I have a healthy respect for the power of essential oils. If I believe that they can have healing properties, then I also believe the pendulum can swing the other way and there can be negative side effects. We have all met someone who uses essential oils without abandon. You may have seen recipes appear on social media with very large amounts of oils in a recipe. So, how do you know if you are using them in a safe manner for you and your family?
Here are a few guidelines I like to follow:
- Dilute. When in doubt, add the oil or mixture of oils to a carrier oil to dilute the recipe. Less is more when it comes to essentials oils. You can always apply the diluted oil more frequently than use a large dose one time.
- Test an oil on a small patch of skin before applying to a large area to see if you are sensitive to that oil or blend. This is really true of all new products we use on our body, but definitely when it comes to essential oils.
- If you have applied a citrus oil to your skin, avoid sunlight for at least 12 hours. There is an increased risk of photosensitization when UV radiation meets with the furocoumarins in the oil. This could lead to the darkening of the skin or irritation like a sunburn.
- Make sure to diffuse essential oils in a well-ventilated space.
- Never use essential oils on eyes, inside the ears, or inside the nose.
- Some oils are “warm” oils creating a heat like sensation on the skin and should be diluted before use. Examples of these are Cinnamon, Oregano, Cassia, Birch, Clove, Eucalyptus, Ginger, Lemongrass, Peppermint, Thyme, and Wintergreen.
- Always properly store your essential oils. Avoid keeping your oils in extreme temperatures, direct sunlight, and prolonged exposure to air and moisture as this can change the chemical makeup of the oil.
- If you have critical health conditions, always consult your physician before adding essential oils and supplements into your daily life. Many practitioners are becoming well educated in integrative health options. If your practitioner does not seem to be knowledgeable about these topics, don’t be afraid to take in research articles and show them why you want to add these products into your daily life. You have a say in your health and wellness, be your own advocate.
Babies and Children
- Dilute. Dilute. Dilute. Children have more sensitive skin than adults. And like I said earlier, less oil used more often can be more beneficial than one big dose. Use a dilution rate of 0.5% essential to carrier oil for children. This is where a rollerball becomes your most convenient option because you can mix up recipes, dilute them with a carrier oil in a rollerball, and apply quickly when the need arises. Test on a small patch of skin first before applying to a larger area.
- Diffusing is an easy way for children to get the benefits of essential oils without the child ever having to slow down or stop to have them applied. You can tell I have constantly on the move toddler! 2-3 drops of an oil in a diffuser running for 6-10 hours is a safe amount of aromatherapy for children.
- When in doubt, ask your pediatrician.
Do you have specific questions about using essential oils safely? Send me a message. I’m happy to send you resources or answer any questions I can about oil safety.