How can you use essential oils safely?
The use of essential oils under the guidance of an aromatherapist who is familiar with the products is, of course, completely safe. When, however, you are using essential oils on your own and without such guidance, it is important to carefully read and follow the instructions in the package leaflet that accompanies each product. Handle the essential oil with due care, never exceed the recommended dose, and measure the oil drop by drop and not by pouring. The following additional guidelines will also help you to use your essential oils safely.
Always dilute essential oils
Never use essential oils in their undiluted state. These oils are highly concentrated. Sometimes, hundreds of kilograms of fresh plant material are necessary to produce just 1 kilogram of essential oil. As a result, it is necessary to treat the oils with caution and care. It is important to know what you are doing (please consult specialised sources).
The incorrect use of essential oils can be dangerous and overdoses can lead to irritation.
What can you use to dilute essential oils?
Essential oils are soluble in other oils. This means that they are not soluble in water, unless you add an emulsifier. For this purpose you can use, for example, bath gel (for external use) or milk or cream (for internal use).
Alcohol can also be a solvent, e.g. to make an environmental or muscle spray.
For external use
Dilute essentials oils with:
neutral creams found in some beauty products, such as your day cream
bath or shower gel
For internal use
Dilute essentials oils with:
External use of essential oils
Never apply essential oils in their undiluted form directly to the skin. This applies equally for the use of the oils in a bath. A very limited number of essential oils can be applied in their pure state to the skin, but only do this if you have first sought the advice of a health professional.
Sensitive and allergic skin
Some of the components that are naturally present in essential oils (e.g. citral, d-limonene, linalool, geraniol, citronellol and others) can cause allergic reactions in oversensitive skin.
Tip: If you think you have sensitive or allergic skin, first add one drop of the essential oil to a small amount of a vegetable oil (e.g. sweet almond oil) and apply this to the inside of your elbow.
Wait for 24 hours.
If there is no redness, itchiness or irritation, the oil can be used safely.
Essential oils of citrus fruits? Avoid sunlight!
All citrus-based oils (bergamot, orange, lemon, grapefruit, tangerine) are photosensitive, which means that in combination with sunlight or the use of a sun bed they can cause irritation, redness or uneven pigment changes in your skin.
Avoid exposure to sunlight for at least 12 hours after using an essential oil on your skin. Bergamot in particular is highly phototoxic, even in small quantities and in mixtures. Although the concentration of phototoxic components in orange, lemon, grapefruit and tangerine is lower than in bergamot, it is still recommended to avoid direct sunlight or the use of a sun bed during the same period.
Ingestion of essential oils
Some essential oils can be taken orally or used as additives in cooking. Use them sparingly; just a few drops is sufficient. Always follow the guidelines in the package leaflet.
When you ingest an essential oil incorrectly or unknowingly, this can lead to irritation of the mucus membranes. In rare cases, it can even lead to poisoning. For correct and safe guidance, it is advisable to consult an aromatherapist.
In case of an overdose (more than 0.5 ml), swallow a quantity of vegetable oil and contact the Poison Control Centre as quickly as possible:
Belgium: +32 70 245 245
The Netherlands: +31 30 274 88 8
Children and essential oils
The spraying/diffusion and inhalation of essential oils for children is possible from the age of 6 years. The ingestion of essential oils by children is possible from the age of 12 years, but preferably with the advice of a health professional or a recognised aromatherapist.
Two exceptions to this general rule are the mild essential oils of Eucalyptus radiata and real lavender, which can be sprayed/diffused in the presence of children from the age of 3 years. Eucalyptus radiata is ideal for treating colds or a blocked nose in toddlers. Real lavender is highly suitable for relaxing toddlers and helping them to fall asleep.
General precautionary measures
- Avoid contact with the eyes and the mucus membranes. In the event of such contact, rinse thoroughly with pure water or some vegetable oil.
- Keep essential oils out of the reach of children.
- Keep essential oils in a properly sealed bottle in a cool and dark place.
- Essential oils are volatile and inflammable. Do not expose them to high temperatures!
- Indefinite and continuous use of essential oils is not recommended.
Now that you know how to use essential oils safely, why not take a look at our range?
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