Have you read the blogs that talk about the dangers of essential oils and how they are a hazard to your families health? They keep popping up on Facebook and I’ve had acquaintances become too scared to even open a bottle of essential oil, much less start using them. By creating a “hot topic” post, bloggers have gained increased traffic to their websites but at the cost of scaring people into thinking that oils are unsafe. If you are scared of using oils I propose that we move away from the drama and explore the common concerns with science, education, and some good ol’ common sense. Are you with me?
My main source for this blog post is not simply my opinion or experience, but information I gleaned from the highly esteemed aromatherapist Robert Tisserand who authored the book Essential Oil Safety: A Guide for Health Care Professionals He is an independent scientist and has spent the past 40 years working in aromatherapy and is an excellent objective and scientific source on all things relating to essential oils.
Let’s just dive right in to the biggest concerns…..today we will be discussing toxicity and skin sensitivity…..
I’ve heard that some oils are considered toxic and I’m worried about using them on my children….
Did you know that anything can be considered toxic if used in excess? Water, salt, coffee, and yes, even essential oils. The key with avoiding a toxic situation is to use an appropriate dose. There are guidelines for safe use of essential oils and when they are used appropriately they are safe. What you hear about in the “scare blogs” are the cases of a child consuming an entire 15ml bottle of an essential oil that may not have been intended to be ingested in the first place, and definitely not at that quantity. Yes, the sad truth is that children have gotten sick, and with certain oils and overdoses some have died, but it was due to improper use of the oils.
My oldest child was born with something called SVT that leads to an abnormally fast heart rate at times. When he was a baby he was put on a medicine called Digoxin that was made out of the foxglove plant. His twice daily dose of digoxin was intended to keep his heart rate low and prevent episodes of accelerated heart activity. This “medicine” also happened to be extremely toxic if it was not used in the appropriate dose. If any small children had gotten their hands onto it and consumed it, there was no hope of resuscitation, it was that poisonous. I would never put any of my children on that type of medicine ever again (this was eight years ago and I was rather uninformed at the time), but I will tell you that I handled that medicine with care. It was always stored properly and safely away, and if anyone else were ever to administer the dose, they were given clear instruction of the proper dose and danger the medicine held. My point in bringing this up is to encourage you to be knowledgeable about the substances you are using, and to use and store them appropriately.
So how do you use oils safely if they have the potential to be toxic?
- Respect essential oils. Yes they are natural, but just because something is natural does not give anyone free reign to use it carelessly or in excess. Essential oils are 50-70 times more concentrated than herbs. I love being creative and experimental in the kitchen with my food recipes and other areas of my life, but you cannot have a cavalier attitude with essential oils, or you could experience some negative results. Essential oils are a powerful tool and should be treated as carefully as you would a medicine.
- Keep oils up and out of reach of small children. If you keep your essential oil bottles up you will eliminate the potential for poisoning. Kids are naturally fascinated by oils and things that they see adults using, but storing them out of the reach of children is an easy way to prevent little hands from opening a bottle and consuming a copious amount. I’ve seen parents give their toddlers empty essential oils bottles to “play with”, but I’m not a supporter of this because most little people won’t be able to clearly differentiate between mom’s oils and the play oils. Remember that they are tools for wellness, not toys!
- Teach children a proper respect for the oils. If simply putting oils up and out of their reach isn’t enough to prevent curiosity, make sure you instruct children not to touch the bottles of oil. If your kids are curious and want to learn to use oils, I love creating pre-diluted rollerball bottles for applications that are easy and kid-safe and that my children can apply to themselves as needed. I use bottles like these
- Educate yourself and any person administering the oils. This will help to ensure that the appropriate oil is used, dosed correctly, and applied effectively.
Although there are some people with legitimate allergies or sensitivities to essential oils, they are in the minority and for the most part, following these simple guidelines will bring about safe and effective oil use without skin irritation.
- Buy high quality, pure essential oils: I use essential oils that are 3rd party tested to ensure purity and potency. Whatever brand you choose, choose wisely and choose a high quality and pure oil that is 100% pure unadultered essential oil.
- Know which oil to use: do some research to discover which oil is the best one to achieve your desired outcome. Oils are versatile, but often there is primary recommendation for which oil to use first.
- Practice proper dilution: Although you can use some oils neat (without dilution), you would be wiser to dilute the oil at the appropriate dilution level for that oil, the individual, and the condition. I believe that most problems with essential oils are due to no dilution or improper dilution.
- Less oil, more often: Most oil applications only require 1 drop of oil. Use an oil, wait to see if it is effective, and then use it again if necessary. If that still does not achieve the desired outcome, you may want to switch to a different oil or method of use.
- General safety: Don’t apply oils in or around eyes, or inside ears, don’t add to hot bath (without first mixing in epsom salts), do not use a citrus oil before sun exposure (it is photosensitive and you WILL burn)!
- Listen to your body and your own intuition! If an oil isn’t agreeing with your body, stop using it!
Do you use essential oils on your children?
I use oils regularly in my home and on my children and my family has benefited greatly from them as a natural solution. Read my blog post Why I Use Essential Oils to learn more!
Do you want to learn more about the power of essential oils and become more educated in how to use them safely? Subscribe to my essential oils email series below! I love essential oils and am an avid supporter of educated use, so if you use them, make sure you are keeping in mind my tips above. You can learn about joining my essential oils team here. If you have any questions please comment below or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org