Essential oils are safe and easy to use. But here are a few tips to get you starter as you learn the safest way to use them for you and your family! However, no list of do’s and don’ts will ever replace common sense. So, start gradually, and find what works best for you and your family.
Guidelines for Safe Use
1. Always keep a bottle of a pure vegetable oil handy when using essential oils. Vegetable oils dilute essential oils if they cause discomfort or skin irritation (water doesn’t).
2. Keep bottles of essential oils tightly closed and store them in a cool location away from light. If stored properly, essential oils will maintain their potency for many years.
3. Keep essential oils out of reach of children. Treat them as you would any product for therapeutic use.
4. Essential oils rich in menthol should not be used on the throat or neck area of children under 30 months of age.
5. Angelica, bergamot, grapefruit, lemon, orange, tangerine, and other citrus oils are photosensitive and may cause a rash or dark pigmentation on skin exposed to direct sunlight or UV rays within 3 to 4 days after application.
6. Use caution when using essential oils around the eye area, and never put them directly into the eyes or the ear canal. Do not handle contact lenses with essential oils on your fingers, unless you want them damaged. If you accidentally get essential oils in your eyes, don’t try to wash them out with water, instead flush with milk, cream, or a vegetable oil immediately. Water will only spread the oils over a larger surface, possibly exacerbating the problem.
Caution: “Spicy” oils may be painful on mucous membranes unless they are diluted with a carrier oil first. Immediate dilution is strongly recommended if skin becomes irritated. Flushing the area with a vegetable oil should minimize discomfort almost immediately. DO NOT flush with water! Essential oils are oil soluble, not water soluble.
7. Epileptics should use caution with hyssop, fennel, basil, wintergreen/birch, nutmeg, rosemary, peppermint, sage, tarragon, and Idaho tansy oils.
8. Do not add undiluted essential oils directly to bath water. Using Bath Gel or Epsom or sea salts as a base for all oils applied to your bath is an excellent way to disperse the oils into the bath water.
When essential oils are put directly into bath water without a dispersing agent, they can cause discomfort on sensitive skin because the essential oils float, undiluted, on top of the water. [I don’t bother diluting lavender, geranium, or sandalwood in my bath, but I don’t have sensitive skin]
9. Keep essential oils away from open flames, sparks, or electricity. Some essential oils, including orange, fir, pine, and peppermint are potentially flammable.
10. Each person’s body is different, so apply oils to a small area first. Apply one oil or blend at a time. When layering oils that are new to you, allow enough time (3 to 5 minutes) for the body to respond before applying a second oil.
11. Research what you’re using. For instance, make certain you are using a pure, therapeutic grade essential oil.
12. Be careful not to use adulterated or synthetic oils. Some may be toxic. That’s why I only recommend Young Living.