Essential Oil Safety Tips

Safety is essential when it comes to essential oils! Below are a few safety tips that we've gathered along the way.

If you have any concerns, or medical conditions, it is best to consult your doctor before using essential oils. Check out the resources section at the end if you need more information.  

We'll be updating this post periodically when new safety tips come to light.  Do you know of any we should add?  If so, let us know in the comments below.

GENERAL:

  • Use quality essential oils.
  • Don’t ingest essential oils unless you consult a professional.
  • ALWAYS dilute essential oils according to recommended guidelines if you’re going to put them on your skin. 
  • Using essential oils neat may not cause skin problems at first, but can lead to skin sensitization over time.
  • Diluting with water doesn't work because essential oils are hydrophobic. Instead dilute with a carrier oil, or a lotion.
  • Don't put essential oils directly in your bath because of the reason above.  Mix in a carrier oil or salts first.
  • Be careful using topically on seniors with thin or sensitive skin.
  • It is potentially dangerous to put undiluted essential oils on to damaged, diseased, or inflamed skin.
  • Some oils are photosensitizing meaning they can lead to a rash or sunburn if the oils are on skin that’s exposed to the sun.  These are mainly citrus oils.  Oils can take up to 72 hours to wear off.  Don't wear these outside or in a tanning bed.  Refer to this post from the Aromahead Blog for more information 
  • Keep essential oils away from mucous membranes such as your eyes and nose.
  • If you get essential oils in your eyes dilute with milk or a fatty oil (like olive oil) before rinsing out with water.
  • Avoid prolonged use of the same essential oils unless they are being used under the guidance of a qualified health professional.  Sensitization is the concern.
  • Essential oils are flammable, be careful with them around candles, matches, and other flames.
  • Oils can cause stains and remove finish from furniture.
  • There are certain oils that are potentially convulsant.  Don't use these on anyone vulnerable to seizures.  These include, but aren't limited to: Sage, Western Red Cedar, Rosemary, and Lavender.
  • Use essential oils cautiously if pregnant or breastfeeding.  Refer to Tisserand and Young for more information.
  • Consult your doctor before using essential oils while on medication.
  • If you have ANY medical conditions consult your medical doctor before using essential oils, even if you are not currently taking medication.   

CHILDREN:

  • Don’t use essential oils around babies less than 6 months old, unless advised by a licensed practitioner. 
  • Between 6 months and 2 years old, you can start diffusing child safe oils around your kids.  Again, advice from a licensed practitioner is advised.
  • Once children are over 2 years old, you can start using child safe oils topically at the dilution rate recommended for their age.
  • Some of the essential oils that are considered child safe are: lavender, tea tree, lemon, sweet orange, and German chamomile.  For a full list go here.
  • Some of the essential oils that are NOT considered child safe are:
    peppermint, eucalyptus, rosemary, and lemongrass.  For a full list go here.
  • The incidence of essential oil poisoning has risen in children. It’s typically from children under the age of 6 that get into the bottles. 
  • Keep your essential oils in a safe location away from children.  Bottles should have an integral dropper that makes it harder for kids to drink large amounts from the bottle.  A child proof lid is recommended (but is hard to find in the U.S.).
  • If a child appears to have consumed several spoonfuls of essential oil, contact the nearest poison control unit. Keep the bottle for identification and encourage the child to drink whole or 2% milk. Do not try to induce vomiting.
  • Consider using hydrosols instead of essential oils for kids.   
  • Don’t use essential oils if you are breastfeeding or pregnant unless you consult a certified practitioner.

PETS:

  • Store oils safely away from pets.
  • Don't put oils in your pets drinking water.
  • Don't put essential oils directly on the skin or fur of your small pet.
  • Essential oils are NOT GOOD for fish, reptiles, or birds. Don't use essential oils in the same room as these pets.
  • Pets react differently to essential oils than humans do.  If you diffuse essential oils in your home make sure your pets have a place where they can get away from them if they want to.
  • Essential oils can benefit cats, dogs, and horses. Find a holistic vet to advise you on which oils to use, and their dilution rates.
  • Don't use essential oils with puppies under 10 weeks of age.
  • Cats use a different system in their livers to detoxify and are particularly sensitive to essential oils.  Be extra careful using oils around cats.

Note – These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to replace a doctor’s advice in diagnosing, treating, or preventing any disease.

RESOURCES:


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