Essential Oil Dilution Chart & Complete Guide

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Heather and I love using essential oils. They are a permanent fixture in our “medicine cabinet,” but more importantly, they helped us both really start to heal from Lyme disease and other co-infections. They were a big boost for our health when we really needed it and are now a permanent part of our lifestyle.

However, we are all about having the needed tools and resources to use something well, and there is a learning curve with essential oils. Don’t let that stop you though! Once you get the basics down, you will NEVER go back, especially using this essential oil dilution chart and guide.

Why Essential Oil Dilution Matters

Essential oils are volatile and highly concentrated. This is what makes them so powerful for healing and supporting your health, but it also means you should have an understanding of the guidelines on their appropriate dilution. It’s critical for you to use them safely and effectively.

I know what you are thinking, “Do I really have to dilute my oils?” The answer is a resounding “Yes,” and here is why. If you just dump the oil onto your skin, it’s a recipe for potentially having really irritated, sensitive skin, or sometimes even worse reactions. After you learn your body’s tolerance and start to understand the applications for theses amazing oils, there are some situations where applying “neat” (using no carrier oil) may be warranted, but until you have the basic backbone knowledge of the oils you have chosen to start using for you own specific needs, you do not just want to dump them on your skin “neat.”

As Robert Tisserand, a recognized essential oil safety expert, explains it, essential oil dilution has two primary safety concerns. “One, to avoid skin reactions: irritation, sensitization, and phototoxicity. Two, to avoid systemic toxicity, such as fetotoxicity, hepatotoxicity, carcinogenicity and neurotoxicity. Adverse skin reactions are obvious when they happen, but systemic toxicities may not be. Skin reactions are totally dilution-dependent, and safety guidelines exist to minimize the risk.”

To make it super easy, you are simply diluting your essential oils with a carrier oil (discussed more below), so that you do not have any adverse reactions or toxicity from the oils.

Need an extra incentive to make this step happen? Diluting your oils will also save you money in the long run. It allows you to use less essential oil with an even greater therapeutic effect.

Essential oils are extremely small so they can pass through the skin and into the body quickly but by combining it with a larger oil that won’t absorb as quickly, the oils can have an increased length of time for a therapeutic effect.

The Key Points to Remember:

  • With essential oil dilution, it absorbs into the skin more easily.

  • With essential oil dilution, the chances are lower that you will develop a sensitivity to the oil.

  • With essential oil dilution, you can cover a large area of your body (which is especially helpful when addressing issues on your skin, the largest organ in your body!)

  • With essential oil dilution, the essential oil’s effect is increased!

  • With essential oil dilution, your oil lasts longer and is much more cost effective.

As you can see, diluting essential oils is a good thing.  There can be times when you don’t, but there’s always intention and caution behind that choice. A a general rule… dilute! Keep scrolling for our essential oil dilution chart below.

So what is the right dilution for your needs?

There are many charts and suggestions to be found online for dilution. However, again, we are all about safety, so we are sharing the dilution recommendations based on the Tisserand Institute’s recommendations. If you want to learn more about how to use essential oils well and safely, this is an excellent resource.


THE ESSENTIAL OIL DILUTION CHART

1% Dilution

When Should I Use It?

  1. Use with children over the age of 2

  2. Facial Applications

  3. Long-Term Use (aka, you cannot live without it on a daily basis : )

  4. Daily Use

  5. Immunocompromised

How Do I Make It?

  • 2mL + .5 tsp = 1 drop

  • 5mL + 1 tsp = 1 or 2 drops

  • 10 mL +  2 tsp = 3 drops

  • 15 mL + 3 tsp/ 1 tbsp = 4 drops

  • 30 mL + 2 tbsp (1 oz) = 9 drops


2% Dilution

When Should I Use It?

  1. Facial Applications

  2. Long-Term Use (aka, you cannot live without it on a daily basis : )

  3. Daily Use

  4. Use with Children

  5. Bath and whole body products

How Do I Make It?

  • 2mL + .5 tsp = 1 or 2 drops

  • 5mL + 1 tsp = 3 drops

  • 10 mL + 2 tsp =  6 drops

  • 15 mL + 3 tsp/ 1 tbsp =  9 drops

  • 30 mL + 6 tsp/ 2 tbsp/ 1 oz = 18 drops


3% Dilution

When Should I Use It?

Use for acute applications. This would be short term and small areas. Example:

  1. Migraines

  2. Back pain

  3. Cuts

How Do I Make It?

  • 2mL + .5 tsp = 2 or 3 drops

  • 5mL + 1 tsp = 4 or 5 drops

  • 10mL + 2 tsp =  9 drops

  • 15 mL + 3 tsp/ 1 tbsp = 13 drops

  • 30 mL + 6 tsp/ 2 tbsp/ 1 oz = 27 drops


5% Dilution

When Should I Use It?

Use for a specific concern, no longer than two weeks.

How Do I Make It?

