Essential Oil Safety
Using essential oils safely is very important. Even though these precious oils are natural, they still come with cautions and should be used properly. From dilutions to pet safety, to the correct ways to use essential oils with children, we have you covered. At My Pure Earth, we want you to feel confident and secure while enriching your lives with our essential oils.
Diluting Essential Oils
When it comes to topical application, it is vital to know the correct and safe way to apply essential oils to your skin. Some precautions that come with using these very potent oils, and we want to make sure to protect your body from harm due to irritation or reaction.
The key point to understand when applying essential oils topically is that oil and water don’t mix. Only using water to dilute oils on your skin will not work because the oil will not disperse. It is very important to use a carrier oil or an oil-based product like lotion or soap to help disperse the essential oil and carry it into your skin safely. This not only guards your skin from these highly concentrated oils but helps those oils go a lot further.
Another thing to note is that different dilution rates are safe for different situations. The parameters of using essential oils on a young child vary greatly from an acute condition with an adult. In addition, pets and the elderly are especially fragile, and their safety needs to be taken into account. The chart below is a helpful tool for referencing. Please note that you should always do a small patch test on your skin when first using a new oil to make sure there is no reaction.
Ingesting Essential Oils
Many people have opposing views on whether or not essential oils can be ingested. Here at My Pure Earth, we follow what the experts recommend. Our team was trained under the National Association of Holistic Aromatherapy, and it is our stance that essential oils are taken internally under the supervision of your doctor. Here are some reasons why:
- Essential oils are incredibly potent! One drop of Peppermint oil is equal to 27 cups of Peppermint tea!
- Ingesting essential oils is not the best way to gain their therapy.
- Many essential oils can cause drug interactions.
- Oil and water don’t mix! Meaning essential oils will float on top, and you will get a full unprotected dose in one sip.
- Essential oils can cause damage to your organs, including burning in the oesophagus and stomach lining, as well as long term, build up in the liver.
There is a lot to understand on this subject, so please read our full article on Ingesting Essential Oils.
Essential Oils During Pregnancy, Childbirth and Breastfeeding
Any situation where a baby is involved, safety must be a priority; this includes aromatherapy as well.
Babies are incredibly delicate creatures that are susceptible to so many things. Essential oils can be a great natural tool for this special time in your life, but you need to make sure you are using them correctly.
Pregnancy- The general rule is to completely avoid the use of essential oils during the first trimester. The only exception to this would be occasional inhalation of Mint, Ginger or Citrus to help alleviate nausea. In the second and third trimester, you can begin incorporating more oils.
Inhalation is the safest method, but topical administration can be considered for certain situations. Remember that essential oils can cross over into the placenta and affect the uterus, so they must be “safe” oils and used at only a 1% dilution.
Childbirth- Aromatherapy can be a wonderful aid during childbirth. Helping to reduce stress, easing pain, and bringing forth contractions; these are a great addition to your hospital bag.
Breastfeeding- In knowing that essential oils enter our bloodstream, we know that using them while nursing can mean that the oil might affect your milk. Special precautions need to be taken when using essential oils when you are breastfeeding. Continue to use them at a 1% dilution when needed topically. Avoid getting them near baby when you are using topically. Additionally, you should not diffuse your oils while the baby is feeding. There are also a few essential oils to avoid altogether.
There is so much more information on this subject. Please read our full article on Using Essential Oils During Pregnancy, Childbirth and Breastfeeding.
Essential Oils and Children
Just like babies, children are very sensitive, and we need to take extra care when using essential oils around or on kids. There are many things to consider: which oils are safe aromatically, which ones are safe topically, what dilution rate is safe, and what to do in an emergency. Here are some basics, but there is much more to know. Read the full article on Safe Use of Essential Oils with Children.
- We do not recommend topical application of essential oils on children until 2 years old. Before that, there are a few oils that are safe for aromatic use, starting at 6 months old.
- When using topically on a child between 2 years old and 10 years old, a 1% dilution is suggested.
- Avoid the use of unsafe oils including Anise, Birch, Cajeput, Cinnamon, Clove, Cornmint, Eucalyptus, Fennel, Garlic, Hyssop, Niaouli, Ravintsara, Rosemary, Saro, Wintergreen and more.
- Hydrosols are the safest option. It’s preferred to use them on children 5 and under.
- Always keep essential oils out of reach of children and do not let them handle them on their own.
- If ingestion occurs, call Poison Control immediately.
- If irritation occurs after topical use, wash with soap and water then apply a carrier oil to the area to soothe.
Take caution when using phototoxic oils. Do not let your child go into the sun after topical use.
Essential Oils and Pets
Another fragile group you have to take caution with is your pets.
Key Facts to Know:
- An animal’s sense of smell can be 10,000-100,000 times stronger than a human!
- Trust your pet’s nose… if it is shying away from a scent, it doesn’t like it, and you should not use it around your pet.
- Hydrosols are the best option for animals.
- Always diffuse in an open space where the pet can leave the room. If you have a caged pet that cannot leave, diffuse in a separate room.
- Do not apply essential oils topically to lizards, birds, cats, or rodents.
- A safe dilution of .5-1% is recommended for topical use on animals such as dogs, horses, and some farm animals. Do not use unsafe oils on them.
Do not let your pet ingest essential oils.
There is so much to know on this subject. Check out our more in-depth article on How To Use Essential Oils Safely Around Pets.
Storing and Safekeeping
Essential oils are incredibly volatile, and it is vital to keep track of safekeeping. Knowing the shelf life for your oils will help them from spoiling and continue your therapeutic usage.
- Keep your essential oils in a cool, dry space.
- Citrus oils tend to expire the quickest, keep in the refrigerator for longer shelf life.
- Always keep essential oils away from pets and children.
- Store your essential oils and blends in a dark-coloured bottle (amber or blue are the most common) to protect from UV light.
- Keep your bottles closed tightly so that they do not oxidise.
- Once you mix your essential oils with a carrier oil, the shelf life is shortened, and they can go rancid. Generally, they will last 3-12 months, depending on the carrier oil used.