General Guidelines & Precautions when using Essential Oils

With essential oils becomingly increasingly popular over the past few decades for uses such as wellness, natural remedies for numerous ailments, beauty care and more, it is mandatory to know the general guidelines and precautions before using them. Make sure to carry out a patch test by adding a drop of essential oil to carrier on your wrist of behind your elbow. If there’s any reaction in 24 hours or less, discontinue usage.

Always use high quality unadulterated essential oils

There should not be any additives, synthetics or cheap fillers added. You can check the authenticity by checking the label, the label should state that it is 100% pure essential oil and there should only be one ingredient, stated in its Latin/scientific name (e.g. Lavandula, Melaleuca, Mentha x Piperita), unless you’re buying an essential oil blend which will consist of more than one essential oil. The bottle itself is also a dead giveaway. Pure essential oils are stored in dark or amber coloured bottles as it prevents oxidation and preserves the essential oils. For some recommendations, please check out our top 10 favorite brands.

Never apply pure essential oils without proper dilution

The potency will result in skin irritation when directly applied. Therefore, you must always dilute with carriers such as oils (jojoba, sweet almond, grapeseed etc.), aloe vera or witch hazel, before applying it onto your skin. The general rule of thumb for dilution of essential oils is 1% – 2% for adults (3-6 drops essential oil to 1 tablespoon carrier) and 0.5% – 1% for children (1-3 drops essential oils to 1 tablespoon carrier). Many brands will also sell roll on essential oils that you can use directly onto the skin, as they are pre-diluted. Learn more about how to blend carrier oils and essential oils.

Do not use essential oils on children below 3 months old

A baby’s skin is more susceptible to sensitivity and irritation compared to an adult’s. Hence, essential oils should not be used for babies below 3 months old. Once they are older, you can slowly introduce essential oils to them via scent or diffusion to induce calmness and an earlier onset of sleep. Make sure your child is not exposed to the direct mist during diffusion, and make sure the essential oils are kept somewhere inaccessible to children. You can read more about this in the article “Essential Oils for Babies & Young Children” to know which essential oils are safe for them.

Practice with care if you have pets

Although essential may benefit in promoting calmness and reducing anxiety for pets, there are a number of essential oils that are toxic to them. Animals do not metabolise chemicals the same way humans do. Moreover, they have a much stronger sense of smell so what may smell light to us is often overpowering to them. You can consult with your vet or a qualified aromatherapy practitioner beforehand, and check out this article on essential oils and pets.

Consult with your doctor or a health care provider under these conditions

For safety purposes, before proceeding with using essential oils, it is strongly advised you consult with your doctor if you are pregnant, nursing, under a doctor’s care, have an existing medical condition and/or on long term medication. This step is important as these conditions are pose as contradictions with certain essential oils.