Essential Oils are a wonderful addition to your life and have many health benefits but you will need to use them with caution. They are very concentrated which makes them powerful substances and can become dangerous when they are not used properly. Essential oils are 50 to 100 times more powerful than the plant itself. This is why it is very important to remember is when it comes to the amount of essential oils you are using, less is more. With this in mind, you will avoid many of the problems that people experience when they too much such as skin irritation.
Consult Your Physician
If you plan to become pregnant, are pregnant or nursing, have a disease or medical condition or using prescription medications you need to consult your physician or healthcare professional before using essential oils.
Keep Away From Children
Always have your essential oils stored in a safe place away from the kiddos. Place them on the top shelf of a closet or lock them up in a cabinet. Whatever safe place works for you and your family. If you are storing them in the refrigerator then keep them in a storage case that has a lock on it or put one on yourself. If there is a 2-way zipper closure and the pulls have a wide enough opening you can get a small luggage lock to use.
Most essential oils do not have child-proof caps on them. This means that a toddler can easily unscrew the caps and ingest them. Unfortunately, this has happened. Avoid any unnecessary trips to the emergency room and lock them up!
If your child has swallowed any essential oils rinse their mouth out with water and immediately call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222 or call 911.
Patch Test First
Never use essential oils “neat” or directly on your skin. Always dilute with a carrier oil and do a patch test on your arm to make sure you don’t have an allergic reaction to it. To make a 1% dilution mixture add one drop of essential oil to 1 teaspoon of carrier oil and mix together. Rub a 1-2 drops of this mixture on your forearm and wait 24 hours to see how your skin reacts. If you are going to have an allergic reaction it will usually happen within 5 to 10 minutes of application.
Redness and/or itching
Burning sensation or pain
Hives or tiny blisters
If you have any of these symptoms gently wash that area with soap (unscented if you have it) and water continuously. Next, pat dry with a clean towel and let your skin air out and apply a small amount of carrier oil to the affected area. Take an antihistamine to help reduce itching. If the irritation continues and does not subside then seek medical attention.
Never Use Them On Your…….
There are certain areas on your body you should never use essential oils. Avoid using them on your eyes, ears, genitals, and mucous membranes.
Always wash your hands after handling essential oils. You risk the chance of getting it in your eye which can burn and could cause damage. If you accidentally do get some in your eye you need to rinse your eye with water continuously at least 15 minutes. You don’t want the oil to sit on your eye for any length of time so the first thing to do is flush your eye with water. Contact lenses should be taken out after 5 minutes of flushing your eyes. If your eye is still irritated then take a cotton cloth and saturate it with a vegetable oil (carrier oil
) such as fractionated coconut oil or olive oil and gently wipe it over the closed eyelid. Another option would be to add a drop of vegetable oil in the affected eye.
DO NOT Just Drop Them In Your Bath Water
When using them in the bath never add drops of essential oils in the water. Water and oil do not mix and it will just lay on top of the water. This could cause major irritation and/or burning sensation to places on your body the oil attaches to and it’s usually the sensitive areas. Ouch! Don’t make that mistake!!
You will need to mix the essential oils with a carrier oil first and then use that mixture in the bath. In a container of your choice, add 2 Tablespoons of fractionated coconut oil and 3 to 5 drops of essential oil. Mix together well and add it to your bath water.
Ingesting Essential Oils
There are a lot of mixed feelings and strong opinions on this subject. Do not ingest essential oils until you consult with your physician or a qualified practitioner. Most essential oils are not meant to be ingested. While the oils do have medicinal benefits, remember they are also very concentrated.
Inhalation and Diffusing
When you are diffusing essential oils you should not do it continuously all day long. It is more effective and safer using it intermittently. If your diffuser
has an intermittent mode or a timer you can set, then use that option. If it does not then diffuse your essential oils for 30 minutes then turn it off for 30 minutes to one hour and you can do this throughout the day.
Anyone that suffers from allergies, asthma or sensitive to fragrances, diffusing essential oils might cause a respiratory reaction, coughing, dizziness, headache, or nausea. If you experience any of these symptoms you need to immediately turn off the diffuser and step outside to get some fresh air. After the symptoms have subsided then make sure you open the windows and air out the room or rooms the diffuser was in and discard what is left in the diffuser as well.
Again, remember the “less is more” rule and only use 2 or 3 drops in the diffuser. You can always add more drops later if it is not strong enough.
