids, also known as omega-6 and omega-9. These components play a vital role in protecting your skin barrier. They also help to fight off sun damage and skin aging.
Benefits Of Body Oil
Massaging with body oils not only makes your skin soft, but benefits your health as well. Regular massage with appropriate oils helps to improve your general well-being, balance your doshas, improves musculoskeletal and nervous system health and even improves your longevity.
Here are the key benefits of using body oils:
1. Locking In Moisture
The most prominent benefit of body oils is their ability to keep your skin hydrated. Massaging the oil enables it to penetrate deep into the skin and lock in moisture. Their occlusive action  forms a protective barrier on your skin, and seals in its moisture.
While body oils don't draw moisture to the surface of the skin, they retain the hydration that’s already present in the skin.
Applying pure and natural oils is significantly beneficial as they are high in nutrients, antioxidants, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory components. Oils like virgin coconut oil  or virgin olive oil are the most beneficial and easily absorbed into the skin.
2. Improves Skin Texture
Quality body oils are enriched with antioxidants such as vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin E. These protect your skin from dehydration, sun damage and aging. These are effective due to their collagen production and free radical protection abilities.
3. Reduces The Appearance Of Scars & Stretch Marks
Body oils penetrate deep into your skin, often going beyond its first layer. Therefore, regular oil massage can help reduce the appearance of scars and stretch marks. While you can't notice any change overnight, oils work to promote elasticity, and your scars and stretch marks fade over time.
4. Improves Blood Circulation & Sleep Quality
A body oil massage or abhyanga, also helps to improve blood circulation, loosen up muscles, relieve stress, and improve sleep quality. 
How To Use Body Oil?
Along with using good quality body oil, the correct application is vital to reap its maximum benefits. Given below are some easy methods that you can choose depending upon your requirement and skin type.
Add in bathing water:
Adding a few drops of oil to your bathing water can give deep moisturization. Mixing high-quality herbal oils with essential oils like rose extract, lavender oil, etc., can lend a refreshing aroma and benefit in varied ways too.
For example, lavender oil can reduce anxiety, suppress aggression and even support mental alertness
Before your shower:
If you have extremely dry skin, then cleansing it with hot water and body soap can strip out natural moisture, making your skin drier. A pre-bath oil massage can create a barrier between your skin and the water, helping prevent some of that moisture loss.
Along with improving blood circulation and relieving toxic build-up, oil application can help to reduce anxiety as well. A morning oil massage before a bath can also enhance your energy and uplift your mood.
A night massage before bedtime can relieve the day's tensions and ensure deep and peaceful sleep. This will require 15-30 minutes of massage that will allow the oil to penetrate through all seven tissue layers (Dhatus) of your body, for the maximum benefit. Follow this up with a warm water bath for the best results.
As an additive:
If you don't want to use the oil directly, you can add a few drops of it to your body cream. It will render a luxurious feel and also provide a protective barrier to keep your skin hydrated.
How To Apply Body Oil?
Here are the steps to follow and ensure a good body oil massage.
1. Be relaxed during your oil massage. Make sure your massage room is warm and has a comfortable standing or sitting arrangement. The right environment for massage will also depend on your unique prakriti.
A. A person with Vata dosha can get the maximum benefit from an oil massage when it is carried out in a warm environment with warm oil.
B. For Pitta dosha, it is essential to maintain coolness.
C. A person with Kapha dosha must use less amount of oil and massage with rapid strokes.
2. Ensure your skin is clean and dry before applying oil. This will enable your skin to absorb the hydrating oil readily.
3. Now, take a few drops of your favorite body oil in your palms. For better absorption, you can warm up an adequate amount of body oil. Do ensure that it is just warm, and not extremely hot.
4. If using oil at room temperature, rub it into your palms, so that the warmth of your palms will warm up the oil.
5. Now massage the oil on your body gently. Use long strokes on legs and arms. For other parts of the body, like the chest and abdomen, back, soles of the feet, and palms, massage in circular movements.
6. Pay extra attention to your feet when massaging; as they have your nerve endings. A proper foot massage can strengthen your tissues, improve blood circulation, and relax your whole body.
7. Pay extra attention to drier body parts like elbows and knees, by applying a rich body oil. Also, apply oil on scars and stretch marks.
8. For avoiding an oily residue and to enhance absorption, you can wrap yourself in a damp but warm towel after applying oil. Heat opens your skin pores which helps in better oil absorption. This also helps to remove the oil residue.
