Education is the first key to using essential oils safely and there is much literature available on the subject. The following are a few guidelines of the safe use of essential oils.
Essential Oils are very concentrated. It is advisable to dilute all essential oils before applying to the skin. Some essential oils, such as Lavender are regarded as safe to apply directly to the skin. Be cautious and do not more than 1-2 drops of undiluted, or "neat" essential oil to your skin. Patch testing is always advisable. Test oils diluted if working with sensitive skin.
Some citrus oils such as Bergamot, Lemon, Mandarin, Grapefruit and Lime should not be used just prior to and during sunbathing because they are phototoxic (may produce a change in skin pigmentation on exposure to ultra-violet light) and may cause a burn. Bergamot is probably the most photosynthesizing of any.
Dermatitis, skin allergies and sensitivities can be treated effectively with properly diluted oils that have been recommended for the condition. A 1% dilution is safe and effective or contact a professional for a suggested treatment. Suggested dilution for children 3 years and older is 1%. For example, 1 tsp of chosen carrier oil and 1 drop of essential oil, this can be halved for children under the age of three.
Many essential oils can be used safely during pregnancy. When applied correctly in massage or baths they can effectively relieve many discomforts such as nausea and back pain and add comfort and relaxation. Extra care should be taken with essential oils use during this time and it is advisable to consult a professional aromatherapist or research suggested safe use of oils and avoid those not considered safe. Please do not hesitate to ask whether an essential oil or blend is considered safe if you are unsure. Some essential oils could cause premature labor if used in very high concentrations or taken internally over a period of time. 1 percent dilutions of safe oils are generally recommended during pregnancy. Essential oils can be a tremendous help during labor.
Keep Essential Oils away from EYES and Mucous Membranes.
Do not use Essential oils directly on the eyes and in compresses use at a low dilution.If an essential oil gets into the eye area, do not rub it. Saturate a cotton ball with whole milk or vegetable oil and apply to affected area or flush persistently with tepid water for at least 10 minutes.
When choosing Essential oils for therapeutic results it is advised to seek the counsel and guidance of a professional Aromatherapist.
Remember more is not necessarily better. Larger doses, as well as proving a possible danger, may negate the possible therapeutic effect that can be had from a recommended dose. This is a subtle yet powerful therapy.
1% dilution (6 drops per oz): For children and the elderly
2% dilution (12 drops per oz): For whole body applications like lotions and body and massage oils.
4% dilution (24 drops): Concentrated blends
Suggested amounts for various applications:
Massage oil: 10 drops to an ounce carrier oil
Acute topical use: 25 drops to an ounce carrier oil
Neat: Best to dilute all oils. However 1-2 drops of non- irritating oils (like Lavender, Ravensara, etc.) may be fine in some instances.
Facial: 10 drops to 1oz carrier oil
Hair/scalp: 20 drops to 1oz carrier oil
Inhalation/steam: 5-7 drops
Humidifier: 3-6 drops
Bath: 5-15 drops per bath
Compress: 4-6 drops per bowl water
Dry Brush: 1-3 drops
Hair Brush: 1-3 drops
(For children and the elderly cut amounts in half)
Keep all essential oils out of reach of children.
Do not use essential oils internally unless under the care of a qualified practitioner.
Do not use undiluted essential oils on the skin.
When using oils therapeutically over an extended period it is advisable to take a break for 24 48 hours and drink plenty of water to aid in elimination of toxins.
As with other medications keep essential oils out of the reach of children and pets. Oxygen, heat and light may adversely effect the potency and longevity of your essential oils.
Store essential oils in a cool, dark room and always keep your oils tightly sealed. Citrus oils may be refrigerated.
How to do a proper skin patch test
Begin by washing and thoroughly drying the area chosen to apply your blended, diluted, or pure single essential oil. Areas preferred are the sensitive areas of the crook of your arm, your forearm or behind the earlobe.
Apply a small amount of a diluted oil to the forearm area. Cover with your gauze or cotton. Leave for 24 hours, unless irritation is noticeable before, in which case a cotton ball saturated in whole milk or a pure vegetable oil and wiped over the area, will usually subside any minor reaction. As well, thoroughly wash the area once again with soap and water.
With a pure essential oil you can simply place a small drop in the crook of your arm, close your arm with a hand to shoulder movement and wait 3-5 minute. If there is any sign of stinging immediately use your saturated cotton puff with milk or oil and follow with a thorough washing to the area.
Some oils that are more irritating to skin when applied undiluted are:
Cinnamon- the bark much more so than the leaf
If an essential oil is swallowed:
Should ingestion of an Essential oil occur immediately call your local Poison
a.) Do not induce vomiting
b.) Do not give water if breathing or swallowing is difficult.
c.) General rule is to wait for Poison Control to arrive.
The vast majority of essential oils have low rates of toxicity when compared with other readily available medicines and substances. Some of the most lethal oils taken internally in high doses are Birch, Wintergreen, Eucalyptus globulus. Keep these oils and others out of reach of children at all times.