I wanted to talk a bit about diluting your essential oils and why you should. To say it upfront: we don’t really much encourage using any essential oils directly on your skin without diluting them first. Folks tend to view them as mere fragrances. However, they aren’t just smells to enjoy at leisure, they are medicines. Highly concentrated medicines. And that mindset should really govern your use of them.
Yes, you can use them on your skin undiluted (called “neat”) and maybe not have a reaction. You could maybe even use them neat for years and years with nothing negative happening. But I think of it like poison ivy. You can go years and years and not be allergic to it, and then one day… you are.
That happened to me. For years I wasn’t allergic to poison ivy and so wasn’t careful around it. And then one day …it was all over me. And I was itching and scratching like crazy for a week or more.
Trust me, I very carefully avoid it now.?
Undiluted essential oils have the exact same potential for unexpected, out of the blue allergic reactions (called sensitization). If you’re using them neat (undiluted) on your skin on a regular basis there’s every possibility of an allergic reaction occurring at some unpredictable point.
I tell you this from my same experience as the poison ivy. Back before I knew the importance of diluting essential oils, I was using our Grave Robbers Oil undiluted and somewhat often to keep from getting sick. No reaction. No reaction. And then one day…. I was itching all over quite severely.?
Through the process of elimination, I discovered it was the Grave Robbers. The thing is…I can never use it again now, and have to be extremely careful when bottling it that I don’t get it on me. If I do, I’ll be itching again. A wonderful, very effective immune boosting oil is off limits for me now (very probably forever) because I was using it undiluted.
Which—I didn’t know back then. But! I do now, and I’m telling others so that they won’t have to have the same bad experience.
Now with that said, is there ever a time to use essential oils undiluted? Yes, there are times. Like an emergency for example. We’ve had grandchildren get stung by a wasp or fall and cut their chin. We used one drop of straight Lavender in both cases.
Lavender is the one oil to have on hand for just such emergencies. It cuts the pain fast and calms the child so you can more effectively do what needs done with the wound. Burns would be another example of an immediate situation where you use Lavender oil undiluted. Tea Tree Oil is another that could be considered safe to use undiluted in an emergency. However, the very safest solution would still be to have a diluted bottle of lavender or tea tree or a combo on hand.
I don’t want to leave you fearful. If you use an essential oil undiluted occasionally or accidentally get some on yourself, it won’t likely harm. But if you’re over-using it undiluted consistently, then the possibility for negative reactions increases significantly. And since it happened to me, I feel the need to caution.
For more info on Safe Diluting Principles that can actually make your oils even more effective read our companion article: More Wisdom on Diluting Those Essential Oils
For those who don’t have the time or desire to dilute their own oils, you can find pre-diluted roller bottles for sale in our store. Don’t let folks fool you into paying exorbitant prices for 10ml Rollie bottles. We strive to keep our prices fair and true to cost. If you have a custom Rollie you’d like made, just message us and we can work out details.
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Disclaimer: The statements on this page have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Keep out of reach of children. If pregnant, nursing, taking medications, or if you have a medical condition consult a physician prior to use.
Remember: Essential Oils really shouldn’t be used undiluted, externally or internally, no matter how pure or what brand. Anyone can become suddenly allergic with neat, full-strength, repetitive over-use.