Essential oils have become a hot item as the general popular begins to understand their wide uses and benefits. There are so many ways to use them and perhaps you’ve even come up with a few of your own signature scents. Let’s face it, essential oils can be applied topically or diffused into the air so you can reap a wide range of positive benefits. No matter why or how you are using them, misusing them can lead to some negative reactions. Here are a few of the most common mistakes and how you can avoid them.
Mistake #1: Not Using a Carrier Oil When Using Essential Oils Topically
It’s important to remember how potent essential oils are. Generally, oils are safe, but there are some risks particularly if you do not use them appropriately. When using essential oils topically, it’s always advisable to dilute them before applying them to your skin. A few of them can be used directly, but it’s not worth the risk and is better to dilute them first.
The typical dilution rate is 2% or about 12 drops of essential oil for each ounce of carrier oil. This dilution rate can be adjusted to 1% if you are applying the oil(s) to a sensitive area like your face or underarms. Most of the oils are hot and need to be diluted so they do not cause uncomfortable burns or ill effects on the skin such as a rash. By using a carrier oil, you create just enough of a shield to protect the skin. Carrier oils also provide another layer of protection by adding a moisturizer that can be soothing for rashes or skin irritations. There are several carrier oils to choose from including sweet almond, jojoba, and fractionated coconut oil.
Mistake #2: Running the Diffuser All the Time
As good as essential oils are for you, it’s not good to leave the diffuser on all the time. How much you end up using can depend a lot on the size of the space. There is such a thing as saturation, and you don’t want it to get to that point or it can be counterproductive. When the diffuser is on all the time, the potent scents can become overwhelming and make it feel like you cannot breathe. There are a couple of things you can do to help protect your family and yourself.
Firstly, change up the mixtures so you are not diffusing the same oil for long periods of time. Secondly, let the diffuser run only for about 30 minutes to an hour, then turn it off for the same amount of time to let the oils dissipate. You may find a diffuser that has different settings to allow for slower running or differing strengths.
Mistake #3: Not Avoiding the Sun When Using Photosensitive EOs
The citrus essential oils are the most likely to make your skin more sensitive to the sun. many of the oils, citrus, in particular, contain constituents that make the skin more sensitive to UV light. Applying these oils topically, and then exposing your skin to direct sunlight can cause blistering or burning. The risk varies based on how the EO was distilled but the most common oils that are considered photosensitive are bergamot, grapefruit, lemon, lime and orange essential oils. Applying a photosensitive oil that cannot handle strong UV light can lead to second and third-degree burns on the skin. It can also be harmful to apply some of these essential oils and head to the tanning booth.
Mistake #4: Using Essential Oils While You Are Pregnant
Some of the potent essential oils are not safe to use if you are pregnant or nursing a child. EOs can affect hormones and gut bacteria along with a host of other things in the body. Exercise extreme care in using EOs if you are pregnant or nursing. Always check with your physician, midwife or other health care professional before using oils during pregnancy. Some oils are entirely safe to use, and a few are not. Be sure to check before using them. Some of the oils that are NOT safe to use while pregnant include Marjoram, peppermint, sage, wintergreen, thyme, rosemary, ginger, fennel, oregano, fennel, and cinnamon essential oils.
Mistake #5: Disregarding General Safety Recommendations and Contraindications
One of the most dangerous mistakes you can make when using essential oils is to totally disregard basic EO safety information. Although rare, it is possible for essential oils to interact with supplements and some prescription medications, and supplements. They can also lead to adverse effects if they are used in excess. Since the EOs are so potent, they can react differently in the elderly, children, or those with a weakened immune system. Make sure to be properly educated on the oils since when they are used appropriately and within guidelines, they can enrich and enhance your wellness.
Learn to Enjoy Oils Safely
You may or may not have committed any of these mistakes. You may have even made a few on your own. Always use a high-quality essential oil to ensure you are getting the optimal results. And remember to use them properly so you can minimize adverse effects and reactions. Safety is very important, of course, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy using the oils.
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