top of page

Dilution Guide for Essential Oils

Essential oil is a lipid soluble substance which penetrates into skin easily. Diluting essential oils is a crucial step before applying them directly on the skin as essential oils are highly potent and have the potential to irritate skin if not used properly. Diluting essential oils before topical use helps minimize the risk of skin irritation as well as bring more nature smell of aroma.

Essential oils evaporate quickly because of their volatility. By mixing them in a more absorptive medium like carrier oil, the effectiveness of absorption into the skin could be enhanced as carrier oil help to spread the essential oil more evenly over a larger body surface area and slow down the evaporation rate. This extends the benefits of essential oil even longer and prolongs the pleasure of a massage experience.

The chart below provides a quick and easy reference for diluting essential oil safely at home. As an example, add 12 drops of essential oil to a 30 ml bottle with carrier oil for 2% of dilution.

Important thing to consider when making an essential oil blend includes the application of use and duration of use. This guideline for dilutions should be taken as a starting point for further exploration. When using an essential oil topically for the first time, it is always better to start with the lowest dilution rate possible, then slowly increase the dose as necessary to help achieve a desired benefit. Use of essential oils should be discontinued if any irritation occurs.

The most common option to dilute essential oil would be carrier oils, but there are also some other products can be used to dilute essential oils depending on your needs. For example body butter, lotions, creams, soaps and shampoos or conditioners at lower dilution rate of 0.6%.

According to Tisserand, there are a few specific oils that have special dilution needs.

Cinnamon, Clove Bud, and Oregano should be diluted not more than to 0.5% to avoid the risk of skin allergy, and should not be used on children under ten years of age. Holy Basil can be used at up to 1%.

Lemon oil should be used at no more than 2% and Grapefruit oil can be used at up to 4% to avoid the risk of phototoxicity.

An essential oil dose will always depend on the age, size, health status, and personal skin sensitivity of the individual. As the skin of infants and children is often more sensitive than the skin of adults, dilution rates should be much lower for children as well as for elderly and if used in pregnancy. If you have specific concerns about your skin, it is recommended to consult with your doctor before using essential oils topically.

Because essential oils are highly potent, it is always a good idea to take a few small doses periodically throughout the day rather than a single large dose all at once.


bottom of page