I made a classic beginner mistake. I put essential oils directly on my skin.
This was a big “no no.” That’s because essential oils are really strong. In most cases, for massage, you only need a drop or two, mixed wtih a carrier oil. This will protect your skin from possible irritation. The oily carrier oil will also help “carry” the healing aromatic compounds into your body.
Despite what you may see on social media, it’s not okay to use essential oils on your skin without diluting them. Nor is it alright to put them in a capsule and swallow them. (More on this later.)
Using Essential Oils for Beginners
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First of all, I want to stress that I’m not a professional aromatherapist. I can’t give medical advice. All I can do is pass along things that I”ve learned about using essential oils safely. Most of my information in this article I’ve obtained from Plant Therapy.
Since I’m not a professional aromathereapist, this discussion is limited to my personal use of essential oils only. It’s not meant to be a comprehensive post on essential oil safety. Instead, it’s just an overview. Others may have different opinions. I urge my readers to do their own research.
Plant Therapy Beginner Oils
Below, you can see a selection of popular essential oils sold by Plant Therapy. I show them here because they are some of the most commonly used oils, especially for beginners. It’s an excellent company to start with (and continue with) because its high-quality oils are very affordable.
Plant Therapy is a company I work with closely. I’ve ordered a number of Plant Therapy essential oils and I love to tell my readers about them. Plant Therapy is an excellent alternative the multilevel marketing networks. I don’t like to buy my oils from independent distributors. I’m assuming a lot of my readers probably don’t like MLM sales either. So I like to give them other options. Below you can see three of Plant Therapy’s most popular singles.
Blending Essential Oils for Massage
Once I realized I couldn’t put essential oils directly on my skin, I started to use carrier oils. A surprisingly large number of carrier oils exist. I already owned grapeseed and coconut oils, but I’ve also ordered a number of other carriers, including rosehip seed, avocado and apricot kernal oils.
I like to switch my carriers around. That’s because I use them on my face, instead of chemical moisturizers. I’ve found they do a much better job if I rotate them. So I might use natural avocado oil for a few days, before switching to rosehip seed oil. Then, after a break, I use the avocado oil again.
Is Avocado Oil a Good Carrier Oil?
I’ve since come to learn that carrier oils are just as important as essential oils, if you plan to use these aromatic extracts on your skin. One of my favorites is avocado oil.
Blending Essential Oils for Beginners
After purchasing my first essential oils, I put them directly on my skin. In retrospect, I was lucky. Nothing bad happened. Now I realize I ran the risk of burning my skin. Some of the essential oils I used were considered “hot.” This means they’re so strong they can burn your skin.
I also put myself at risk for sensitization. This would be particularly bad. It would likely mean I could never use that aromatic again. Essential oils have helped me so much. I use them for relaxation. I also use them on my face, in place of chemical cosmetics. (Of course, I now make sure to use them with a carrier oil.) I’d hate to think of what it would be like not to stay away from my oils, because of a sensitivity.
It does seem as if sensitivity to essential oils is fairly rare. But it’s not rare if it happens to you. So better safe than sorry.
Ratio of Essential Oil to a Carrier Oil
Essential oils are very safe when used properly. If you plan to put them on your skin, you need a carrier oil. The recommended dilution ratio for a healthy adult is 2 percent. This means just 3 drops of essential oil for every teaspoon of carrier oil.
I know it doesn’t seem like enough. But, trust me it is. Other situations may call for even less essential oil, according to Plant Therapy. For instance, you should use just a 1 percent dilution for someone who is elderly, or if you plan to use the essential oil/carrier oil mix on your face or across wide areas of your body. If you’d like to read more about safely diluting essential oils, here’s another posts I wrote on that very topic.
Blending Essential Oils – The Safe Way
There’s another great thing about carrier oils, aside from the fact they protect your skin and may help make your essential oil more therapeutic. Carriers have potential benefits of their own. For instance, one of the best remedies for extremely dry skin is avocado oil. This is taken from the fat-rich avocado. It’s one of my favorite carriers because it makes my skin look softer and younger. Here’s another post I wrote on the importance of carrier oils.
Should You Ingest Essential Oils?
I made another classic beginner mistake. I assumed my esssential oils were meant for eating and drinking. The reason I believed this is because of social media. I’d see attractive posts with instructions for putting essential oils into gel caps and swallowing. I’d see other made-for-social media messages about putting aromatherapy oils in a glass of drinking water.
Unfortunately, I used my first few bottles of oil the wrong way. In addition to putting them directly on my skin, I consumed them. Obviously, this didn’t kill me. But I probably increased my chances of becoming sensitized or suffering an allergic reaction. Needless to say, I don’t use my oils internally anymore because I now realize this isn’t a good thing to do.
Can You Drink Essential Oil?
There’s probably no more aromatherapy topic that’s more hotly contested than whether or not you should ingest essential oils. I encourage my readers not to do it. Many professional aromatherapists don’t recommend it. Others warn to never ingest an oil unless you’re working with a professional who’s been well trained in this practice. Since I’m assuming that most of my readers are not working with a professional, I like to stress that you shouldn’t ingest.
I realize there’s a lot of bad information out there. I don’t want to be responsible for adding to it. I’ve found I don’t need to ingest essential oils because I can use them on my skin. I can also put them in a cold air diffuser.
Diffusing Your Essential Oils
Some people use DIY reed diffusers for their essential oils. This is a perfectly safe option. But I’ll admit I haven’t tried this. Instead, I use an electric cold-mist diffuser.
Actually, diffusing your oils is one of the best ways to enjoy aromatherapy. If you run a diffuser, the healing compounds enter your system through your lungs. Sending a scented mist into the air also makes your house smell great.
Cold air diffusers, such as the one you see below, preserve the integrity of essential oils. They spread the aromatic compounds with a cold mist, instead of with heat. Essential oil diffusers are also decorative, as well as functional. This one has a wood grain style finish. But you can also order it in white.
Can You Use Essential Oils on Babies?
There’s more bad essential oil advice on the Internet, concerning the use of essential oils on babies. This is something I’d never do, if I had a baby in the house. That’s because essential oils are so strong. Even lavender essential oil, considered one of the more gentle aromatics, still shouldn’t be used on children under two. This post explains safe use of lavender oil with children.
Also, certain essential oils shouldn’t be used on children younger than 10. That’s why I tell my readers to be careful, and choose only oils known to be safe for children. Plant Therapy, for instance, sells a special KidSafe line. These contain only oils known to be safe for young people. You can see a few of the more popular KidSafe blends below.
Guide on How to Use Essential Oils
There are some other things to keep in my mind when using essential oils. If you plan to use an essential oil on your face, it’s a good idea to do a 24-hour test patch. This means putting an essential oil and carrier oil on the inside of your arm and waiting a day. If there’s no irritation, it’s probably safe to put it on your face.
I’ve had no problems with irritation. But I’m well aware that everyone is different. So it’s a good idea to test.
This post is by no means an all encompassing safety guide to essential oils. So if you want more in depth information, you can read the Plant Therapy blog for additional tips on how to best use essential oils.
These statements have not been approved by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Women who are pregnant or nursing should not use essential oils unless directed to do so by a healthcare professional.