Essential Oil Safety
There are a few things everyone who should know about Essential Oil Safety! First and foremost: Read the Label or ask your Aromatherapist! Each bottle of essential oil should be clearly marked with the Genus and Species of the oil it contains. If you are purchasing from a retailer, the bottle should have clear directions on how to use the essential oil and how often. It should tell you if you should use it Topically, Aromatically, or internally. When you purchase a blend from your own Aromatherapist, they should provide you information on how to use the oil.
- Genus: The first part of the name. The genus is always capitalized (and always a noun).
- Species: The second part of the name, often describing a characteristic or feature of that plant species (so it’s always an adjective). The species is always spelled with a lower-case first letter.
Essential Oil Quality
Always use a therapeutic-grade oil.. When purchasing single oil blends, be sure to purchase from a reputable distributor. Many distributors will provide the GC/MS report: Gas Gas Chromatography (GC) (a method of separating the volatile compounds in essential oils into individual components). Mass Spectrometry (MS) (identifies each of these components and their percentages). GC/MS is a great tool when working with essential oil, especially when blending. Aromatics International always provides a GC/MS report. When purchasing blends from your own Aromatherapist, you should get a report on which oils are in the blend (Genus and Species), which methods of application should be used, and a list of any safety concerns.
Essential Oil Safety FAQs
Carrier Oil – Diluting your oils: A carrier oil is a vegetable oil—such as coconut oil, olive oil, or grapeseed oil—that can be used to dilute essential oils. I prefer to use V-6 or JoJoba Oil because they have no scent to interact with the oil I am using.
Carrier oils ensure that essential oils applied topically are comfortable to the skin. Dilution with a carrier oil does not dilute the effect of the essential oil. In fact, it prevents waste due to an excessive application. Some oils are safe using directly on the skin undiluted. I use many of my oils undiluted but always do a patch test.
Vegetable shortening, butter, margarine, or petroleum derivatives (such as mineral oil, baby oil, and petroleum jelly) should never be used as carrier oils.
Applying Oils to Sensitive Areas: Avoid contacting sensitive areas such as eyes, ears, genitals, and mucous membranes with essential oils. If you choose to use the oil in any sensitive area, dilute 1 drop of the essential oil with 5–10 drops of V-6 or another carrier oil.
What is a “Hot” oil? “Hot oils” are oils that can cause a hot or have a warming sensation when applied to the skin. Examples of hot oils include Cinnamon, Clove, Lemongrass, Oregano, and Thyme. For some people, Peppermint’s cooling sensation can be too intense.
What if I experience skin discomfort or irritation? If you inadvertently apply a “hot oil” undiluted and have a discomfort or irritation, stop using the oil and apply V-6 or another carrier oil.
Can sun exposure affect essential oil use? Some oils contain natural molecules that react with sunlight. This can cause a sensitivity reaction. Primarily it is the citrus essential oils that you need to be concerned about. When using essential oils that contain these compounds avoid sun/UV light for 12-48 hours after applying. Everyone is different, so use good judgment.
My view on Essential Oil Safety
Essential Oil Safety is an important issue for me. I always recommend using a patch test procedure prior to first use.
Perform a patch test by applying 1–2 drops of essential oil to a patch of skin such as the forearm. Observe that area of skin over the course of 1–2 hours for any noticeable reaction. However, reactions occur usually within 5–10 minutes. If you experience a hot or burning sensation or develop a rash, add V-6 or another carrier oil to the affected area as often as needed. IHave a Dynamic Day!