By Carly Clark-Zimmer
By now you have probably heard of essential oils curing anxiety to psoriasis and everything in between. But what most people are NOT taking about is how to use essential oils safely. There is a lot of confusing information out there so before you dive into essential oil exploration, it’s important to understand the safety precautions. On January 15th, I will be teaching Essential Oil Basics at Oyster Bay Yoga. The workshop will include common uses, how to replace harmful chemicals in your home with essential oils, tons of DIY recipes, much much more!
But for now, let’s get you started with my top 10 tips for Essential Oil Safety.
- Choose Wisely: All essential oils are not created equal. Make sure the oils you are buying are free from synthetics and pesticides. Synthetic oils are created in a lab and usually only contain the compound of the plant that makes it smell nice. This isolation of the compounds can create skin irritation and negative reactions. Pesticides are commonly sprayed on cheaper brands and since essential oils are made from distilling the plant, you are getting everything else distilled right along with it. I hate to say it but the price is an indicator. If it seems too good to be true… it is. Choose a therapeutic grade essential oil from a reputable company.
- Hot Oils: Some essential oils are considered ‘hot’. These oils can be caustic if applied directly to the skin without being diluted first with a carrier oil. A carrier oil can be coconut oil, almond oil, jojoba or even olive oil! WHEN USING ESSENTIAL OILS ALWAYS KEEP A CARRIER OIL ON HAND. Any oil you have around the house will work. I prefer fractionated coconut oil because it is light and has no scent. This will spread out the concentration of essential oils and make them more gentle to apply to the skin. When in doubt, dilute it out! Here are just a few examples of hot oils: Peppermint, Cinnamon, Basil, Wintergreen, Lemongrass, Oregano, Clove and Thyme.
- How to Handle Essential Oils in the Eyes: Trust me, it happens! You just applied a lovely oil to your decollate. Then, your itch your eye! DO NOT FLUSH WITH WATER! Oil and water do not mix and this will make the burning worse. Grab your carrier oil and flush it out. If stinging persists for more than a few minutes, seek medical attention.
- Patch Test: Test out a new oil to make sure there is no adverse reaction by conducting a patch test. Mix a few drops of essential oil with 1 teaspoon of carrier oil. Apply a small amount to the inside of the arm and wait up to 24 hours to see if a reaction develops.
- Stick to the Feet: The soles of our feet have the thickest skin on our bodies. If you are trying a new oil, dilute with a carrier oil and then apply to the bottoms of the feet. This is a great way to introduce essential oils adults and kids!
- Keep Essential Oils Away from Children and Pets: The oils smell really nice so your little ones may be drawn to them. These oils are extremely powerful so treat them just like you would any other therapeutic medicine. Up high and out of sight.
- Using Oils on Kids: Always read safety precautions on the bottle when using essential oils with children. Always mix with the appropriate proportion of carrier oil, stick to using only on the feet and perform a patch test. Although there are exceptions, a good rule of thumb is to not use essential oils directly on young children and infants. The safest way to use essential oils with children under two years oils is diffuse them in the air or wear the oil like you would a perfume instead of applying it directly to your child. They are still getting the benefits from inhalation but have no risk of developing skin sensitivity.
- Photosensitive oils: Bergamot, Petitgrain, and most citrus oils are photosensitive. This means they can cause skin irritations similar to sunburn if applied and then exposed to sunlight. Avoid citrus oils when you plan on being outside during the day.
- Internal Use: This is BIG one! I would not suggest experimenting with ingestion until you have taken the time to learn how to do it safely. I personally use a few drops of therapeutic grade lemon and peppermint oil almost daily for digestion BUT, DO NOT OVER-DO IT! A little bit goes a long way.
- Use common sense: Essential oils are safe when used in moderation and correctly. Many substances on earth are toxic when used in the extreme. Even too much water can be dangerous when consumed in excess!
This is just a small preview of everything you will learn at our workshop on Sunday, January 15th. We will talk much more about versatile uses of essential oils, why they are so powerful, where they come from and how to use them in your home. We will be raffling off some of my favorite homemade DIY recipes including my signature Fountain of Youth Face Oil made with Lavender and Frankincense and of course, there will be snacks:)
$35 per person (10% off for members)