Using Essential Oils Safely: A guide on Understanding and Using Essential Oils Safely.
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Friday, 15 November 2019

Using Essential Oils Safely

How Do Essential Oils Work?

Using Essential Oils Safely

Essential oils enter the body in three ways. They can be:

Applied to the skin
Inhaled
Ingested (not recommended)

How does skin application work?

Each Essential Oil has distinctive chemical properties, such as anti-inflammatory or cell rejuvenation etc. When they are applied to the skin, their active chemicals can be absorbed, just like the ingredients in common medications, such as creams and patches.

Essential Oils are most often applied to the skin with a carrier oil such as coconut or olive oil, added to a bath or as an ingredient in lotions and other beauty products. A few essential oils can be applied directly to the skin (alone without a carrier oil), eg Lavender, although it is not generally advised. This is discussed more fully in the Using Essential Oils Section below.

Different factors can affect the absorption of essential oils through the skin. If you massage or apply heat to the area first, it will increase circulation to that area, and cause an increase in absorption of essential oils. Some areas of skin (under arms, head, palms, soles of feet, etc.) are also more permeable than others.

Inhalation

Another way that essential oils enter the body is inhalation through the nose or mouth. This can be via a diffuser, or steam inhalation.

During inhalation, molecules travel through the nose to the brain. It affects those parts of the brain that control heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, memory, stress levels, and hormone balance. Molecules inhaled through the nose or mouth are also carried to the lungs and interact with the respiratory system. Thus, inhaled essential oils can affect the body through several systems and pathways. This method is explained more fully in the Using Essential Oils Section below.

Ingestion

There is a lot of debate regarding the ingestion of essential oils. My advice on this issue is to err on the side of caution, and avoid taking internally unless consulting a qualified aromatherapist.

Using EO to treat physical ailments safely

Minor Ailments. Specific essential oils contain therapeutic properties which help tremendously with some pain relief or general uses around the house. Certain essential oils are great for respiratory problems, sore throats, muscle aches, cuts/wounds, headaches, or insect bites. Many essential oils contain antiseptic qualities which make them extremely useful around the house.

General Well-being. People use essential oils most often to relieve stress or help calm their nervous system. The use of essential oils for emotional well-being is incredibly popular. Essential oils are invaluable to those who are going through mental, emotional, or physical stress or who need to be energised.

Application through the skin

Bathing

Bathing with essential oils must be one of the most relaxing activities at the end of a hard day, and adding soft candlelight to soothe your frayed nerves is a great way to unwind.

You would normally add about 7 drops of essential oils to a bath, but if you have sensitive skin, it is advisable to do a patch test to check that you are not allergic to a particular oil if you haven't used it before.

To do a patch test, add a tiny drop of the oil to a base oil or lotion, and rub a very small amount on your skin, and leave for 24 hours.

Adding oils under hot running water will release wonderful aromas, but the oils will evaporate very quickly, so it is better to add when the bath has been run, just before you get in.

For children between the ages of 4 and 12, as well as for elderly people, only add 4 drops of oil per bath. For children between 1 and 4, as well as for pregnant women, add only 2 drops of oil per bath Children under 1 year should have no more than 1 drop of oil per bath.

In cream or lotion

When you mix essential oils in a plain un-perfumed cream base, it adds all the therapeutic qualities to the cream as well as the fragrance - giving you a "non-oily" way of applying essential oils. This is of particular benefit should you wish to apply essential oils to a person with a skin condition that might not take well to oily carrier oils. Un-perfumed base creams, like aqueous cream and lotions, can be purchased from your local chemist.

The total percentage of essential oil to a cream or lotion should not exceed 2%. Also please ensure that you mix the oil well into the cream or lotion and that you are not allergic to the essential oil of your choice. The mixed cream or lotion should be kept in a closed container, and in a cool area.

Adding essential oil to shampoo

When you use essential oils in shampoos, you will need to dilute it to a suitable level as not to cause any irritation to the eyes.

Adding essential oils to your shampoo is an easy way to increase the effectiveness of your shampoo, but take care to select oils that are not irritants, or that you might be allergic to.

A good addition for hair care is normally rosemary essential oil.

Again, do not use a new essential oil before you do a patch test.

In Vaporisers

When you use essential oils in burners, it could be said that 6 drops per time is the general amount used, yet this figure would depend on a couple of factors.

On porcelain light-bulb rings, you may not need to dilute the oil at all, but you might want to float it on water when using a metal light-bulb ring to prevent burning. In this case you will first add a small amount of water to the metal ring and then drop the essential oils on top of the water. When using these porcelain or metal rings, you may also need to look at the strength of the globe on which you rest it, since a very strong light will be far warmer than a weaker one. Should you be using these rings, ensure that the light-bulb is cool when placing the ring on it, and make sure never to drop any essential oil directly onto the light bulb.

If you are using a bowl of water on a heated surface, you would add approximately 6 drops of essential oil to the water - depending on the size of the room, as well as the type of oil used.

Diffusers using tea light candles underneath are generally not too hot, and most of the time the oil is dropped into the small reservoir of water at the top.

Safety: Diffusers with candles must be used with care to prevent fires, as essential oils are volatile and highly flammable.

By Welshwitch

Warning

Essential oils should never be taken internally.

It is also not advisable to use essential oils undiluted directly on the skin, with the possible exception of lavender oil.

Avoid any use of essential oils during pregnancy. Although there are a few oils that can still be used when pregnant, it is safer to avoid all oils unless you consult a qualified aromatherapist.

Use of essential oils is not intended to replace any advice or treatment from your medical professional or GP.

Using Essential Oils Safely Comments And Ratings

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Comments

A very useful and informative article.

Posted by: Ryewolf on 22/03/2015 11:54:00

 

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