Essential Oil Safety: 8 Simple Tips
Pure Essential oils are wonderfully powerful and are simply amazing!! They can be used to boost your mood, support your body systems, and assist in overall wellness.
I like to call them “Nature’s Remedy” and have found them to be so excellent in keeping myself and my family happy, healthy, and well.
BUT……natures remedies can be harmful if used improperly. With any good thing, there are always risks. So be smart and stay safe. Here are 8 simple tips to help you out!!
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1) Read the essential oil bottle label closely for directions and dilution requirements.
Every essential oil company is going to have different labeling practices. I am most familiar with the labeling found on Young Living Essential Oil bottles, as this is the oil brand I prefer. In my opinion, reliable essential oil companies will tell you exactly what is in the bottle you have purchased.
Does it include a carrier oil?
Can it be used topically?
Can it be ingested?
Do you need to dilute the oil prior to using or is it pre-diluted?
If a carrier oil is needed, how many drops per drop of oil?
These instructions should be clearly written on your essential oil bottles and I recommend that you follow them closely. The directions are there for a reason and that is your safety!!
Keep in mind, a bottle that says 100% pure essential oil does not mean that it is not diluted with another substance (most likely a carrier oil). So, if you have allergies to certain substances be certain to read the full label.
2) Use a carrier oil to dilute for topical use.
As you can see from the image above, not all essential oils REQUIRE using a carrier oil. Regardless, I do recommend it….especially if you are new to essential oils or have sensitive skin.
Carrier oils are vegetable oils that can be used to dilute essential oils and “carry” them on your skin. Olive oil, grapeseed oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, argan oil, jojoba oil, and sweet almond oil, are some of the many excellent carrier oils available.
Do not use petroleum-based products, such as Mineral Oil or Vaseline. These products are not of natural botanical origin and are not suitable to help carry essential oils for topical use.
To use a carrier oil….
You can simply use a carrier stick as above to use essential oils on your skin.To buy a carrier stick like the one pictured, go to www.carrierstick.com
This carrier stick is made in the USA and has 100% natural ingredients using…
- Shea Butter
- Coconut Oil
- Sweet Almond Oil
- Vitamin E Oil
I also like to put my essential oils into a roller bottle using 3 simple steps. The directions are here: ESSENTIAL OIL ROLLER BOTTLE BLENDS IN 3 SIMPLE STEPS
Another option is to simply put a scoop of coconut oil in your palm or a small jar and add essential oils, just before applying to your skin. or….you can mix to make a lotion.
3) Start low and go slow when new to essential oils.
Essential oils are VERY potent! Especially, the oils that are 100% pure without dilutants or additives. When new to an essential oil, I recommend starting with small amounts of oil (1-2 drops) and diffusing for short time spans (10 minutes up to 2-3 times a day). You can build the frequency of use and concentration of drops as you become more exposed.
If skin discomfort or irritation occurs, stop using the essential oil and add a plain carrier oil to the affected area. If a rash occurs, this may be a sign of detoxification. Some oils can cause detox symptoms including skin sensitivity and headache when taken in excess.
If you experience these symptoms, drink adequate water to encourage the release and removal of body toxins. Toxins present in petrochemical-based soaps and skin care products, detergents, and perfumes may trigger some of the detoxification reactions.
4) Do your research before ingesting essential oils.
This is a topic of much controversy. If you choose to ingest essential oils, BE CERTAIN that you know the company and their products level of oil purity. It’s up to you as the consumer to do the research.
Young Living does produce a line of dietary oils called Vitality Essential Oils. These oils are labeled and bottled for dietary use. They may be used for cooking, adding to water, or may be placed in capsules to take as a supplement.
Note: If adding essential oils to water, do NOT use a styrofoam or plastic container….only glass or metal. This is because the essential oils are detoxifying and will pull the toxins from the plastic into the water you’re drinking. YUCK!
If you have an essential oil bottle with a label that has directions for use saying “Do Not Ingest”, don’t ingest it. It’s as simple as that!
For more information, you can look at the list of consumable essential oils released by the FDA in Title 21 Part 182.
