Due to the fact that we have many articles on this website which encourage the use of essential oils, we have decided to give you some essential oil safety guidelines to ensure that there is no misuse of these oils. I have recently completed my Master Aromatherapy, and these guidelines are based on the information on the International Association of Aromatic Medicine and Aromatherapy (IAAMA).
- Essential oils should never come into contact directly with skin in an undiluted form as they are highly concentrated and can cause severe irritation or allergic reaction. Exceptions to this are lavender and tea tree oils. Always do a “patch test” if you are unsure of any sensitivity to particular oils. To do a “patch test”, simply apply a small amount of the diluted oil to the inside of your elbow and then wait for 24 hours – if no reaction occurs you are safe to use it.
- Always use the specified dosage of oil (either drops or millilitres) – anything over the recommended dosage can be toxic.
- If you are pregnant, or have other major health conditions such as high blood pressure or epilepsy, you must consult with a qualified aromatherapist or health professional before using essential oils as some are dangerous to use if you have a medical condition.
- Some essential oils are extremely hazardous and should not be used by the general public – these include: horseradish, wormwood, sassafras, camphor, wintergreen, pennyroyal, rue, onion and bitter almond oils.
- Always store your oils in a cool, dry, dark place (in tropical areas it is even recommended to store your oils in the refrigerator). Essential oils are flammable, so keep away from an open flame (if using with an oil burner, exercise with extreme caution and watch the oils at all times).
- On some occasions you may need to use less oil than directed – especially when using them around children or the elderly. Consult an aromatherapist for more information.
- Keep essential oils out of reach from children – treat them as you would any poisonous or toxic substance in your home.
- Never take an essential oil internally unless under strict guidance from a qualified, highly trained aromatherapy practitioner.
- If you have any further questions regarding the use of essential oils, please consult a local natural therapist or aromatherapist.
- Please note that the owners and contributors of SAHM take no responsibility for misuse of essential oils or any reactions caused by essential oils. All information provided here is current and correct at the time of posting.
Written by Nicole Millard – Social Media Manager for SAHM, Registered Nurse and Master Aromatherapist.