So what’s up with all this information about “diluting your essential oils”? Is it really necessary? The short answer is
It is absolutely necessary to dilute your essential oils for any other use besides diffusing.
We hear the word “diluted” and we think “watered down”. In the world of essential oils, diluting them has the opposite effect. In order to get the most out of your oils and to ensure that you are using them safely, dilution is key.
First and foremost, you won’t be able to experience the full benefits of your oils if you do not dilute them. Essential oils evaporate quickly, and if applied to the skin “neat” (without dilution), about 95% of it will just dissipate into the air. That’s what carrier oils are for! In fact, that’s why they’re called carrier oils - because they “carry” the essential oils into the skin and allow them to be fully absorbed into the bloodstream. This offers therapy for your skin as well as internal issues. Plus, carrier oils are amazing and come with their own impressive qualities. The right combination can change your life!
Diluting your essential oils is also necessary to prevent any adverse reactions. These oils are highly concentrated and can do more harm than good if they are used in high quantities. Treat them the same way you would treat a medication or a vitamin, there is a recommended dose that you should not exceed. There could also be side effects for people with different circumstances such as pregnancy, high/low blood pressure, sensitive skin, etc.
We recommend these dilution ratios from the Aromahead Institute:
1% dilution: 5-6 drops in 1oz (30ml) or 10-12 drops in 2oz (60ml) for children under 12, seniors, pregnant women, people with serious illnesses and sensitivities
2% dilution: 10-12 drops in 1oz (30ml) or 20-24 drops in 2oz (60ml) for skin care products, perfumes, baths, everyday beauty care
3% dilution: 15-18 drops in 1oz (30ml) or 30-36 drops in 2oz (60ml) for specific health concerns, cold or flu symptoms, and pain relief
We understand when trying to cure a condition, be it acne, stretch marks, lower back pain, or any other troubles, it’s easy to take the mindset of “well if I add more then it will work better/faster.” With all this information, we hope you understand that is not the case! We want you to be safe and get the most out of your oils!
Still skeptical? Please be advised of what can happen if you use too much and don’t dilute your oils properly:
You can build up a tolerance. Just like with other substances such as caffeine, painkillers, anti-aging creams, etc, you may have to up your dose more and more over time to get the same effects you once had from a smaller dose. There isn’t a lot of research out there, but what we do know is that (so far) bacteria does not typically build up a resistance against essential oils. However, it is recommended by the Tisserand Institute (http://tisserandinstitute.org) that highly potent blends should only be reserved for cases of infection, and should not be used liberally for prevention. Start with a 2% dilution for your blends you will be using daily (face, hair, and body oils) and increase to a ratio of 10-20% for spot treatments only.
You can have a photosensitive reaction. Some citrus oils increase your sensitivity to sunlight. Check out this article for more information on phototoxic essential oils and how to use them properly.
You can develop a sensitization. Of course, everyone is different and can have different experiences in regards to sensitization of any specific oil. For some, undiluted oils can cause a reaction right away. For others a reaction may never occur. Perhaps what is the most unsettling is that for some users, even using one undiluted drop per application can cause a sensitization to develop over time. And once the sensitization is there, it’s most likely permanent, and may even lead to developing sensitization to other oils as well. Sensitization can include rashes, bumps, burning, swelling, painful lesions, and shortness of breath.
The following oils are ones you should be especially careful with:
there may also be others not listed here
Citrus oils (phototoxic)
Please be advised that the above information is for diluting your essential oils with carrier oils, and that diluting with water is very different. Remember: oil and water don’t mix!
If you are putting your essential oils in a bath, you must first dilute it in one of the following ways (thanks again for these ratios, Aromahead Institute!):
- 5 drops essential oils per 15ml (2 tsp) of carrier oil
- 5 drops essential oils per 1 cup of whole milk
- Add 5 drops of essential oils and 15ml (2 tsp) carrier oil to 2 oz of bath salts and stir together
If you are using your essential oil to make a topical spray (face/hair/body mist, insect repellent) you will need to also add witch hazel or alcohol to your mixture. You can follow this recipe:
- 20-30 drops essential oil and 1 tsp of alcohol or witch hazel per liquid oz
For example, in a 4oz spray bottle you would add 80-120 drops of essential oil, 4 tsp alcohol or witch hazel, fill to the top with water and shake before using
Whew! That just about does it. We are always happy to answer any questions you might have as you continue on your natural wellness journey. We just want to be sure that you are using your oils as safely and effectively as possible!