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Essential Oil Safety



Please note that this is a general safety guideline and not intended to scare anyone about using essential oils. Essential oils are approximately 70 times stronger than the plant that they came from, however being natural doesn't automatically make them safe. Essential oils pose very little or no risk if used correctly. This information on this page is for educational purposes only.

I source all the essential oils for my products from suppliers who can provide me with Material Safety Data (MSDS) and certificates of analysis (COfA) to ensure that the products I create are 100% pure and unadulterated.

Please read our ingredients information page for more details.

Below is a list of some general essential oil precautions you may need to take into consideration.

Primary variables to consider :

STORAGE – Keep in tightly sealed dark bottles, away from heat, sunlight, children and pets. Some oils are more flammable than others and should be kept away from open flames.

GENERAL USAGE – For external use only. Keep away from eyes and other mucous membranes ( mouth, vagina and rectum) . Specialised suppositories may be prescribed and created by a certified aromatherapist only. Do not operate equipment or vehicles after use of relaxation or sleep inducing oils and vary prolonged or constant use of the same essential oil. Some essential oils used for sleep may do the opposite if used in excess.

DO NOT INGEST - It is against the codes of practice in Australia for aromatherapists to recommend or prescribe the ingestion of essential oils. This level of knowledge should only be available from those who have studied Advanced Aromatic Medicine. Essential oils enter the blood stream quickest through the skin via topical application, therefore ingestion is unnecessary. Related Article : Should I ingest essential oils?

VENTILATION – Essential oils are concentrated, and exposure to excess or concentrated essential oils can cause headaches or other symptoms. Use with caution and adequate ventilation.

PATCH TEST – Put a few diluted drops of any new or suspect oil on the back of your wrist or inside forearm, cover with a bandage and leave on for up to a day. If irritation, itching or redness occur, use a plain cream or vegetable oil to help remove the essential oil, then wash in warm soapy water. Discontinue use or reduce the concentration level used.

NEAT (UNDILUTED) APPLICATION – Essential oils should always be diluted in carrier oil and not be applied directly to the skin unless advised by a qualified aromatherapist. Related Article : Essential Oil Topical Dilutions

PHOTOTOXICITY – These oils may cause skin pigmentation and irritation if exposed to direct sunlight. These oils include angelica root, bergamot (cold pressed), cumin, grapefruit (cold pressed), lemon (cold pressed) , lime (cold pressed), lovage, mandarin leaf, orange (cold pressed), rue & tagetes. Steam distilled citrus oils are generally not phototoxic. Skin should not be exposed to sunlight for approximately 48 hours after using these oils.

HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE – hypertense individuals should avoid hyssop, rosemary, Spanish and common sage and thyme.

EPILEPSY – Due to their powerful action on the nervous system avoid camphor, sweet fennel, hyssop, rosemary and all types of sage. Other essential oils with powerful smells might initiate such attacks.

DIABETES – Avoid angelica.

PREGNANCY – Because of uterine stimulation or possible toxicity, during pregnancy use a maximum of 2% dilution of essential oils in a cream or carrier oil and avoid : ajowan, angelica, star anise, aniseed, basil, bay laurel, calamintha, all types of cedarwood, celery seed, cinnamon leaf, citronella, clary sage, clove, cumin, sweet fennel, hyssop, juniper, labdanum, lovage, marjoram, myrrh, nutmeg, parsley, peppermint, rose, rosemary, Spanish sage, snakeroot, tarragon and white thyme. Related Article : Essential oils for pregnancy, breastfeeding & baby

SKIN SENSITISATION – For individuals with very sensitive skin or allergic sensitivity some oils my cause a reaction. Test patch for individual sensitisation French basil, bay laurel, benzoin, cade, cananga, coriander, cubeba, Virginian cedarwood, Roman and German chamomile, citronella, geranium, ginger, hops, jasmine, lemon, lemongrass, lemon balm, litsea, lovage, mastic, mint, orange, Peru balsam, Scotch and long leaf pine needle, styrax, tea tree, white thyme, tolu balsam, turmeric, turpentine pine, valerian, vanilla, verbena, violet, yarrow and ylang ylang. Reduce the chances of acquiring a sensitivity reaction from constant use of the same oil over several years by varying your choices.

DERMAL IRRITATION – Some oils may irritate the skin, especially for sensitive individuals or in high concentrations. Dilute these oils in half the usual strength and don’t use more than three drops when bathing. These oils include ajowan, allspice, aniseed, sweet basil, borneol, cajeput, caraway, Virginian cedarwood, cinnamon, clove bud, cornmint, eucalyptus, ginger, lemon, lemongrass, parsley, peppermint, Scotch and long leaf pine needle, white thyme and turmeric.

TOXICITY – Some oils should be limited to use for not longer than two week intervals and used in moderation because of toxicity levels and include ajowan, star anise, aniseed, exotic basil, bay laurel, West Indian calamintha, white camphor, cascarrilla bark, cassie, Virginian cedarwood, cinnamon, clove bud, coriander, eucalyptus, sweet fennel, hops, hyssop, juniper, nutmeg, parsley, Spanish sage, tagetes, tarragon, white thyme, tuberose, turmeric, turpentine pine and valerian.

HAZARDOUS OILS – You should consult an aromatherapist for specific information about these types of essential oils because they are considered to be hazardous in inexperienced hands or can cause severe dermal irritation. These oils include bitter almond, arnica, boldo, broom, buchu, calamus, brown and yellow camphor, cassia, chervil, cinnamon bark, costus, deertongue, elecampane, bitter fennel, horseradish, jaborandi, melilotus, mugwort, mustard, oregano, pennyroyal, dwarf pine, rue, common sage, santolina, sassafras, savine, savory, tansy, thuja, red thyme, tonka, wintergreen, wormseed and wormwood.

MEDICAL ATTENTION – Discontinue use if redness, burning, irritation or itching occur. Follow warnings, precautions and seek medical attention for any problems. If misuse of essential oils occurs please phone the poisons information centre straight away - 13 11 26

Please always consult with a health care practitioner if you have any questions regarding your medical health.

A great book on essential oil safety information is :
'Essential Oil Safety: A Guide for Health Care Professionals' by Robert Tisserand


Disclaimer : The information contained on this website is for educational purposes only. The traditional and suggested uses listed here are for reference only and under no circumstances should they be taken as recommendations for cures or treatments for diseases or medical conditions. Aromatic Boutique (Aromatherapy For Australia) shall not be responsible for any damages resulting from use of or reliance upon this information. Therapeutic oils are used to support natural body functions and work in harmony with our body's physiology. The information on this website should not be used as a substitute for medical counselling with a health professional. Always keep out of reach of children and consult a medical practitioner before use during pregnancy or other medical conditions. The essential oils that we sell are safe if used as directed. If misuse of essential oils occurs please phone the poisons information centre straight away - 13 11 26

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