Essential oils are amazing, powerful tools from nature.
But just because they’re natural, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take safety precautions when using them. Here are a few tips:
1. Not all essential oils are created equal
Essential Oils that contain a higher concentration of phenols (phenolics) and aldehydes are more potent than oils with lower concentrations of these chemicals. Phenols and aldehydes have strong anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, and antiseptic properties.
Essential oils that contain higher concentrations of phenols include Clove, Wintergreen, Oregano, and Melaleuca (tea tree oil). Examples of oils that contain a higher concentration of aldehydes include Cinnamon Bark, and Lemongrass.
It’s also important to know that some oils are considered to be ‘hot’ oils, and when applied to the skin, require more dilution. Some of these oils include Oregano, Clove, Cinnamon, Thyme, and Cassia.
On the other hand, some oils can be just the opposite, and have quite a cooling effect on the skin. These oils also need to be more diluted, especially for young children, the elderly, or people with sensitive skin.
2. More is Better, Right?
Not always. In fact, when it comes to essential oils, the opposite is true. Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade essential oils are highly concentrated, and so a few drops is really all you need to achieve a therapeutic effect.
If you’re using essential oils every day, it’s completely safe. Just remember; Less is more.
Try several small doses throughout the day rather than a single large dose. Start with the lowest possible dose (1–2 drops). A topical dose can be repeated every few hours as needed. Because every individual is unique, the dose will vary for each individual based on size, age, and overall health status.
My advice is to be smart and start slowly. Try 1-2 drops at first, and then if needed you can add another drop or two to see if it provides any more benefit. You’ll be surprised how potent doTERRA essential oils are.
3. The Dilution Solution
To minimize any sensitivities you may have, I always recommend that you dilute your oils to slow the absorption rate. This precaution is especially important for people who have sensitive systems.
I recommend diluting the essential oils you use every day with a high-quality carrier oil like organic jojoba, almond, or olive oil. Try one drop of essential oil for every 1/2 teaspoon of carrier oil.
Topical application is a very effective method for applying essential oils. Because essential oils have low molecular weights and are lipid soluble, they easily penetrate the skin. Once absorbed, they stay in the applied area for a localized benefit.
Although essential oils are readily absorbed, there are many ways to increase absorption. Using a light massage will increase the blood flow to the area of application, in turn improving distribution throughout the body. Use of a carrier oil can also increase absorption, especially in dry skin as it helps moisturize the skin and slow evaporation of the oil.
If you are new to using a particular essential oil on your skin, or new to using essential oils every day, I recommend using 1 drop of diluted essential oil on a small patch of skin before you cover larger sections of your body.
Safe Areas for Topical Use
- Forehead and temples (Adults only. Keep away from eyes. Hot or Cool oils, like peppermint, may be too strong applied this close to the eyes. Do not apply here before sweating).
- Arms, Legs (muscles)
- Pulse Points
- Bottoms of the feet
Sensitive Areas to be Avoided:
- Some facial areas, such as the skin around the eyes
- Inner ears
- All ‘canals’ of the body
- Broken, damaged, or otherwise injured skin
4. Essential Oils and Plastic Containers
Another thing to note, is that essential oils should never be stored in plastic containers, especially in concentrated forms. Many essential oils can degrade plastics when they’re undiluted, and even when diluted they can still wear down plastic over time.
For this reason, you should never use a regular humidifier to diffuse essential oils into the air. Since the plastic in a humidifier is only designed to hold and disperse water, and not specifically essential oils, it will likely be destroyed.
5. Safety First: Internal Usage
When ingested, essential oils directly enter the bloodstream via the gastrointestinal tract, where they are transported throughout the rest of the body. Essential oils are lipid soluble so they are readily transported to all organs of the body, including the brain. Then, like all things we consume, essential oils are metabolized by the liver and other organs and are then excreted.
The composition of essential oils is highly complex. Each constituent possesses a unique set of biochemical properties that react with cells and organs in different ways, and many positive end results have been demonstrated. However, the body is only equipped to handle appropriate doses of essential oils.
Safe Methods of Internal Use
- Use oils in recipes for cooking or baking! Remember that essential oils are much more potent than dried or fresh herbs and spices, so start with a very small amount. For more potent oils, it may be better to administer them by toothpicks (dip the end of a clean toothpick into the oil and then add to the food) rather than drops
- Add essential oils to water, smoothies, tea, or other drinks
- Take essential oils internally in a veggie capsule or add to a small amount of applesauce or yogurt.