Updated: Jan 12
Essential oils are very safe. They have virtually no side-effects, and are safe to use on children and pets, BUT you do need to know some general guidelines!
Tip 1 – Dilute.
Anytime I talk about using essential oils topically, I greatly stress the importance of diluting. Most oils you can use “neat,” which means you can apply them directly to your skin. But some people have sensitive skin, and there are some oils that are considered warm or even hot (oregano, cinnamon, cassia, black pepper, lemongrass, etc.). Diluting prevents skin irritation.
Children and babies need a smaller amount than adults do. Generally 1-3 drops of an essential oil can service an adult. 1 drop for a child and even less for a baby. Dilute that in a teaspoon for an adult and child and a tablespoon for a baby.
Consistent use of an oil over time could cause a sensitivity. Who wants that?! We love our oils and would never want to have an issue with future sensitivity! Dilution helps prevent this.
What do I dilute with? Use a carrier oil! Mix your essential oils into a vegetable-based carrier oil such as coconut, jojoba, sesame seed, or olive oil. Choose whichever is your favorite.
If you weren’t already convinced dilution is the way to go, here is another huge benefit: by diluting your essential oil, you are making a smaller amount of oil go further. Meaning, you won’t have to replace your essential oil as quickly, thus saving you money.
Additionally, by diluting and applying essential oil to your skin, you are slowing both the evaporative rate of the oil and extending the absorption rate of the oil. Essential oils are volatile aromatic compounds which means they evaporate very quickly. By adding a carrier oil to them, the essential oil gets mixed and trapped within the carrier oil and allows for a longer and slower rate of absorption spread out over a long period of time.
Tip 2 – DO NOT PUT ESSENTIAL OILS INTO YOUR EYES, EARS OR NOSE.
Should I repeat that? Do not put essential oils into your eyes, ears or nose, or other sensitive areas!
The essential oils won’t harm you, but they will sting something fierce!
If you have made the mistake of putting the oils somewhere sensitive, DO NOT WASH OUT ESSENTIAL OILS WITH WATER! Please whatever you do, just don’t! It is instinct to run to water and try to flush or wash out something with water. Generally that works. It WILL NOT work with essential oils. You’ll only instead drive the oils deeper into the tissue intensifying the burning sting you are trying to alleviate.
Instead you will want to wash them out, the essential oils, with something that contains fat (diluting them in the process). Use a liquid vegetable oil or full fat milk. This will not hurt your eyes, ears or nose, and you will feel relief pretty quickly.
Tip 3 – Prevent burns by knowing which oils cause photosensitivity.
Citrus oils cause photosensitivity! It is that time of year we are spending more and more time outdoors. Please be careful when applying citrus oils topically. They are wonderful, but they will cause photosensitivity for up to 72 hours. I don’t want to hear back you have gotten a bad burn from being out in the sun. If you must apply citrus oils topically, do it somewhere you skin is covered from the sun, or apply it to the bottom of your feet (if not trying to receive aromatic benefits).
Added bonus: Applying essential oils on the bottom of your feet gives you all over body absorption and it’s quick. The essential oil is in your bloodstream within 30 seconds!
We feel so safe using our oils, that we sometimes forget we need to respect their power. I hope these tips support you in staying safe while enjoying the myriad benefits of your essential oils.