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Introduction

Essential oils are potent essences extracted from a large number of plants and are known for their therapeutic properties and aromatic qualities. When searching for essential oils, you may have heard about the importance of dilution and the potential safety hazards of not diluting essential oils. While there's no need to panic about these claims, it's important to dilute essential oils so that you can avoid the skin irritation caused by concentrated essential oils. In this guide, I'll cover the why and how of diluting essential oils, the different types of carrier oils, and provide a helpful dilution chart and tips for safe use.

1. Why do we need to dilute essential oils?

This is because essential oils are concentrated on many plants. For example, from 1,000 kg of lavender, only 10 to 30 kg of essential oil can be extracted, while from an average of 40 to 50 tonnes of rose petals, only about 1 kg of essential oil can be extracted. Different types of aromatic plants have different extraction sites and methods. Essential oils are so concentrated that if applied directly to the skin, they can be too irritating, leading to the risk of allergies or other adverse reactions.

  • Skin irritation: Redness, itching, burning or tingling may occur.
  • Allergic reactions: May cause atopic dermatitis, hives, or other allergic symptoms manifested by redness, swelling, itching, and rashes on the skin.
  • Respiratory response: Inhalation of higher concentrations of essential oils may cause throat irritation, coughing or difficulty breathing, especially in some people, such as asthmatics or those with respiratory problems.
  • Other reactions: These include headaches, dizziness, nausea and vomiting.

Diluting essential oils helps reduce the risk of irritation, allergies and adverse reactions. Diluting essential oils also helps to diffuse the oils over a wider area to make the most of their benefits.

2. What do we usually use to dilute essential oils?

We usually dilute essential oils with carrier oils. Carrier oils are neutral vegetable oils that help to 'carry' the essential oils to the skin and provide additional benefits of moisturization and nourishment.

3. What are carrier oils?

Carrier oils, also called base oils or vegetable oils, are extracted from the fatty parts of plants, such as seeds, nuts, or fruit cores. They are use to dilute essential oils so that they can be safely applied to the skin and are an important part of aromatherapy and natural skincare products.
Common carrier oils include: 
  • Sweet almond oil
  • Jojoba oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Grapeseed oil
  • Avocado oil

4. Do all carrier oils dilute equally?

No. Different carrier oils have different advantages, and we need to choose the right one for our skin according to its properties. So what carrier oils are commonly available? What are the benefits of these carrier oils?
Let me introduce some common carrier oils and their benefits:
  • Sweet Almond Oil: Sweet Almond Oil is refreshing and non-greasy, rich in vitamins and minerals and suitable for all skin types. It is often used to moisturize and soften the skin and is commonly used as a massage oil.
  • Jojoba Oil (very famous carrier oil): Jojoba oil is very similar to the natural oils produced by our skin, it is easily absorbed, has moisturizing properties and is great for all skin types, including oily and acne-prone skin. 
  • Coconut Oil: Coconut oil is a versatile oil that melts easily on the skin. It is rich in fatty acids, has antibacterial properties and is especially good for moisturizing and protecting our skin.
  • Grapeseed Oil: Grapeseed oil is a lightweight oil that is easily absorbed into the skin. It is rich in antioxidants and vitamins and is suitable for sensitive and mature skin. It also has regenerating and moisturizing properties.
  • Avocado Oil: Avocado oil is a rich, heavy oil rich in Vitamins A, D and E and Omega-3 fatty acids that are highly moisturizing and nourishing. It is therefore particularly suitable for dry skin. It also has regenerating and anti-antitoxin properties. 
Depending on the properties of the carrier of oils, we can use it to enhance the benefits of essential oils. Here are some common combinations:
  • Lavender Essential Oil with Sweet Almond Oil: This combination is soothing and calming, ideal for relaxation and stress relief, for a good night's rest at the end of a tiring day.
  • Tea Tree Essential Oil & Jojoba Oil: Tea Tree Essential Oil is commonly used for acne-prone skin due to its anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, while Jojoba Oil has moisturising and balancing properties.
  • Frankincense Essential Oil & Coconut Oil: Frankincense essential oil is often used for its anti-aging and rejuvenating properties, while coconut oil is used for its moisturising and protective properties, keeping your skin young!
By understanding the properties of carrier oils and their compatibility with essential oils, you can blend a personalised formula that suits your skin type and meets your needs.

5.What are the main differences between carrier oils?

