Essential oils should be properly diluted using a carrier oil (such as Jojoba, Coconut oil, Avocado oil) when using topical application. As much as we are tempted to apply a drop of essential oil directly on the skin - for example, to soothe a mosquito bite - it is important to first use precaution. Essential oils are fat-soluble, meaning that they need fat to evenly disperse the oil on the skin and make it easier for the oil to be absorbed into the body. Some essential oils such as cinnamon, clove, laurier, and oregano have a tendency to irritate the skin when not properly diluted. These “high-risk” essential oils need to be properly diluted in an oil carrier oil (such as Jojoba, Coconut oil, Avocado oil). If you have an allergic tendency, it is recommended that you do patch testing to ensure that there is no reaction. If nothing happens within 15 minutes, you can safely assume the use of the essential oil.
1. Sunbathing after applying essential oils.
Certain essential oils, especially those from the citrus family, are photosensitive. If applied to the skin, exposure to the sun or UV rays should be avoided to avoid causing any unpleasant skin irritation.
2. Using natural essential oils during pregnancy.
It is recommended that you avoid baths and massages with essential oils during pregnancy or breastfeeding. During this time, the body’s senses are heightened and sensitivity is increased. Floral waters and hydrolats are a more appropriate choice because they are much more gentle on the skin. Because floral waters and hydrolats are water-soluble, the active chemical constituents are less concentrated at only 0.05 - 0.10%.
3. Purchasing low-quality essential oils.
Due to the growing popularity of aromatherapy and natural plant-based products, synthetics have infiltrated the current market to drive prices lower and increase profit. When purchasing essential oils, it is important to choose certified organic essential oils from reputable companies that are transparent about their company practices. To test the quality of an essential oil at home, you can do an easy test that works for most essential oils. Apply a drop of essential oil onto a piece of paper and monitor the evaporation of the essential oil. If the drop becomes lighter around the drop, the essential oil has been mixed with some type of vegetable oil. As time passes, the essential oil aroma should change as the higher notes, the volatile molecules, evaporate first. If the essential oil has a color, it will leave a pigment on the paper, but it should not leave an oily mark. Unlike their synthetic imposters, which are typically light and powdery in scent, the aroma of a true essential oil has depth and complexity. A test to verify the quality of true Rose Otto from Bulgaria is to expose the essential oil to cold - this is done by placing the bottle in the fridge: the essential oil will naturally congele, while a counterfeit will not.
4. Storing Your Essential Oils Improperly
The chemical composition of essential oils naturally changes over time - which is where the essential oil oxidizes, causing possible skin irritation. Oxidation is exacerbated by exposure to sunlight and heat. It is recommended to store essential oils in dark glass bottles, firmly sealed to prevent exposure to the air, and kept in a cool place. Essential oils that are high in volatile chemical components, such as citrus essential oils can be kept for up to 3 years when stored in the fridge. Essential oils that contain mostly less volatile components, such as wood essential oils can be kept up to 4 years. Certain essential oils, especially the spice oils get even better as time passes.
5. Mixing homeopathic practices with aromatherapy.
Homeopathy and aromatherapy create opposing effects in the body; the aim of homeopathy is to use substances that would create a sickness in a healthy person to cure a sickness in an already sick person by using a similar substance, whereas the aim of aromatherapy is to use the immune system of plants to improve the functioning of core organ systems in the human body. At first, one might mistakenly believe that it is safe to use a mixture of various natural herbal remedies, since they are "natural" and perceived to have no necessary precautions. This preconceived notion, that all plant-based medicinal preparations are completely safe for internal use, is false. Some plants are toxic, others may negatively interact with other medications (prescribed, over the counter, and supplements) and cause side effects. It is vital to take the time and learn about the plants you want to use for a safe and rewarding practice using plants as medicine.
When working with one essential oil, space out the application to every 3 to 4 hours.