6 Essential Oil Safety Tips

6 essential oil safety tips

Essential oils can be scary. They are highly concentrated and have the potential to help or harm your body. Depending on what you read, people make all kinds of claims about essential oils, from helping severe illnesses to doing nothing.

The past few weeks I’ve tried to break down what I’ve learned about essential oils. If you’ve missed any posts, you can catch up:

Essential Oils 101 (What are essential oils?)

How essential oils have helped my family

Does brand matter?

 

[Tweet “With all that is known about essential oils, there is still concern on how to use them safely.”]

 

Hopefully I can break that down and simplify it a little bit. These are conclusions I’ve come to after reading countless sources the past few months.

Safety Tip #1: Ingestion

Never. I mean you should almost never ingest essential oils. As I explained in Essential Oils 101, essential oils are highly concentrated parts of a plant. They can also affect your body in different ways. Different oils have different affects on each person. Ingesting oils is like mixing your own medicine. I would never take powdered aspirin and make my own capsules on my own. In the same way, I won’t ingest oils. In my opinion, the only exception to this is if you were being overseen by a doctor with training in alternative medicine.

Safety Tip #2: Dillution

So if you’re not ingesting oils, how do they help? A simple answer is to apply them topically. Do not apply them at 100% or what is known as ‘neat’ within the essential oil community. Remember the concentration? Putting it on straight can be too concentrated for your skin. Not only could it cause your skin to develop a rash it could reduce your sensitivity to the oil over time. Besides, by diluting you still get the effect of the oil and it helps your oils last longer.

To dilute, use a carrier oil. Any vegetable based oil will work. I prefer coconut oil because it is widely available. I have to heat it up softly so it will melt before adding in the oils. To massage, I simply rub my finger across the oil and it starts to melt. It works as a salve or other lotion or cream.

How to dilute? I like the charts from Essential Oil Blogging and Learning about EO’s.

Safety Tip #3: Aromatherapy

Yes, this is one time in your life when you will be encouraged to inhale. There are several different ways to do this.

One is by steam. Pour about 2-3 inches of boiling water into a bowl. Drop a few drops of your desired oil into the water. Cover the bowl with a towel, put your head inside and take a few deep breaths. It is that simple.

Another is to get a diffuse. I’m still investigating how to diffuse and what kind of diffuse is most effective so I don’t have anything to add here at the time. As I learn, I’ll come back and edit the article or add a future blog post on this matter.

Safety Tip #4: Storage

Store your oils appropriately. Oils are an investment, but can last for a very long time. It is commonly known to store them in a dark bottle. Most oils will come in a brown glass jar. They could last as long as 5 or 10 years when stored properly. So yes, an investment but not as dramatic when you think of how long a bottle could last you.

Safety Tip #5: Know your oils.

To me, this is one of the most important. Each oil has different properties. Some are less potent than others. If you’ve been reading anything about essential oils over the last few years, you have probably learned that different oils have different effects. So each oil is used slightly different.

For example: lavender is one of the gentlest oils out there. Some that say to never use an oil neat put lavender on the exception list.

On the other side of the coin is wintergreen. Wintergreen contains a lot of methyl-salicylate. Aspirin is another salicylate. While helpful, it should never be used on young children and should be handled correctly. Also, if your doctor has you on blood thinners or has told you to stay away from aspirin, then wintergreen is a big no.

I have both these oils in my drawer and use them when appropriate.

Safety Tip #6: Be extra careful when using on kids

Kids bodies are different. They are still growing and developing. They are also generally smaller than adults. Dilution rates should be different when applying them to kids.

I also try to minimize applying essential oils topically to my girls. They like the smell of lavender when going to bed. Instead of rubbing some diluted oil on them, I have made a spray. It is 5 drops lavender oil in a 1 ounce bottle filled with witch hazel. It still smells like lavender but it is very diluted. I spray it on their pillows each night to help them fall asleep easier. This still gives them the calming effects of lavender but keeps it off their bodies.

Safety Tip #7: Research.

Research. Research. Research. and look some more. Do not stick with just one source. Look at multiple sources and get information from a variety of viewpoints. One of my favorite sources for safe essential oil use is this facebook group. It is a community of people who share safe essential oil recipes and give tips. They also support new people and are very friendly in answering questions. It is a highly moderated group so it never goes off topic.

[Tweet “#EssentialOils don’t have to be scary, but they should be #respected.”]

~Crystal

 

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