by Niki Klein, Certified Clinical Aromatherapist

Essential Oils (EOs) are concentrated substances and rarely intended to use ‘as is’. Quite frankly, there is never a time you would not want to dilute the potency of an EO before applying to the skin.
Diluting is performed by adding a drop or more of the EO in to a Carrier oil such as Jojoba oil or Almond oil. Articles on Carriers were discussed in the last 2 newsletters.
This not only provide a good medium for the oil to absorb into the skin, but spreads the oil over a larger surface of your skin for more effect.

Even EOs with strong safety concerns can be used safely if properly diluted. Knowing how to dilute properly will help you use essential oils safely.


Proper diluting provides a measure of safety against topical irritation, sensitivity, photosensitivity, and sensitization. We dilute EOs before applying them to the skin to minimize adverse reactions and systemic toxicity.

Robert Tisserand author/teacher/researcher of ‘Essential Oil Safety’ (THE Aromatic Safety Bible and a valued teacher of mine) says “EO dilution is important for two safety reasons.
1) to avoid skin reactions: irritation, sensitization, and phototoxicity.
2) to avoid systemic toxicity, such as fetotoxicity, hepatoxicity, carcinogenicity, and neurotoxicity…Adverse skin reactions are obvious when they happen, but systemic toxicities may not be. Skin reactions are totally dilution-dependent, and safety guidelines exist to minimize risk.”


It depends on several factors including, but not limited to:

  • The overall toxicity of the essential oil, including toxicity
  • The age of the receiver
  • Health issues, such as bleeding
  • Disorders, compromised immune systems, etc
  • Pregnancy or breastfeeding
  • Sensitive skin
  • Prescription drugs can be a consideration; not always


PLEASE NOTE: these are general guidelines only, and other factors may be present which would over-ride these general guidelines.

Always keep safe use of EOs in mind; always use the lowest dilution possible that gives you effective results.

Remember you can dilute in a wide variety of carriers: lotion, oil, aloe vera gel and so on.
Re-read the last 2 articles on ‘Carriers’ in our newsletter and/or find them on the website: .

Next Newsletter I will explain Diluting by Age Group; What does ‘neat’ mean and how is it used?

With appreciation to UEOS, Tisserand Institute