Essential oils are a natural substance taken from plants. An essential oil is the concentrated liquid containing the volatile aroma compounds of the plant. Most oils are steam distilled from the flower, leaf, roots, or stem. Some are cold pressed, such as lemon, orange and other citrus. Other essential oils are CO2 extracted. Essential oils are used in aromatherapy and natural skin care products.
- If you are using an essential oil for the first time, be sure to do a patch test before extensive use.
- Never ingest essential oils. They do not dilute in water, and can cause series esophageal burns.
- Never apply to eyes
- Never directly apply to sensitive areas such as the genitals . Diluted properly, then can be used.
Neat Application of an essential oils means to use it undiluted on the skin. There are just a couple of oils in which this is safe to do. Lavender, is the one most commonly used neat. Under certain conditions, you can use Tea Tree, Sandalwood, and Ylang Ylang. Again, never ingest.
As with any natural substance, just because it is natural does not mean it is always safe to use. There are safety precautions when using essential oils. There are medical conditions, and health related instances where essential oils should not be used.
There are a number of oils that should not be used, or used very carefully in applications. They are natural, but they can cause serious harm if not used properly.
Those who have epilepsy should not use Camphor, Fennel (Sweet), Hyssop, Sage or Rosemary for any reason. Be sure to check any products you may be using for these ingredients.
Pregnant women should avoid most oils, but they especially should avoid using the following essential oils:: Ajowan, Angelica, Anise (Star), Aniseed, Basil, Bay Laurel, Calamintha (Catmint), Cedarwood (ALL types), Celery Seed, Cinnamon, Citronella, Clary Sage, Clove, Cumin, Cypress, Fennel (Sweet), Hyssop, Jasmine, Juniper, Labdanum, Lovage, Marjoram, Myrrh, Nutmeg, Origanum, Parsley, Peppermint, Rose, Rosemary, Sage, Snakeroot, Spanish Sage, Tarragon and Thyme. Many of them are considered emmenagogues. Emmenagogues are uterine stimulants and can cause a miscarriage.
Those who have high blood pressure, or have a tendency towards high blood pressure should avoid essential oils of rosemary, sage, thyme and hyssop. People who are diabeteic should stay clear of angelica.
Phototoxic essential oils accelerate sun-damage on exposed skin. Care should be taken to use them carefully. A few that are phototoxic include Bergamot (except for Bergapten-Free types), Cumin, Ginger, Lemon, Lime, Lovage, Mandarine, Orange and Verbena.
Many essential oils can cause dermatitis or other skin irritations on some individuals. These include Allspice, Aniseed, Basil, Black Pepper, Cajeput, Caraway, Cedarwood (ALL types), Cinnamon, Clove, Eucalyptus, Garlic, Ginger, Lemon, Parsley, Peppermint, Pine Needle, Thyme, and Turmeric. These oils should be diluted to three times the normal dilution. If you are sensitive to these, you should not use products that contain them. Again, always do a patch test.
Certain essential oils can cause sensitization. Sensitization is when the skin becomes easily irritated. If your skin has a tendency to become irritated easily, you should avoid such as basil, bay laurel, benzion, cedarwood, chamomile (both kinds), or citronella. Garlic, geranium, ginger, jasmine, lemon, lemongrass, peppermint, orange, tea tree, thyme, vanilla, and Ylang-Ylang are among others that can sensitize skin.
Babies and Children :
Avoid all Potentially Toxic and Irritant Oils completely.
- Age less than 1 year: Use only Chamomile, Lavender, and Rose, Use at 4-5 times the normal dilution rate as for an adult.
- Age 1 to 6 years: Using twice the normal dilution rate, use only non-toxic, non-irritant oils.
- Age 6 to 12 years: Use as for adults, in twice the normal dilution rate.
- Age 12 years and over: Use as for adults.
When it comes to animals, special care must be taken when using essential oils. Their ol’ factory system is so much more established than ours, you need not use as much as you would with humans. Of special note, there are some essential oils that should never, ever be used on dogs or cats. Pennyroyal, Tansy, and Rue are extremely toxic to dogs. One drop can kill you dog!
The following is a list of Essential Oils that should not be used in aromatherapy, or natural products.
Rue- Rue has a high Toxicity Risk.
Pennyroyal-Pennyroyal should not be used in aromatherapy, and has a very high Toxicity Risk
Clove (other than Bud)- Toxicity Risk
Sweet Birch- Toxicity Risk/Extreme Environmental Hazard
Some of the above oils are so toxic that applied to the skin, they can be absorbed into the human system to levels sufficient for poisoning or death.
We want to educate you so you may carefully consider your product choices.
Please understand that the warnings in this article are not complete. These warnings are provided for general information only. We write this so you can expand your own personal knowledge of the products you are currently using, or are considering for personal use. Please choose your all natural products carefully, as they are not all created equal. Not all natural products are properly researched.