dilution: more about safety

I have a post about using essential oils safely.

But I have since learned some things that I need to share.

While there are some essential oils  [EO] that could be safely used on and around children [and I use them many days a week], essential oils are not necessarily where we should jump FIRST for treating our younger children with natural remedies. But if you, like me, find yourself in possession of several oils and wish to learn how to use them safely, I cannot stress enough the importance of DILUTION!

Honestly, I think most people hear the word “dilute” and think of watered down lemonade [or something similar] in which the end result is less potent and definitely unappealing. I know I did.

But in reality, diluting essential oils actually makes them MORE effective. I am not a chemist. I enjoy chemistry but have not studied it in many years. So I am going to explain this in words I understand… meaning very simple, non-scientific terms. :)

chem of oils

Our bodies, when exposed to too much of anything, even good things, will often react negatively. This is usually called an ‘allergy.’ Some people will refer to it as a ‘detox,’ but I think this word does not mean what those people thinks it means {more on that later, too}.

Thus, back to the reason for “diluting” essential oils…. 1 drop of an EO is very, very [I cannot stress this strongly enough] potent. It is the strength of many [some more than others] ounces of an herb [and that would be like drinking a couple gallons of an herbal tea at once–!] but it also does not have all the properties of the herb. It is ONLY the chemical compounds found in the essential oil pockets of the plant–again: VERY POTENT.

And the more I read what others trying to sell essential oils are recommending [and yes, I am trying to sell them too!], the stronger I feel the need to stress this potency!

And even 1 drop is often too much for a single application… thus the need to make a 1% dilution. Additional bottles are necessary for this. A 10 ml bottle of carrier oil only needs 2 drops of EO for a 1% solution. And most times it is recommended for children to have 1/2% dilution.

You see, essential oils are ‘volatile’ which means they will evaporate very quickly when exposed to air. Putting a drop in a carrier oil [CO] will kind of  “ground” the oil–it gives it something to hang on to while absorbing into your skin. So, while much of a neat [or undiluted] or insufficiently diluted oil might evaporate very quickly from your arm, causing you to feel like you need 2-3 drops, a proper dilution of 1/2-2% will cause the essential oil property to be spread across a larger portion of skin as well as absorb in a slow, steady rate and be more effective for a longer period of time.

***{Anyone noticing this creates less waste of the oils into the air?! Hello! 1 drop of EO should last for SEVERAL applications, not just 1!!!}***

dilute statement

Also, while much of a neat oil will evaporate, your body is still getting MORE of the oil than in a proper dilution; and your body can only process so much of these powerful constituents at one time. It is true that they can and have helped many people with some pretty severe issues…. I’ve read some amazing testimonies! but I have also come to learn that using EO on such a massive scale for a continued period of time [more than just “get better” then back off] can create a resistance in our bodies to those oils that originally helped us.

We may not notice it this week or next month, but some time down the road, the people who have been using essential oils neat [undiluted] or insufficiently diluted on a daily basis will very likely use it one day and have a very severe reaction to it: their body is telling them “ENOUGH! I can’t process any more of this!” And while most people are not going to have crazy allergic reactions to properly diluted oils, essential oils CAN have very dangerous adverse effects when used improperly and over-zealously…

One last thought: there ARE essential oils that have cautions against using them on children younger than 10. These are in place as a warning… not to panic us, not to cause us to ban them from our cabinets, but to urge us as moms to research and find professional sources to guide us in proper dilution and application! {More on these cautions in another post… another time.}

*most of this information has been gleaned from asking questions of professional aromatherapists. There are several books that have been recommended, which would likely help you understand and explain it better, but for now… this is what I understand and feel the need to pass along!


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** I am not a doctor . All recommendations on this site are for personal information only and cannot diagnose, treat or cure any disease. Legally, I must recommend that you consult a trusted physician or other medical professional before using any alternatives to pharmaceutical medication or making any drastic changes in your diet. Live smart! Do your own research. Know & trust your doctor.**
Seriously… you should get a professional medical opinion and/or diagnosis before thinking of alternative remedies…

self-diagnosis or social-media-diagnosis is not recommended! :)


  1. AAAhhh—CHOO! | a healthy portion - […] husband ingests a single blended drop in a capsule with carrier oil or rubs a properly diluted blend behind his ears…

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