Essential oils are basically oils containing the concentrated form or the essence of a plant from which it is obtained. They are usually extracted through distillation or mechanical pressing. As a result of it’s many beneficial properties, they have become widely used and with up to 600 types of them available for sale.
A common misconception is that natural products are safe, a lot of people feel safe using organic products forgetting that they are chemicals too, and should take precautions while using them.
For the most part, essential oils are considered safe when used rightly. In using them, however, one must take certain precautions in order to avoid certain side effects such as:
• A rash
• Allergic reactions and more.
Undoubtedly, one of the ways we like to use essential oils is to incorporate them into our skincare routine.
Skincare benefits of essential oils include:
• Boosting collagen production
• Alleviating oily skin issues
• Anti-inflammatory properties
• Antibiotic properties
However, before using essential oils for skincare, there are things you should bear in mind.
1. DILUTE WITH A CARRIER OIL.
The first safety top to consider before using essential oils is never to rub them on your skin directly.
Always dilute your oils before use to prevent issues such as an adverse reaction to it. These oils are highly concentrated and volatile and this is where carrier oils come into play. They aid the absorption of essential oils into your skin, help spread your essential oils over a large area of your body while also preventing quick evaporation.
In fact, with carrier oils, you will be getting the most out of your essential oils. If you’re not sure about how the right way to dilute your essential oils before use, follow this tip:
1 teaspoon of carrier oil for one drop of essential oil gives 1% dilution.
2. INCREASE YOUR RISK OF GETTING SUNBURNED
Essential oils such as lemon oils, grapefruit oils, orange oils, mandarin oils, rue oils, bergamot oil, and fig leaf oil increases your chances of getting sun burned because they increase your skin’s sensitivity to ultraviolet (UV) light .
Asides from getting sunburned, you can also get blisters and redness of skin along with other effects that might not be visible until after a few days.
Caution must be observed before using essential oils in pregnancy. Due to the fact that your body absorbs essential oils and they may cross your placenta to your fetus, serious harm can be done to your developing baby.
In order to avoid uterine contractions or other adverse effects, experts recommend not using essential oils in your first trimester as your baby is still in it’s early stage of development. Some essential oils are, however, safe to use in the 2nd and 3rd trimester and these include: lavender, chamomile and ylang ylang essential oils. Other oils like rosemary, cinnamon and clove should be used in caution.
We recommend that before you use essential oils in pregnancy, consult your healthcare provider.
Many unanswered questions revolve around whether essential oils are safe to ingest. Like has already been established, these oils are very concentrated and can cause you to overdose without realizing which can in turn cause systemic toxicity.
One fact that experts agree upon is that essential oils can cause irritation to the mucous membrane tissues. Taking them orally can burn your mouth, down to your gut lining and even beyond your digestive tract.
Ingestion can also cause other adverse effects like stomach pain, nausea, numbness and neurological discomfort. Before Ingesting any essential oil, make sure it’s under the supervision of a trained expert.
It has been established that natural does not mean safe and as such, using essential oils for skincare issues in children without proper precautions is not safe either. Children have thinner skin than adults and do not have a fully developed immune system.
Before using any essential oil for children, make sure that it is properly diluted even though some experts warn against using them at all.
Avoid using these essential oils on kids: pepper mint, rosemary and winter green oils.
6. HIGHLY FLAMMABLE
Extreme caution should be taken when disposing of essential oils or spilling them. Their bottles cannot be recycled unless the oil is washed off.
All essential oils are considered flammable but some are even more so. These include: teatree oil, lavender oil and citrus oil.
When disposing of an essential oil bottle, it is advisable you trash them or you use it with a passive diffuser.
7. DO A PATCH TEST
To make sure you don’t get an allergic reaction from using essential oil, a patch test is recommended before use.
To do this, dilute a drop of your oil with a teaspoon of carrier oil and rub on the inside of your arm. Wait for at least 24 hours to see if you’ll get an allergy.
8. AVIOD SENSITIVE AREAS
When using essential oils for skincare purposes, make sure to stay away from sensitive areas such as the eyes and ears as they can be greatly irritated.
One major factor to consider before buying essential oils is their purity. You want to make sure what you’re buying is of good quality and worth your money.
To test the purity of an essential oil, put a drop of oil on a piece of what paper and watch out for a stain. Pure essential oils will not leave a stain as that only means dilution with a carrier oil. Pure essential oils should evaporate.
To maintain the purity of your oil, store in tightly closed and dark coloured containers in a cool place.
- Also Read: HOW TO USE ESSENTIAL OILS TO TREAT DIFFERENT SKIN ISSUES
- HOW TO SPOT A FAKE ESSENTIAL OIL
- VERY EFFECTIVE NATURAL ESSENTIALS OILS THAT CURES ACNES