The issue of diluting essential oils is the source of much confusion.
I meet many people who think you always need to dilute essential oils for every use no matter what, as well as others who don’t ever consider diluting essential oils.
Diluting essential oils is something you may have heard about, but when and how should you do this?
Essential oils are extremely concentrated natural substances and dilution is an important consideration to ensure that we are using them safely and effectively as well as making sure we are not wasting them.
When people talk about diluting essential oils they are usually talking about diluting them into a carrier oil such as grapeseed or sweet almond. However strictly speaking there are many uses where we are technically diluting the oil, although no carrier oil comes into equation at all. For example, when you inhale an essential oil (even from a bottle) you are technically breathing in a diluted essential oil as the essential oil molecules mix with the air that you breathe in.
However for the purposes of this blog post, I am going to look specifically at the practice of diluting essential oils in a carrier oil.
- Diluting essential oils in a carrier oil is something we need to consider specifically when we are applying essential oils to the skin.
- We use vegetable carrier oils for this as essential oils are oil soluble.
- Essential oils in their concentrated form can cause irritation or damage to the skin. This is not always something that happens on the first use – this would depend on the particular essential oil. But even with the “safer” essential oils damage or sensitisation may occur over time with repeated neat use.
- Diluting an essential oil in a carrier oil can help it to be absorbed into the skin better as the essential oil is held on the skin rather than evaporating into the air
- Despite being referred to as “oils”. essential oils are not “oily”. So they do not have the slip required for massage. Vegetable oils provide the lubrication required for effective massage.
- Diluting the essential oil is more economic as you use less essential oil this way. Remember, essential oils are very concentrated, and you usually don’t need to use much. Diluting the essential oil makes it easier to get the correct dosage.
The amount you dilute your essential oil is also important – making sure you dilute sufficiently for the purpose for which you are using them.
We normally recommend a dilution rate for massage for a normal healthy adult of 2-3%, which equates to 4-6 drops essential oil in every 10ml of carrier oil.
This amount can be varied up or down due to a number of factors, including –
- who the essential oil is for – for example blends for the elderly, children, or those with sensitivities or allergies will necessitate a more diluted blend
- how often the blend is to be used – for example, a mix for everyday use should be more dilute than something used once a week.
- The area the oil will be applied to – Blends for the face will usually require more dilution than those for the body.
Remember that essential oils are very concentrated and diluting them appropriately helps them to work better and be better for you.
The information in the blog is intended for general use only and does not take into account any individual's particular needs, circumstances or risk factors. If you are uncertain whether the information provided in this blog is appropriate for you, please consult a professional aromatherapist or a health practitioner with specific aromatherapy training.