While essential oils are wonderful, therapeutic and versatile substances, they are very potent and need to be handled with care. Here are some practical tips on how to safely handle and use essential oils:
-Always read and follow all label warnings and cautions.
-Keep oils tightly closed and out of the reach of children.
-Always use a vegetable or carrier oil when applying essential oils directly to the skin. The only oils that can sometimes be safely applied neat (undiluted) include lavender and tea tree essential oils.
-Skin test oils before using. Do this by diluting a small amount and applying it to the skin on your inner arm. If redness, burning, itching, or irritation occurs, stop using the oil immediately.
-Here is a simple test to check for suspected allergies or sensitivity: First, rub a drop of carrier oil onto the upper chest. In 12 hours, check for redness or other skin irritation. If the skin remains clear, place 1 drop of selected essential oil in 15 drops of the same carrier oil, and again rub into the upper chest. If no skin reaction appears after 12 hours, it’s probably safe to use the carrier and essential oil.
-Keep essential oils away from eyes and all mucous membranes. If an essential oil gets into the eyes, immediately flush with large quantity of milk and seek medical advice. If an essential oil is ingested, rinse mouth out with milk, and then drink a large glass of milk. Seek medical advice immediately.
-If essential oils are splashed onto skin and irritation results, apply carrier oil to the area to dilute.
–Avoid use of these oils during pregnancy: Bitter Almond, Basil, Clary Sage, Clove, Hyssop, Fennel, Juniper, Marjoram, Myrrh, Peppermint, Rose, Rosemary, Sage, Thyme, and Wintergreen.
–These oils may cause irritation to the skin: Allspice, Bitter Almond, Basil, Cinnamon, Clove, Fennel, Fir Needle, Lemon, Lemongrass, Melissa, Peppermint, and Wintergreen.
-Angelica and all citrus oils make the skin more sensitive to ultraviolet light. After applying citrus oils to the skin, avoid exposure to sunlight, since the oils may burn the skin.
-Fennel, Hyssop, Sage, and Rosemary should not be used by anyone with epilepsy.
-People with high blood pressure should avoid Hyssop, Rosemary, Sage, and Thyme.
-Use caution when using essential oils near furniture. It is possible some essential oils will remove the finish. It’s best to be careful when handling the bottles.
-Most perfume oils are synthetic and do not offer the therapeutic benefits essential oils do. Even if you only intend on using aromatherapy in your lifestyle for the sheer enjoyment of the aroma, sometimes perfume oils can be harmful.
-It is also helpful to note the country of origin for the oil. Most good essential oil sellers will readily supply the botanical names and country of origin for the oils that they sell. When comparing one company’s oils with another’s also pay attention to if either company’s oils are organic, wild-crafted, or ethically farmed.
-Be selective of where you purchase your essential oils. The quality of essential oils varies widely from company to company. Additionally, some companies may falsely claim that their oils are undiluted or pure when they aren’t.