Why Dilute Essential Oils?
Essential oils are concentrated natural oils distilled directly from fresh herbs and other plants. Because of their high concentration, essential oils should always be diluted with a carrier oil prior to topical application. Safely diluting essential oils not only protects you from adverse effects, such as irritation, phototoxicity, and sensitization, it also makes your little bottle last longer.
Guidelines for Diluting Essential Oils
0.25% Dilution: 1 drop per 4 teaspoons of carrier oil
- For children between 6 months and 6 years.
- Use for younger ones if you absolutely must. Some recommend avoiding using essential oils topically for children under age 2, and use herbs or hydrosols instead.
- More on hydrosols here: Hydrosols, Hydrolats, Aromatic Waters - oh my! Everything you wanted to know about Hydrosols.
1% Dilution: 1 drop per teaspoon of carrier oil; 5-6 drops per ounce
- For children over age 6, pregnant women, elderly adults, those who have sensitive skin, compromised immune systems, or other serious health issues.
- A 1% dilution is good for applying to the face or massaging over a large area of the body.
2% Dilution: 2 drops per teaspoon of carrier oil; 10-12 drops per ounce
- Ideal for most adults and in most situations. This is also a good dilution for daily skin care.
3% Dilution: 3 drops per teaspoon of carrier oil; 15-18 drops per ounce
- Best used short term for a temporary health issue.
- Up to 10% dilution may be appropriate.
25% Dilution: 25 drops per teaspoon of carrier oil; 125-150 drops per ounce
- Occasionally a dilution of this strength is recommended. Consult a professional before using this dilution.
Using oils “neat” (undiluted)
- Sometimes an essential oil may be used without dilution for an acute, short-term issue.
- Choose wisely and avoid neat essential oils long-term. Not only can some essential oils irritate the skin, but there is a risk of sensitization.
For more information, including dilution charts and essential oils which require specific dilutions, read Safe Dilution Guidelines for All Ages.