7 Things You Need to Know to Use Essential Oils Safely
We talk frequently about how much we enjoy using essential oils. It’s incredible how a few drops in a diffuser can change the way someone feels throughout their day. In beauty products, they offer a natural alternative to the commonly used synthetic fragrances and harsh chemicals. Some essential oils can even be used as green alternatives to harsh, processed cleaning agents.
Most importantly, when used correctly essential oils have very few negative side effects, if any at all. We love to celebrate the generations of people who have used essential oils for a variety of benefits throughout history. Even today, we continue to seek out new information and studies that prove their effectiveness.
Like with any product, there can be questions and concerns about using essential oils safely. Naturally, people want to make sure that it is safe to incorporate essential oils into their daily routines. Parents are particularly curious about the safety of essential oils and how they might affect children.
We understand the questions and encourage everyone to do careful research before using any new product. To help you get started, we’re answering some of the most commonly asked questions about safety and essential oils.
Are Essential Oils Safe?
In general, essential oils are safe to use when used properly. Every day researchers publish new information describing their benefits and effects. What’s more, people from around the world have been using essential oils for centuries to boost healing, target specific health conditions and enhance spiritual practice.
However, there are incorrect ways to use certain essential oils that can be harmful to your body. As long as you’re thorough with your research and follow the directions, you shouldn’t experience any harmful side effects when using these oils.
Is There a Wrong Way to Use Essential Oils?
Yes, there is a wrong way to use essential oils. We don’t suggest using any essential oil until you fully understand its proper use. Just as each essential oil provides specific benefits, they also require specific handling and usage.
Essential oils are potent botanical extracts. These concentrated aromatic oils are especially effective in an essential oil diffuser. However, when ingested in their pure form, the oil can cause harmful effects (we’ll cover more of that later).
It’s also important to properly dilute essential oils prior to using topically. Be sure to read the label before you rub any oil into your skin. Be especially careful when you use bergamot, lemon or orange essential oils on your skin. Exposing your skin to these oils and then going out in the sun will cause a severe sunburn — and quickly.
Is it Safe to Mix Essential Oils?
Yes, it is safe to mix essential oils together in both diffuser recipes and beauty DIYs. Some people feel the greatest effects with a custom blend of their favorite essential oils. For example, you might want the benefits of lavender and tea tree oil in a soothing balm recipe.
If you’re new to our blog, you can always check out our Essential Oil Guide or DIY & Recipes for ideas and help mixing essential oils. We have tons of essential oil diffuser blend recipes and DIYs for everything from homemade deodorant to DIY bath bombs for Halloween!
When mixing essential oils to use on your skin, just remember to properly dilute them with a carrier oil. Also, you should always double-check and test on a small area of your skin to avoid burning, rash or irritation.
Beyond that, we encourage you to be creative and have fun mixing essential oils. Customizing a perfect blend that gives you exactly what you need is a big part of why essential oils are so popular. You can create a customized experience every time you turn on your essential oil diffuser.
Is an Essential Oil Diffuser Safe?
While not all essential oil diffusers are created with the same quality, they are generally considered safe if in good working condition and used properly. Some essential oil diffusers are even safer than others. Ultrasonic oil diffusers are much safer that aroma lamps or heat diffusers which require a heating source such as open flame.
All the standard safety precautions you would use around any other electronic device should be observed with an essential oil diffuser. For example, being careful not to leave power cords out in the open and not plugging them in with wet hands.
Essential oil diffusers should be used in well-ventilated rooms and placed out of reach of children and pets. Regularly cleaning your diffuser to prevent mold and keep the machine in good working condition also ensures safety and a more pure aromatic experience.
Are Essential Oils and Oil Diffusers Safe to Use with Kids?
If you follow a few simple guidelines and use common sense, essential oil diffusers can be a great experience for the whole family. Even though we do recommend waiting to use essential oils around babies until they’re at least 3 months old.
Between ages 3 months and 12 years old, using an essential oil diffuser is actually the safest way to use essential oils with kids. However, there are some specific essential oils to avoid with them, and others that are incredibly beneficial for making your kids feel more comfortable. In fact, we wrote a whole blog post on how to use essential oils with babies with in-depth safety information!
When in doubt, always check with your child's pediatrician. That’s just a great rule of thumb in general, but especially if your child has respiratory issues, you should double-check just to be safe.
Can I Use My Essential Oil Diffuser During Pregnancy?
Pregnancy can be an uncomfortable time. Your body is changing constantly, sleep is difficult and it feels like stress and anxiety are through the roof. In those moments, using a calming blend of essential oils in your diffuser can be just the thing you crave to help you return to center.
If that sounds like you, talk to your doctor about using the naturally calming benefits of aromatherapy during your pregnancy. It’s important to do your research and talk to your doctor before using essential oils for massage or in your essential oil diffuser for a couple of reasons.
Firstly using essential oils during the first three months of pregnancy is a widely debated topic, so you should consider the available research with your doctor. Secondly, certain essential oils are much more helpful during pregnancy than others, and some should be avoided.
The National Association of Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA) has a great resource for essential oil safety and pregnancy. It’s a great place to start your research so you have a good foundation for understanding your doctor’s recommendations for use of essential oils during your pregnancy.
Do Any Essential Oils Irritate Sensitive Skin?
When it comes to essential oils and sensitive skin, it’s mostly a matter of using proper dilution rates. However, there are some essential oils that are more gentle than others. There are also some essential oils that are generally considered dermal irritants such as bay, cinnamon, lemongrass and oregano.
Not to mention, allergies can happen to anyone because our bodies are all unique. That’s why we recommend every person always do a skin patch test to check for individual sensitivity and allergic reactions.
Every essential oil has its own benefits and you should take the time to become properly educated on each before experimenting to see how your body responds. If you already know you have sensitive skin in general, a good place to start is with the essential oils most gentle on skin.
Ultimately, essential oils can be a safe, natural way to boost your health and your mood. With the help of your essential oil diffuser, you can transform your space from feeling frenetic to a calm oasis. Just by switching up the blends in your essential oil diffuser you can help perk yourself up or set the mood to drift off to sleep easier.
Paying attention to your body’s natural functions to identify how you want to use essential oils is an easy way to strengthen your mind-body connection too. Taking time to explore different essential oils and their effect on your body and mind is a journey, and you can always keep learning.
With common sense and following a few safety steps, essential oils can be used with zero harmful side effects, so remember to enjoy yourself. Have fun experimenting with different blends in your essential oil diffuser to find. Try gifting a diffuser and oil set to a friend and compare the aromas you come up with.
Have any safety tips or favorite essential oil blends? Let us know in the comments!
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. The information on this site is meant for educational and informational purposes only, it is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please confirm any information obtained from or through this web site with other sources, and review all information regarding any medical condition or treatment with your physician. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on this website.