When learning how to use essential oils it’s important that you also learn about the common essential oil mistakes to avoid. Essential oils have endless opportunities to bring wellness and happiness into our lives when used properly.
While essential oils are natural and can be perfectly safe for almost everyone to use, it’s important to remember that you’re dealing with an extremely concentrated substance.
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 Essential Oil Mistakes to Avoid
Mistakes happen, that's just a fact of life. And while we know that it is important to make mistakes in order to grow, sometimes the wrong action or thought can be costly, or even dangerous!
Essential oils are very potent and when used incorrectly, can have harmful effects. Lets explore the most common essential oil mistakes and how you can avoid them in your own home.
Here are 7 mistakes to avoid when using essential oils:
Essential Oil 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.
Also use caution and avoid using too much essential oil, it can lead to skin irritation or respiratory issues for some people if they are sensitive to the oils being used. Additionally, using too much can cause an overpowering scent.
Essential Oil 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. Here are just a few
- Jojoba Oil
- Fractionated Coconut Oil
- Sweet Almond Oil
- Grapeseed Oil
- Rosehip Oil
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, especially for beginner users.
Essential Oil 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.
Essential Oil 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 and the option is there. They do tend to cost a little extra and you may not be able to find an organic essential oil. If it is a quality company you are purchasing from then It isn't as concerning.
We are frequently asked what essential oil brand we like, here are some of our favorite essential oil brands:
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.
Essential Oil 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). When mixing, 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.
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:
Essential Oil 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.
Essential Oil 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!
Frequently Asked Questions About Common Mistakes with Essential Oils
What citrus oils cause photosensitivity?
Some citrus oils, and other essential oils, can cause photosensitivity when applied to skin and then that skin is exposed to direct sunlight or UV rays. Photosensitivity occurs when certain essential oils interact with the sun's UV rays, causing an allergic reaction such as redness, swelling, and even burns. Common citrus oils that can cause photosensitivity are lime, bergamot, and lemon essential oil. It is important to note that not all citrus oils cause this reaction.
What are some other tips for using essential oils safely and effectively?
Here are some tips and tricks for using essential oils safely:
1. Always dilute essential oils with a carrier oil such as jojoba, almond, or coconut oil before applying to the skin.
2. Avoid contact with eyes, ears, and other sensitive areas when using essential oils.
3. Do a patch test before using essential oils topically on the skin.
4. Consider using a diffuser to disperse essential oils into the air instead of applying them directly to the skin.
5. Keep essential oils away from pets and children.
6. Store essential oils in a cool, dark place.
7. Use only high-quality, pure essential oils.
8. Consult with an aromatherapist or healthcare professional before using essential oils on children, elderly, or pregnant/nursing women.
How can I tell if an essential oil has gone bad?
The main signs of an essential oil going bad are changes in color, smell, and/or texture. If the color has turned darker, the smell has changed, or the texture is thicker, it is likely that the oil has gone bad.
Additionally, if the oil has separated into layers, discolored, or started to smell sour, it has likely gone bad.
What should I know about misidentifying essential oils?
Essential oils are highly concentrated plant extracts that are used for various therapeutic and medicinal purposes. Unfortunately, some essential oils are also sold as synthetic or adulterated blends, which can be dangerous if used improperly.
Misidentifying essential oils can result in serious skin reactions and other adverse health effects. It is important to always purchase essential oils from reputable sources and to verify the purity and quality of each oil before using it.
Essential oil users should know the difference between fragrance oils and essential oils. They should also be educated on how to properly use each oil, including diluting them according to the recommended safety guidelines.
By taking these precautions, users of essential oils can experience the full therapeutic benefits without putting their health at risk.
What is the best way to store essential oils?
When storing essential oils, there are two main things to consider – temperature and light. Essential oils should be stored in a cool, dark place away from direct sunlight.
The best way to store essential oils is in dark glass bottles with tight-fitting lids. This will help to protect the oils from light, as well as any heat or moisture.
Additionally, essential oils should be stored away from any heat source, such as a stove or radiator, as this can cause the oil to degrade faster. Finally, essential oils should be stored away from any strong odors, as the oil can absorb these smells.
How to Use Essential Oils at Home
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.
If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, epileptic, or under a doctor’s care, consult your physician. Get more information on essential oil safety issues.
Newbie to Oils? Read More: Essential Oils for Beginners