What Are Essential Oils?
Essential oils are the essence of a plant, a gift from the earth, distilled and prepared for you to bring the power of nature into your home.
Inside many plants—hidden in roots, seeds, flowers, bark—are concentrated, highly potent chemical compounds. These natural compounds are essential oils.
Essential oils give a plant its scent, protect it from hazardous environmental conditions, and even assist it with pollination, among other important functions and benefits.
How Do Essential Oils Work?
When you open a bottle of pure, unadulterated essential oil, your senses are instantly filled with its potent aroma, even from a distance. What your nose detects are the naturally occurring elements of the essential oil.
Every essential oil varies in its natural makeup, so aromas and benefits are also unique. For example, Lavender oil includes elements that make it effective for soothing skin irritations and promoting a restful environment for sleep.
Meanwhile, when taken internally, Frankincense oil supports immune, nervous, and digestive systems, and aids in healthy cellular function.
Use Essential Oils to Transform Your Life
So many of the products we use in our day-to-day lives are filled with synthetic chemicals. These unnatural products can weigh us down and even negatively influence the way we think, feel, and live.
Pure essential oils offer an alternative to synthetic products. Essential oils are more than just natural products. Each with a unique chemical makeup, essential oils have dozens of benefits. Essential oil benefits are determined by the chemistry of the plants. If these natural chemicals are properly extracted, they can be used to help you in your daily life.
Essential Oil Uses and Benefits
What Are Essential Oils Used for Today?
Historically, essential oils were used as part of cultural practices and traditions. However, we now have increasing scientific evidence and research showing that essential oils can be effectively and safely used in a wider range of day-to-day practices and routines for amazing benefits. Today, essential oils can be used for cooking, household cleaning, personal hygiene, and much, much more.*
When you use essential oils, you'll have more natural solutions and fewer toxic, synthetically manufactured products in your life and home.
What Makes Essential Oils Effective?
Some essential oils are soothing, toning, and grounding, while others are energizing, warming, and renewing—but all essential oils are natural. The variety of essential oils allows you to naturally and effectively address your specific concerns.
With so many essential oils available, you can tailor them to your specific wants and needs rather than be forced to settle for a generic solution. This makes essential oils a popular choice for those looking for the best natural solutions in the modern era. The versatility of essential oils is part of what has made them so popular in recent years. People love that they can use essential oils for a variety of tasks, without having to buy multiple products.
How do you use essential oils effectively? Rest assured that you don’t have to be an expert to enjoy the wide array of benefits that essential oils offer. All you really need is a basic understanding of how to apply essential oils safely and simply as part of your daily routine.
How to Apply Essential Oils
There are two ways to use essential oils:
- Through smell. We call this “aromatic” use of essential oils. This includes any application method that helps you experience the aroma of the oil. You can use essential oils aromatically by:
- Diffusing in an essential oil diffuser
- Applying a drop to your hands and inhaling
- Wearing as a personal fragrance
- On your skin. “Topical” application of essential oils allows the oil to absorb into the skin. Some ways to use essential oils on your skin are:
- Apply to targeted areas and rub in
- Add to lotions or moisturizers
Here are a few things you'll want to keep in mind when you are learning how to use essential oils:
Essential Oil Safety Guidelines
- Avoid applying oils to sensitive areas like the nose, ears, eyes, or broken skin. Avoid using “hot oils” on the face.*
- Always read labels and package instructions before using an essential oil for the first time.
- Use dilution to minimize skin sensitivity.
- Be aware of oils with sun sensitivity warnings.
- Practice safe storage—keep oils out of reach of children.
- Always supervise young children when applying essential oils.
- If you have specific health concerns, talk to a healthcare professional before trying essential oils.
*Hot oils or strong oils include Cassia oil, Cinnamon Bark oil, Clove oil, Oregano oil, Thyme oil, and others.
Essential Oil Safety Guide
Are Essential Oils Safe?
Those who are new to essential oils often ask, “Are essential oils really safe?”
Essential oils have a long history of safe and effective use, for everything from personal hygiene and cooking to emotional benefits and health benefits.
When you use appropriate amounts of pure essential oils, they are safe enough to use at home for yourself and with your family. High-quality essential oils go through extensive purity testing to ensure safety.
