Let’s talk safe dilution. It was a topic that confused me for a long time, so I’ve done my research and prepared this summary for you.
Since the certified pure therapeutic grade oils are so potent, dilution is a safety precaution to decrease the likelihood of developing a skin sensitivity, especially on young or sensitive skin. Indeed there are some oils, like oregano, that must be diluted to prevent skin trauma.
It is advisable to dilute an oil when trying it for the first time. If in doubt dilute (then message me to ask for help).
New research is also suggesting that diluting pure therapeutic essential oils with a carrier oil improves their absorption, by reducing evaporation of the essential oil from the skin. It is preferable to use carrier oils that are 100 per cent pure vegetable oils because they readily dissolve the essential oil and also preserve the oil’s delicate chemical profile.
Despite the growing body of evidence on the benefits of dilution, both methods of topical application have their place in effective essential oil use. Many of the essential oils can be used safely and effectively neat (straight in your skin), but proper dilution can be used at any time and may even offer some advantages.
Also, dilution varies the bioavailability effect. Check out this summary of differences …
how do I know what’s safe
To assist us, the oils we use are categorised into 3 categories …
- Neat (N) ~ safe to use neat on the skin without dilution, however you can still choose to dilute them;
- Sensitive (S) ~ should be applied diluted to avoid skin sensitivities; and
- Dilute (D) ~ known to cause skin sensitivities and must always be diluted with carrier oil.
The oils we use have the classification on their bottle. Or you could use this quick reference chart.
There’s also this very useful usage_and_dilutions blending safety guide.
how to dilute
Pick a safe (preferably organic) carrier oil. Something like almond, jojoba, or fluid coconut oil (aka fractionated coconut oil).
Then pick your container or mode of application. Like, are you using a roller bottle or a small container or just dropping it in your hand.
Then apply the following ratios ….
- Neat (N) oils ~ apply 1:1 with a carrier oil, for instance, 1 drop of oil to 1 drop of carrier oil. Or for roller bottles, 1ml of oil per 1ml of carrier oil.
- Sensitive (S) oils ~ apply 1:2 with a carrier oil. So, 1 drop of oil to 2 drops of carrier oil. Or for roller bottles, 1ml of oil per 2ml of carrier oil.
- Dilute (D) oils ~ apply 1:3 with a carrier oil. So 1 drop of oil to 3 drops of carrier oil. For roller bottles, 1ml of oil per 3ml of carrier oil.
When using oils on children you need to at least double your carrier oil.
- Neat (N) oils ~ apply 1:2 with a carrier oil.
- Sensitive (S) oils ~ apply 1:4 with a carrier oil.
- Dilute (D) oils ~ apply 1:6 with a carrier oil.
Always do a skin patch test first.
exceptions to the rule
We do have pre-diluted blends you can purchase. They generally have the word ‘Touch’ in their name or description. There is no need to mess around with dilutions – they have it covered for you! So you can apply them to your skin directly.
Or the Touch Enrolment Kit (above ~ product code #2142004). You can also purchase these Touch blends individually.
There are recommended amounts which are based on scientific effective ranges of essential oils and known safety data.
So the ‘ideal amount’ is the amount suggested for you to have maximum therapeutic effect each time. This amount can be repeated every 4-6 hours.
Internal use refers to taking essential oils in a capsule or a softgel form. Oral use refers to essential oils taken in water or other liquid, or under the tongue. There is no recommendation made for aromatic use, as this greatly depends on the size of the room and other variable factors. As always, moderation is best.
Overwhelming the body with too much essential oil can sometimes lead to unwanted outcomes. This is because cells in the body use complex chemical reactions to metabolise the oils. It is never appropriate to exceed the metabolic capacity of the cells.
You can learn more about the science of essential oil metabolism and I would recommend it, because once you understand the science of their metabolism, you will better appreciate their wellness promoting power.
it’s not black and white though
These are general recommendations that don’t take into account your individual health and experience levels of the user. Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade essential oils are very potent and each person reacts differently to them. It is important to be aware of your own unique health circumstances and adjust accordingly. In fact, it is better to be more moderate with our essential oil use when our health is in anyway compromised.
If you would like to start your own journey with essential oils I would love to help. Please feel free to contact me and I can walk you through getting started.
These recommendations are introductory guidelines and individuals should take into account their own personal experience and the direction of their health care provider in pursuit of wellness through essential oil use.