If you are not inclined to read the full article below, please note this important summary:
NO EXTRA BENEFITS ARE RECEIVED FROM THE TOPICAL APPLICATION OF ESSENTIAL OILS IN THEIR CONCENTRATED STATE AND POSSIBLE HARM MAY RESULT BY DOING SO.
How To Use Essential Oil In Carrier Oils
There are three basic questions to ask when considering how to use your essential oils in carrier oils:
#1 Why mix essential oils into carrier oils?
There are two primary reasons to mix your essential oils with a carrier oil: safety and cost savings.
While some manufacturers of essential oils might claim it is safe to apply directly to the skin without diluting first in in a carrier oil, this can be a dangerous practice if there is an unknown allergy to a particular essential oil.
Direct application of essential oils or their overuse can be particularly harmful for young children or the elderly who have sensitive body systems. A little essential oil goes a long way (see #2).
It was quite an eye opener to me when I “overdosed” on a topical application of peppermint oil. Several minutes after applying peppermint oil straight from the bottle to my feet, hands and neck, I experienced a very uncomfortable and disconcerting coldness inside of my body that lasted for several hours. The expression “chilled to the bones” doesn’t even describe it. More accurately, I felt like my internal organs were freezing.
Even worse than the discomfort from misuse of essential oils is the potential danger to those who might have unknown allergies to an oil, or to kids or elderly who have sensitive bodily systems.
It can be assumed that my friend who overdid her kids bathwater with what she thought were “safe” oils, was not the only mother who mistakenly over-applied essential oils on her children who reacted intensely to the feelings of their skin “burning”. Incidentally, rinsing with water does not help because essential oils are absorbed directly into the body.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that more is better. When it comes to using essential oils, as in most things in life, awareness and moderation are good practices.
Besides the potential harms of using essential oils in their undiluted forms, there is a significant cost savings to diluting oils with the proper carrier oils since research indicates that no additional benefits are received by directly applying essential oils to the skin vs. mixing the oils into a carrier oils before their application.
The mixing actually allows the oils to go further by spreading them across a wider area of skin.
Again, there seems to be and absence of awareness that NO EXTRA BENEFITS ARE RECEIVED FROM USING ESSENTIAL OILS IN THEIR CONCENTRATED STATE AND POSSIBLE HARM MAY RESULT BY DOING SO.
#2 What is the proper dilution ratio of essential oils to carrier oils?
The easiest and recommended way to mix essential oils into carrier oils is to use a dropper to add the correct amount of essential oil into the proper proportion of carrier oil.
Here is a very general formula on dilution ratios from the second edition of the second edition of Essential Oil Safety by Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young:
Using a 2% essential oil dilution is generally considered a safe guideline for topical application of essential oils on adults when an essential oil does not have a more restricted dermal recommendation. For children or elderly, cut the dilution in half. With children, use only essential oils regarded as safe for children unless you have educated yourself very well on aromatherapy for children.
This recommended formula that calls for an approximate a 2% dilution is 12 drops of essential oil to 1 fl. oz (30ml) of carrier oil.
They advise that for some oils (as an example lemongrass) the recommended dilution ratio of essential oil to carrier oil is higher than the general 2% rule, more like 4 drops of essential oil to one fl. oz. (30 ml) of carrier oil.
Refer to the book Essential Oil Safety for guidelines on the proper dilution for each essential oil.
One final interesting observation about essential oil dilution from these experts:
Individuals have become accustomed to heavily scented commercial fragrances, lotions, cosmetics, soaps and room fresheners that are fragranced primarily with synthetics. The aroma of a 2% dilution may seem weak or barely aromatic at first. If you’re used to strongly scented products, be assured that over time, you will begin to adjust and savor the nuances of your diluted blends.
#3 What types of carrier oils can be used to dilute essential oils?
Consider your intended use when choosing a carrier oil to mix with your essential oils.
A general observation about massage oil is that heavier oils give more traction and help with deep massage and lighter oils give more slide for a more relaxing massage. Any plant or vegetable based oil can be used as a base for a massage oil.
Sunflower oil, olive oil and grape seed oil are commonly used kitchen oils that can be used for massage oils. Choose cold pressed oils to add beneficial nutritional properties to your essential oil blend.
Another carrier oil that’s commonly used in kitchens is coconut oil. The benefit of using fractionated coconut oil is that is has no scent and will stay liquid regardless of the outside temperature.
Fractionated coconut oil also has antibacterial properties and a long shelf life.
There are a variety of choices when it comes to essential oil blends. Here is a handy A to Z list of oils that you can choose from and their benefits
Apricot Kernel oil – good facial oil; high in Vitamins A and B which aid in healing and rejuvenating skin cells
Arnica oil – good for inflammation and bruising, but do not use on broken skin
Avocado oil – good for dry & aging skin types; rich and heavy with minor sunscreen effects
Calendula oil – good as a body oil; speeds up healing and moisturizing for dry or damaged skin
Canola oil – good for massaging; absorbs easily; light in texture; odorless; very long shelf life
Castor oil – good for sealing in moisture; a heavy oil that seals and protects
Corn oil – good medium-weight oil; contains vitamins and minerals that are good for skin
Evening Primrose oil – good as an antioxidant oil so it’s often added to other Carrier Oils to prolong their shelf life
Grapeseed oil – good as a massage oil and facial oil; very light and penetrates the skin quickly
Hazelnut oil – good for facials; loaded with vitamins, minerals and proteins
Jojoba oil – good for very dry or very oily skin conditions; often added to other Carrier Oils to prolong their shelf life
Olive oil – good for most preparations; “extra virgin” has the highest amount of vitamins and minerals
Peanut oil – good basic aromatherapy oil; rich in vitamins and proteins
Safflower oil – good for softening the skin; it’s a light-to-medium weight oil
Sesame oil – good for a number of skin conditions; loaded with Vitamin E, minerals, and proteins; has an SPF of 4
Soy oil – good as a massage oil; high in Vitamin E
St. John’s Wort oil – good for muscle and joint inflammations; healing properties are good for first aid uses
Sunflower oil – good for massage, body lotions, and body oils; rich in Vitamin E
Sweet Almond oil – good as a massage oil; loaded with protein; absorbs into the skin rapidly; odorless
Vitamin E oil – good for prolonging the shelf life of other Carrier Oils; very thick; antioxidant; heals scar tissue and rejuvenates skin cellular activity
Walnut oil – good for the nervous system; medium weight; absorbs easily
Wheatgerm oil – good for healing scars, burns and stretch marks; loaded with Vitamins A, D, and E