How to Use Essential Oils Safely


There are two main ways in which essential oils can be used – through inhalation or by skin application.  We love our essential oils and would like you to enjoy them safely so, we have created some general recommendations on how to use essential oils and on their dosage. When in any doubt, please consult with a fully qualified and insured aromatherapy practitioner.


  • Please remember to check more specific safety guidelines for each essential oil before using them.
  • Please do not use essential oils on babies up to 2 years of age.
  • Please do not use essential oils on children without consulting with a qualified aromatherapist.
  • Please do not ingest the oils unless you are trained to do so or are being treated by a therapist specifically qualified and insured to make such recommendations.


Patch test – we would recommend carrying out a patch test before using any products containing essential oils on the skin for your own safety.


How to carry out a patch test:


Apply a small amount of the product containing essential oils to clean, healthy/unbroken skin of an outer arm.  Keep the area dry and do not wash or expose to sunlight for 48 hours. Observe for any reaction such as redness, itchiness, swelling or burning sensation.

Rinse off with warm soapy water should an irritation occur and do not use the product again.




Essential oils are volatile and warming them up will speed up their evaporation, so placing 3 drops in a bowl of hot water will work. However, we recommend the use of an ultrasonic diffuser to safely vapourise the essential oils into the air. These devices are flame-free and even switch off automatically when knocked over or when the water level is low. There are many stylish diffusers available on the

A single oil or a synergistic blend can be used in a vapouriser to fragrance a room depending on your needs, e.g. to create a relaxing mood or to help us focus when studying or to ‘purify’ a sickroom and help prevent the spread of infection. The possibilities are endless!

Safety note: Vapourisation should be used intermittently (30 – 60 minutes on, then the same period off).

Dosage: Use 3-5 drops, depending on the room size. Refresh as needed.



Inhalations are traditionally used in the treatment of coughs, colds, flu, sinusitis and even indigestion, etc. 

 Please note, inhalation might not be suitable for people suffering from chronic respiratory conditions such as asthma, emphysema, COPD, etc. Always seek advice from a fully qualified and insured aromatherapy practitioner if suffering from such medical issues to ensure your safety.



    Dosage: Add 5 drops of essential oils in a 3 litre bowl of water.

    Place a towel over your head and bowl and inhale deeply.  Keep your eyes closed – some oils are mucous membrane irritants (very stinging/irritating to the eyes, lips, nose, etc.). Inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth if possible.



    Add 3 drops of essential oil to a handkerchief and hold this near the nose every few minutes and inhale.




    Aromatherapy bath is a pure bliss, a spot of R&R and a common type of aromatherapeutic treatment. 

    Always dilute essential oils in a vegetable oil before adding them to the bath water. Avoid skin irritating or phototoxic oils.

    Dosage: Use up to 6 drops of essential oil (one or a blend) diluted in 2 tablespoons of fixed oil e.g. sweet almond or olive oil.

    Once the bath is drawn, add the blend and agitate well before stepping in. This prevents the undiluted essential oils from floating on the surface of the water and protects the bather from lowering themselves directly onto the neat essential oil and/or any body part coming into contact with neat essential oil (this can cause irritation, itching or burning, especially of the mucous membranes). Soak in the bath for at least ten minutes.



    Like with bathing, essential oil(s) must be diluted first in some fixed oil before adding to a bowl of warm water.

    Dosage: Use 3 drops of essential oil (one or a blend) diluted in 1 tablespoon of fixed oil e.g. sweet almond or olive oil.                                                  



    There are very few essential oils suitable for neat application to the skin, as most are too strong to be used undiluted.  Lavender might be used neat as first aid for minor injuries such as burns, cuts, bites, etc. Even lavender should not be used neat long term as it will dry and may irritate the skin (neat application may result in dermatitis).



    Massage is the most commonly used method of essential oils application in aromatherapy practice.

    All essential oils must be diluted in vegetable oil before use.

    Dosage: For healthy adults we recommend 1 drop of essential oil per 5ml of vegetable oil. Typically 5ml of oil is needed for an abdominal or localised massage and 25ml of oil is needed for a full body massage.




    In aromatherapy practice compresses are used for sprains, bruises, cramps and areas of specific pain such as back ache.

    • Cold compress: For injuries - sprains and bruises, etc. – just after it has happened and swelling/inflammation is present add few drops of essential oil to a bowl of cold water and agitate the water. Use a cotton wool pad or flannel, skim the surface of water, squeeze out excess and apply to the affected area.
    • Warm compress: For back pain, period pains, tummy pains use the same method but use warm/hot water instead. This method can also be used to draw boils and abscesses.

     Dosage: 5 drops of essential oils in a 3 litre bowl of water





    • Face products: Add no more than 1 drop of a suitable essential oil to 10ml of an unscented gel, lotion or cream
    • Body products: Add no more than 1 drop of a suitable essential oil to 5ml of an unscented gel, lotion or cream



    Essential oils can be added to unscented shampoo, shower gel or bubble bath bases.

    Dosage:  Add 40 drops of carefully selected essential oils to 100ml of the base product.


    Margaret Pawlaczyk-Karlinski MSc. (Hons.), Cert. Ed., M.I.F.A., NHS reg.