It’s easy for one to think “more is better” when it comes to all-natural products. Many people think that if a little is good, a lot will be great! Because of this mentality, some have gone against warning labels and product instructions when using natural remedies.
This has even been the case with essential oils. One might think, “What’s the big deal? It’s from nature.” Well, in all honesty, too much of anything, even a good thing, can be bad. Why is this the case even with essential oils, and what precautions can you take?
The Importance of Essential Oil Dilution
One of the main precautions you should take with essential oils is essential oil dilution. Essential oils are highly concentrated. “Doesn’t this just mean they’re more powerful?” you may wonder. Simply put – yes. Their power is, in fact, one of the main reasons you should dilute the oils. The concentrated liquid of many essential oils can cause issues on your skin or other organs of your body if not appropriately diluted.
A helpful way to think about the need for dilution is to consider other products in a concentrated state. Take, for example, concentrated orange juice. When someone brings home concentrated orange juice their first thought isn’t to drink it straight from the carton. The concentrate would be way too strong to do such a thing. The juice needs to be diluted. If it isn’t, the result could be a sick stomach, heartburn, and sensitive teeth.
It’s similar with essential oil dilution. The oils, as they are packaged, are generally too strong to use straight. You will still have the wonderful benefits of the oils when you use the proper dilution ratios, just as your orange juice still tastes good once you dilute its concentrate with water.
Another precaution you need to take is to do a skin patch test. This is where you place a small amount of oil somewhere between the inside of your elbow and wrist, cover it, and keep it dry for 24-48 hours. If you develop a reaction, you should either user a stronger dilution, or stay away from this particular oil for now. There is definitely more information about skin patch testing, how to do it, and why it needs to be done. An important thing to remember is even with a skin patch test you will need to dilute most oils before putting them on your skin.
What If I Don’t Dilute the Oils?
Here are some side effects of inappropriate essential oil use.
- Irritation of the skin – Skin can become red or blistered where the oil was placed.
- Skin sensitivity – Skin can become tender to touch or to other topical substances.
- Photo toxicity – This is sensitivity to the sun after the application of undiluted essential oils. If you go into the sun after using oil, or are under a sun lamp or in a tanning bed, your skin can begin to burn quite easily. With the strong concentration of essential oil your skin can end up burning faster and the deeper layers of your skin can be affected, too.
- Systemic toxicity – Toxicity of other bodily organs and systems can occur with improper essential oil use. This can be toxicity to a fetus, to the nervous system, and to the liver, just to name a few. Besides being more serious than a burn or some skin irritation or sensitivity, systemic toxicity are not always obvious when they can occur, resulting in delayed diagnosis and treatment.
Simply diluting oil is not enough. It’s imperative to exercise the proper dilution ratio. This ratio can depend on a number of factors from a person’s age to the particular health issue they want to treat. There are many factors that go into determining the proper dilution. Talk to your essential oil distributer to find out what is best for you.
When it comes to natural products, sometimes less is more. Make sure when starting natural remedies to follow the manufacturer or distributer’s recommendations and instructions. Discuss thoroughly with your holistic healthcare provider what precautions to take with products like essential oils.
At Coastal Wellness, we pride ourselves on our safe holistic practices. We follow dilution ratio guidelines when using essential oils in one on one blending sessions and in our massage therapy sessions. Education is essential, so we thoroughly explain products and give our clients the tools they need, including our Oil Dilution Chart, so they can carry on safe holistic health practices at home. We believe in the products we use and make available, but we also want to make sure those products are used properly.