Like anything else you’d use in your home or with your children, essential oils are safe when you adhere to recommended dosage amounts and use them within proper parameters. Among the many benefits of essential oils, one major advantage is that they offer peace of mind to those who worry about using chemical-ridden products for cleaning, cooking, and other daily tasks. Essential oils are a safe alternative to many of the products you see on grocery store shelves that contain synthetic toxins or chemicals that could be harmful.
Learning about proper use and dosage will allow you to safely use essential oils at home and with your family, while enjoying the benefits of a natural product.
Essential Oil Safety Guidelines
When it comes to using essential oils, there are a few safety guidelines you’ll want to abide by. Here are some of the best practices for safe essential oil usage:
- Always read the labels. Pay attention to any specific warnings on your essential oil packaging and adhere to any recommendations provided by the manufacturer.
- Avoid certain areas. Avoid putting oils into your nose, inner ears, eyes, broken skin, or other sensitive areas.
- Dilute oils. To minimize skin sensitivity, dilute essential oils using a carrier oil like fractionated coconut oil. The suggested dilution ratio is one drop of essential oil to five drops of carrier oil. Always dilute an oil when using it for the first time, applying it to sensitive skin, or when using essential oils with children. When using oils with a particularly strong chemistry, you will want to dilute one drop of essential oil to ten drops of carrier oil.
- Know your strong oils. Some essential oils should always be diluted with fractionated coconut oil before putting them on your skin. Some of these oils include Cassia, Cinnamon Bark, Clove, Oregano, and Thyme. Keep in mind, this is not an exhaustive list, so always pay attention to labels with warnings about strong oils.
- Be careful of sun sensitivity. Some essential oils can pose a risk for sun sensitivity, particularly citrus oils. Some of these oils include Bergamot, Green Mandarin, Grapefruit, Lemon, Lime, Tangerine, Wild Orange, and any essential oil blends that contain these oils. Again, this is not an exhaustive list. Before applying an essential oil topically, check the label for any sun sensitivity warnings. Avoid direct sunlight or UV rays for at least 12 hours following the use of these oils on the skin (this includes tanning beds).
- Practice safe storage. Make sure to store essential oils out of reach of children. This measure will help prevent accidental ingestion. You’ll also want to keep your oils away from excessive light or heat, as this can alter the chemical properties of an essential oil significantly.
- Supervise young children. Always supervise essential oil application with your children. Because children have more delicate skin, it’s a good idea to dilute oils before applying them topically. Try applying the oil to the bottom of a child’s feet before you try other areas. In addition to safe storage practices, you can also use Child Resistant Caps to ensure that your children don’t accidentally ingest oils on their own.
- Talk to a healthcare professional. If you have specific health concerns, consult with your doctor before using essential oils.
Avoiding Essential Oil Sensitivity
Safe use of essential oils varies from individual to individual. This is why it’s important to consider your own personal needs when it comes to safety. For example, some people have sensitive skin, which simply means that they will need to dilute more potent essential oils. In certain cases, you may need to refrain from using a particular essential oil if it causes sensitivity when you use it. However, you can often use a smaller amount of oil, or alter your application method to avoid sensitivity.
Is It Possible to Have an Allergic Reaction to Essential Oils?
Some people ask, “Can you have an allergic reaction to essential oils?” An allergic reaction occurs when the body experiences an abnormal immune reaction after exposure to a protein molecule that is typically harmless. CPTG Certified Pure Tested Grade™ essential oils are completely made up of aromatic compounds found in nature; they don’t contain any protein molecules, so they don’t cause allergic reactions in the same way that, for example, peanuts or eggs might.
However, with some people, essential oils can bind to proteins in the skin and create a type of molecule that the body may recognize as an allergen, creating an allergic response. This process depends on many things, such as the type and amount of oil being used, the person’s individual protein levels, and even genetics.
Sensitivity to an essential oil can cause responses in the skin, digestive system, respiratory system, and other areas of the body.
