Essential Oil Safety
When Using Essential Oils, there are a few things to remember:
- Essential Oils must be properly diluted prior to topical use.
- Essential oils should not: be taken internally due to toxicity and irritation to mucous membranes of the mouth, throat & stomach. It is not recommended to add essential oils to your drinking water.
- It is also not recommended to use essential oils internally to treat vaginal yeast infections.
- Don’t use essential oils for eye issues or add to your mascara.
- If you accidentally get essential oils in your eyes, Health Canada says First wash your hands, then use a carrier oil, like Olive or Grapeseed oil or milk to flush out the eye. If your eyes continue to sting, seek medical attention!
- Keep out of reach of children & away from pets
- Some essential oils can cause drowsiness. Do not drive a car or operate heavy machinery after using a sedating essential oil or blend.
- Know the Latin name, as well as the chem-type of the essential oil that you are using. Depending on the country of origin & the growing conditions, the therapeutic properties & the safety considerations of some oils can be affected, like Rosemary, Basil, Thyme & Hyssop. It’s always important to do your research.
- Do not use essential oils or blends near a heat source or an open flame, as some essential oils are flammable.
Essential Oil Dilutions For Topical Use:
Dilute essential oils & blends in a carrier oil, unscented lotion or gel for topical use
For Children ages 2 & up, the Elderly or Pregnant Women: Use an appropriate essential oil at a .25% – 1% dilution. This would be 1 – 3 drops of essential oil in 30 ml of a carrier oil for a .05% dilution or 6 drops of E.Os in 30 ml of a carrier oil for a 1% dilution
For Children over 10 years old & Adults: Use essential oils at a 1% – 2% dilution for everyday use depending on health & skin sensitivity. this would be 6 drops of Essential Oils in 30 ml of a carrier oil for a 1% dilution (a good dilution for massage oils) & 12 drops of Essential Oils in 30 ml of a carrier oil for a 2% dilution (a good dilution for skin care etc…)
For periodic or short term use, such as muscular, arthritic or migraine pain: Use an appropriate essential oil at a 3% – 4% dilution. This would be 18 drops of Essential Oils in 30 ml of carrier oil for 3% dilution or 24 drops of Essential Oils in 30 ml of carrier oil for a 4% dilution. Use for up to 3 x per day for max. 2 weeks. If skin irritation develops discontinue use. If pain persists you may want to check in with your healthcare provider and a qualified aromatherapist…
For Potent Essential Oils or Blends: Use a .05% – 1% dilution. This would be 3 drops of essential oil in 30 ml of a carrier oil for a .05% dilution or 6 drops of E.Os in 30 ml of carrier oil for a 1% dilution
Essential Oil Contraindications:
Essential oils have different properties, as well as different contraindications. There are some essential oils that you need to avoid & some that need to be used with caution if you take medication or have an underlying medical condition, are pregnant or epileptic. Care must also be taken when blending essential oils for children or the elderly.
This is a short list of some of the contraindications:
- Epilepsy: Avoid Sweet Basil, Sweet Fennel, Hyssop, Rosemary & Sage essential oils.
- Hypertension: (High Blood Pressure) Avoid Hyssop, Rosemary, all types of Sage, Thyme.
- Blood thinners (Warfarin): Avoid Wintergreen, Sweet Birch also Clove Bud, Cinnamon Leaf, Bay Laurel & Ginger.
- Phototoxicity: Avoid the sun & tanning beds or UV rays when using the following essential oils topically.These oils react to exposure to the sun & can cause mild skin coloration, all the way up to a burning of the skin for up to 24 hours after use. These essential oils are Angelica Root, Cumin, Rue, Cinnamon Bark, Verbena, Bergamot, Tangerine, Petitgrain, & expressed Lemon, Lime & Bitter Orange, Expressed or distilled Grapefruit is a slightly lower risk
- Drowsiness: Avoid Chamomile, Sweet Marjoram, Clary Sage & Valerian if you are driving a vehicle.
- Clary Sage should be avoided when drinking alcohol as it can increase the effects. Also, avoid during pregnancy & lactation.
- Aspirin Allergy: avoid Wintergreen & Sweet Birch.
- Pregnancy & Breastfeeding: Do your research before using essential oils in pregnancy. This is a good blog to check out.(Also check with your healthcare professional before use).
- Infants & Young Children (under 6 years of age): Do your research before using essential oils with young children. Some to avoid are Sage, Thyme, Wintergreen, Peppermint, Rosemary & Eucalyptus essential oils.
Please use the references below to fully research the properties of the essential oils that you want to use. Essential oils must be diluted before topical use & shouldn’t be ingested.
This information is for interest only & is not meant to diagnose or replace medical advice.
- Battaglia Salvatore. The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy. 2nd edition, The International Centre of Holistic Aromatherapy, Australia, 2003
- Lawless. Julia. The Encyclopedia of Essential Oils, Thorsons, 2002
- Tisserand, Robert, & Rodney Young, Essential Oil Safety, 2nd Edition, Churchill Livingstone, 2014