Essential oils: safety rules

Safety rules


Pure essential oils are very potent. Whether you are applying oils topically, consuming them internally, or using them aromatically, always follow this usage recommendations

■ Any person under medication has to wait 2 hours before or after to use essential oils or take supplements. 

■ When using an essential oil topically for the first time, it’s a good idea to dilute with carrier oil to see how the oil reacts with your skin. Start with one drop of essential oil and five drops of any carrier oil you have at home. Later on, you can personalise this ratio with time and experience. Some essential oils are very powerful, and should always be diluted with a carrier oil before putting them on your skin. These oils include: Cassia, Cinnamon, Clove, Geranium, Lemongrass, Oregano, and Thyme. These are known as hot oils. When trying these for the first time, consider a dilution ratio of one drop of essential oil to 10 drops of any carrier oil.

■ Some essential oils cause photosensitivity, which may cause you to sunburn more easily. It’s best to stay out of UV light (sunlight or tanning beds) for at least 12 hours after applying them to your skin. These oils include: Bergamot, ,Grapefruit, Lemon, Lime, Wild Orange, Tangerine, and any oil blends including them. 

■ Essential oils may generally be applied anywhere on your skin, but there are certain areas that should be avoided. Don’t apply oils on or near the inside of the nose, the inner ear, the eyes, broken skin, or other sensitive areas (like mucous membranes). 

If your skin begins to turn red, itch, or burn after applying an oil, remove the oil from the skin by gently wiping the area with a soft cloth, then alternate between adding a carrier oil and gently wiping the area.

■ When consuming essential oils internally, a drop or two is all you need at one time. You can add oil directly to water or another liquid, or use oil in a recipe. Always double-check which essential oils can be taken internally. 

Children and babies are more sensitive to essential oils than adults. It’s best to dilute an essential oil before applying it topically on a child, and to start with the feet for application. For babies under two years of age, aromatic application through a diffuser is a good place to start. Because oils are so powerful, ensure that they are only used under adult supervision. It’s recommended that you keep your oils in a high, out-of-reach place. Store oils with the included orifice reducer in the bottle and the lid tightly closed.

■ If you have any questions about using essential oils for your particular needs, talk to your qualified healthcare provider.

■ Storage: usually, people tend to store their oils in the bathroom, which is the worst place: it’s humid and the temperature may vary. The best way to store your oils is in a wood box, without varnish: the raw wood will absorb the humidity and keep your oils away from the light and heat. 

How long can you keep an oil? 

  1. non open: almost 10 years away from light 
  2. open: 3 to 6 months, maximum 1 year
  3. If the oil is expired, don’t throw it! use it in your laundry or in a spray but NOT topically. 

Source: French Federation of Aromatherapy  and Dōterra safety rules.