Aromatherapy essential oils guide, a reference guide for essential oils, safety and precautions for use - please read the disclaimer located on the Navigation Guide.
Dipping your toes in for the first time... using, blending and mixing aromatherapy essential oils may seem very daunting. The versatility and uses of essential oils are vast, these guidelines will give you directions on how to make essential oils a part of your life.... safely.
From Ancient times through to the present day aromatherapy essential oils and herbs have been used extensively in food, beauty and cosmetics preparations and in perfumes. Aromatherapy essential oils are therapeutic, safe substances when used correctly however if they are used incorrectly they can be potentially harmful, it is of the utmost importance to exercise caution when using essential oils and to be aware of any possible contra-indications for your personal use.
Nowadays, the cosmetic, beauty and food industries, check rigorously for allergic reactions and highlight any possible safety concerns. The links below (in the highlighted text) are aromatherapy essential oils lists which detail the essential oils to be particularly aware of - please click on the links to see the lists.
Also the essential oil use chart detailing toxic essential oils which should not be used in Aromatherapy as detailed by the International Federation of Aromatherapy.......these essential oils are deemed as hazardous and must NOT be used.
Always follow the guidelines for using essential oils as given in this aromatherapy essential oils guide and follow the advice given by the supplier of the essential oil you are using.
Never apply neat aromatherapy essential oils directly onto skin unless it is indicated it is safe to do so,such as in the case of Lavender Essential Oil.
Never take essential oils internally, in any form, orally, PV or PR.
If taking any other medication, consult the prescriber before using aromatherapy essential oils and ask their advice.
If you suffer with asthma, do not use aromatherapy essential oils in steam inhalations.
Before using aromatherapy essential oils for the first time it is advisable to carry out a simple skin test. Mix one drop of the test essence in a teaspoonful of olive oil and rub a little of the mixture in the crook of the arm, leave for 24 hours. If there is no redness or itching after 24 hours the essential oil is safe for you to use.
ALWAYS consult your physician if in any doubt about using aromatherapy essential oils.
Also please look at the essential oil use chart detailing toxic oils which should not be used in Aromatherapy.
Essential oils for Skin - Skin Reactions.
If you suffer from an allergy, be it food, animal or animal products (such as wool), hay or pollen allergy, asthma or eczema, the possibility of experiencing an episode of contact dermatitis - that is a reaction resulting in itching and redness, after being exposed to aromatherapy essential oils is increased.
Cross sensitivity may also develop if a person that has previously used an aromatherapy essential oil with no reported problems and then becomes sensitized to that particular aromatherapy essential oil, this means that although no reaction may have been observed initially subsequent use of the aromatherapy essential oil results in an adverse reaction, once a person becomes sensitized to an oil then the body will always react to this aromatherapy essential oil, no matter how small the amount .....the allergic response will occur, which may present as an itchy rash, wheezing or sneezing.To avoid this do not use the same aromatherapy essential oil for longer than 3 months at a time.
Aromatherapy essential oils that may irritate highly sensitive skin, are listed below, these are commonly used aromatherapy essential oils, there are other essential oils which must never be used, please see the toxic oils page.
Essential oils for Skin - Aromatherapy Essential Oils which may irritate highly sensitive skin.
Basil, Bergamot, Black Pepper, Coriander, Cedarwood, Cinnamon leaf, Citronella, Clary sage, Clove, Eucalyptus, Fennel, Ginger, grapefruit, Lemon, Lemongrass, Lime, Litsea Cubeba, Melissa, Nutmeg, Orange, Peppermint, Pine, Spearmint, Tea-tree, Thyme, Ylang-Ylang.
Irritation occurs when the aromatherapy essential oil has come into contact with the skin and a reaction occurs,possibly presenting in a rash, irritation, redness or maybe in extreme cases, a burn. When the essential oil is removed, the affected area recovers and unless the skin comes into contact with that particular essential oil again, there should be no more problems.
Phototoxicity also known as photosensitisation. Skin pigmentation may be altered or burning of the skin may occur, if certain aromatherapy essential oils are applied before going out into the sunshine or there is an exposure to ultraviolet light,( for example if a sunbed is used), after the application of certain aromatherapy essential oils.
