Essential Oil Uses and Safety
Essential oils are very powerful tools, they have the ability to assist us with our health but also require respect and care. Please use caution and good judgement when using oils on or with your family and friends. If you read one drop is recommended in a recipe, please do not use 10. In most cases dilution with a carrier oil is recommended.
Ways to use oils:
- Inhalation/ Diffuse- using a diffuser with cool water mist this is a wonderful way to use oils. Steam Inhalation is also a great tool for using oils and soothing mucus membranes and skin. Little personal inhalers are talked about quite a bit on my site and social media. They are so handy to take your favorite oils with you on the go and use them in places where topical application may not be allowed or to use in situations where inhalation is the best course of application.
- Topical - using oils topically is great for many things. However, your skin may be extremely sensitive and we recommend using oils diluted. I also recommend spot testing any new oil that someone may have a reaction to. This does occur occasionally and we want to reduce the reaction to our skin. Safe oiling is always the goal.
- Ingestion- Some people and aromatherapy methods recommend ingestion. If you do decide to ingest oils please be certain of their quality, pay close attention to dilution recommendations and follow advice from a reliable source, MD, ND, Chiropractor, or Certified Clinical Aromatherapist who has been specifically trained in aromatic medicine. Being cautious as some oils can cause esophageal burns and irritation to the stomach as well as liver toxicity.
The Most Common Essential Oil Safety Mistakes:
Keep a ‘carrier oil’ or even grab your coconut or avocado oil from your kitchen and keep nearby to wipe off essential oils, if needed, in case you accidentally get "neat" oil (undiluted essential oil) on you. You can apply the carrier oil to a cotton ball or tissue then apply to the area to dilute and remove the oil.
Keep essential oils away from the eye area. Never rub your eyes or handle contact lenses with essential oils on your fingers. If you get a splash of oil in your eye, dab your eye with a cotton ball or tissue that has carrier oil on it immediately. This will dilute the oil and reduce risk of injury to the eye itself. Don’t splash the eyes with water or splash water into them. That will be a natural reaction, but essential oils are not water soluble, adding water actually spreads the oils and can make it worse.
One of the most important rules for essential oil safety: Test an essential oil on the skin before topical use. Everyone is different and has a unique chemistry. Oils are similar to foods, in that some oils affect people differently.
You can test oils by doing a small patch test, applying a small amount the diluted oil on the skin, inside of elbow or other area works well. Always test a new oil and especially of those with known sensitivities. Wait approximately 15 minutes to see if there’s a reaction. Always ask about allergies before applying essential oils to other persons.. If the person you’re testing is unusually prone to allergies or unusually sensitive, wait longer than 10-15 minutes, maybe up to 30. Testing allows you to see how their body will respond before using more of a specific oil.
Other Safety Guidelines:
1. I recommend you only use essential oils that are not adulterated, meaning they have not had any synthetic or potentially harmful ingredients added to them. This is extremely important regarding essential oil safety as we don't know what they may have added in it could be potentially harmful for us, we could become ill or have undesired effects. In many cases essential oils are "cut" with various petrol chemicals to extend the amount of oil companies can sell. Before applying it to your skin, know the company you are buying from is ethical in their sourcing and selling. Do your research. Many oils unfortunately have been "adulterated" and contain synthetic chemicals that can be dangerous and toxic.
2. We recommend diluting all oils for topical use but some must be diluted as their chemical structure lends to their being extremely skin irritating. If the oil is high in Phenols, Citrals and Aldehydes, such as Thyme, Oregano, Clove, Savory, Lemongrass and Cinnamon Bark, a reaction can likely happen. I also recommend dilution for the simple fact you may not need that much oil to get the desired effect so why waste these precious oils. My recommendation is to always start slow, you can always add more essential oils to your blend if needed.
3. Use a dispersing agent (whole milk, Jojoba, or a bath gel base) when adding essential oils to bath water. They can injure or burn the skin if a dispersing agent is not used. Essential oils and water don't "mix" the oils will stay on the top of the water and could cause a skin reaction.
4. Do not apply undiluted or ‘neat’ essential oils to parts of the body that are hot, dry, or tender, mucous membranes, eyes or to genitalia. Use a compress that has been soaked in cold water filled with dispersed essential oils, always use safe dilution to use oils topically.
Resources for information: