Friday, August 2, 2013

Safe Essential Oil Dilutions

I went on vacation for almost 2 weeks, and have been slacking and trying to get caught back up since I got home.

I'm constantly amazed by the amount of people using essential oils neat on their own skin. This is especially common in the world of the multi-level-marketing (MLM) essential oils. Focus is placed on selling volume, and not nearly enough on the safety aspect of EOs. Useage of EOs neat is when their used undiluted on the skin.

Just today I saw a picture of a young boy, who had used a blend made to be used for ADD or ADHD along the spine undiluted in a roller bottle. The young boy had the hyperpigment(darkened skin) along his spine where the blend was used.

An example of photo-sensitization with essential oil:

The bottle was from a very large company, which also has no warning or dilution instructions. Lime is KNOWN to be phototoxic even in minute amounts, but there were no warnings nor mention on the companies website and pages about the oil. Not only is this unsafe its negligent in the simplest form. gives a great rundown on photo-sensitization
An essential oil that exhibits this quality will cause burning or skin pigmentation changes, such as tanning, on exposure to sun or similar light (ultraviolet rays). Reactions can range from a mild color change through to deep weeping burns. Do not use or recommend the use of photosensitizing essential oils prior to going into a sun tanning booth or the sun. Recommend that the client stay out of the sun or sun tanning booth for at least twenty-four hours after treatment if photosensitizing essential oils were applied to the skin. Certain drugs, such as tetracycline, increase the photosensitivity of the skin, thus increasing the harmful effects of photosensitizing essential oils under the necessary conditions. Table 3 lists some common essential oils considered to be photosensitizers.

Photosensitizers (Table 3)

Essential OilLatin Name
Angelica rootAngelica archangelica
BergamotCitrus bergamia
CuminCuminum cyminum
Distilled grapefruitCitrus paradisi
Expressed lemonCitrus limon
Expressed limeCitrus medica
Distilled orangeCitrus sinensis
Distilled tangerineCitrus reticulata
VerbenaLippia citriodora

Non-phototoxic citrus oils (Table 4)

Essential OilLatin Name
Bergamot: Bergapteneless
(FCF: Furanocoumarin Free)
Citrus bergamia
Expressed grapefruitCitrus paradisi
Distilled lemonCitrus limon
Distilled limeCitrus medica
Expressed sweet orangeCitrus sinensis
Expressed tangerineCitrus reticulata

Some oils depending on their method of distillation or expression, may fall onto either side of phototoxic, so be sure you know what your using.

All of this talk about the phototoxic oils really got me thinking about the overall safety aspect of dilution.

The normal "standard" dilution rate for an adult is 2 - 2.5%. 2.5% is 15 drops per 30ml(1 ounce) of carrier oil.  2% is 12 drops per 30ml(1 ounce).. For children, pregnant women, the elderly, immune compromised or pets, 1% is sufficent.

To get a better visual of just how powerful EOs are, and how much carrier is needed to safely dilute I created this graphic for another site. and the facebook group Learning about Essential Oils.
The numbers within the oil drops are the total amount of drops of essential oil. The bottles represent the amount of carrier.

Drop/Measurement Conversions
10 drops1/10 tsp1/60 oz.1/8 dram1/2 ml
12.5 drops1/8 tsp1/48 oz.1/6 dram5/8 ml
25 drops1/4 tsp1/24 oz.1/3 dram1 1/4 ml
50 drops1/2 tsp1/12 oz.2/3 dram2 1/2 ml
100 drops1 tsp1/6 oz.1 1/3 dramabout 5 ml
150 drops1 1/2 tsp1/4 oz.2 drams13.5 ml
300 drops3 tsp1/2 oz.4 dramsabout 15 ml
600 drops6 tsp1 oz.8 dramsabout 30 ml
24 tsp8 Tbs4 oz.1/2 cup1/4 pint
48 tsp16 Tbs8 oz.1 cup1/2 pint
96 tsp32 Tbs16 oz.2 cups1 pint

I dilute the commercial blends I use to 2% if they're undiluted, unless its a pretty severe acute issue needing an focused treatement then it may be up to 10%.

So now that your mind is all jumbled up with numbers, I'll make it easy.. Lets go back to that 10-15ml roller ball bottle used neat, how much blended diluted oil does that make? A LOT!