Carrier oils vary in composition, viscosity, color, fragrance, shelf life and skin nourishing properties. Below I will describe these properties to help you understand these differences and find a carrier oil that better suits your needs.

  ① Composition:

Fatty Acid Composition: Carrier oils contain different types and ratios of fatty acids, such as oleic, linoleic and lauric acids. These fatty acids determine the texture and skin nourishing properties of the oil.

  ② Viscosity: 

Thickness: Carrier oils can be light or thin (grapeseed oil) or thick or heavy (avocado oil). Viscosity affects the application and absorption of the oil on the skin.

  ③ Color:

Transparency of color: Carrier oils can be clear (sweet almond oil) or yellowish (sunflower oil) or dark green (hemp seed oil).

  ④ Fragrance:

Odor: Carrier oils can be odorless (fractionata coconut oil), slightly nutty (sweet almond oil), or distinctly scented (virgin coconut oil). Fragrance affects the overall scent of the blend, so if you don't want the scent of the carrier oil to contaminate the scent of your chosen essential oil, choose an unscented carrier oil.

  ⑤ Shelf life:

Stability: The shelf life of carrier oils varies depending on their antioxidant content and susceptibility to rancidity. Oils with high antioxidant content, such as jojoba oil, have a longer shelf life than oils that oxidise easily, such as grapeseed oil.

  ⑥ Skin nourishing properties:

  • Moisturising: Some carrier oils (avocado oil) have stronger moisturising and emollient properties and are suitable for dry and mature skin.
  • Absorption: Other carrier oils are more refreshing and fast absorbing (jojoba oil) and are suitable for oily or acne-prone skin.
  • Regenerative: Certain oils have regenerative properties (rosehip seed oil) and can help repair damaged skin and reduce scars and wrinkles.

  ⑦ Suitable for different skin types:

Dry skin: Heavy moisturising oils such as avocado oil are good for the skin.
Oily skin: Use a refreshing, non-carcinogenic oil (grapeseed oil).
Sensitive skin: Mild, hypoallergenic oils are recommended (sweet almond oil).
With these differences in mind, you'll be able to choose the most appropriate carrier oil for your skin type and desired results when blending essential oils. If you're still not sure which one to choose, try them all and you're sure to find the one that suits you best.

6. Quick Reference Dilution Chart

Below is a quick reference chart for diluting essential oils with carrier oils in milliliters (ml):

quick-reference- dilution-chart

7. How to Dilute Essential Oils for Skin

 

1. Choose a carrier oil that suits your skin type.

2. Choose an essential oil for your preferred scent.

3. Dilute the ratio according to your usage

4. Conduct a patch test on a small patch of skin to check for any adverse reactions.

5. After confirming that the oil blend is safe for your skin, apply it to the desired area and massage gently.

6. Store the remaining mixture in a cool place away from light and heat to maintain its efficacy.

Follow these 6 steps and you'll be able to dilute your skin care essential oils safely and effectively!

8. Dilution Chart for Skin Application

The chart below will help you dilute essential oils for various skin uses in milliliters (ml):

dilution-chart-for-skin-application

Adjust the dilution ratio based on your skin's sensitivity and the specific essential oils you're using. Always perform a patch test before using a new blend and discontinue use if any irritation occurs.

9. Non-Topical Essential Oil Dilution Chart

Here's a chart for diluting essential oils for non-topical use, with measurements in milliliters (ml):

non-topical-essential-oil-dilution-chart
Adjust the dilution ratio based on the specific purpose and the strength of the essential oils. Always shake well before use and store in a cool, dark place away from sunlight.
 

10. Is it always necessary to dilute essential oils?

I always recommend diluting essential oils, especially when used on the skin.

11. Points to remember

  • Always dilute essential oils before applying them to the skin.
  • Perform a patch test before using a new essential oil or carrier oil.
  • Keep essential oils out of reach of children and pets.

Conclusion

If essential oils act on the skin, then diluting them is a necessary practice to ensure safe and effective use. Never just use them on the skin. By understanding the different carrier oils and dilution ratios, you can enjoy the benefits of essential oils while minimising the risk of adverse reactions. When learning how to dilute essential oils, less is better than more! Always perform a patch test before use to check for any allergic reactions. Finally, I wish you the best of luck in finding the best essential oils and carrier oils for you and enjoying all the benefits of essential oils! For more tips and guides on essential oils, subscribe to our newsletter or visit our blog.