Essential Oil Safety, What Should You Know?

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Essential oils are everywhere nowadays. They’re talking about them on the news. Essential oils are in cleaning and beauty products at the grocery store. Seems like everyone knows someone who has used or tried them for something. There are a few things that everyone should know about essential oil safety.

Not long after I began my studies into essential oils, I was talking with my mom. Probably boring her to tears with all my excited rambling. I don’t remember much about the conversation, but one thing she said has stayed with me ever since.


That one sentence stopped me in my tracks and really made me think. Just because something is all natural, does not mean it is good for you. Peanuts, shellfish and strawberries are natural, and yet for some they are deadly. Dogwood trees are beautiful when they are blooming, but they make me miserable in the spring.

Read about 5 Simple Ways to Start Using Essential oils here

I think about that phrase whenever I’m making my essential oil blends or products. When I read something new or come across new information, that phrase always pops into my head. While essential oils are wonderful and can do great things for us, we must use care and caution when using them.

Groups to use special care with

Use great care when using essential oils with or around babies, children, pregnant or nursing mothers, and the elderly. Never ever assume that since your aunt’s sister’s friend used this oil on her two year old, that it’s fine to use on yours. While essential oils are generally safe, it is always advised to use care with oils around these groups.

I love peppermint essential oil. I make an ointment with it that we use for all kinds of pains. However, peppermint essential oil shouldn’t be used on or around infants or young children. The menthol in it is too strong for their little bodies to process.

If you are taking any kind of medication, prescription or over the counter, it is best to check with a medical professional before starting any kind of essential oil treatment. It is highly unlikely that there would be any kind of reaction between medication and essential oils, but it is possibly.

Image by sathyatripodi from Pixabay

Don’t just pour it straight from the bottle

Essential oils almost always need to be diluted. Lavender and tea tree (melaleuca) are the only two I feel comfortable about using straight. Even then I dilute them most of the time. I follow the better safe than sorry method. Especially if it’s something I am giving to someone else, or to one of the groups mentioned above.

Essential oil safety and sunlight

Some oils can react with UV rays (including those from tanning beds) and cause reactions that can be mild to severe. This is called a phototoxic reaction. The reaction can show up anywhere from 1-24 hours after UV exposure. The reaction can go from turning a little pink, to severe burns.

While it is mostly the citrus oils that have this effect, it is always best to research any oil before using. If you are using an essential oil where a phototoxic reaction may occur, it is advised to use diffusion or inhalation. Be careful when using premade blends as they sometimes include these oils without warning.

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Ingesting essential oils

I love coffee. A few cups a day might make me a little jittery, but generally won’t harm my health. Now imagine condensing 3 pounds of coffee into one teaspoon and then drinking it. That would be a whole different scenario wouldn’t it?

Essential oils are ultra concentrated plant liquids. One teaspoon of lavender essential oil equals 3 pounds of plants. Just like my coffee, a little bit can be a good thing, but too much could be dangerous.

Never ingest essential oils without the advice of a doctor, medical professional, or certified aromatherapist. Sally Jo took a two week online course. This course was given by the manufacturer of the essential oils she sells. Unless Sally Jo is also a certified aromatherapist, she does not have the training necessary to advise you to ingest 3 pounds of coffee.

Essential oil and pets

Not all essential oils are safe to use with or around your pets. Essential oils can be as beneficial to our pets as they are to us, but care must be used. Cats particularly, are sensitive to several essential oils. Do your research and check with your vet before applying any essential oils to your pet.

Image by JacLou DL from Pixabay 

Final thoughts

Essential oils can be a wonderful addition to your life. Essential oil safety is something everyone should practice. If you are unsure about a specific oil, or have any doubts or reservations.

Don’t Do It.

Do your research. Substitute with a different oil that you feel more comfortable with. Check with a doctor, licensed professional, or certified practitioner.

Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor. In no manner, stated or implied, is any content I share meant to treat, cure, diagnose, or prevent any disease or illness. Please be sure to seek advice from your medical professional before using herbs or essential oils. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA.

Nicole Crosby
  • Nicole Crosby
  • New homesteaders, Nicole and Michael want to share their journey and pass on all the info they will learn along the way to help other homesteaders.


  • Very informative.

    • Thank you!

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