  • 2mL + .5 tsp = 3 or 4 drops

  • 5mL + 1 tsp = 7 or 8 drops

  • 10 mL + 2 tsp =  15 drops

  • 15 mL + 1 tbsp =  22 drops

  • 30 mL + 2 tbsp (1 oz) = 45 drops


10% Dilution

When Should I Use It?

Use for acute situations and for small areas of concern.

How Do I Make It?

  • 2mL + .5 tsp = 7 drops

  • 5mL + 1 tsp = 15 drops

  • 10 mL + 2 tsp =  30 drops

  • 15 mL + 1 tbsp =  45 drops

  • 30 mL + 2 tbsp (1 oz) = 90 drops

A good rule of thumb is to use one drop of essential oil per teaspoon of carrier oil for a 1% dilution. For a 0.50% dilution, because you cannot measure half of one drop, increase the amount of carrier oil used. If you are unable to add more carrier oil, round down to get a whole number for you essential oil drops. For example, 1.5 drops would become 1 drop.

Use this essential oil dilution chart to help you calculate diluting your oils for roller balls.

Essential Oil Roller Ball Dilutions (2).png

Essential Oil Dilution Chart & Tips For Babies & Children

We truly believe oils are an amazing tool for well-being for babies and children, but always take extra caution when diluting for the kiddos. Less is ALWAYS better in these situations. You can always add or change the dilution after seeing how they respond to the first few applications, but you can never take away.

Children react differently to essential oils because skin is extra thin, so it quickly absorbs anything applied topically. We do not recommend essential oils be used topically on premature infants, but you could consider using them in the following dilutions for other ages.


Full term infants (ages 0-3 months)

Dilution: 0.10% to 0.20%

  • Whole body application: 1-2 drops of essential oil per 1 ounce of carrier oil.

  • Spot usage: 3-9 drops of essential oil per 1 ounce of carrier oil.


Babies ages 3-24 months

Dilution: 0.25%-0.5%.

  • Whole body application: 2-4 drops of essential oil per 1 ounce of carrier

  • Spot usage: 9-27 drops of essential oil per 1 ounce carrier oil.


Children ages 2-6 years

Dilution: 1%-2%.

  • Whole body application: 9-18 drops of essential oil per 1 ounce of carrier oil

  • Spot usage, 9-45 drops of essential oil per 1 ounce of carrier oil.

GENERAL NOTE: Heather and I are not Certified Aromatherapists so if you have a very specific need that you want to use oils for with a young child, we encourage you to consult with an aromatherapist or your medical professional. We are well versed in “adult’ oil usage, but we are the first to admit that children are not our expertise in this area.  However, do not let this statement prevent you from pursuing using oils with your children. We have personally seen the life-changing affects these can have in children when used well. And don’t let the learning curve stop you from pursuing the amazing healing and powerful benefits of essential oils. It’s worth it!


Best Carrier Oils for Aromatherapy

  • Almond oil

  • Avocado oil

  • Coconut oil

  • Jojoba oil

  • Olive oil

  • Pomegranate seed oil

Other Options for Dilution

Keep in mind that carrier oils are not your only option for diluting essential oils. You can also dilute oils with products such as:

  • Butters

  • Creams

  • Lotions

  • Shampoos

  • Conditioners

  • Castile soap

  • Jellies (such as aloe)

Essential Oil Bottle

When You Might Consider “Neat” Applications:

  • Burns: An example would be a basic burn from a hot pan or curling iron (obviously if you are badly burned, you need to seek help and advice before doing this.)

  • A bug bite or sting

These are acute, short-term issues where using an oil neat may be beneficial. We always recommend seeking advice for safe usage in all situations. We personally use oils in these situations and love how it instantly supports the body and healing, however we are very clear on how to do this safely and have previously checked to make sure the oils we use in these situations (example: lavender) do not irritate our skin, so make sure you educate yourself before trying “neat” applications.

Seek Certified Help With Using Oils If You Have Any Conditions Such As:

·       If you are on a course of treatment with prescribed medication

·       Asthma

·       A compromised immune system

·       Epilepsy

·       Pregnant or breastfeeding

Just Starting?

We always recommend starting with a patch test. This is especially true if you feel like you react to everything! The first time you are using a new oil, place a drop of the diluted oil on your wrist, arm, or inside elbow. Note any changes over a 24 hour period. Possible reactions include skin irritation, headache, nausea, respiratory complaints, or dizziness. No issues? Awesome. Carry on!

Final Note

There is no way ever to be “exact” with essential oils because each drop can vary in size a little. Also, these are basic recommendations for your most basic oils, this does not mean that you would/should use these dilution % for ALL oils, and with ALL your needs. As always use your best judgment and research especially the more unique oils well before just dumping them on your body. You body is the best indicator of how much and how often you should use essential oils! Always listen closely, and follow your gut… and dilute ; )

Sources:

  1. https://blog.planttherapy.com/blog/2018/09/11/how-to-dilute-essential-oils-a-comprehensive-guide/

  2. https://tisserandinstitute.org/safety/safety-guidelines/

  3. Modern Essentials: A Contemporary Guide To The Therapeutic Use of Essential Oils


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