Using undiluted essential oils, referred to as neat, on the skin can cause extreme sensitivity, and/or irritation, both of which may be harmful. As a practicing precaution, it is highly recommended that all essential oils be diluted prior to being used on the skin. As a general rule of thumb, undiluted essential oils should only be placed on the skin by a skilled and knowledgeable aromatherapist. Diluting essential oils saves you money, and protects your health and wellbeing.
Diluting Essential Oils for Topical Treatments:
For topical treatments using essential oils on adults, a 2% essential oil dilution is strongly recommended, unless a more stringent recommendation is made within the literature associated with individual oils. If the topical treatment is to be used on the elderly, or on small children, reduce the essential dilution by half to 1%. When treating children always ensure that the essential oils being used are regarded as being safe for children.
The 2% Essential Oil Dilution:
The most commonly used dosage associated with the use of essential oils is drops. Recipes for essential oil products and blends always describe mixing a specific number of drops of each oil, carrier or otherwise, with additional ingredients to produce the finished product. This is not always the most accurate method of measurement when it comes to essential oils because of the differences in temperature and viscosity inherent to each individual oil. Drops are however, an acceptable method of measurement when working with small quantities of essential oils.
On average, based on various factors, such as temperature, oil thickness and the size of the orifice on the dropper being used to deliver the essential oil(s), 600 drops is equal to approximately 1 fluid ounce, or 30ml. Using that formula, a 2% dilution solution would consist of 12 drops of an essential oil combined with 30ml. of a carrier oil, lotion, body butter, or other moisturizer. Bear in mind that this is an average recipe, and results may vary depending on the viscosity of the essential oils being used.
Adhering to the suggested dilution formula for essential oils is recommended for topical and internal uses; however, when used for aromatic purposes, such as in a diffuser, it is not necessary to dilute the essential oil with a carrier. That being said, several diffusers on the market today strongly suggest diluting the essential oils with water before placing in the diffuser for use.
Be wary of essential oil companies, distributors, and/or consultants who recommend or suggest using essential oils in neat fashion for anything and everything. Any company or person making these types of recommendations are seeking to increase profit margins at the expense of their clients, and should be avoided. Always abide by the dilution formula until such a time as you have gained the degree of experience and knowledge associated with practicing aromatherapy at a professional level.