Signs of an essential oil sensitivity or allergic reaction include:
- Pain, swelling, or tenderness in the skin
- Skin irritation (such as itching, rash, or hives)
- Difficulty breathing
- Stomach upset
What to Do If you Experience a Reaction to Essential Oils
If you experience any of the symptoms listed above, it’s important to stop using that essential oil immediately so that you don’t make the reaction worse. It’s advisable to take a break from the application method that caused the reaction (for example, if you have a skin reaction, avoid topical use for a while) and choose other ways to enjoy the benefits of the oil.
Are Essential Oils Toxic?
Essential oils are safe to use, as long as the appropriate dosage and application methods are observed. In the most extreme cases, exceeding dosage recommendations for oils can lead to toxicity. Toxicity is when a substance reaches a point that it becomes harmful or damaging to the body. Any substance can become toxic if used in an inappropriate dose. Even natural, seemingly harmless substances like water, minerals, or vitamins, can become toxic when used or consumed in excess.
Is It Safe to Use Essential Oils On the Skin?
Topical application is an efficient way to use essential oils for a localized effect. Because essential oils are a lipid-soluble substance, they can easily penetrate the skin.
As with any product you use topically on your skin, (lotions, creams, makeup, and so on), there are a few safety precautions that will allow you to take advantage of the benefits of essential oils and avoid irritation or sensitivity. Essential oils are useful for promoting healthy-looking skin, creating a relaxing massage, and more, but it’s important to follow safety guidelines to ensure proper use. Once you discover how each oil reacts with your body, you can determine how to safely and effectively enjoy the topical benefits each oil has to offer.
Because essential oils are so potent, it’s always advisable to use several small doses throughout the day rather than a single large dose. Start with the lowest possible dose (one to two drops), and then increase the dose as necessary to achieve the desired benefit. A topical dose can be repeated every four to six hours as needed. If you’re trying an oil for the first time, consider diluting it with a carrier oil like Fractionated Coconut Oil before application to see how your skin responds. Because every individual is unique, the dose will vary for each individual based on size, age, and overall health status.
How to Dilute Essential Oils
When it comes to safe topical use of essential oils, dilution is one of the most important principles to understand. Some worry that diluting an essential oil before applying will take away its benefits; however, dilution makes for better absorption into the skin—extending the benefits for even longer. By diluting an essential oil with a carrier oil, you slow the rate of evaporation, enhance absorption into the skin, and protect against sensitive or delicate skin. Dilution doesn’t take away from the essential oil experience. Rather, it allows for more effective topical application.
You experience many benefits by diluting essential oils. Dilution increases the amount of skin, or surface area, on which the oil is applied and absorbed. It also enhances absorption through dry skin and minimizes possible sensitivities. It’s never wrong to dilute oils, especially when using oils with a more potent chemistry, such as Cassia, Cinnamon, Clove, Oregano, Thyme, and others.
While essential oils absorb easily into the skin, you can increase absorption and extend benefits by massaging the oil into the skin or by using a carrier oil that will moisturize the skin as the oil absorbs.
When diluting essential oils, try starting with one drop of essential oil combined with one to five drops of a carrier oil, such as Fractionated Coconut Oil. Feel free to adjust this ratio to meet your specific needs, taking into account your personal preferences, the oil’s chemistry, and your personal sensitivity.
Essential Oils and Children
Is It Safe to Use Essential Oils on Children?
Because children are smaller and more sensitive than adults, it is important to understand that the rules of essential oils are different for children than they are for adults. Once you educate yourself on the safety guidelines required for using essential oils with children, it’s easy to help your kids reap the benefits that oils have to offer. If your children have specific health conditions or concerns, consult with their physician first.
While special precautions should be taken when using essential oils around children, parents can still be confident that it’s safe for children to use essential oils.
When you’re ready to use essential oils with your children, keep a few safety guidelines in mind:
- Adjust application methods. Always give a child smaller doses of essential oils than you would an adult. Before you use essential oils around your children, think about how you might adjust the dosage so that it’s appropriate for the child.
- Dilute. Because children have sensitive, delicate skin and developing bodies, you should always dilute before applying essential oil to a child’s skin. Start with one drop of oil and 10 drops of a carrier oil like Fractionated Coconut Oil. When trying a new oil with your child, apply the oil to the bottoms of their feet. The feet are a nonintrusive, less sensitive area, providing the perfect place to apply essential oils on young or delicate skin.
