Essential oils safety is the first step in using these oils to enhance your overall health and well-being. If you explore the history of essential oils, you’ll discover many cultures around the world used them to help heal the sick and for religious purposes. Today, they’re steadily growing as an alternative to modern medicines and many people agree they can help improve your quality of life.
However, it’s important to understand that just because they’re all natural doesn’t mean they’re perfectly safe to use. You must follow certain guidelines and rules to ensure your safety due to the high concentration levels found in these oils but their potency is just one factor that affects how safe an essential oil is.
Factors That Affect Essential Oil Safety
Since everyone is different, the way the oils affect you is different for everyone. You may not be able to use the same combination of oils that your best friend uses. For this reason, you want to learn as much as you can about the different oils before you start using them.
According to National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA), here are six factors that will influence the safety of essential oils:
- The quality of the essential oil – Always choose high-quality pure grade oils because they are the only ones that are truly natural. They won’t have added ingredients that could cause side effects.
- Application methods – An essential oil may be safe when used in one way but not in another. For example, diffusing oil versus ingesting oils.
- Chemical composition – The chemical composition of the oil determines how powerful it is and some are much more potent than others are.
- The age of the person using the oil – Many oils are not safe to use on children so the age of the person is very important in determining if it is safe or not.
- Dosage – Using more than the recommended dosage can cause irritation and other problems. In addition, some oils are safe to use in moderation but they may cause sensitivity and other problems when used for long periods.
- Sensitive skin – If you have sensitive skin you’re more prone to have an allergic reaction when using oils than someone who’s skin is not sensitive.
Essential oils are highly concentrated. It’s what makes them work so efficiently but it’s also the reason why they’re dangerous if misused.
Test the Oils before Using
You never know for sure how your body will react to an essential oil until you use it. For this reason, you should always test the oil first. This way, it will only affect a small patch of the skin if you do have a reaction. Normally, irritation will occur within the first 15 minutes if you do have an allergic reaction.
Use Carrier Oils
Diluting essential oils with carrier oils will make them safer to use without changing the effects of the oil. You cannot mix essential oils with water because they float and stay separated, which means they’re still in their purest form when they touch the skin. This is why you should not add essential oils to bath water without diluting first.
Carrier oils are vegetable oils that mix well with the essential oils so it reduces the risks of having an allergic reaction.
Here are the most common carrier oils used today:
- Sweet almond
Always avoid getting essential oils in the eyes, ears, nose or any other sensitive area even after diluting. You should also use caution when pregnant or nursing because it’s unclear how essential oils will affect your unborn or infant child. Use extreme caution when using essential oils on children. Some oils, such as peppermint, are too strong for small kids.
When used correctly, essential oils have many benefits. However, when used irresponsibly, they can do more harm than good. Anytime you’re in doubt, seek the advice of a professional.