Plant Life Australia on 13th Sep 2020

Confused about how to dilute essential oils for ultimate safety and efficacy? Let me explain...

When you first look at a dilution chart it might seem intimidating - but I promise it's easier than it may seem. 

It's important to understand the nature of essential oils as they are volatile, meaning easily evaporated at normal temperatures and are highly concentrated, so if diluted incorrectly you may experience irritated skin or worse.

Why do we dilute essential oil? In accordance to the advice given by world renowned Essential Oil Safety Expert Robert Tisserand: Firstly, to avoid skin reactions: irritation, sensitisation, and phototoxicity. Secondly, to avoid systemic toxicity such as fetotoxicity, hepatotoxicity, carcinogenicity and neurotoxicity.

For normal, daily use the recommended dilution rate is 2%, however for sensitive skin areas like your face the recommended dilution rate is 1%. 

If you want to treat an acute injury or have a temporary condition the recommended dilution rate is 5% - 10%, and should be used for a short period of time only as explained below.

Why do we dilute Essential Oil with a Carrier Oil? Put Simply - Essential Oils are volatile, meaning easily evaporated at normal temperatures, so diluting them with a carrier oil before applying to your skin simply prevents the essential oil from evaporating and allows the therapeutic properties of both the essential oil and carrier oil to be easily absorbed into your skin.

Dilution Rates for Different Situations as recommended by the Tisserand Institute:

1% dilution - recommended for children over the age of 2, sensitive skin: daily and long time use.

2% dilution - recommended for children over the age of 2, bathing, foot soaks, body care products: daily and long time use. 

3% dilution - recommended for acute localised discomfort.

5% dilution - recommended for acute injury or temporary condition: short term use only - no longer than 2 weeks of continuous use.

10% dilution - recommended for acute situations ie. small area: short term use only - used once weekly

Dilution Rate (%)   Carrier Oil   EO Drops
1%10ml 3

Big words explained... (all of which can be avoid when following the correct dilution methods)

Irritation: Inflammation or other discomfort in a body part caused by reaction to an irritant substance.

Sensitization: The action or process of making an organism abnormally sensitive to a foreign substance.

Phototoxicity: Can cause burns, blisters and other skin problems.

Feotoxicity: Injury to the fetus from a substance that enters the maternal and placental circulation.

Hepatotoxicity: Liver damage.

Neurotoxicity: Alters the normal activity of the nervous system.

Remember it's always best to use essential oils safely as the old saying goes:" Best to be Safe than Sorry"

If you're in doubt, please get advice from a Certified Aromatherapist first, before risking what you "think" is right!