Essential oils are amazing and give us so many benefits. But there are a few important safety tips to know when using essential oils;
- Essential oils are highly concentrated and must always be diluted before use either with a carrier oil or some other suitable medium
- Never use essential oils directly on your skin or anywhere else
- Avoid contact with eyes, these oils can really sting
- Don’t take oils internally, all our oils are for external use only
- Most essential oils are not recommended for use during pregnancy and breastfeeding. If you are in doubt, consult a health practitioner
- We don’t recommend using essential oils on babies or young children, apart from a few oils such as lavender or chamomile, but only in very dilute forms
- Never allow children to use essential oils directly and always use under adult supervision
- Do not use essential oils on animals, they have a totally different reaction to oils than humans
- Some oils can cause a sensitive or allergic reaction in some people, read more about essential oil allergies below
- Always discontinue using an oil if you have any sensitive or allergic reaction to it
- When adding essential oil to your bath, only add a few drops and agitate the water to make sure that the drops are thoroughly mixed in. Bear in mind that essential oils do not naturally mix with water so you must ensure that you mix well
- Essential oils are not recommended if you suffer from epilepsy or diabetes
- Less is More. Due to their high concentration, you may only need to use a drop or two of an oil to gain its beneficial effects, using too much can cause a problem rather than a benefit
- Some oils are not suitable for aromatherapy, such as wintergreen, wormwood, pennyroyal, camphor, bitter almond and sassafras
- Never use essential oils near your eyes, mouth, nose, genitals or in your ears
- When diffusing essential oils ensure that you only use a drop or 2 and always in a ventilated area
- Essential oils are flammable so always keep away from fire hazards
Essential Oil First Aid
We get so many mental, physical and emotional benefits from essential oils, but what to do when something doesn’t go according to plan?
Here are some solutions to common essential oil problems.
Essential Oil In Your Eyes
This is probably the most common of essential oil misadventures. When you accidentally get some essential oil in your eyes, it will sting like crazy but won’t actually damage your eye. So, how do you deal with essential oil in your eye?
Essential oils and water don’t mix so washing your eye out with water won’t solve the problem, although it is great afterwards for cooling the sting.
Your first step is to flush out your eye with either milk or cream (I prefer full fat milk) as the fat in the milk or cream will emulsify the oil, mixing with it and allowing it to be washed away. Almond or coconut milk will also work, anything that has cream in is great. Failing milk or cream, you can use any carrier oil including olive oil. This will do the job just as well as milk but feels less pleasant.
I’ve had the opportunity to use this solution many times and it always works within seconds. After the essential oil has been removed you can soothe your eye(s) with a cool damp cloth.
Essential Oil Allergic Reactions
While essential oils are usually used to improve health, they can also cause allergic reactions and/or skin sensitivities. If you are have already used a topical cream or ointment on a particular area then we recommend not using an oil solution on the same area until approximately 24 hours after cream/ointment use. Allergies can take many forms, skin sensitivity, allergic rhinitis or a sinus reaction (similar to hayfever).
Skin Sensitivity & Allergies
Before using any essential oil we always recommend carrying out a patch test beforehand. This is especially important if you are using an oil for the first time or if you are prone to sensitivities. Below is how to do this patch test;
- Combine 1 – 2 drops essential oil in a half teaspoon of carrier oil,
- Apply a few drops of the blend on the inside of your elbow or arm and cover with a plaster,
- Wait 24 – 48 hours to see if you have a reaction such as irritation, itchiness, bumps or a rash,
- If there is no reaction after this time, then this oil should be safe for you to use in its proper diluted form.
Contact Dermatitis & Skin Allergies
By far the most common skin allergy to essential oils is contact dermatitis. Contact dermatitis is an allergic reaction or sensitivity to something that comes in direct contact with your skin. This reaction results in a rash that is usually red and itchy and commonly occurs if using undiluted oils on your skin or if the blend is too strong.
Contact dermatitis from essential oils may cause the following symptoms;
- Skin itching or irritation
- Scaling or flaking skin
- Dry and/or thickened skin
If you get any of the above symptoms after using an essential oil;
- Stop using the oil immediately
- Wash the area gently with warm water
- Apply a cool cloth or compress to soothe
- You may wish to apply an emollient such as vaseline, petroleum jelly, lanolin or liquid paraffin.
This type of skin sensitivity usually clears when use of the irritant has ceased. If you are in any doubt, contact your healthcare provider for advice.
Those with allergic rhinitis (nasal allergies) should use some caution when diffusing essential oils. Those who suffer from hayfever or pollen allergies are more likely to have an allergic reaction when breathing in diffuser mist. Essential oils are the pure distilled essence of plants (trees, flowers, herbs) and if you are allergic to the plant then you may also be allergic to the oil.
Essential Oil Diffusers
Essential oil diffusers are a form of aromatherapy whereby the oil is is diffused with water and misted into the air. If you have an allergy to diffused essential oils, you may experience these symptoms;
- Itchy or watery eyes
- Nasal itching
- Stuffy or congested nose
- Post nasal drip
- Throat mucus
Sometimes essential oils may cause the above symptoms even if you don’t already have an allergy. This is because strong odours/smells can sometimes irritate the nasal passages. This allergy may be down to a particular oil or it may be diffused oils in general. If in any doubt, cease use. If the symptoms are more severe or last more than a few days then you may need to consult your healthcare practitioner.
If you experience an allergic reaction to essential oil or any other substance and you feel that the symptoms are worsening or becoming severe then we recommend that you immediately consult your healthcare practitioner or seek medical help.
If you have any input please feel free to comment below or contact us with queries.
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