Important Safety Measures for Essential Oils

Modified: 21st Sep 2020 ; By: Team Aromapedia
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Hey readers! Thank you so much for being a part of our journey. If you are looking for safety norms related to essential oils, then congratulations you have landed in the right platform. In this very article we will go over essential oils, concerns over essential oil safety and measures to provide safety.

Without further ado let us get started.

The idea behind article was to let everyone aware with the safety precautions that are mandatory with use of essential oils. As the world is shifting more towards organic and natural products, we should know complete details about natural essential oils. Many people avoid safety norms, but remember it is of high concern.

Essential oil

Essential oils are plant extracts and are extracted from different plant parts like stem, leaves,    bud, fruit peel and seed using methods of distillation or mechanical methods like cold-pressing. The oil retains the plant’s fragrance and flavor which is known as “essence.” The specialty of the oils lies in their volatile nature so they are also referred as volatile or ethereal oils.

According to European Pharmacopoeia, essential oil is an ‘odorous product which is of complex composition obtained from botanically defined plant raw material by distillation or mechanical process without heating’. Essential oils are stored by plants in special secretory structures like glands, secretory glands, and secretory hairs. The color of the essential oil varies from colorless to yellowish brown and in few exception pinkish hue of liquid.

These liquids are highly concentrated in nature and so are not advisable for their direct topical application.  

You must have understood that we have to use carrier oils for their dilution.

Dilution of essential oil is basically done to dilute the concentration of liquid and is one of safety precaution. It does not affect the properties of the oil.

Essential oils are extensively used in the perfumery mixture because of the fabulous aroma. They also have application in the field of food and pharmaceutical. The increasing use of essential oil in aromatherapy, cosmetic and skin care products pose safety concerns, which we are going to discuss in next segment.

Concerns of Essential oil Safety

Essential oils are concentrated liquids and the consumers are more inclined towards use of natural products to avoid any negative impact. The increased use of aromatherapy massage to get relief from stressful life also utilizes essential oils.

These pose high concerns for essential oil safety.  Though essential oils are of use in several ways but if the oil is not utilized properly it causes adverse reactions.

  1. Adverse skin reaction: Essential oils are mixture of complex compounds that contains terpenes, sesquiterpene, aldehydes, ketones etc. These oils when topically applied on skin may cause adverse skin reactions such as swelling, rashes, blisters. It is thus very important to have knowledge of safety prior to usage.
     I cannot deny the fact that essential oils are pure, natural plant extracts.

But do you consider all natural and pure material as ‘safe’?

In reality purity and naturalness are not synonyms of ‘safe’. Any product is safe if it is handled with utmost care. As essential oils are concentrated liquids and are quite powerful in action. The oil is 50- 100 times more concentrated than the plant.

  • Oil ingestion: If before using essential oil you pop up with question, is essential oils are safe to ingest? Then you are on a safer side. This is a major confusion among consumers but let me tell you essential oils are not safe to ingest. Some essential oil can be really poisonous and affect your organ systems.
    No matter how pure or natural an essential oil is, ingest only if it is recommended by your doctor or someone who is trained in the field of Aromatherapy.
  • Dosage: In the world of essential oil, less is more. 

This is again related with the concentration of the oil extracted from plant. Complete information of dosage of essential oil is another aspect to be kept in mind. Dosage given in terms of drop can vary widely according to the size of the dropper provided with bottle.

Dosage creates a considerable difference to the toxicity in young children especially babies.  

These are some major concerns which should be addressed and one should have complete knowledge about how to use oils. The next segment of the article is dedicated to essential oil safety that is by far- most important of all.

Essential oil safety:


To make maximum use of essential oils, it is important to keep safety measures ready. Some methods to avoid essential oil accidents are as follows:

  1. Dilution: This is one major precaution that you have to take. Dilution is done to balance the concentrated nature of the oil. Thus to avoid adverse skin reactions dilute essential oil in carrier or base oil like olive, jojoba or coconut. These are vegetable based oils which help to carry essential oils onto your skin.

Concentration of essential oil should be below 5 percent. In general 1 percent dilution means addition of 6 drops of essential oil to 1 ounce of carrier oils. Though dilution percent varies according to age, oil type and health condition.

  • Patch test: Patch or spot testing of essential oil is done to check if your body is okay with the usage of that particular oil. Simply put few drops of diluted oil to inside of your arm or wrist and cover the area with a bandage. Notice if any adverse reactions occur or not. Some reactions take 28-48 hours to unveil.
    This is an important part of essential oil safety.
  • Aromatic use: One of the primary avenues for using essential oil is its aromatic use. This simply refers to inhalation of essential oils it can be direct inhalation or diffusion of essential oils.

This is the safest way of essential oil usage but it is not advisable to directly inhale essential oils for longer than 15-20 minutes. If you are choosing irritating and strong odor oils make sure to use smaller amounts and diffuse in a well ventilated area.

  • Internal use: Essential oil is generally regarded as safe (GRAS) but that does not mean you have right to ingest or consume it. Oral administration should be avoided unless advised by a trained and experienced person in the field of clinical aromatherapy. And if you’re advised for ingestion, dose of oil is yet another parameter that you should be clear of.

Toxicity or poisoning is often the result of using dose much higher than that of therapeutic dose or recommended daily dose (RDD).

General guidelines for Essential oils:

  • First guideline is dilute, dilute and dilute. This you have to always keep in mind.
  • Keep essential oils out of reach of children and pets.
  • Diffuse the oil in well ventilated areas.
  • Citrus family oils are photosensitizing in nature so you are advised not to go out in sun with such oils applied. UV exposure is strictly prohibited.
  • Always wash your wash after using essential oils to avoid harm to eyes and ears.
  • Essential oils are highly flammable in nature so do not keep oil bottles near naked flame, fire or any source of ignition.
  • Not all essential oils are good to go for aromatherapy. It is better to consult an aromatherapist before use.
  • Dosage of oil should be very clear to avoid unwanted consequences.
  • Purchase of essential oil should be done from verified and trusted seller. This will land you with pure essential oils.
  • Always read the labeling mentioned on the bottle which depicts about the product origin, species which plays crucial role altogether.
  • It is better for pregnant and breast feeding women to avoid use of essential oil to be on safer side.
  • If looking for culinary essential oils make sure to opt for food grade oil.
  • People with pre diagnosed health conditions like asthma; heart disease should not use essential oils unless recommended by doctor.

I hope this piece of article depicts you clearly about essential oil safety. I am looking forward to hear from you down in comment section.  

Thank you.

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