Dilution is one of the most important aspects of effective topical application; it is also one of the most misunderstood. When used properly, carrier oils have been shown to improve essential oil topical application through several different pathways. Evaporation is the primary issue in topical application, as body heat and the skin present a formidable barrier. One of the most important benefits of dilution is that it slows the flashing off of the volatile aromatic compounds, largely through one of the fundamental laws of fluid dynamics: decreasing the surface area of a substance exposed to air reduces the rate of evaporation. When diluted, essential oil chemical constituents have been shown to pass through the epidermis more efficiently than when applied neat. Furthermore, another study showed that dilution may expedite the process, as varying levels of specific constituents were detected in exhaled air in as quickly as 20 minutes when using a carrier while a neat application resulted in no detection for up to two hours.
Essential oils enjoy being in an oily environment so when adding a carrier oil to the area, such as fractionated coconut oil, the essential oil molecules remain in the tissues, affecting the localised area.
Understanding proper dilution is a crucial factor in safe and effective essential oil use. Foremost, any substance that has a near-neutral pH, Fractionated Coconut Oil, is incapable of altering the chemical makeup of an essential oil. Proper dilution, with an appropriate carrier, will not change the effectiveness. One of the most common concerns is the use of essential oils on those with sensitivity considerations, especially children. Although sensitivities are rare when proper usage guidelines are followed with neat application, by decreasing the rate of evaporation and therefore further limiting exposure, dilution allows for an even greater margin of safety. Dilution requires you use less oil for the same effect. When trying a new oil or when applying warmer oils such as Oregano or Thyme, dilution can decrease the risk for a hypersensitive reaction, reduce waste, and provide an ideal environment to discover which essential oils work best for your situation.
Along with improving application efficiency, there are also secondary benefits to using Fractionated Coconut Oil as a carrier. It has a light emollient effect and is excellent for your skin. Unlike other vegetable-based oils, it does not leave an unpleasant greasy residue or interfere with the valuable properties of the essential oil it is carrying. Fractionated Coconut Oil is also very stable, so you don’t have to be concerned that it will go rancid. Learning to use Fractionated Coconut Oil appropriately as a carrier will improve the experience for your entire family.
Despite the growing body of evidence regarding the benefits of dilution, both methods of topical application have their place in the developing model of effective essential oil use. Many of the essential oils can be used safely and effectively neat, but proper dilution can be used appropriately at any time and may even offer some advantages.