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A few tips to use Essential Oils safely
Essential are safe when used as directed, but it is important to know a few safety tips.
Remember essential oils are very potent and concentrated, so a little goes a long way.
This list will give you a good starting point, but it may not account for every possibility so it's important to use common sense about your own personal situation and use a reliable resource book as needed.
Aromatic Safety Tips
Most diffusers have a continuous setting or an intermittent setting that stops and starts. I always prefer the intermittent setting because it gives our noses a little break.
Don't lean over or let your kids lean directly over the diffuser where it can get into their eyes.
If you have pets, leave the room door open so they can remove themselves from the area if they don't like a scent. I am not a veterinarian so I cannot advise you on the use of oils around your pets, but there are a lot of resources that you can look up. One of my favorite books is SpOil Your Pet by Mia Frezzo (a veterinarian) and Jan Jeremias.
It's extremely rare for an essential oil to create an allergic reaction because they are so light and don't contain the heavier molecules that typically trigger immune reactions; however, it can happen. Know your body. If you don't like something or don't respond well to it, don't use it. There's always a different oil that can provide a similar benefit.
Topical Safety Tips
When in doubt, dilute. You will always be safest diluting, it does not lessen the effectiveness of the oil.
Some oils are photosensitive or phototoxic. If you put them directly on your skin and then go out into the sun or tanning bed within 12 hours, it may cause skin irritation or damage. Some of the most common ones are the citrus oils including Bergamot, Grapefruit, Lime, and Lemon.
doTERRA oils that are photosensitive will say on the bottle "Avoid UV rays for 12 hours after applying product".
Does that mean you can't ever use these oils topically? You can dilute them very heavily (for example, 1 drop of Bergamot in 15mL of a carrier oil) or simply just put them on an area not exposed to sunlight.
And it's okay to use them in products that wash off. For example, I use the doTERRA Body Wash which has Bergamot and Grapefruit oil in it, but it's properly diluted and it washes off in the shower.
Don't let essential oils get into your eyes, ears, inside of the nose, and your private areas.
If you get an area of redness or irritation after applying an oil topically, immediately go wash it off with soap and water, then apply a soothing fragrance-free carrier oil like fractionated coconut oil, plain lotion, or jojoba oil.
Oil and water don't mix, so if you accidentally get an essential oil in your eye, don't rinse it with water. Put a drop of a food-based oil like olive oil or coconut oil, or also milk or cream, on a cotton ball or tissue and gently wipe the eye until soothed.
Internal Safety Tips
Only consider internal use if your bottle has a Supplement Facts label on it. If it does not have this label, do not ingest it.
If you are adding a drop to your beverage, make sure you only use containers made of glass, ceramic, or stainless steel. Never put oils into plastic containers.
Know how you react to an oil topically or aromatically, before using it internally. Once the oil is inside your body, you have less control over what it does.
Know your body. For example, if you have stomach issues, you clearly have something going on digestively, so stick to topical and aromatic use or use specially-formulated supplements. If you have issues with your esophagus, put the oil in a veggie capsule so that it goes straight through to your stomach.
Other Safety Tips
Most essential oils have a very long shelf life (as in, years), but to preserve them even better, store your oils in a cool area of the house. The citrus oils can sometimes start oxidizing after a year or two, so if you keep citrus oils in your refrigerator, they will last longer.
Personally, citruses are among my favorites. I tend to use mine so frequently that they've never had a chance to oxidize. You would most likely be able to tell it oxidized if it started to smell differently to you or it irritated your skin when normally it wouldn't. At that point, you can still use them in your natural household cleaning supplies.
If you are pregnant, you must use a reference guide for safety. Some oils should be completely avoided during pregnancy, some are safe with heavy dilution, some are safe diffused. So please be safe for your baby and use a reliable resource to guide you.
When using essential oils with your children, please monitor their safety. Store the oils out of reach, and if they like to participate, help them pour the drops into the diffuser. Don't let them grab the bottle or try to drink it. If your child should accidentally drink some of the oil, call Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222.