Aromatherapists often talk about using essential oils safely by diluting them, but what does that really mean? Are there any that can be used on their own without being diluted? Can everyone use the same amount? Let's take a look at some of these questions.
Diluting: What Does It Mean?
Because essential oils are so powerful, they must be diluted before using them. This means that you need to mix a very small amount of essential oil into what's known as a carrier oil. A carrier oil is any type of vegetable oil or butter such as olive oil, sunflower oil, coconut oil, shea butter etc. You can also mix it into unscented lotion if you prefer. Would water be sufficient as a medium to dilute essential oils into? Unfortunately not; because oil and water do not mix,the essential oil wouldn't properly blend evenly in the water - it would just float on top.
How Much Essential Oil Can Be Used?
Essential oils are not diluted in the same way for everyone. Premature babies should not have essential oils used on them at all, their little body systems are not developed enough to handle such potent oils. While babies from 0-6 months can handle oils at a very low dilution rate (0.1 - 0.2%), I don't think it's necessary to use them and my personal opinion is that they are still too little to handle essential oils. Generally speaking, children from the ages of 2-12 years old should be using between 0.5 - 1% dilution rates. These rates also apply to pregnant women, the elderly, and any essential oils that will be applied to the face. Once a child turns 12 years old, they are able to use adult dilution rates safely. This means that daily use should be around 1% and can go up to 3% for addressing acute problems such as cold + flu or wound healing.
Below is a chart that can be used to dilute essential oils safely for children when using them on skin.
Note: 30 ml = 2 tbsp
Below is a chart that can be used to dilute essential oils safely for adults (Considered 12 years of age and older) when using them on skin.
Note: 5 ml = 1 tsp
10 ml = 2 tsp
30 ml = 2 tbsp
50 ml = Approx 3.5 tbsp
100 ml = Approx 7 tbsp
What Does it Mean to Use an Essential Oil 'Neat' ?
Using an essential oil "neat" refers to using it on your skin without diluting it first. Using essential oils without diluting them first often results in skin irritations such as redness, itching, rash or even burns. Some companies have developed "therapies" that involve using essential oils neat with the claim that they will detoxify your body and the irritation shows that the therapy is working. This is not true, nor is it safe.
There are two essential oils that can be used for spot treatments without diluting them: Lavender and Tea Tree. This should not be done on a regular basis, but to treat an acute problem.
Have More Questions About Diluting?
As a clinical aromatherapist, I am always happy to answer all of your questions regarding essential oils! Please feel free to send me a message via our Contact Us page. Have a great weekend!
Love, Ashley xo