Using essential oils properly is paramount when it comes to safety. Essential oils are volatile and powerful substances that can cause serious skin burns if not used correctly. There are only two essential oils that can be applied directly to the skin, the term is called “neat”.
Lavender (Lavandula augustifolia) and Tea Tree (melaleuca). All other oils for topical applications must be applied with a carrier oil, within a certain percentage. Certain citrus essential oils are phototoxic, and some are not depending on the extraction methods.
Types Of Skin Care Oils
- Lemon is common oil that I frequently see people add to their drinks, water and oil do not mix, it can be very irritating to mucous membranes, and over time with frequent use may cause burns and even ulcers. It takes one pound of lemons to make a 15ml bottle, they are cold pressed from the lemon rinds, whereas lemon juice is made from the pulp. Want lemon in your water, use real lemons and get the full benefits of all the vitamins too. Buy organically, many lemon trees are sprayed with pesticides and harmful contaminates. Lemon is also phototoxic, use at a 2% or lower dilution rate to avoid phototoxicity for skin applications.
- Avoid taking any essential oils orally, vaginally, or rectally. There are many essential oils to avoid during pregnancy and lactation, consultation with a certified clinical aromatherapist is recommended.
- Babies and children under two should avoid any direct oils applications. Diffusing essential oils into a room for 20-30 mins is helpful prior to sleep, not while sleeping.
- Lavender and German Chamomile are two hydrosols (product of distillation) recommended for babies and small children. Children aged two to five should avoid direct skin applications except for first aid purposes. First aid should be 1% dilution in a carrier of choice.
- Lavender is the only oil that can be applied “neat” directly on the skin and only a single drop is used for bites, burns and stings. Children ages five to twelve use a dilution of 1% in a carrier oil.
- Eucalyptus and any essential oils that are high in 1,8 cineole are not recommended to use on children under 10yrs old.
- Peppermint is not recommended to use on children under 5yrs old. When it comes to our pets, diffusing for 20-30 mins in a closed room is recommended, away from pets and pet should always be able to leave the area.
- For more safety guidelines I recommend Robert Tisserand, Essential Oil Safety book, and consult an aromatherapist.
Some essential oils and carrier oils are environmentally endangered species. Due to the increasing popularity of essential oils many species have fallen victim to illegal trade.
For a complete list of threatened species see, IUCN Red List here www.iucnredlist.org
Rose and Jasmine are extremely precious oils and are the most adulterated oils in today’s market. It takes approximately 50 certified organic roses to make a single drop of oil. General rule of thumb, 1ml holds approximately 20 drops, meaning roughly 1000 roses go into that tiny bottle. Rose blossoms are lovingly harvested by hand in Bulgaria and is awfully expensive to purchase. Just one drop can smell like a whole bouquet in your blend, well worth the price given the therapeutic benefits this oil can provide.
Currently, with Covid-19, many essential oils that have anti-viral properties are in huge demand, causing a shortage in supply and driving the prices up.