Part 5: The Appropriate Dose (Topical Application)-Dilution
Topical use of essential oils may induce a sensitivity response, especially on young or sensitive skin. To decrease the likelihood of developing a sensitivity, it is advisable to use a carrier oil to dilute the more potent oils and when trying an oil for the first time. The recommend dilution ratio is typically 1 drop of essential oil to three drops of carrier oil. A diluted mixture can be prepared in advance by mixing the oils in an empty glass bottle or for a single dose by mixing the oils directly in the hands.
There are 3 main classifications of oils for topical use: Neat, Dilute, and Sensitive.
- Neat. Essential oils categorized as “neat” can be applied topically without dilution on most people. These oils are considered mild and generally do not induce skin sensitivity. Examples of “neat” essential oils are frankincense, lavender, melaleuca, melissa, and sandalwood.
- Dilute. If categorized as “dilute,” essential oils should be diluted with a carrier oil before topical application in every case. Oils that fall into this category are those with a high proportion of constituents that are especially potent, such a phenols. Examples of essential oils that require dilution are cassia, cinnamon, clove, oregano, and thyme.
- Sensitive. “Sensitive” oils are those that should be diluted before use on young or sensitive skin. Examples of “sensitive” oils are peppermint, ginger, eucalyptus, wintergreen, and black pepper.