9. Now, wait for five to ten minutes before your bath. This will enable the oil to get absorbed into the deeper layers of the body.
10. After your massage, take a relaxing shower or bath with warm water. It will remove any excess oil so that the pores of your skin are not clogged. Dry yourself with a towel and put on cotton socks to protect the soles of your feet.
Don’t use hot water for bathing as it can compromise the skin’s moisture barrier. Your skin will lose its natural moisture, leading to dehydrated and irritated skin.
Instead, opt for lukewarm water. While there is no particular temperature, most dermatologists suggest that the temperature of the water should be 98°F (37°C) to 101°F (38.3°C) and not more than 105 °F (41°C).
Body Oil Options To Look For
When choosing a body oil, opt for a product that suits your skin type and can provide you the maximum benefits. Given below is some information on different natural and organic oils that will help you choose the right option:
1. Coconut Oil
This can nourish your skin and make it softer. It is packed with saturated fatty acids, which helps to prevent moisture loss, leaving your skin hydrated for longer.
2. Rosehip Seed Oil
This can help prevent signs of aging and also improve the appearance of scars and stretch marks. Its anti-inflammatory and skin barrier repair properties make it a hydrating component that soothes irritated skin.
3. Jojoba Oil
This hydrating body oil is smooth and non-greasy. Its chemical composition resembles sebum, which is our natural skin oil. It is a moisturizing as well as healing oil used in hydrating lotions and oils. If you are prone to dehydrated skin or skin conditions, you must choose this ingredient as a component of your lotion.
4. Sweet Almond Oil
Sweet almond oil is light, absorbs faster into your body, and nourishes your skin. This oil can help to sustain the skin’s natural glow. Almond oil also helps to uphold the optimal hydration level on your skin.
An Evaluation of a Moisturizing Cream Containing Sweet Almond Oil and Gyceryl Polymethacrylate in Patients with Chronic Inflammatory Skin Diseases showed significant improvement in their condition.
5. Virgin Olive Oil
It is a rich resource of antioxidants, Omega-6, and Omega-3 fatty acids. Olive oil also has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that protect your skin from infections. Fatty acids help to repair the skin’s barrier and keep your skin hydrated.
6. Argan Oil
Argan oil is enriched with antioxidants and has high healing properties. The anti-inflammatory property of this oil can be soothing for people with psoriasis or rosacea. A body oil or lotion with argan oil can help you retain your skin's hydration.
7. Sesame Oil
This oil contains vitamin E and several essential fatty acids, like oleic acid, palmitic acid, stearic acid, and linoleic acid.
Frequently Asked Questions About Body Oil
1. Can I Use Body Oil On My Face?
It is better to avoid using body oil for your face, as it may clog pores, and cause blemishes. The skin on your face is more delicate, thinner and sensitive as compared to body skin. Your regular body oil composition can be too heavy for your facial skin.
2. When Should I Apply Body Oil?
It is recommended to choose the frequency of using body oil as per your skin type. For normal to oily skin, twice or thrice a week is a suitable frequency. But if your skin is dry or you are suffering from some skin conditions like eczema, you may need to apply body oil more frequently.
The Last Word
- Body oil application can be the best choice you make for your skin and body health.
- Massaging with body oils has multiple benefits. Applying body oil can help improve the skin barrier to seal in moisture, nourish the skin, and provide anti-aging benefits.
- You need to choose a body oil as per your unique prakriti and requirements.
- Also, follow the correct application method to get its optimum benefits.
1. Natural Oils for Skin-Barrier Repair: Ancient Compounds Now Backed by Modern Science, Published on 13 July 2017,
2. Exploring Ingredients – Occlusives & Emollients, Published on 26 April 2021,
3. The effect of topical virgin coconut oil on SCORAD index, transepidermal water loss, and skin capacitance in mild to moderate pediatric atopic dermatitis: a randomized, double-blind, clinical trial, Published on Jan 2014,
4. Conceptual and applied study on abhyanga (Ayurvedic Massage)
5. Essential oils used in aromatherapy
6. Coconut Oil, Published on 15 July 2005,
7. Anti-Inflammatory and Skin Barrier Repair Effects of Topical Application of Some Plant Oils, Published on 27 December 2017,
8. Jojoba Oil As An Organic, Shelf Stable Standard Oil-Phase Base For Cosmetic Industry, Published in 2009,
9. Virgin olive oil as a fundamental nutritional component and skin protector, Published on Mar – Apr 2009,
10. Argan oil and other argan products: Use in dermocosmetology, Published in 2011,
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