Most essential oils are safe and free of adverse side effects when used properly. However, as with any substance you are introducing into your body, it is important to use them intelligently. We recommend that you never eat or drink essential oils. You should pay attention to the following factors.
when choosing an oil, consumers should ignore the marketing hype and look at details such as the Latin botanical name, country of origin, whether it’s organic, and general usage and safety guidelines. Company websites may provide further information on chemistry and details about a particular batch.
Most aromatherapy oil based blends will be between 1 and 5 percent dilutions, which typically does not represent a safety concern. As one increases dilution, potential dermal (skin) reactions may take place depending on the individual essential oil, the area in which the oil is applied, and other factors related to the client’s own sensitivity levels. Any excessive usage of essential oils may cause irritation or other undesired effects due to their lipophilic nature.
Essential oils may be applied on the skin (dermal application), inhaled, diffused or taken internally. Each of these methods have safety issues which need to be considered. The potential safety concerns with dermal application will be discussed below. With regard to inhalation, inhalation, from a safety standpoint, presents a very low level of risk to most people. Even in a relatively small closed room, and assuming 100% evaporation, the concentration of any essential oil (or component thereof) is unlikely to reach a dangerous level, either from aromatherapy massage, or from essential oil vaporization.
1. Keep all essential oils out of reach of children and pets.
2. Do not use or recommend the use of photosensitizing essential oils prior to going into a sun tanning booth or the sun. Recommend that the client 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.
3. Avoid prolonged use of the same essential oils.
4. Avoid the use of essential oils you know nothing about on your clients. Research and get to know the oil prior to using it on others.
5. Avoid the use of undiluted essential oils on the skin, unless otherwise indicated.
6. 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.
7. Know the safety data on each essential oil and place into context of use and knowledge.
8. Use caution when treating a female client who suspects she is pregnant or has been trying to become pregnant.
9. Keep essential oils away from the eyes.
10. 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.
11. Make sure your treatment room has good ventilation.
12. Do not use essential oils internally unless properly trained in the safety issues of doing so.