Awhile back, I posted about the do’s and don’ts of using essential oils but since then, I’ve had quite a few friends asking about how to properly dilute them for use on your skin. It’s so exciting to see how quickly different natural health mediums such as aromatherapy are picking up, but at the same time as a certified aromatherapist, it’s worrisome that some companies have been misinforming the public about how to safely use essential oils. If you are purchasing essential oils which have not been diluted in a carrier oil (it will say on the label 3% dilution in jojoba oil for example), pay close attention to this post!
First and foremost, I can’t stress enough that you should NEVER be using essential oils neat on your skin. What does this mean? Well, undiluted. Putting drops of pure essential oil onto your skin. Some companies out there will tell you that it’s fine and that the reaction that happens on your skin is a good thing as toxins are coming out – wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong. The essential oils are damaging your skin by burning it. There are two exceptions to this rule and those are Lavender (Lavendula angustifolia) and Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) which can be used undiluted for on-the-spot treatments such as a cut or bug bites. Generally speaking though, it’s still best to dilute these too.
OK so that was my most important point that I needed to get across, now to the actual dilutions! Essential oils can be diluted up to 5% when treating an acute ailment for a short period of time, however dilutions that high should really be done by a certified aromatherapist for safety reasons so I’m going to stick with the general, safe guidelines that you all can use!
Babies and the Elderly: There is no if, ands, or buts about this. Because babies have a developing liver and older people are becoming more sensitive, the dilution should never be above 1%. This means that for every 5ml (1 teaspoon) of carrier oil, you are putting ONE DROP of essential oil/essential oil blend. One drop, that’s it! While it might seem like nothing, you will be amazed at how well it works. Up until the age of 2, never go above this 1% dilution into a carrier oil. Not relating to dilution but equally important, please note that lavender and chamomile are the only safe essential oils to be using on babies under 2 years old. I have seen teething gels that have clove essential oil in them which would be for its numbing effects, however this is not safe for babies.
Kids: After the age of 2 years old up until age 12, you can safely dilute at up to 2% to treat issues. The important thing to remember with children is that not all essential oils are safe for kids. I will write a separate post about this in the near future. After the age of 12, you can dilute as if using oils on an adult.
Face: As your facial skin is more sensitive than the rest of your body, any essential oils used should be at no more than 1%, just like with babies. Again, 1 drop for every 5 ml (1 tsp) of carrier oil/lotion.
Body (Adults): When using essential oils on your body, you are able to dilute anywhere from 1-3% into a carrier oil, lotion, etc. I’ve already mentioned how to formulate at 1%; a 2% dilution would be 2 drops for every 5 ml of carrier and a 3% dilution would be 3 drops for every 5 ml. Simple enough! If you’re using a blend, it’s 3 drops of the blend that would be put into 5 ml, NOT 3 drops of each essential oil. Pre-blend your oils into a bottle and then take 3 drops of that blend.
You can dilute your essential oils into anything that’s not water: vegetable oils such as coconut oil or sweet almond oil, milk, lotions, etc. Water or water-based products like hydrosols, plant waters, and glycerin are not soluble with essential oils, meaning the oil won’t mix into the liquid and will therefore irritate your skin, so these are not appropriate methods for diluting.
When using an electric diffuser, follow the directions that come with the diffuser – generally it’s 2-3 drops of pure essential oil (don’t use pre-diluted oils in an electric diffuser, you’ll gunk it up and ruin it) into the diffuser. Candle burning diffusers are different as you are putting water into the top and based on the size of the diffuser, the amount of drops will vary.
For your convenience, here is a little chart that you can print or save to your phone for quick reference!
Still have questions? Feel free to comment below or use the contact form to send me an email! Have a fabulous week!
Love, Ash XO