General Safety Considerations for Essential Oil Use
(courtesy Sylla Sheppard-Hanger, Copyright 1994)
- Keep essential oils out of reach of children. Do not leave a bottle which has no fixed integral dropper where a child could take off the cap and consume contents.
- Do not use directly on or near the eyes; ensure caution with compresses. Most diluted essential oils will sting the eyes; if accidents happen, flush with clean warm water; if NEAT oils get is the eye, immediately flush with cold full fat milk, or vegetable oil to dilute. If stinging is not alleviated, seek medical assistance.
- Do not, unless otherwise advised by an expert, apply neat essential oil onto the skin.
To remove neat oil spills on hands, use cream or vegetable oil to dilute, apply soap, wash with warm water; may need to be repeated.
- Never assume that an essential oil will have the same properties as credited to the whole plant from which it is obtained.
- Ingesting any oil should only be undertaken under the supervision of a professional health advisor and never exceed the suggested amount.
- Essential oils should always be used diluted over a large body area.
- Excess (of EOs) can cause headaches, nausea and general feeling of uneasiness; drink plenty of water, get fresh air, take frequent breaks.
- Do not drive a motor vehicle (or allow client to) immediately following a relaxation treatment or after using soporific oils (e.g., clary sage)
- Regulate the frequency when using essential oils. If used daily over a two week period, give a week's grace before recommencing treatment.
- Reduce the chance of acquiring a sensitivity reaction from constant use of same oil(s) over several years by varying choices. This gives the body a break from constant use.
- If any kind of skin rash is observed when using a particular essential oil, stop using it immediately and try another oil.
When working daily with essential oils, follow these precautions:
- Use only safe essential oils in dilution, avoid contact with neat oils (by wearing gloves when bottling)
- Ensure adequate ventilation
- Take frequent breaks
- Tolerance increase with time
- Avoid transferring oils to sensitive areas (nose, face, neck)
- Vary the essential ols worked with (or diffused) daily
- Avoid sensitizing oils if hands become cracked or sore