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 Scent Safety

It's so fun to play with essential oils and try different combinations and methods. However it is important to follow certain guidelines to avoid skin reactions. If you have certain health conditions there are some oils you should avoid. Here I'll offer a guide to help you mix and use essential oils in a way that will benefit your overall health.

Aromatherapy is a generally safe way to treat yourself and your family. However, you must keep in mind that some individuals do have sensitivities to strong smells; some people have sensitive skin; and some people might be allergic to a certain essential oil or natural base. For example, if you are allergic to oranges, you should avoid orange essential oil. Or if you are allergic to nuts, avoid nut oil fixed oils like sweet almond oil and shea butter. If you are unsure of sensitivities you can do a patch test. Mix one drop of the essential oil you are testing in a tablespoon of fixed oil. (See Scents Salves and Supplements for Stunning Skin for a list of good fixed oils.) Apply a small amount on the inside of your elbow. Cover with a bandage. If there is no redness or irritation after 24 hours that oil should be safe for you. If there is any irritation that will signal a sensitivity to that essential oil. If the area feels irritated before the 24 hours are up, remove the bandage and wash the area.

Some essential oils are harsh to the skin so you should either avoid them for skin use or use only very small amounts diluted well on the skin. If you do not dilute properly you can get a rash which is contact dermatitis. If you get this, stop using all essential oils on that area of skin until it is healed. To help heal it quicker apply Hydrocortisone Cream to the affected area after every wash.

Some essential oils are phototoxic and should not be used on skin that will be exposed to sunlight as it will burn much more easily and enhance the dangers of the sun.

If you are pregnant certain essential oils should be avoided altogether, while some can use used but in very small doses.

When treating infants and young children only the most gentle oils should be used. For infants only Roman Chamomile, German Chamomile or Lavender are gentle enough. You can add Mandarin in the toddler years. By the time a child reaches grade school most essential oils can be used, but still at a higher dilution rate until the teenager years. Once a teenager, you still need to keep in mind sensitivities and possible allergic reactions of the individual.

Read, The Many Methods of Aromatherapy to learn dilution methods.

Some Essential Oils should be avoided if you have certain medical conditions. Here's a quick guide.

Essential Oils to Use with Caution:

Avoid or use in small doses if Pregnant:

Anise, Aniseed, Basil, Cedarwood (avoid Cedarwood completely), Clary Sage, Cypress, Cinnamon, Fennel, Hyssop, Jasmine, Juniper, Marjoram, Myrrh, Oregano, Peppermint, Rose, Rosemary, Sage, Thyme. Especially in the first three months. 

Avoid if you have Epilepsy:

Camphor, Fennel, Hyssop, Sage, Rosemary. 

Use only a small amount well diluted on Skin:

Nutmeg, Clove, Cinnamon, Ginger, Allspice, Camphor, Pine, Eucalyptus, Teatree, Peppermint

Avoid in exposure to Sun: Most Cold Pressed Citrus Oils are phototoxic, however some of the steam distilled citrus oils are safe. I generally avoid all citrus oils in the sun to be safe. Other essential oils which are phototoxic are Angelic Root, Rue, Tagetes, and Opopanax.

Avoid with high blood Pressure: Hyssop, Rosemary, Thyme, Sage

For external use only for Aromatherapy beginners. Essential oils can be taken internally however there is another larger safety guide to follow for internal use.

Make sure you are not allergic to any oil you are using

If you get in eyes, flush immediately with cold water

Use 1/4 to 1/2 the essentials oils you normally use when treating children. Use only Lavendar or Chamomiles when treating infants. Other gentle oils for young children are Mandarin, Myrtle, and Spearmint.


Safety When Working With Essential Oils

Wear Safety Gloves 

If you do spill on the skin accidentally:

Wipe the excess essential oil of immediately with whatever is closest be it your sweatshirt, a towel, napkins, etc. Immediately put on a fixed oil (Jojoba, Shea Butter, etc.) to dilute the essential oils on your skin. After that  wash with unscented (castile soap works well) soap and cold water, dry your hands and then apply more fixed oil or Hydocortisone Cream. This process should help you avoid contact dermatitis. If you do develop contact dermatitis keep applying Hydrocortisone after every wash.

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