Babies and Children
You should always check with your child’s physician first before using essential oils on them or even using the diffuser around them. Be very careful when using essential oils on your children no matter what age they are.
Always dilute the oils with a carrier oil
with the lowest dilution rate of 0.1% which is best for topical application for babies. Don’t forget to do the patch test using the 0.1% dilution rate first!! Add 1 drop of essential oil to 1 ounce (30 ml) of carrier oil and mix well. See the chart below for more dilution information.
***1% Dilution rate can be used for long term or daily use for children ages 4+.
***2 -5% Dilution rate can be used for short term use and a small area.
Remember, it is also important to wash your hands after immediately after handling essential oils. You don’t want to risk getting any on your baby that might cause skin and/or eye irritation.
There are a few essential oils that you can use during pregnancy. For example, sweet orange essential oil can help with symptoms of nausea from morning sickness but it is especially important that you consult with your physician before using essential oils.
Stay Out Of Direct Sunlight!
Photosensitivity is an issue when using certain essential oils. Avoid direct sunlight or UV rays (this includes tanning beds) for at least 24 after using them on your skin. The following list of essential oils are considered phototoxic:
Angelica Root (Angelica archangelica)
Bergamot (Citrus bergamia) – cold pressed
(unless it states that it is bergaptene/furanocoumarin free)**
Bitter Orange (Citrus aurantium) – cold pressed
Cumin (Cuminum cyminum)
Grapefruit (Citrus x paradisi) – cold pressed**
Lemon (Citrus x limon) – cold pressed**
Lime (Citrus x aurantifolia) – cold pressed**
Rue (Ruta graveolens)
**If these essential oils are steam distilled they are not considered photosensitive.
If you are prone to allergies, have any skin conditions or just plain ole have sensitive skin then you need to use a very low dilution rate when using them topically. Another option would be to avoid using them altogether.
Anise Seed (pimpinella anisum)
Bay (Laurel Leaf) (Laurus nobilis)
Cassia (Cinnamomum cassia)
Catnip (Nepeta cataria)
Cilantro (Coriandrum sativum)
Cinnamon bark and Leaf (Cinnamomum verum)
Clove (Syzygium aromaticum)
Cumin (Cuminum cyminum)
Lemongrass (Cymbopogon flexuosus)
Oregano (Origanum vulgare)
Sweet Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)
Spearmint (Mentha spicata)
Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)
Ylang Ylang Complete and extra (Cananga odorata)
This is a list of essential oils that are known to cause skin irritation on the most sensitive skin. There could be other oils that are prone to sensitization as well. With that said, doing your own research is the best way to find out what essential oils are going to be the right choice for you. Also, remember to read the labels on the bottles and dilute the essential oils properly.
Keep those essential oils out of reach from your fur babies! They need to be stored away in an area that they can not jump up and grab them. Top shelf in a closet or cabinet where you can close it or even lock it up. If they ingest any of the oils it could be fatal.
Symptoms of toxicity include:
Seek veterinarian assistance immediately if you think your pet has ingested any essential oils and/or have any of these symptoms.
There are a few essential oils that you can use on or around your dogs. To make your search for “dog safe” essential oils easier, Plant Therapy has a Man’s Best Friend essential oils set
specifically for dogs. This set comes with instructions and will explain dilution rates and how to diffuse the oils around them too.
Cats will be limited with essential oil use. They have a sensitive metabolic system and their liver and kidneys do not breakdown certain substances due to lack of enzymes. This also includes pets such as birds, gerbils, hamsters, rabbits, fish, and reptiles.
Every animal has sensitivities to certain oils so you need to be aware of what essential oils can be used. Do not use any essential oils on them and you shouldn’t diffuse any around them either until you speak to a veterinarian. However, you can use a personal inhaler so you can still enjoy your favorite essential oils without the worry of possible sensitivities or allergic reaction your pet might have.
Essential oils are volatile substances which makes them flammable so you need to take care when are using them and where you are using them too. Never keep any essential oils near an open flame such as a candle or gas stove.
Essential oils, when they are used properly, can enhance our lives in many ways. The risks involved vary from person to person which is why it is necessary to do your own research and find out what essential oils are going to work for you. To make the most out of what nature has provided in these oils and to minimize any risks involved it is important to use them as directed. The essential oil company you choose to buy from should have 100% pure essential oils and an aromatherapist on staff so you can easily contact them with any questions you have.