The Use of Essential Oils Are There Risks?

1517854136492-1060122606Essential oils have been becoming more popular lately as an alternative holistic approach for healing. You can use essential oils for a lot of different ailments and incorporate their use into everyday life. However, I fear that the cautions and dangers of using them safely is not advertised. Also if you’re having a medical issue you should seek a doctor’s opinion and have an educated understanding of what is wrong. The best way to use essential oils is in compliment with medical attention, especially for any more serious medical issue.

When using essential oils there are a lot of safety factors to consider. Many people are not educated in the safe use of oils and end up using them inappropriately. Essential oils can be used by inhalation and also topically. Each of these have their own precautions and their restrictions are individual to each essential oil.

The inhalation of oils has fewer restrictions and adverse reactions. There are a handful of ways to inhale oils and each have a recommended length of time and also an appropriate body distance for safety and therapeutic success. Did you know that it is dangerous to use certain oils with animals?  For instance any use of essential oils is not safe and even dangerous to use around cats and few are ok with dogs.

Topical use of essential oils has more restrictions and adverse reactions. For instance, there are very few instances and essential oils that you can use topically straight out of the bottle. Essential oils should be added to a carrier oil before applying to your skin per the oils topical max rate. Remember that just because they are all natural doesn’t mean they don’t have severe and even life threatening side effects.  Topical restrictions include the age of the person and the interaction precautions with certain medical conditions and medicines. There are some specific reasons for the use of oils topically. Since topical use is more complicated make sure that using the oil topically is necessary.  To receive the best therapeutic results essential oils can be properly blended together in a carrier oil. Blending essential oils can be complicated, so for the safest use consult with a professional or purchase blended oils from a provider.

   The age restrictions for topical use:

  •  It is not safe to use any oil on a child under 6 months!
  • Even using oils before the age of 2 should be avoided.
  • For children 2-6 years of age there are some oils that are safe for topical use, but there are still sever restrictions to the topical max rate that can be applied safely.
  • Even certain adults have restrictions on which oils are safe to use and determining the appropriate safe topical max rate. Topical max rate is the percentage of the essential oil to the amount of the carrier oil.

Essential oils are not just a simple extraction from plants. They are complex and each oil is made up of its own constituents. The constitutents of each oil determines just how safe they are for each type of restrictions. Some constitutents of individual oils are carcinogenic, could cause issues with respiration, dangerous to use while pregnant or breastfeeding, can’t be used with certain medications such as blood thinners and others are phototoxic (can’t be used in the sun). I’m not saying that people with these medical conditions can’t use any essential oils. Always remember that the safety of each essential oil is individual and has its own restrictions. Also each oil has it’s own shelf life(period of safe use after extraction process), oils past their shelf life become oxidized and unsafe for topical use. When you buy an oil if the shelf life expiration or distillation date is not available, then for cautious reasons I would say that assume that it’s already around a year past extraction. An experienced and educated user can usually determine if an oil has been oxidized without the information.

Some  tips for you to use in practicing the safe use of essential oils:

  • Record the date you purchased each oil or the actual extraction date. This way you can keep track of its shelf life. However, oils can become oxidized before their shelf life has expired especially if not stored correctly.
  • When you first open an oil become familiar with its smell. Later on when you use the oil if the smell has changed then it has oxidized.
  • Check to see if the consistency or overall appearance of the oil has changed.
  • If you have any adverse reactions such as: redness, swelling, itching  or any type of irritation to the skin; then stop using this oil topically or you increase the chance of sensitization. Sensitization is the allergic reaction of the immune system. Your body is reacting to a constituent usually when the oil has been oxidized. This is a permanent reaction and the use of any essential oil with that constituent will cause this adverse reaction.
  • You can use an essential oil that has been oxidized in household cleaners, but be cautious as with any cleaner.
  • keep your essential oils in their best condition by always:  closing the top tightly and store them a cool dark place. Essential oils will oxidize faster and shorten its shelf life if not stored properly.!

Please use essential oils appropriately and with caution. When in doubt of anything consult with a  professional. You do not necessarily need to contact a Certified Aromatherapist, but someone who is certified and trained in the safe use of essential oils. I am a certified advocate in the safe use of essential oils and can make blends as need.  The cost determines on the essential oils used. Some oils are very expensive. You can contact me through this website or by email: elizabethholisticcare@yahoo.com

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