Essential Oil Safety – Everything You Need To Know

woman smelling an orange

With the growing popularity of aromatherapy, essential oil safety has come into greater focus. Many essential oils have been scientifically proven to have a host of health benefits. From treating anxiety to deodorizing spaces; these oils are excellent. However, you can only reap the benefits if you use them properly and safely.

Essential oils are derived from plant parts like rinds, barks, leaves and herbs. They are highly potent or concentrated, therefore incorrect use of these oils can compromise your safety and wellness. Before you buy these kinds of oils, it is critical to look at the safety information provided in this article. Know what to do and what to avoid and in the end, you will enjoy the full merits of quality essential oils. Also, be careful where you get information about essential oil safety, credible sources should check out and whenever you are in doubt, feel free to contact a specialist or a certified healthcare provider. 

Safety basics

Always buy high quality essential oils

As you can imagine, essential oils are not all made equal. Some unscrupulous sellers stock oils that are simply below par. These may include diluted oils or those mixed with certain undesirable chemicals. Also, some oils are extracted using solvents or other chemicals that can denature the purity and potency of the oil. Therefore, the first thing is to make sure that you buy your oil from a reputable brand. Dig deep and see how manufacturers produce these oils. With a little research it is easy to find out whether there are any additives used to enhance or alter the oils. Ideally, a high quality essential oil should be pure and natural. Consumers need to understand that essential oils can easily be harmed by the elements such as heat and exposure to oxygen.

Manufacturers should also source their materials ethically from organic and sustainable sources. Doing some due diligence on this is the only sure way to choose a reputable brand. To make your work easier, consider Utama Spice essential oils. These are high quality products that are produced in the jungles of Indonesia. You get pure oils that are effective and of top quality. Also, you avoid harsh effects often brought about by poor quality essential oils. When you find very cheap oils being sold online, this is a big red flag that the contents could be less than high quality. Pure essential oils are not cheap; but they are generally affordable.

beautiful women smells bouquet of fresh yellow flowers
Everything is better when it smells good!

Essential oils must be packaged properly

Essential oils that are not packaged in dark colored glass containers are wanting to say the least. A good number of essential oils are not only flammable but are highly corrosive. Plastic containers are therefore not safe for essential oil storage and packaging. Essential oils should not be exposed to oxygen. This is to avoid spoilage; oxygen will ruin and spoil essential oils quickly and keeping the bottle closed is key.

Using essential oils on your skin

You should never use essential oils directly on the skin without diluting properly. Even after diluting, you should never use essential oils on burnt, broken or damaged skin. Also, make sure to keenly dilute the oils following the guide by the manufacturer. These oils are highly potent and burning skin is easy. Some essential oil experts will advise people to use carrier oils for diluting to enhance safety. For example, adding jojoba or coconut oil into your pure essential oils is safer for your skin. Some experts will discourage the use of these oils directly onto skin. If you are in doubt, buy a product that has been safely formulated with essential oils of choice. 

Essential Oils Safety Video

Utama Spice has a variety of safe skincare solutions enhanced with essential oils. You can make your own DIY solutions at home but you should must be cautious to avoid dire consequences. In children, it is best to avoid using essential oils on skin. Children have very delicate skin and even diluted oils can have a bad effect. There are skincare product options in the market that contain essential oils that have been expertly prepared and properly diluted for specific use with children. In general, you must dilute essential oils in order to be used safely in children. Some doctors will recommend a remedy containing essential oils to treat certain conditions, but it will always be diluted.

Essential oils for children 

As hinted to above, essential oils are not very good for children. In addition to their sensitive skin, aromatherapy with many oils can irritate their respiratory systems leading to coughs and discomfort. Therefore, it is best to avoid using these oils near children; especially those that are below the age of 10. In addition, you must store essential oils safely in a way that children cannot reach. If you have kids, you are aware that they love to explore and they can accidentally consume the oil if stored within their reach. Therefore, ensure that you observe these two levels of safety with children. As mentioned above, in special cases, a doctor can recommend a certain essential oil to treat a condition in your child . You should follow all the instructions by your healthcare provider in this regard.

Essential oil for pets

If you have pets, it is important to learn that many essential oils can actually be toxic for animals. Pets like cats and dogs cannot handle aromatic oils the same way humans can. Some of the most harmful oils include pine, ylang ylang, cinnamon, clove, tea tree, and more; the list goes on and on. These oils may cause drooling, fatigue, weakness, muscle tremors, vomiting, redness and many other effects. When you notice any of these symptoms, seek help from a qualified vet.

