How to Dilute Essential Oils for Children and Adults

Diluting Essential Oils

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So you’ve got your oils,  you’re excited to use them, but the thought of diluting your new essential oils makes your head spin. Does this sound like you? This is how most people feel starting out. I know I was intimidated at first. So I’m going to break it down for you. Lets take a minute to go over the basics.

What exactly is diluting?

When you see the term dilute, it simply means combine the essential oil with a vegetable carrier oil before applying to the skin. Going forward I’m just going to refer to it as a carrier oil. For example, 1 drop of lemon essential oil should be diluted with 1 drop of carrier oil, and 1 drop of peppermint essential oil should be diluted with 4 drops of carrier oil. How do I know this? I checked the product label on my bottles. Every bottle of Young Living essential oils will tell you whether or not it needs to be diluted and by how much. You do not have to memorize dilution ratios. Isn’t that great!

Diluting essential oils with a carrier oil is a great way to apply essential oils topically. Especially, for people with sensitive skin. Essential oils should always be diluted for infants, children, and the elderly whose skin is thinner.

Dilution with a carrier oil does not dilute the effect of the essential oil. Diluting helps to prolong the release of the essential oil, and prevents waste due to excessive application. Essential oils are volatile, meaning they turn from liquid to gas. So diluting essential oils with a carrier oil helps to hold the essential oil onto the skin, so more of the essential oil can be absorbed and carried throughout the body at the cellular level.

Amber Glass Bottles with glass dropper tops.


What’s the first step?

Look up your concern in your reference guide. See which essential oil is recommended to use. Next, check that essential oil bottle label to see the recommended dilution ratio. Then consider the size of the area on your body you’ll be applying to. Are you trying to cover your lower back or just your wrist? The larger the area, the more carrier oil you’ll use. In my opinion, you can’t really over dilute, so as long as you’re doing the minimal amount suggested on the bottle label you should be good. And the more you use your oils the better you will be at knowing how much you need. It’s helpful to put some of your carrier oil in a glass dropper bottle. Having a glass bottle with a dropper top is the best way to get just one drop of carrier oil at a time. I suggest having a few glass dropper bottles on hand. You can usually find them at Whole Foods or you can purchase them from Amazon. Sometimes the reference guide will have recipes. This is why it’s good to have a few glass dropper top bottles so you can make your own pre diluted blends. When I’m following a recipe that calls for carrier oil in milliliters, I use a baby bottle to measure that amount of carrier oil. Luckily, I have them on hand. But, you can always pick one up at Target for cheap. Sometimes a recipe calls for a teaspoon or tablespoon of carrier oil and we all have those, right? Whether we cook or not 🙂

Bang for your Buck

Diluting your essential oils with a carrier oil also helps to stretch how long your bottle of essential oil lasts. Less is usually more with essential oils. Remember they are very concentrated.

Less vs. More

It’s  better to apply less essential oils more often, rather than more all at once. This will help to prevent skin irritation. Especially, when your body is just getting used to essential oils.

Did you know? 

When applied topically it takes 2-3 minutes for an essential oil to reach the bloodstream, 20 minutes to affect every cell in the body, and 2 1/2 hours to fully metabolize. Pretty amazing, huh!

Dilution Musts!

When diluting essential oils with a carrier oil, choose a carrier oil that is organic, cold pressed and plant based. Such as sunflower oil, sweet almond oil, grapeseed, or Young Living’s V-6 which is a combination of oils. These are all oils that are derived from the fatty part of the plant, usually the nut, seed, or kernel. This is important because essential oils are lipid (fat) soluble, so they easily absorb into these oils.  Check out my other blog post to learn more about choosing a carrier oil. I especially go into detail on the skin care benefits of different carrier oils. If making your own beauty products using essential oils interests you as much as me, then you’re going to love this post!

Hot Oils

It’s also very important to dilute when using a “hot” oil. Examples of “hot” oils include cinnamon, clove, lemongrass, peppermint, oregano, thyme, Exodus II, and Thieves. If you experience a hot or burning sensation or if you develop a rash, add more carrier oil to the affected area as often as needed.

Diluting Essential Oils for Infants and Children 

There are many essential oils appropriate for use with infants and children. When using essential oils on infants and children it is important to dilute. I would suggest using a medium viscosity carrier oil like, jojoba or olive oil. Coconut oil is another good choice, these will slow the rate of absorption. Lavender is a gentle oil, and one of the only essential oils I will sometimes apply neat to my daughter. I actually use lavender everyday with my daughter. It’s part of our sleep through the night bedtime routine. Lavender is a great oil to use with kids.

Some essential oils, like YL’s Kids Scents Oil Collection are pre-diluted with carrier oil, and are intended for direct application. Again, the bottles product label will indicate dilution requirements.

Dilution Ratios for using essential oils with Infants and Children

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Infants and children have delicate skin. The bottoms of feet are usually less sensitive, making them a good choice for application.  If you’re interested in using essential oils with your child, I recommend getting a copy of the book Gentle Babies, by Debra Raybern. There is also a section dedicated to infants and children in the reference guide I give away to new members when they purchase the Premium Starter Kit. Please note, I only recommend using Young Living essential oils on babies and children. Their commitment to quality and purity are unmatched. Making them the only choice for my family.

So do you feel better about diluting essential oils? I hope so.  🙂

Thanks for reading, and Happy Oiling!

Essential oil starter kit with a diffuser on sale for more than half off.

Disclaimer: The information on this website is based upon my personal use. You can read the full disclaimer here.