Four Important Points About Essential Oil Safety

by Andrea Butje on March 2, 2015

I’ve written about essential oil safety in the past, but I always think it’s a topic worth revisiting.

Essential oils come from plants, but this doesn’t mean every essential oil is right for every person. They are very concentrated substances, and while they do have amazing health-supporting qualities, they should always be treated with respect.

So here are four important essential oil safety guidelines to support your aromatherapy blending!

1. Keep essential oils away from your eyes and ears.

Anyone who has gotten Peppermint oil (Mentha x piperita) too close to their eyes can tell you all about the strong fumes essential oils have! If you do get essential oil in your eyes, don’t use water to flush it out. Instead, quickly wash your hands, put a small amount of a carrier oil, such as olive oil, in your hands and rub it over your eye. Then wipe with a paper towel and repeat two to three times. The essential oil will be drawn to the carrier oil and away from your eye. It works!

essential oil safety2. Don’t apply phototoxic oils to skin before going out in the sun.

“Phototoxic” means an oil has a strong reaction to sunlight, or the UV light in a tanning bed. If you apply a phototoxic oil to your skin, and then spend some time out in the sun (like gardening or taking a walk), the oil could cause a very serious and painful reaction, such as severe burning or discoloration. Phototoxic oils include many of the citruses, such as:

  • Bergamot (Citrus bergamia)
  • Grapefruit (Citrus paradisi)
  • Lemon (Citrus limon)
  • Cold-pressed Lime (Citrus aurantifolia)

Distilled Lime is not phototoxic (but its Latin name is also Citrus aurantifolia, so be sure to check the method of extraction!). You can blend safely with some phototoxic oils at low dilutions. I’ve outlined how in a blog post here.

3. Dilute essential oils to a 1% concentration for:

Children under 12 years old, seniors, pregnant women, nursing mothers, and people with serious sensitivities or health conditions. A 1% dilution is about 5 or 6 drops of essential oil for every 1 oz (30 ml) of carrier oil.

Some oils are contraindicated for pregnancy, and others should be avoided for children and babies altogether. I often use hydrosols instead—they are very safe. Be sure to look up the safety considerations for oils you are using.

4. Keep essential oils out of reach of children.

Some oils are poisonous if swallowed, and we all know how children love to explore the world by putting things in their mouths! Essential oils smell very good, which makes them more tempting. For safety’s sake, keep your oils on a high shelf where young kids can’t get to them.

essential oil safety for kids

Those are four important essential oil safety points that I want everyone to know! There are more aspects to essential oil safety, which we discuss in depth in Aromahead’s free Introduction to Essential Oils class. This is an online class that you can take at your own pace, and gives you everything you need for a solid foundation in aromatherapy (including popular recipes and blending tips)!

If you’re interested in safety guidelines when using essential oils, we recommend Robert Tisserand’s book “Essential Oil Safety.”


Aromatherapy for Muscle Tension: Make an Inhaler

by Andrea Butje on February 23, 2015

Inhalers are a less known—but very effective—way to use aromatherapy for muscle tension relief.

aromatherapy for muscle tension relief
One of my favorite ways to use aromatherapy for muscle tension is relaxation massage. I use soothing massage oils and body creams with essential oils, which can really complement the healing power of touch.

But I know that massage isn’t an option every time, every place. If you feel your shoulders and neck start to tense up at the office, or you’re at a party and feel strain in your back, it might be awkward to just ask someone to massage you!

That’s why I like to use inhalers for muscle tension. It’s my other favorite way to use aromatherapy for tense muscles! You can take aromatherapy inhalers with you anywhere—they fit in your pocket or bag—and nobody will smell the essential oils but you.

An aromatherapy inhaler is made of a piece of cotton in a plastic case. You put the essential oils on the cotton, and then you can simply open the case and inhale anytime you need to.

It doesn’t involve direct touch or contact with your muscles, but you might be surprised at how effectively even just inhaling essential oils can be for relieving tension.

It works because the essential oils affect your limbic system very quickly. This leads to calming your nervous system, and that means your body relaxes—your muscles ease, your breath deepens, and your mind lets go of stress.

Here’s one of my favorite aromatherapy for muscle tension recipes:

  • 10 drops Rosemary essential oil (Rosmarinus officinalis)
  • 3 drops Black Spruce essential oil (Picea mariana)
  • 3 drops Lavender essential oil (Lavandula angustifolia)
  • 1 drop Peppermint essential oil (Mentha x piperita)

This blend smells amazing! It’s got warm, woody notes of pine and rosemary, but it’s still a bright, opening blend—Rosemary, Lavender, and Peppermint all have very fresh tones.

I made a YouTube video for this blend, which can be helpful to watch if you’ve never used an aromatherapy inhaler.

If you ever get stress headaches, you may know that they’re often caused by muscle tension in the neck and shoulders . . . so this blend can help for tension headaches, too!

As I mentioned, massage is another great way to relieve muscle tension. If you’d like to learn how to use essential oils in Massage Therapy, check out my free webinar, “Reduce Your Clients’ Pain Using Aromatherapy.” You’ll learn six of my favorite essential oil suggestions for massage, how to make your own custom blends to address specific pain issues, and more. It’s free and fun! Click here to learn more and register!

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How To Make Incense Sticks with Essential Oils

February 16, 2015

Learn to make incense sticks with essential oils. I love burning incense! Loose incense, stick incense, cone incense—I’m a fan of them all! I especially love to make my own incense and customize the scent. There is actually a way to make the sticks themselves using makko powder. I’m creating a class about making incense […]

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How do you know if Aromatherapy Certification is for you?

February 9, 2015

I’ve held two sessions of the “All About Aromatherapy Certification” free webinar, and it’s been great! We have had over 18,000 people register for the webinar! It has been so much fun! I’m happy to say we’re offering three more chances for you to attend, and there are  a few spots left in each time slot. […]

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Have you ever thought about getting your Aromatherapy Certification?

February 2, 2015

Have you ever thought about getting your aromatherapy certification? Wondering what’s involved, and whether it would be the right choice for you? I’m so excited to tell you about Aromahead’s upcoming FREE webinar, “All About Aromatherapy Certification.” On the webinar, you’ll get an inside look at an online aromatherapy certification class. We’ll also give away […]

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What are Top, Middle, and Base Notes?

January 26, 2015

Understanding top, middle, and base notes in aromatherapy We talk a lot about top, middle, and base notes in aromatherapy. What do we mean exactly, and how can you identify each note? Not every aromatherapy blend has to have all three notes. Making a balanced blend just means you consider and understand which aromas tend […]

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