Essential Oil Safety
ESSENTIAL OILS SAFETY FACTORS
According to the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy, factors that influence the safety of essential oils include:
- Quality of the essential oils being utilized: Adulterated essential oils increase the likelihood of an adverse response. Therefore, the need for pure, authentic and genuine essential oils is of the utmost importance.
- Chemical composition of the oil: Essential oils rich in aldehydes (like cinnamon) and phenols (like clove and oregano) may cause skin reactions. The oils rich in these constituents should always be diluted prior to application of the skin.
- Method of application: Essential oils may be applied on the skin, inhaled, diffused or taken internally. Each of these methods has safe considerations. Ask someone trained before doing any of these methods. Do not ingest essential oils! Ask advice from a Certified Aromatherapist.
- Dosage/Dilution applied: Essential oils are highly concentrated and a little bit goes a long way, When using topically, a carrier oil must be used. Any excessive usage of essential oils may cause irritation or other undesired effects due to their lipophilic (fat-liking) nature.
- Integrity of skin: Damaged, diseased or inflamed skin is often more penetrable and may be more sensitive to dermal reactions. It is potentially dangerous to put undiluted essential oils onto damaged, diseased or inflamed skin.
- Age of user: Infants, toddlers and young children are more sensitive to essential oils. Also, some essential oils should simply be avoided for children, pregnant and breastfeeding women and the elderly.
When applied to the skin, certain chemicals can cause an excessive reaction to sunlight for up to 12 hours after application (and possibly for much longer). The combination of essential oil plus sunlight can result in different skin reactions which can range from mild to very severe depending upon the strength of the oil used. Even a mere 0.4% of some oils can cause a phototoxic effect. In phototoxicity, the skin may delevop:
Essential oils where constituents contains a percentage of furocoumarins such as "bergapten" may cause phototoxicity if applied to the skin before sun exposure. Phototoxic essential oils are as follows:
- Bitter Orange
- Mandarin Leaf
- Angelica Root
- Fig Leaf Absolute
Sensitization is gradual buildup of an allergic reaction of intolerance to a substance even when used in minuscule amounts. This sensitivity may be scarcely apparent on first application, but if the substance is used often, the reaction usually worsens steadily. You may want to do a patch test to help you determine if you have become sensitized to a certain oil.
***Our blends are diluted to safe levels according to the age of the user and is safe to use on a daily basis. It is still advisable to take breaks on using them to prevent sensitization.
Unlike sensitization, which may develop over a considerable period, some individuals may react immediately to particular essential oils. In such a case, irritation and inflammation can occur on the first application. The irritation is localized to where the oil was applied, and once the oil is removed, it begins to dissipate. The severity of the reaction depends on the amount used, whether or not the oil was diluted and how reactive the person is. Some essential oil can produce skin irritation ranging from mild to very severe.
***If you have sensitive skin or if you frequently develop allergic reactions, you might consider doing a patch test before applying any unfamiliar substance.
- Keep all essential oils out of reach of children and pets.
- Do not use phototoxic essential oils prior to sun exposure. It is recommended to stay out of the sun of at least 12 hours after application.
- Avoid prolonged use of the same essential oils
- If allergies or sensitivities are suspected, it may be wise to perform a skin patch test.
- Keep essential oils away from eyes, ears, nostrils or genital areas.
- Essential oils are highly flammable substances and should be kept away from direct contact with flames such as candles, fire, matches, cigarettes, and gas cookers.
- Do not use essential oils internally, unless instructed by a Certified Aromatherapist.
- Pregnant and Lactating women is best to use minimum quantities of essential oils especially during the first trimester unless directed by a professional
- If essential oil accidentally get into the eye, a cotton cloth or similar should be imbued with a fatty oil and carefully swipe over the closed lid and flush the eyes with cool water.
- If essential oil causes dermal irritation, apply a small amount of vegetable oil or cream to the area affected and discontinue use.
Therapeutic grade essential oils are very powerful, natural healing substances that work extremely well with the body's own defenses. However, they are not drugs and may not work in seconds or even minutes, some will require continuous and consistent application.