Guidelines For Essential Oil Safety
Essential oil safety is important because using essential oils in an unsafe manner can have serious health consequences. Always use the oils safely and follow the recommendations for use. Essential oils are concentrated plant oils that contain many chemical constituents that are beneficial when used as directed but may be harmful if used in an unsafe manner. Never listen to anyone who tells you these are all-natural and they can’t harm you. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Please read and understand the following guidelines before using any essential oils:
- Never use undiluted essential oils on the skin. With only a few exceptions such as Lavender and Tea Tree Oil, essential oils should be diluted with a carrier oil in dilutions of 1-2% for topical use. Undiluted use on the skin can cause irritation or an allergic reaction. You should do a patch test before using any essential oil to test for allergies. See our dilution guide for instructions on measurements for common dilutions.
- As a general rule, essential oils should be diluted in a carrier oil like coconut oil or almond oil in a 1-2% solution. ( 1-2 drops of essential oils per teaspoon of carrier oil) Less for children.
- Essential oils should never be given internally or used undiluted on the skin.
- Essential Oils should be diluted to 1% or less for use with children and care should be taken with any essential oils considered “hot” as they may cause damage to the skin.
- In general, oils like lavender, chamomile, orange, lemon, and frankincense are considered safe for diluted (1%) use on children but do a skin test and check with a doctor first.
- Peppermint, rosemary, eucalyptus, and wintergreen should not be used around young children or babies. These herbs contain menthol and 1,8-cineole. These compounds can slow breathing (or even stop it completely) in very young children or those with respiratory problems.
- Never store undiluted essential oils in plastic containers. The rule of thumb is to use dark glass containers for storing undiluted essential oils to prevent light from degrading the oils. Amber or blue bottles are best.
- Keep the lids tightly on essential oils to prevent oxidation and evaporation. Oxidation will ruin your essential oils. Also, since essential oils are volatile they evaporate quickly. Do not leave the bottle sitting with the top off as the oils will oxidize and evaporate.
- Undiluted essential oils are flammable. Keep away from sparks and open flames such as candles.
- The suggested maximum concentration for use of essential oils by a healthy adult is 2%. The suggested maximum concentration for children and the elderly is 1%. Do not use essential oils on or around babies under 2 years of age without first consulting a physician.
- Most undiluted essential oils are toxic when taken internally. Keep bottles stored in a cool, dark location and keep them away from children.
- Always look at the Latin name given on a company’s website to ensure that you are getting the right product! And never buy any essential oil that is not identified with the Latin name as well as the common name of the plant from which it was distilled.
Essential oils are a miracle of nature and can make a difference in your life when used correctly. Follow the directions and cautions for using them and you will enjoy the benefits for a healthier and happier life. Being aware of the guidelines for essential oils safety will keep you and your loved ones safe while enjoying all the benefits essential oils have to offer.
Read more articles about essential oils here.