One particular essential oil which must be avoided always before exposure to ultra-violet rays is Bergamot Essential oil. There is a Bergamot furocoumarin free oil, which some therapists use but I prefer not to use Bergamot Essential oil at all if the recipient is going to go out into the sunshine.
Essential Oils for Skin -Other phototoxic aromatherapy essential oils not to be used if the recipient is about to be exposed to ultra-violet light are Angelica Root, Citronella, Grapefruit, Mandarin, Mexican or African Marigold, Lemon, Lime, Orange, Tangerine essential oil.
A special note on Aromatherapy Citrus Essential Oils.
If you have had a history of skin cancer, warts,irregular moles, pre-melanoma, melanoma or senile patches ,"liver spots" or darkened areas on your skin it is advised not to use citrus essential oils.
An Aromatherapy essential oils list of aromatherapy essential citrus oils to be avoided - Bergamot, Citronella, Lemon,Lime, Orange, Petigrain, Grapefruit, Tangerine, Mandarin Essential oil.
Epilepsy and Essential Oils.
The essential oil list below details oils that are not to be used if the recipient suffers with fits or epilepsy.
Essential oil list of Aromatherapy Essential oils Not to be used if Epileptic.
Rosemary Essential Oil, Fennel Essential Oil, Hyssop Essential Oil and lastly Sage Essential Oil, which should never be used, ever as it is on the TOXIC ESSENTIAL OILS LIST, please refer to the essential oil use chart on the toxic essential oils page.
Rosemary Essential oil and high blood pressure - the use of Rosemary Essential oil with a person who has high blood pressure is NOT advised.
Using Essential Oils With Children and Elderly People.
Aromatherapy Essential oils are safe to use for children and elderly people as long as caution is employed. Reduced doses must be given, half of the adult recommended dose, that is 1 drop of essential oil to a 5ml carrier oil. Also, I would only use olive oil as the carrier oil for children, it is just my personal preference not to use nut based carrier oils with children. Until over the age of 4 years, the only essential oils that I would use in an olive oil carrier oil, in minute doses would be Lavender Essential oil and occasionally Chamomile Essential oil.
Avoiding Accidents with Aromatherapy Essential Oils.
Essential oils in the eyes - rinse eyes with full fat milk and warm water - consult a physician. Always keep essential oils away from the eyes.
Swallowing of Essential oils - go immediately to hospital or consult a physician - this can be life threatening if a small child swallows essential oils.
Always keep bottles containing essential oils away from children,In dark colored bottles, in child proof containers, in an essential oil storage box, in an inaccessible place, which should be cool, dry and dark.
Aromatherapy essential oils are highly inflammable and as such, must be stored away in an essential oil storage box, far away from a direct heat source. In the event of fire , dry powder, foam, vaporising liquid or carbon dioxide should be employed.....not water !
Lids on the bottles must always be secured to avoid spillages, access by children and to avoid prevention of rancidity to the oils
Avoid putting aromatherapy essential oils on varnished surfaces as some oils may dissolve the varnish, this sounds scary but aromatherapy essential oils used properly and in the correct dosages are not harmful to human tissue - any overdose with any drug will be harmful.
Dermal and Oral Toxicity.
For a substance to be toxic, in this case we are talking about aromatherapy essential oils, it means poisonous, which means that it should not be used. Please refer to the Toxic Essential Oil List.
Dermal toxicity is a term used which means poisoning via the skin, for example aromatherapy essential oils applied neat to the skin. Oral toxicity is when aromatherapy essential oils have been taken internally, eaten or drunk.....NEVER TAKE AROMATHERAPY ESSENTIAL OILS ORALLY.
Acute toxicity is the short term use of a toxic essential oil, chronic toxicity is long term or sustained use of a toxic essential oil.
If you feel that you have suffered a toxic episode due to aromatherapy essential oils consult your physician immediately.
Aromatherapy Essential Oils Guide....a note of reassurance :)
RELAX AND REVIVE !!
Essential oils are wonderful and effective to use,they are scents of purpose, if they are used with care, as indeed you would use any medication, they are safe.
These guidelines are necessary as sometimes these aromatherapy essential oils are not used with respect, they are powerful oils and must be used with caution.If used appropriately they will enhance your world no end !
So,I hope after dipping your toes into the Aromatherapy Essential oils guide, you feel able to walk with confidence and use essential oils in your home and daily life :)