Using essential oils for the first time? While they’re widely recognized as safe and effective, it’s possible for an oil to cause sensitization or an allergic reaction.

If you plan to use essential oils topically, it’s best to do a quick test. Testing the oil on a small area of skin is known as a patch test, and it’s fairly simple to do. Additionally, it will help you determine whether or not you’ll have a sensitivity or reaction to a particular essential oil, while reducing initial exposure to your skin.

To do a skin patch test:
• Combine 1-2 drops essential oil in a half teaspoon of carrier oil, like cold-pressed olive oil.
• Using the inside of your arm, apply a few drops of the diluted oil to a bandage, and then apply to your arm.
• Wait 24-48 hours. If during this time you get any irritation, discontinue use. Avoid using that oil (or a blend that contains that oil) directly on your skin.

No sensitivity? Now it’s time to get started. At Ellia, we recommend using the least amount of essential oil to get the desired effect. Seeing as some oils are strong, start with a conservative dose.

In the chart below, carrier oils are listed in ml, and essential oils are listed in drops.

Here are some recommended dilution rates:

.5% dilution – Infants (6-24 months)
1% dilution – Children and elderly adults, or those using essential oils for daily skin care regimens
2%-3% dilution – Adults and children over 2 years old
4% and over – Acute, short-term application on a small area

One thing to remember: If you continually use the same essential oil on your skin, it’s possible you could develop a skin irritation. Additionally, if you apply an essential oil and then expose your skin to the sun, you could be more susceptible to burns. You should not expose your skin to the sun after applying a citrus oil, like orange, lemon, or grapefruit, because these oils increase photosensitivity.

If you see any signs of irritation, stop applying that oil on your skin, and don’t apply any other oils on the affected area.

To learn more about essential oils, or to see our complete collection, visit