Essential Oil Safety Tips

January 03, 2015

Essential oils are wonderful powerful gifts from nature that are usually much more potent and concentrated than one would expect. Whether you're diffusing, inhaling or applying oils topically, it is important to use these oils intelligently in order to prevent misuse and to maximize healing benefits. Some oils have the potential to cause minor irritations or discomfort so safety and knowledge is a must! Here are a few safety tips to help you get started:

It is important to acknowledge that an essential oil that is safe when applied in one way may not necessarily be safe when applied in another way; some oils are considered okay when inhaled or diffused but may be highly irritating when applied to the skin. For example, certain citrus oils that smell heavenly can actually cause severe burns when exposed to natural sunlight or sun-bed radiation following application to the skin. (These include lemon, bergamot, orange, lime and angelica) Take the time to educate yourself on the specific oils you intend on using: Should they be diluted? If yes, then by how much? Are they safe to use around children or women who are nursing? Are they alright to take internally? Are they dangerous to use around those with high blood pressure?

Keeping essential oils away from children is absolutely necessary! Keep bottles closed tightly and out of reach for little ones. In the case of accidental ingestion, you should immediately dilute the oils by encouraging your child to drink milk, yogurt, cream or honey (or any non-dairy equivalents such as soy milk) and seek medical attention or call poison control. If essential oils get splashed into the eyes, immediately dab the area with tissue soaked in vegetable or carrier oil. This is also useful if your skin becomes irritated from exposure to certain essential oils. For these reasons alone it is always helpful to have vegetable or carrier oils nearby when handling essential oils. Whatever you do, do not flush eyes or skin with water! Water will only cause the oil to spread and will increase skin and eye irritation.

If you intend on applying essential oils to your skin, it is always best to perform a skin patch test. This is especially useful  for those with allergies or known sensitivities. Ensure you are using only therapeutic grade essential oils and oil blends and never apply undiluted oils to mucus membranes or to areas of the body that are raw, hot or tender. Exercise caution with essential oils if you are pregnant and be aware that certain oils are not recommended for use on children or babies. It is important not to self-diagnose or prescribe essential oils when dealing with serious or severe health conditions. When in doubt, always consult a healthcare provider.

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