Peppermint oil may smell delicious, but its concentrated form wafting from the bottle is not meant for use at its full potency. When properly diluted, essential oils are safe to use in most situations where skin will come in contact with the products you create.
Peppermint has a cooling sensation when you apply it to the skin. For some, diluting it makes it easier to handle from bottle to bare skin. Essential oil in its concentrated state can cause skin irritation and systemic toxicity. Serious sensitivity can lead to respiratory issues if the essential oil is not diluted properly.
Carriers to Consider
The intense concentration of essential oils makes them unstable and easy to evaporate. To combat that, most people combine the essential oil with carrier oil.
There are a few ways to dilute essential oils using carriers. Carrier oils made from nuts, kernels or seeds can provide a safe vehicle for the intense peppermint oil. Almond, coconut and jojoba are ideal. By diluting with carrier oil, your homemade blend will spread easier on pressure points and other areas of the skin where you want to get the benefits of the peppermint oil. You can also cover a larger surface area more efficiently.
Carrier lotions also provide a solution for diluting peppermint oil. A carrier stick made with a base of beeswax is also a convenient medium for topical essential oils. Simply swipe and add drops of oil on top for a soothing application.
The First Formula
Most adults can handle a 2 percent dilution. A good foundation when you are just starting out with diluting peppermint oil is to dilute 1, 2 or 3 percent. This 1 percent dilution amounts to 2 teaspoons of carrier oil and three drops of essential oil. You can adjust that to your liking. Recommended dilution levels for essential oils for children 2 to 6 years old is 1 percent, for ages 6 to 15 it is 1.5 percent and 16 and older is 2.5 percent. You should test children under 2 and infants before applying any dilution of essential oils. Elderly users may want to stick with the foundation dilution of 1 percent.
For a large batch, add 12 drops of peppermint oil to 1 fluid ounce of carrier oil. This 2 percent dilution is approximately based on the size of the dropper and the person using it, so always test the solution before a large application.
It can be overwhelming to delve into essential oils, but the benefits are worth it. Take it slow, learn as you go and enjoy the process.
Kimberley McGee has written for national and regional publications, including People magazine, the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal and more. The award-winning journalist has covered home decor, celebrity renovations, and sat down with reality HGTV stars to discuss the latest trends.