- Discuss essential oil safety with your children. It can be difficult for children to understand just how potent and powerful essential oils are. Make sure your children know that it’s not appropriate to drink essential oils or apply them without adult supervision. Remember, caps can come off and bottles can break, so keep oils out of reach of children. Educating your children about essential oil safety guidelines will help promote safe usage within the home.
Essential Oils and Pregnancy
Is It Safe to Use Essential Oils During Pregnancy?
Essential oils can help maintain a healthy body, support the immune system, soothe feelings of discomfort, and more. Because of these powerful benefits, essential oils are useful and effective during every phase of life—even pregnancy. By following proper safety guidelines, you can feel confident in using essential oils during pregnancy.
When pregnant, the body goes through a wide variety of changes. These changes often bring feelings of discomfort and sensitivity. While every pregnancy is different, the goal is the same: to support the healthy, proper function of the entire body. Along with proper nutrition and regular exercise, essential oils can be used during pregnancy to help support a healthy body and healthy baby. You can also use essential oils during labor and delivery to make it a more pleasant or positive experience.
Essential Oil Safety Guidelines for Pregnancy
Due to the ethical issue of testing expecting mothers and their fetuses, limited clinical studies address the safety of essential oils during pregnancy. However, we can rely on the history of safe use to determine which essential oils to use during pregnancy.
During pregnancy, it’s not uncommon for a woman to be sensitive to essential oils. Due to these sensitivities and all of the changes that occur in the body when pregnant, it would be wise to consult with your doctor before using essential oils during pregnancy.
Talking to your doctor about using essential oils while pregnant
Even if you’ve used essential oils before without incident, you should still inform your doctor of any essential oils you plan to use during pregnancy. Your doctor knows you, your specific health concerns, and the status of your pregnancy; therefore, he or she should be aware of all essential oil products you plan to use during pregnancy.
Because each pregnancy is different, your doctor is the best resource available for making a treatment plan and determining which essential oils are best to use during pregnancy for each individual. Your doctor can give you a good idea of what to avoid during pregnancy, as well as any other safety measures you should take, based on your personal health and the health of your growing baby.
Is It Safe to Use Essential Oils While Breastfeeding?
In addition to concerns about essential oils and pregnancy, many people ask, “Is it safe to use essential oils while breastfeeding?” While the body changes significantly during pregnancy, these changes don’t end with the birth of the baby—your body continues to change as you adapt to post-partum life. Just as you should discuss beforehand the use of essential oils with your doctor for pregnancy, you’ll also want to consult with your physician if you choose to nurse.
Again, your doctor is the best resource you have for advice when it comes to your body, your baby, and any special concerns you might have. Just as you would check with your doctor before using any new products when breastfeeding, it’s important to discuss your essential oil use with your healthcare professional when you become a nursing mother.
Like pregnancy, breastfeeding places a lot of demands on a mother’s body. When nursing, the goal is to maintain a strong and healthy body and support a growing newborn. With the help of your doctor, you can use essential oils and essential oil–related products that support the whole body.
Essential Oils and Animals
Is It Safe to Use Essential Oils around Pets?
While there is some controversy surrounding the essential oils on animals, when used properly, essential oils can be part of a well-rounded program to help your pets live happy, healthy lives. Just as it is of key importance to use pure essential oils on yourself and your family, you should use only high-quality, pure essential oils with your pets.
Essential oils have numerous benefits for your pets. They can help with calming emotions, soothing muscles, deodorizing unpleasant aromas, and maintaining overall wellness for your furry family members. As with any new product you introduce to your pet, begin slowly.
- Start small. Start with a small amount of a diffused or diluted essential oil, and then observe your pet’s behavior.
- Diffuse. Keep your diffusers in a safe place where your pet can’t knock it over. When you’re diffusing, be sure to use a water-based diffuser and only diffuse four to five drops at a time in an open area, where your pet can leave the room if desired.
- Dilute. Before using oils topically on your pets, first consult with your veterinarian. Always dilute essential oils down to 1–2 percent (100 drops of a carrier oil for every one drop of essential oil) before topical application. Dilute even more for animals under 10 pounds.