Safety Guidelines for essential oils
Essential oils are a wonderful addition to daily life. However, some of them are very powerful, and as a result should be used with caution, or in certain cases not at all.
- Do not use essential oils as replacement treatment for serious medical problems. These products are made available as comforting measures only.
- Even though essential oils are naturally derived, it is still possible to have an allergy to them. Results and benefits of using essential oils can vary from person to person and are not guaranteed.
- As a general rule.. Do not apply essential oils undiluted to skin.
- Rotate or vary the essential oils you use.
- Do not ingest essential oils.
- Be careful to not overuse essential oils. You may experience a kind of toxic buildup if you overexpose yourself to essential oils (certain ones in particular). Signs that you need to rest from using essential oils include:
- skin irritation
- the general feeling that its been too much for you
- Know your dilutions rates:
- 1% dilution: 5-6 drops essential oil per ounce of carrier oil (about 30ml)
- 3% dilution: 15-18 drops essential oil per ounce of carrier oil (this is standard dilution rate)
- If you have cancer, or are undergoing treatment for cancer, do not use ANY essential oils without first consulting your doctor.
Possible Skin Irritants
High Blood Pressure
Epilepsy or Seizures
Avoid with Glaucoma
Avoid with Prostate Cancer
Avoid with breast cancer or estrogen dependent cancers
Note: There is differing information available at this time regarding the use of certain essential oils (ones that contain estrogen like compounds) during cancer. Some sources also list lavender and tea tree as oils to avoid, but others do not. Discussion on this topic is beyond the scope of this article, and obviously more clinical studies and further research are needed in this area. If in doubt about using any essential oil during the time you have cancer, DON’T USE IT. You should avoid using phototoxic and skin irritating essential oils during this time as well.
Using essential oils safely in pregnancy
Essential oils generally considered to be safe if all is well AFTER the first trimester in pregnancy:
- chamomiles- German, Roman and Moroccan
- citruses- bergamot, grapefruit, tangerine, orange, neroli, mandarin, petigrain
- ylang ylang
Use at half the standard dilution rate as normal. Always use caution when using any essential oil during pregnancy. The above list is based on my research. It was interesting to note that there were some differing opinions about these.
If you have a history of miscarriage, or are at other risk in your pregnancy, save the essential oils for after you have your precious baby. Safety first.
Caution List for essential oil use in pregnancy
- geranium (may use after the 1st trimester)
- cypress (may use after 5 months)
- rose (may use after 6 months)
- chamomile (may use after 6 months)
- lavender (use only after 6 months)
- peppermint (use only after 5 months; do not use when nursing)
Avoid in pregnancy or while nursing:
*May trigger contractions