ESSENTIAL OIL SAFETY
General Safety Precautions
Keep all essential oils out of reach of children and pets.
Do not use or recommend the use of photosensitizing essential oils prior to going into a sun tanning booth or the sun. It's highly recommended that the user stay out of the sun or sun tanning booth for at least twenty-four hours after treatment if photosensitizing essential oils were applied to the skin. In general citrus essential oils increase photosensitivity. Applying them before sun exposure can cause skin burns.
Avoid prolonged use of the same essential oils unless they are being used under the guidance of a qualified health professional.
Avoid the use of essential oils you know nothing about on yourself or love ones. Research and get to know the oil prior to using it on others.
Avoid the use of undiluted essential oils on the skin, unless otherwise indicated.
If you suspect your client may be sensitive to specific essential oils or if your client has known allergies or sensitivities, it may be wise to perform a skin patch test.
Know the safety data on each essential oil and place into context of use and knowledge.
Use caution when treating a female client who suspects she is pregnant or has been trying to become pregnant.
Keep essential oils away from the eyes.
Essential oils are highly flammable substances and should be kept away from direct contact with flames, such as candles, fire, matches, cigarettes, and gas cookers.
Make sure your treatment room has good ventilation.
Do not use essential oils internally unless directed by a qualified practitioner or using a professionally formulated blend labeled for internal use. Safety Guidelines for dilution and use must be followed. Any essential oils used must be pure and genuine.
If essential oil droplets accidentally get into the eye (or eyes) a cotton cloth or similar should be imbued with a fatty oil, such as olive or sesame, and carefully swiped over the closed lid. And / Or, Immediately flush the eyes with cool water.
If an essential oil causes skin irritation, apply a small amount of vegetable oil or cream to the area affected and discontinue use of essential oil or product that has caused skin irritation.
If a child appears to have drunk several spoonfuls of essential oil, contact the nearest poison control unit (often listed in the front of a telephone directory). Keep the bottle for identification and encourage the child to drink whole or 2% milk. Do not try to induce vomiting.
These popular essential oils that have be used during pregnancy:
- clary sage
Essential oils that should never be used during pregnancy, labor, or while breastfeeding include:
- parsley seed
How To Perform A Patch Test
Patch tests allow you to see how your skin reacts to a particular oil before you perform a full application.
To do this:
- Wash your forearm with unscented soap.
- Pat the area dry.
- Rub a few drops of diluted essential oil into a small patch of your forearm.
- Wait 24 hours.
- If the skin patch is red, itchy, blistering, or swollen, you’ve had an adverse reaction to the oil and should discontinue use.
Tisserand, R., and Balacs, T. (1995). Essential Oil Safety. New York: Churchill Livingstone.