Essential oils have endless opportunities to bring wellness and happiness into our lives. While essential oils are natural and can be perfectly safe for everyone to use, it’s important to remember that you’re dealing with an extremely concentrated substance. When learning how to use essential oils it’s important that you also learn about the common essential oil mistakes.
They have the ability to work their way into our everyday routines and bring something that is truly special and unique for everyone. From making your home – or yourself – smell divine to daily skincare and relaxation, there’s almost nothing you can’t do with essential oils.
7 Common Mistakes Made With Essential Oils
Essential oils are very potent and when used incorrectly, can have harmful effects. Here are 7 mistakes to avoid when using essential oils:
Mistake #1 – You think that essential oils can only do good
I don’t want you do panic, thinking, “are essential oils dangerous?” because they can bring such healing to our lives but because they are so strong, you have to be careful.
There is always the chance of an allergic reaction when you’re trying out anything new, but especially essential oils because they’re so concentrated. Every drop packs a punch! Some oils might react adversely with certain medications so it’s never a bad idea to bring it up with your doctor.
There are also tons of essential oils that can help with symptoms of pregnancies but they’re not all safe for mama and baby. Some oils might cause false or early labor so always check with your doctor with this, too.
Mistake #2 – You don’t use a carrier oil
Not using a carrier oil to dilute your essential oil is one of the biggest essential oil mistakes made. If you will be using essential oils topically (on the skin), then best practice is to dilute them in a carrier oil before applying to the skin.
There are tons of carrier oils on the market that have different uses and benefits, all of them make essential oils safer to use.
As a standard, you’ll want to dilute your oil to about 2 percent or 12 drops of essential oil per ounce of carrier oil.
Some might say that essential oils that are diluted enough are safe for ingestion – by way of tea, food or capsule supplements. There is much debate on this topic of ingestion. Essential oils have the possibility to seriously damage your body because they are so strong. To be on the safe side, it isn’t recommended to ingest essential oils, no matter how diluted.
Mistake #3 – Running your diffuser 24/7
While we all love to diffuse oils to purify our home and make it smell delicious, always breathing essential oils without proper ventilation isn’t a good thing. To avoid this essential oil mistake, seek out a diffuser that has a timer you can set to turn off after a certain amount of time – an hour or so.
It’s especially important to think of children and pets that you have in the house when diffusing oils, too! Make sure you’ve done your research into what is safe for children and pets to breathe and make sure the room has proper ventilation, so no one gets stifled.
Mistake #4 – Buying low-quality oils
The first thing to make sure of when you’re buying essential oils is that there aren’t any fillers or additives. You only want the good stuff that is made of 100% pure essential oil.
Next, it’s always better to buy organic when shopping around but that is especially the case for essential oils. If you aren’t buying your oils online, a health food store, co-op, or local aromatherapist are great places to start. Most stores will have sample bottles so you can test the oil’s scent and reaction with your body.
Mistake #5 – Lack of knowledge about essential oils
Don’t make the essential oil mistake of not knowing the essential oil you are using. If you have an essential oil that you are not familiar with you should determine if it is safe for you to use. Some essential oil should not be used on children, pregnant, or breastfeed mothers. If you have a health condition like seizures or asthma, certain essential oils could make these conditions worst.
If you are using a new oil, you may want to do a skin patch test before applying all over your body, especially if you have sensitive skin.You will also want to know what to do have a skin reactions to essential oils that have been applied.
It was shared in mistake #2 that best practice is to dilute your essential oils before applying them to the skin. This really is the best way to avoid skin irritations from oils.
If you have a reaction to an oil that has been applied to skin you will need to apply plain carrier oil to the area (like jojoba oil or fractionated coconut oil). The carrier oil will dilute the essential oil making it less potent. After you’ve got the essential oil diluted, you can wash the area with a gentle soap and water and then you’ll be good to go.
Mistake #6 – Not using essential oils to their full potential
You can really have fun with essential oils! Don’t forget that they can be used for much more than just a quick application on the wrist or diffused in your home. You can use oils to make cleaning supplies, spray perfumes, moisturizers and even dry shampoo!
There are tons of fun ideas for essential oil projects and DIY recipes out there and if you get creative enough, you might even be able to swap out all of your current home, bath and body products for homemade ones made with natural essential oils that help cleanse and smell amazing.
Mistake #7 - Throwing away your empty essential oil bottles
Got an empty oil bottle? Don't throw it away, instead reuse or repurpose it! The small colored glass bottles that essential oils come in can easily be reused in DIY recipes and projects. You can even make them into roller bottles.
In addition, there is always a little oil residue left in empty essential oil bottles. Make sure to use this by either keeping the residue in or getting it out.
An easy way to get last few drops of oil out is to add some water to the bottle, shake it up, and then add the mixture of water and oil residue to your aromatherapy diffuser. If you need to add any additional oil or water to your diffuser, do so. Enjoy the last few drops as they waft through your home.
Likewise, you can leave the oil residue in the bottle and add carrier oil to make a mini bottle of massage oil, add additional drops of essential oil if needed.
I hope this has answered your question of, “are essential oils dangerous?” The hard and fast answer is, “no,” but as you can see, there are ways to misuse essential oils. If you’ve made one or two of these essential oil mistakes, I hope that doesn’t deter you from trying again and using them in the future.
As long as you do the proper research and use essential oils safely, the benefits will have you soaring – and everyone else jealous of how delicious you smell!
General Essential Oil Precautions
Never use essential oils undiluted, in eyes or mucous membranes. Do not take internally unless working with a qualified practitioner. Keep out of reach from children.
Use essential oils with extreme caution on children, be sure you have researched the oil and that it is safe for use on kids. Plant Therapy clearly labels their oils "KidSafe" on the bottle if the oil can be used for children ages 2–10.
If applying an essential oil topically (on your skin), you may perform a small patch test to an insensitive part of the body, use 1-2 drops in a teaspoon of carrier oil like jojoba oil, read more here.
If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, epileptic, or under a doctor’s care, consult your physician. For more information on oil safety issues here.
Newbie to Oils? Read More: Essential Oils for Beginners
Essential Oils for Beginners Guide
Learn all about Essential Oils in this Beginner's Guide and how to use them safely and effectively. Written by Jennifer Lane, Loving Essential Oils Owner & Certified Aromatherapist:
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