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essential oil safety

Updated: Oct 29, 2022

Essential oils are very safe and easy to use.

However, it is important to remember that pure essential oils are highly concentrated plant extracts and should be used with reasonable care.

It is beneficial to have an understanding of the characteristics of various oils and necessary precautions:


For those with sensitive skin or prone to irritation, a skin test can help prevent an unwanted reaction. Place a small amount of carrier oil such as coconut or olive oil, followed by a small amount of the essential oil on the inside of the elbow, the underside of the forearm, or wrist. After approximately 1 hour, check the area(s) for any type of reaction. If an essential oil irritates, further diluting the oil with a carrier, or applying a carrier first, then followed by the essential oil will usually make the oil comfortably usable.

Most users will not react to quality, pure oils, and they can be safely applied for a direct powerful effect.

Never apply oils directly to the eyes or ear canal.

After application, avoid rubbing the eyes, around the eyelids, handling contact lenses, or touching the interior of one's nose. The skin around the genitals and mucous membrane areas are also sensitive and prone to irritation.

Dilute with oil, not water.

If you happen to get an essential oil somewhere you did not intend, or experience discomfort when applying it to your skin, please use a carrier oil or pure vegetable oil to rinse or dilute the area. Using water will increase the discomfort.

Use a carrier oil with babies, children, and those with sensitive skin.

Care should be used with babies, children, and the elderly. Their skin is more sensitive and susceptible to irritation or stinging sensations. Use carrier oil to protect this sensitive skin against irritation. When applying oils to babies & children, ensure they will not accidentally get the oils in their eyes or mouth (bottoms of the feet and then covered with socks, or along the spine are good locations).

“Warm oils”.

Some oils, such as cinnamon, thyme, oregano, cassia, and clove, can feel very warm or even hot on the skin and therefore should be diluted with a carrier oil when used

topically, even on adults. Peppermint is a cooling oil but is another oil you may want to dilute.

Internal Use.

While most essential oils on the market should not be taken internally (and this warning is usually on the label), certified pure oils are labeled as dietary supplements and are safe for internal use, in small quantities. Mild oils may be taken under the tongue or in water, hot oils should be placed in capsules. Many oils may be used in cooking recipes for flavoring and/or therapeutic benefit.

Pregnancy & Nursing.

While oils applied topically at ordinary levels should not be harmful, please use caution with essential oils during pregnancy. Popular oils generally considered safe to use during pregnancy include. bergamot, ginger, geranium, lavender, lemon, sandalwood, wild orange, and ylang ylang, however, other oils may also be suitable; consult your healthcare provider if you have questions or concerns. Additional oils may be helpful during and after delivery. Internal use of peppermint can reduce milk supply in some mothers, so you may want to avoid it before delivery and while nursing.

Critical health conditions.

Persons with critical health conditions can benefit from essential oils but may want to consult a healthcare professional. In general, those with epilepsy should be cautious or avoid: fennel, basil, birch, and digestive blend; those with high blood pressure should be cautious or avoid thyme and rosemary.

A little goes a long way.

Essential oils are pure concentrates. The higher quality of the oil, the more potent it will be and smaller amounts are required. One or two drops is considered a dose. Less oil, more often, is best. Unlike synthetic medications, you do not need to wait 4 hours before using oil again. Apply the oil; if there is still discomfort, apply more again in a few minutes.

Essential oil and bathwater.

One common application method is in a bath. When using undiluted oil in bathwater, use a dispersing gel (bath/shower gel can work) or Epsom salts to prevent oil from pooling as a concentrated drop in the water. Also, note that oils will evaporate quickly in very hot water.

Many oils are flammable. Keep them clear of open flame, spark, or fire hazards.

Photosensitive Essential Oils

Photosensitive oils, primarily citrus oils, react to radiant energy or light such as natural sunlight, sunlamps, or other sources of UV rays.

To avoid issues with photosensitive oils, wait a minimum of six hours before exposing skin where you have applied citrus oils to UV rays/sunshine.

Photosensitization is the process in which ultraviolet (UV) radiation combines with a particular substance and causes chemical or biological changes. Citrus oils contain constituents that can cause photosensitization of the skin.

If exposed to sunlight (which gives off UV radiation) after topical application of a photosensitive oil, the skin may become temporarily darkly pigmented, red, or irritated. More extreme exposure may cause hives or burns!

I know summertime is all about the citrus smells, but please avoid using the following oils topically where UV sun exposure can occur. Diffusing is a great option or applying under clothing!


Arise AromaTouch Beautiful Bergamot Brave Breathe Cheer

Citrus Bliss Citrus Bloom Clementine Cumin Elevation Forgive Grapefruit InTune Island Mist Kumquat Lemon

Lime Motivate

On Guard


Red Mandarin Slim & Sassy Sunny Citrus Tangerine Thinker

Wild Orange White Grapefruit Yellow Mandarin Zendocrine


Storing essential oils properly also plays a major role in ensuring that essential oils maintain their efficacy and beneficial properties over time.

Below are some guidelines that should be implemented when storing essential oils:

• Store the essential oil in room-temperature conditions and avoid exposure to

extreme temperatures (leaving oils in the car during the summer, on window sills,


• Avoid exposing the oils to direct sunlight or other sources of UV rays.

• Prevent prolonged exposure to oxygen which can cause oxidation of the oil over

time (leaving the cap unscrewed, etc.).

• Tightly secure the caps after each use (prevents the oil from evaporating and

decreases exposure to oxygen).


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This information is not presented by a medical practitioner and is for educational and informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualied healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read.

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