All in all, using essential oil around your pets should be done with extreme caution. With pets, essential oil safety is paramount. Therefore, it is good to diffuse oils when your pets are not in the room. Or if they are in the room offer them a way to exit if they choose. Also, make sure to store oils away from the reach of pets. There are pets who could benefit from very mild concentrations of specific essential oils. However, before going this direction, seek expert advice.  

For use with the elderly

Older people are more sensitive and to this end, essential oils must be used in great moderation. However, older people can use them in the right ways to help relieve problems and symptoms from ailments and conditions such as arthritis, common cold, headache, arthritis, insomnia and so on. It is critical to understand that the way and manner the oils are applied is extremely important. Make sure to invest in a good diffuser and a quality carrier oil. Also, one should avoid using oils topically in older people unless they have been diluted and properly patch tested first. Old people have sensitive skin and oils can cause irritation. Keep in mind that old people have relatively weak respiratory systems; when using aromatherapy with older individuals, go slow, be cautious and test first. If necessary, mild aromas are best for them. 

During pregnancy

Experts still do not know all the intricacies and effects of using essential oils during pregnancy. In this regard, the rule of thumb is to avoid the oils if possible. In some cases, medical experts advise expectant mothers to limit their use of essential oils instead of cutting them out completely. For example, one or two drops of oil for example is enough for a bath. When diffusing essential oils, women who are pregnant are urged to reduce the duration of exposure therein.

Other safety guides are to avoid using the same oil every day. In general, early pregnancy causes women to be extra sensitive to smells and aromas. In this case, keeping your space as neutral as possible or just breathing a diluted oil mixture briefly is the way to go. Therefore, during pregnancy both topical application and oral ingestion of essential oils should be avoided. Even though there is no conclusive evidence that shows the harm of essential oil in pregnancy, it is better safe than sorry.

Safety when handling essential oils

If you enjoy making your own products using essential oils like skin and hair lotions, you must wear personal protection gear. Essential oils are corrosive and can cause damage to physical objects and well as your health! To handle essential oils properly, you will need a pair of gloves, protective eye wear, hairnet, face mask, shoe covering and so on. When you are handling these potent oils, anything could happen and the oil may end up in your eyes or on your skin; this is the reason why you have to take extra precaution.

When you make your products, find a secure location. The best way to store essential oils is in a cool, dark, dry location behind lock and key. Also, do understand that some essential oils are fire hazards because they can be flammable. You must storeyour oils safely and at the right temperatures (even cold storage is suitable). Also, you should avoid exposing them to sunlight and oxygen which can damage and degrade essential oils.

essential oils stored in a glass bottle
Essential oil should be stored in glass bottles in a cool, dry, dark place

Using essential oils correctly: top dos and don’ts

After looking at all the vital safety basics above, it is good to consider the top dos and don’ts when it comes to essential oil safety. This way, you will know exactly what to do when faced with a safety issue.

Always test an oil before using topically

Many people have discovered that essential oils can have wonderful benefits for the skin. However, it is important to understand that even natural ingredients that are pure can have their own downsides. Before committing to using a product containing an essential oil, do a patch test with a section of your skin. See whether there is an adverse reaction or not. This is the only sure way to tell whether an oil is good for you or not. Make sure you dilute your oil properly if you are trying out a DIY formula. This is a great way to discover what works for you and what does not.

Don’t overdo essential oils

Even when an oil works perfectly, misuse such as frequent or excessive oil use can be harmful. Some people see oils as “natural” and wish to “get more of the good thing”, but this is counterproductive. You should never exceed the desired amount and frequency of use. Otherwise, you may experience nausea, headache and dizziness. Also, with too much exposure your skin could become hypersensitive and may burn or irritate.

Make sure to toss old oils

Essential oils last long; but they come with an expiry date. After 3 years, these oils will spoil. Some people hold on to old oils and this is not wise. Because of exposure to oxygen and sunlight, older oils are not as potent. Over time they can also become sticky, thick and oxidized. This is when they are more likely to cause irritation and allergic reaction. When these oils go bad, their smell, feel and even look will change. Tossing these away will pave the way for better, more effective essential oils.

Consult your doctor before ingesting essential oils

Many people think that because essential oils are natural they can also be consumed orally. There are those that assume that essential oils are automatically good for the body. This is not always the case. A good example is citrus oils. They may be safe if ingested in small amounts, but on your skin, however, they can irritate, burn and cause sensitivity to the sun. Cumin or clove oil could be an excellent culinary ingredient but can cause blisters on your skin. When diluted sage oil is great for the skin but can cause serious harm when ingested. To this end, look at the merits of each oil and know the potential effects. Understand that ingesting essential oils comes with risk. Seek professional help if you wish to learn more

Inform your doctor before using essential oils

If you are on prescription medication for a certain ailment, do not incorporate essential oils without consulting your doctor. This is because drug interaction can occur compromising your medication and efficacy therein. Some oils such as peppermint may alter how your body absorbs certain medication and to this end, seek professional help before going this direction. If you are not on any medication, a doctor might also help you in figuring out different potential side effects of essential oils.

