The safest way to use essential oils on the skin is to dilute them in a fatty-base oil and to use the mixture as an ointment or massage oil. Extensive literature exists, especially in the skincare industry, on the various fatty oils and their properties. Different individual preferences may exist, but certain criteria have evolved over time.
Sweet almond oil is light nonintrusive base oil for massages with a faint or no scent. For the treatment of inflammatory conditions, avocado oil has a concentration of linoleic and oleic fatty acids which form effective synergies with anti-inflammatory essential oils. The quality of the vegetable oils is very important; organic quality helps to avoid unwanted skin reactions.
Here are some guidelines based on aromatherapy rules as to when to dilute essential oils:
When to dilute essential oils during pregnancy
Stick with a few very safe essential oils that do not come with many precautions. Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), frankincense (Boswellia carterii), Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile) and sweet orange (citrus sinensis). Talking to a certified aromatherapist is recommended, since blending for pregnant women requires more in-depth knowledge. However, these 5 essential oils are considered safe during pregnancy when used in a 1 percent dilution.
When to dilute essential oils for babies and children
Caution is required although there is no agreed upon age when it is safe to start using essential oils in blends for kid’s skin.
Babies and young children have very sensitive skin, and essential oils can easily become overwhelming for them since every drop is very concentrated. Hydrosols and carrier oils can often help. Argan oil can be very soothing and calming spray made with lavender hydrosol can work wonders.
The kid friendly blends use less essential oils and sometimes essential oils in the recipe should be substituted for kid friendly essential oils: lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), frankincense (Boswellia carterii), Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile), cedarwood (juniperus virginiana), and sweet orange (citrus sinensis).
When to dilute essential oils for pets
Essential oils can be toxic for cats or other small animals. This is one area where it is best to talk to a certified aromatherapist who is educated and experienced in blending essential oils for animals.
When to dilute essential oils for face care
In facial care you can use hydrosols and carrier oils and butters safely. Essential oils should not come close to eyes area and can sometimes cause irritation on the delicate skin of the face. Stick with a very skin-loving essential oils such as rose, frankincense, lavender, or patchouli. It is a safe idea to use one drop of essential oil per 30ml of the blend.
Bath salt blends
Bath salt blends are made with salt, jojoba oil and essential oils. Use five drops of essential oils total in a bath or even less. Remember they are very concentrated and potent.
There are people, who are very sensitive to scents and chemicals. A low dilution of 1% will be appropriate or use only carrier oils and hydrosols.
Dilute to avoid skin reactions
There are two main kinds of skin reactions: skin irritation and allergies. Irritation usually calms right down after washing the oil off the skin. If irritation occurs wash your skin with the soap and water and then apply carrier to the area.
Certain essential oils are more likely to cause skin irritation, such as the spicier oils cardamom and ginger.
In allergic reaction, your skin can remain irritated and inflamed for hours. And the reaction will flare up again every time you use that same oil. The best way is to stay away from the oil that cause allergy to you.
Many people never have any of these reactions. However, it is good to approach essential oils with respect.
The aromatherapy approach can offer a lot of protection for your skin and reduce your chances of developing any skin reactions, especially if you like to use essential oils to support your skin and your health every day.
Learn more about Aromatherapy, get our Aromatherapy guide for beginners