5) Take extra precautions with infants, toddlers, and young children.
A babies skin and respiratory system are much more delicate and sensitive than ours. They are more likely to be very sensitive to the potency of oils. Dilute essential oils well for topical use and diffusion. See the dilution recommendation below.
ALWAYS keep them out of reach of children as they are not toys and can be hazardous when used in large quantities. Some essential oils smell like food or candy and may be tempting to little ones, but can be dangerous if drank or splashed on a child in large quantities. Most essential oil bottles are NOT childproof and the cap can be a choking hazard.
Oral use in babies is not recommended and I like to encourage keeping oils away from an infant’s chest, throat, nose, and face.
Never put oils inside the ear. You may use some well-diluted oil behind the ear if desired.
For babies, I do not recommend putting oils in their bath water. Their skin already has greater absorption rate than ours and warm water will further open pores and increase absorption that MUCH more. If you choose to do this, I would stick to only 1 – 2 drops at most in a tub of water.
Start low and go slow. Limit exposure and gradually increase as the child becomes older and has had prior exposure. Use a test spot of diluted oil before using the diluted oil as a massage oil for your baby.
Ages 0-1: Dilute to 1/8 the labeled concentration
Ages 2-6: Dilute to 1/4 the labeled concentration
Ages 7-11: Dilute to 1/2 the labeled concentration
Ages 12+: Use concentration as recommended on the bottle
To read more about this subject and for a listing of safe oils for young children read Essential Oils in the Nursery.
I strongly recommend this easy to read book written by Debra Raybern – Gentle Babies: Essential Oils and Natural Remedies for Pregnancy, Childbirth, Infants, and Young Children.
6) Take extra caution when using essential oils with/around your pets.
Before applying oils to your pets, be sure to wear or diffuse the oils around them first to acclimate them to the essential oil. Always let your pet leave the room (if they choose) when an oil is being diffused by providing an easy exit for them.
Start with small amounts of essential oils and use them in moderation while observing your pet’s response prior to applying topically to your pet. Do NOT put essential oils in your pet’s ears or eyes.
- Avoid Tea Tree and citrus oils. These oils can be dangerous to cats as they are not metabolized well and can be poisonous.
- May use oils on their paws or back of neck
- Dilute as you would for small children
- Dilute by 75%. The smaller the dog the more dilution is necessary.
- Avoid topical use on puppies
- Apply to paws, behind ears, or back of neck
- Do not put in tank water
- Do not diffuse directly over an open tank
- Use EXTREME caution
- Measure drops with toothpicks and dilute oils well
- Do not diffuse near birds
- Avoid Tea Tree and citrus oils as they can be toxic to reptiles
- Dilute with coconut oil
- Keep application area small
- Measure with a toothpick and dilute oils well
- Do not diffuse near reptiles
- Mix with a dash of salt and water to make a spray to apply topically
- Little to no oil dilution is necessary
- May use oils more generously than with smaller pets.
For more information on the use of essential oils with animals, I recommend “The Animal Desk Reference: Essential Oils for Animals”
7) Avoid using citrus oils prior to being in the sun.
Orange, lemon, grapefruit, and tangerine oils are examples of citrus oils. This group of essential oils are known to increase the sensitivity of the skin to UV rays. This may lead to severe sunburn if an oil wearer spends time outdoors after wearing citrus oils. So…..keep citrus oils where the sun doesn’t shine or….stay out of the sun for at least 24 hours after wearing.
8) Avoid using essential oils in your eyes or ears.
If you get essential oils in your eyes, you can pour milk over your eyes to irrigate or wipe the eye with a carrier oil (ie- coconut or olive oils). Don’t irrigate with water as it can worsen the irritation.
Also….be careful to not rub your eyes after touching essential oils. It will not cause permanent damage, but will be uncomfortable!!
Do not put essential oils directly in your ear as it may damage your tympanic membrane. You can put a drop on a cotton ball and place in your ear canal, but do so with caution. Putting diluted oils behind the ear or earlobe is safe and effective.
To learn more about Young Living, my favorite essential oils, or to get your own starter kit for wholesale pricing, see the links below….
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