Are essential oils safe for medical use?

If you are considering essential oils for your medical problem, it is good to keep in mind that these oils are not an alternative for medication provided by your doctor. Oils can just supplement or enhance conventional medication. You should never take oils orally for any medical reason. This is very dangerous even when you have diluted the oil. Always use oils as guided by manufacturers or experts. Please read care instructions and go slow. Most people suffer bad effects from essential oils because they do not take safety seriously. All the above precautions should help you get the most out of these aromatic oils.


64 thoughts on “Essential Oil Safety – Everything You Need To Know

  1. Susan Smith says:

    Great tips, I didn’t know you needed to wear personal protection gear when essential oils.

  2. Gabrielle says:

    I really appreciate the list of oils which can be toxic for pets. I would hate to do anything that might harm my companions.

  3. Karen Jaras says:

    Great to know. My parents have Asian Beetles all over their house and I have read they do not like citrus. They are elderly with health issues and I do not want them using harmful sprays. Will adding citrus oil to water in a spray bottle be effective without damaging the woodwork?

    • uts_admin says:

      Actually, it would be useful and effective. You might want to mix a little grain alcohol in the bottle to get the essential oils to mix best inside the sprayer. You can also add other oils like citronella.

  4. Margaret Gallagher says:

    My onestop resource – will be invaluable for future reference – comprehensive and easy to follow

  5. Jess walker says:

    I use essential oils and never thought of throwing old ones out. Great tips thank you.

  6. Rebecca Weiss says:

    This is an informative beginner’s guide to using essential oils. I think that’s its good to know the facts before you jump in and get started.

  7. Jason Kaike says:

    I’m sending this link to my aunt, she basically robs any kind of oil on her face without carefully reading the guides or consulting an expert.
    Her face is a mixture of different colors due to oil burns.

    She definitely needs to read these.

  8. sheila ressel says:

    This is great information to know before starting to use essential oils. Safety first!

  9. Elizabeth COMPANION says:

    I cant stand when people who use essential oils burn their skins and babies without properly knowing the risks and considerations in using them! Good article

  10. Liz N. says:

    Great tips! I hadn’t heard these before. I only use peppermint oil when I’m having headaches – but I do put it directly on my skin… hope that’s OK.

  11. Terri Tyler says:

    I really appreciate the information about using the essential oils around pets. I would feel horrible if they were distressing my dog.

  12. Linda Szymoniak says:

    I have three dogs and a cat (likely to adopt another cat in a couple of months, too). I have wanted to try using essential oils but do worry about using them around my pets. I got some great information from your article and will continue to read up on the subject to keep my furbabies safe.

  13. laurie damrose says:

    I knew you need a diffuer to saely use the oils and the others tips are very important.

  14. Barrie says:

    Great information. I only purchase high quality essential oils. Good to know about pets and elderly.

  15. Minta Boggs says:

    Wow! didn’t realize that there were so many ways to use essential oils. Thanks so much for all the info and for sharing.

  16. Sandy Klocinski says:

    Awesome post! Nice to know how to use essential oils. I am, shall we say, of a certain age, so it is wise to be careful

  17. Wanda Tracey says:

    This was an awesome and very informative article. I wasn’t aware of some of these important facts about oils. Thanks so much for sharing.

  18. adrienne h says:

    Quality over quantity ever time
    The smells last longer and are divine
    good to understand how to use responsibly
    to do only good for my family

  19. Raúl OC says:

    I found this article really interesting! I’ve already heard of essential oils before, but I didn’t know all of this, thanks for sharing!

  20. Holly Benjamin says:

    I use essential oils quite frequently and I am amazed at how powerful they are. I use an old cloth in my old filter queen vacuum that is moistened with Rose oil. When I vacuum the house the oil is dispersed throughout the house, so amazing!

  21. Lizzie M says:

    The teens in my house use essential oils as well and I’m going to have them read this article!

  22. Jessica Barber says:

    Thanks for this information, it is so important to take appropriate care when using essential oils.

  23. Sarah Roberts says:

    Some great points! l’ve just started to do my own candles and oils so its great to get trusted tips!

  24. Sarah L says:

    Good tips for safely using essential oils. Citrus oils cause sensitivity to the sun when applied to the skin.

  25. Jeanette Leighton says:

    I always worry about using too much oil but luckily my dad has researched them and gives me lots of information

  26. Kristi Friesen says:

    Essential oils can be so healing but need to be used with caution so this post really covers those concerns, thank you!

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