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Understanding Dermal Limits

Updated: Feb 15, 2023

Dermal limits refer to the maximum amount of a substance that can be applied to the skin without causing irritation or other adverse effects. These limits are established by regulatory agencies and are based on studies of the substance's toxicity and potential for skin irritation. Dermal limits are typically given as the weight or volume of the substance per unit area of skin. For example, the dermal limit for a particular substance may be 0.1 grams per square centimetre. It's important to note that these limits are not set for all the substances, only for certain ones that are known to be toxic or irritant to the skin if used in high concentrations.


When making your own essential oil blends for direct skin application or when creating your own skincare products and mixes, knowing the dermal limits of your chosen essential oil is very important for several reasons:

  1. Safety: Dermal limits are established to ensure that the use of a particular substance on the skin does not pose a significant risk of irritation or other adverse effects. By adhering to these limits, individuals (and companies) can help prevent skin irritation, allergic reactions, and other health issues.

  2. Compliance: Dermal limits are often established by regulatory agencies and are used as a standard for determining whether a product is safe for use. Adhering to these limits ensures companies comply with laws and regulations governing the use of chemicals in personal care and other products. For Essential Oils and other fragrances, the regulatory agency is the International Fragrance Association (IFRA).

  3. Consumer protection: Dermal limits help protect consumers from products that may cause skin irritation or other adverse effects. By adhering to these limits, you can ensure that your products are safe for use and that you and other consumers can trust the safety of the products they purchase from you if you choose to sell your products.

  4. Research: Dermal limits also serve as a guide for researchers to determine the safe limit of usage of a substance on human skin, as well as an indicator of the relative toxicity of a chemical.

Overall, dermal limits are an important tool for ensuring the safety of personal care and other products that are applied to the skin, and for protecting you from potential harm.

Karla Naturals provides information on the dermal limit of each of our essential oils in the product description.



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