Essential Oils: Safety

Essential oils are usually sold in the form of highly potent concentrate solutions. Directly using them without following safety guidelines can result in adverse allergic reactions; or in severe cases, increased levels of toxicity in the body.

Read on to find out some of the most important safety guidelines when it comes to using essential oils in your daily life.

Application on the Skin

Essential oils are usually too concentrated to be used directly on the skin without following safety procedures. Essential oils should not be applied directly on the skin before dilution. Essential oils that are known to cause allergic reactions should be diluted with appropriate carrier oils; note that these oils should not be used by people with sensitive skin. The best way to approach essential oil use on the skin is to use a skin patch test to establish any sensitivity to the same.

Dermal Sensitization


This is a type of allergic reaction that comes about as a result of first exposure to a substance. After using an essential oil for the first time users may experience slight dermal sensitization or none at all. However, the second instance of use of the same product, or another with similar properties, usually comes with a more pronounced reaction. This is due to the immune system fighting what it considers an allergy.

To avoid dermal sensitization, it is usually recommended that you avoid using one type of essential oil for an extended period. You can look up a list of known dermal sensitizers to minimize the chances of suffering from unnecessary allergic reactions.

Mucus Membrane Irritant

Some essential oils are known to irritate mucous membranes around the body. Exposure to these products results in a drying and heating effect on the mucous membranes around the body including the nose, eyes and mouth among others.

When using such oils it is recommended that you mix it in with a dispersant before using it in a full body bath. Common dispersants include milk and vegetable oil. Additionally, it is advisable that you add the oils to the bath after you are in it. You can look up a list of known mucous irritants so as to avoid them.

Photo Sensitization

Essential oils that bring about skin sensitivity upon exposure to the sun after use are classified as photo sensitizers. Signs of photosensitization include skin pigmentation changes upon exposure to the sun. The signs can be mild appearing as tanning, or more severe, resembling as deep burns.

Pregnancy Concerns

The use of essential oils during pregnancy usually divides opinion. The main concern lies in the transfer of various constituents of the essential oils across the placenta form the mother to the unborn child causing toxicity. Although there are some essential oils are said to be safe for use by pregnant women, it might be better to skip the use of all essential oils during pregnancy. You can also look up a variety of the different oils that you should stay away from during this period as well.