Guidelines

Measurement percentages can seem quite complicated, especially considering  dropper top sizes vary, rendering absolute accuracy impossible. However, in the interest of safety, essential oil quantities do need to be carefully monitored. Therefore, as a ‘rule of thumb guide’, assume the averages set out in the measurement guide below.

Risk of sensitivity or irritation reactions increase where large amounts of essential oil are applied to very small areas of skin – applying 6 drops of essential oil in a carrier medium to the whole body through massage will have negligible irritant effect, yet the same quantity of essential oil applied to a small area of skin can be irritant, particularly in sensitive areas such as the face, under arms etc.  If you do experience any skin or respiratory tract irritation (itching, redness, rashes, swelling, breathing difficulty) stop applying the essential oil or the blend of essential oils immediately.

Remember, use essential oils within their stipulated use-by date (found on the bottle or packaging).  For further safety details please refer to Safe Use and Application and Essential Oils: Keeping the lid on.

Use no more than 1 or 2 drops of essential oils in a carrier medium on localised areas of skin. Keep this in mind when making first aid ointments or face creams or lotions. When making face creams etc. for regular use, reduce the amount of essential oils included, change the essential oil selection from time to time, and have ‘no essential oil’ breaks in between use.

You will find deeper detail about essential oils and their appropriate use and application in my books, Essential Oils for Mindfulness and Meditation, and Essential Oils for the Whole Body

Safe Measurements

  • 5 ml (bottle) = 100 drops of essential oil
  • 10 ml (bottle) = 200 drops of essential oil
  • Maximum amount of essential oil per 24 hour period = 6 to 10 drops (healthy adult – see below)
  • Apply for 2 to 3 weeks only, followed by 1 week’s abstinence, and change essential oil(s) selection regularly
  • Carrier Medium = vegetable oils, non-perfumed creams, lotions, ointments and gels
  • 1 drop of essential oil in 5 ml of carrier medium = 1% blend
  • 2 ½ drops of essential oil in 5 ml of carrier medium = 2.5% blend (rounded up or down)
  • 5 drops of essential oil in 5 ml of carrier medium = 5% blend

Appropriate quantities

Reduced amount for children and babies over 3 months old, and those with sensitivities.

Use maximum dilution (1 drop of essential oil in 20ml vegetable oil or non-perfumed cream or lotion) for babies between 3 months and 24 months old, do not use herbaceous, spicy or citrus oils, and always ensure the genuine purity of your essential oil before applying – 100% pure unadulterated essential oil purchased from a reputable supplier who provides relevant safety information.  Also, for those who are frail or very elderly and those with sensitivities, allergies, eczema, asthma, and for facial blends.

  • 1 drop of essential oil in 5 ml of carrier medium = 1% blend
  • 2 drops of essential oil in 10 ml of carrier medium = 1% blend
  • 1 drop of essential oil in 10 ml of carrier medium = 0.5% blend
  • 2 drops of essential oil in 20 ml of carrier medium = 0.5% blend
  • 1 drop of essential oil in 20ml of carrier medium = 0.25% blend (babies and toddlers 3 months to 24 months – do not use herbaceous, spicy or citrus oils)

Normal amount for general and adult use

  • 2 ½ drops of essential oil in 5 ml of carrier medium = 2.5% blend (rounded up of down)
  • 5 drops of essential oil in 10 ml of carrier medium = 2.5% blend

Acute / exceptional amount for acute, short-term occasional use. Avoid or reduce the use of known irritant essential oils.

  • 5 drops of essential oil in 5 ml of carrier medium = 5%
  • 10 drops of essential oil in 10 ml carrier medium = 5% blend

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