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Twelve Rules of Safety with Essential Oils
Essential oils are very easy to use, but there are a few things to keep in mind with regard to safety (after all, they ARE very potent chemical compounds):
- Keep them out of the reach of children.
- Keep a bottle of vegetable oil on hand. Vegetable oil will dilute an essential oil, slowing down its rate of absorption and reducing any discomfort or skin irritation (some oils are hot).
- Do a patch test on the inside of your wrist to see if you would react to a particular oil. It is generally safe to apply essential oils to the soles of your feet, even for those with sensitive skin.
- If you’re pregnant, you should consult with your health care professional before using essential oils. There are oils with hormonal qualities that should be avoided during pregnancy.
- Essential Oils rich in phenols should be used with caution when applying to the skin. Sensitive areas such as the throat and face should be avoided, as well as the tender skin of young children.
- Keep essential oils away from the eye area … even the vapors from the oils can cause irritation.
- Essential Oils may be applied on or around the ears, but don’t pour them directly into the ears.
- People with epilepsy, high blood pressure, or who are prone to convulsions should consult a health care professional before using essential oils. Hyssop, Fennel, and Wild Tansy oils should be avoided in these cases.
- The FDA has designated most commonly used essential oils as being “Generally Regarded as Safe” (GRAS) for oral usage. Before ingesting oils with this designation, dilute one drop to a few drops with honey, milk, rice milk, olive oil, or other lipid dissolving liquid. They can also be ingested by putting a few drops of the essential oil into an empty gel cap mixed with olive oil. (Empty gelcaps can be purchased at the health food store, or pharmacy).
- When using essential oils in bathwater, be sure to add a dispersant, like a gel or liquid soap, to avoid concentrated droplets that can sometimes irritate your skin. Young Living makes a great Bath and Shower Gel Base for this purpose.
- Some essential oils are phototoxic when applied to the skin. That means you must steer clear of direct sunlight and tanning beds for at least 12 hours, or you could wind up with a bad sunburn.
- Keep essential oils in tightly closed glass bottles, away from light and heat. Normal room temperatures are cool enough. In this way, they will maintain their balanced chemical composition and potency indefinitely.
For more information on essential oils click here.
Stewart, D. P. (2005). The Chemistry of Essential Oils, God’s Love Manifest in Molecules. Care Publications.
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