Hey there Beauty Birds. We’re coming at you today with a special post that specifically answers the questions that many of you have asked about essential oils. With the rise of natural beauty, specifically all of you who love a good DIY, essential oils have taken the industry by storm. These popular botanical concentrates smell delicious and often have amazing and powerful therapeutic properties. Now before you take off to your closest health food store and start greasing up your body up with these bad boys, let’s take a moment to take about essential oil safety. Here’s how you should be using essential oils properly in order to reduce the risk of adverse skin reactions and promote healthy and glowing skin in the long run.
More is Not Always Better
Essential oils, especially when used on the skin, always need to be diluted. This means that they need to be mixed with another oil, such as olive oil, almond oil, sunflower seed oil, to help prevent skin reactions like itchiness, redness, or even allergies. The olive or almond oils are called a carrier oils and they provide a based that the essential oils can be infused into for safe use. These carrier oils are generally non-irritating and do not possess the same powerful botanical properties that concentrated essential oils do.
The most common skin reactions to essential oils take three forms: irritation, sensitisation, phototoxicity. Know that skin reactions are dose-dependent and vary according to the concentration of oil applied to the skin. Because these reactions very from individual to individual, you should never apply essential oils undiluted to the skin, particularly compromised skin. Some particular essential oils, such as oregano and cinnamon, contain compounds that are sensitizers, meaning they can cause an increased sensitivity in the skin. These are known as “hot oils” due to their immediate and unpleasant reaction on your skin. Because of this, essential oil concentrations are often regulated in cosmetics to prevent skin reactions.
Don’t worry, we’ve included a guide that provides recommended dilutions of essential oils to help you navigate their usage.
Essential Oil Dilution Guidelines
If you’re playing around with essential oils, here are some basic guidelines you can stick to. For facial products, only use essential oils in a 0.5% – 1% dilution. This means that if you’ve got 100mL of a chamomile infused face oil, only 0.5 to 1mL of your product should be chamomile essential oil. The rest of the 99mL are carrier oils such as jojoba oil, argan oil, or avocado oil. For body products, essential oils can be used at a higher concentration, such as 1%-3% of the final product. This graphic from Hello Glow does a great job at illustrating how to properly dilute essential oils.
Exceptions to the Rule
These ranges listed above cover most of the situations when you are using essential oils, but there are some examples where a lower or higher dilution is necessary.
The first example is for young children, elderly individuals, those with sensitive skin, or products intended for longterm use. In these cases, essential oils should be used at a very low concentration, such as 0.5% – 1%. This is simply because these individuals have skin that is more susceptible to reactions. Do note that there is some debate as to whether essential oils should be used topically on children under two years old at all. Keep this in mind and exercise caution and consult a qualified aromatherapist or physician if you are interested in using essential oils on young children.
Here are some examples of specific essential oils that require lower or higher dilutions than the 0.5% – 3% range.
Don’t let the potential risk of using essential oils dissuade you from doing your own experiments with them or using products that contain them. Overall, essential oils, when used properly, have incredible properties and can truly transform your skin. Looking to give essential oils a try for the first time? Try our Beauty Drops, our lavender, geranium, and clary sage infused facial oil, that will help balance, brighten, and benefit all different skin types and conditions from dullness to cystic acne. Each of these facial oils use essential oils in very safe concentrations, so they’re great for beginners.
Let us know below your favorite ways to use essential oils in your daily routine!