A Dilution Guide for the Safe Use of Essential Oils on the Skin

2:48:00 PM Laura at Fantastically Four 0 Comments

A Dilution Guide for the Safe Use of Essential Oils on the Skin

I'm so thankful that my lovely friend and Young Living sponsor taught me a few things when I purchased my first essential oils. This is really one of the most basic safety guidelines to follow: Dilute your essential oils for skin application!*


  • Essential oils are not water soluble and have a different molecular density than water (usually lighter, most will float on top of it). This means that putting an essential oil in water and then on the skin or swallowing it with water has the same effect as direct contact with your body.
  • Fat is drawn to fat. Essential oils are lipophilic (fat-loving!). If you place an essential oil on your skin "neat," it will be drawn directly to the lipids in your skin. 
  • EOs are extremely concentrated (check out the graphic below) in comparison to rest of the plant they are derived from. For example, lemon juice is known to be exfoliating and lightening in skin applications (especially in the sun, something called phototoxicity). Now imagine what the concentrated liquid from a lemon rind would do!
  • Certain oils can be very irritating to the skin. "Hot" oils like Thieves, peppermint, clove, and thyme, to name a few, should definitely always, always be diluted before applying to the skin.
  • One big concern is that using essential oils neat on the skin can create a sensitivity (also known as contact dermatitis), causing the user to develop a permanent allergic reaction. This is a particular danger if the oil is used without a carrier on a regular basis, or if the oil has been oxidized or has expired, or if the oil was poor quality and chemically adulterated. Young Living's essential oils are unmatched in terms of quality and purity. They are the only oils I recommend for a reason!
  • Using a carrier can help sustain the effects of the essential oil, as the skin slowly absorbs it. The essential oil will evaporate more quickly if it's applied neat.

The good news is that essential oils disperse nicely into an aromatic vegetable oil carrier, creating a single solution. The carrier is a gentle buffer between your skin and the essential oil. Don't worry, you will still experience the benefits of the essential oil even in a concentration as little as 1% or 2%. Young Living's website states "Dilution with a carrier oil does not dilute the effect of the essential oil. In fact, it prevents waste due to excessive application."

So let's get down to the nitty gritty of how to create safe products for your skin.

Dilution Guide

1% Dilutions
Use this when applying essential oils to babies, kids, seniors, pregnant women, or anyone with a compromised immune system.

2% Dilutions
This ratio is perfect for use on healthy adults, and for blending products like lotions, massage oils, and creams.

3-5% Dilutions
This is better suited for use on someone who has a cold or flu, for muscle pain, and other situations when an otherwise healthy adult has a need for something a little strong.

Carrier Amount1% Dilution2% Dilution3% Dilution
1 ounce5-6 drops EO10-12 drops EO15-18 drops EO
2 ounces10-12 drops EO20-24 drops EO30-36 drops EO
1 teaspoon2 drops EO3 drops EO5 drops EO
2 teaspoons3 drops EO6 drops EO9 drops EO
10 ml (typical roller size)2 drops EO4 drops EO6 drops EO

The "drops EO" refers to a total amount of drops of essential oil. If you're making a product, for example, 6 drops EO might look like 1 drop vetiver, 3 drops lavender, and 2 drops sweet orange within your carrier.

That covers dilution. Have an amazing time mixing and creating products for yourself and others!

*Okay, okay. Even the most diligent diluter will apply a skin-friendly oil neat in times of an urgent situation, like a small burn or a bee sting. Young Living oils are pure and have potent effects when applied neat, which can be a very good thing.


All information on a drop of lavender is informative in nature and not to be construed as medical advice. I am not a doctor or medical professional, but I am passionate about aromatherapy and the safe use of essential oils.