Should I use Essential Oils?
If you are pregnant, nursing, have asthma, sensitive skin, have an underlying condition, or are taking prescription medication, it is advised that you seek out medical advice from a licensed physician before using essential oils.
Can I use essential oils directly on my skin?
It is never advised to apply undiluted essential oils directly to your skin.
The risk of reaction increases when applied directly to skin without being diluted- even for oils that typically do not cause reactions.
Below is the dilution rate for adults.
I’m worried I might be sensitive to certain oils, should I still use them?
If you are concerned about sensitivity to certain oils, we always recommend doing a “patch test”.
Make sure that the oil you are using has been properly diluted according to the above chart. Apply to a small patch of skin, and cover with a band-aid. Check periodically for any redness, or irritation.
If irritation occurs, you can remove by taking a cotton ball with oil (olive oil, vegetable, coconut, etc) and gently swapping the site to further dilute the oil. Then, you may rinse with soap and water to remove.
I have children, are Essential Oils safe for kids?
Keep essential oils in a safe space, where children are not able to access them.
Essential Oils may be used on children, but with additional cautions.
Below is a dilution chart specifically for children.
How should I store my essential oils?
Essential oils should always be stored safely out of the reach of children.
We recommend keeping all essential oils in a cool dry place, out of direct sunlight.
Doing so will avoid compromising the chemical structure of the oils.
Adverse skin reactions
This is the most common type of adverse reaction across all age groups, and is often associated with the use of undiluted essential oils. The most generally useful non-pharmaceutical way to soothe inflamed skin is with a preparation of oats/oatmeal.
Signs and symptoms
Topical exposure to some essential oils may cause local skin reactions including irritation, allergic reaction, and photosensitization. All of these involve burning and redness of the skin, and may include itching, pain and hives (small blisters). More here: Irritation and Allergy
In rare cases, skin reactions may occur even in remote areas of the body (ie not where the essential oils were applied). In very rare cases anaphylactic shock has occurred, which may include swelling of the lips, tongue and throat, difficulty breathing, and a dramatic drop in blood pressure. If this appears to be happening, medical care should be sought immediately.
What to do
- DO NOT APPLY ESSENTIAL OILS!
- Remove any contaminated clothing.
- Wash the skin gently with (preferably unscented) soap and water for at least 10 minutes
- Expose the skin to the air (but not to direct sunlight) to encourage evaporation of remaining essential oil.
- Lukewarm oatmeal baths may help soothe reactions spread over large areas of skin (and see infographic).
- Application of a simple barrier cream, or a mild corticosteroid cream is the normal medical approach (although allergic contact dermatitis to topical corticosteroids is possible).
- Oral antihistamines may help reduce itching (topical antihistamines should be avoided because of the risk of allergic contact dermatitis).
- Seek medical attention if irritation persists.