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Essential Oil Safety

Essential oils are now available extensively in pharmacies and have become very popular. They are a wonderful addition to everyday life but they are highly concentrated and can be toxic if over-used.  I thought it might be useful to give some basic safety guidelines to consider before using essential oils. If in any doubt at all, consult with a qualified aromatherapist or your medical practitioner.

Use of Essential Oils

  • Not to be taken internally
  • Keep out of reach of children – do not use with children under 7 years old.
  • Keep away from the eyes
  • If pregnant, do not use in first 12 weeks and seek medical advice before using essential oils at any stage.
  • Do not use undiluted 
  • Do not put directly on the skin. Always put into a base or carrier – oil, cream or gel, even milk will do to dissolve the oil.
  • Discontinue if there is an allergic reaction. Seek medical advice
    Use a much smaller dose (normally 50%) for elderly and those with serious illness
  • Check that the bottle says 100% natural essential oil. The botanical name written in Latin must be on the bottle
  • Store in a cool dry place – once opened, use within 12 months .


  • Adopt the approach – Less is more – The oils will be just as effective with a smaller dose. Do not be tempted to add a few extra drops.
    The general rule is to use 2 drops to 5ml – (One teaspoon) of base or carrier oil*
  • Bath 6-8 drops in a carrier oil, milk, aqueous cream or epsom salts
    2 drops in a tissue
    3-4 drops in a bowl of hot water for steam inhalation.

* carrier or base oil is a vegetable oil, nut oil or wax for e.g sweet almond, coconut, jojoba, apricot kernel, argan, rosehip etc.

Further information:

There are many resources online to read up on essential oils. One site I like as a good resource is Essential Oils does a great newsletter with information on oils. I have previously mentioned Andrea Butje at Aromahead Institute, School of Essential Oil Studies  Any question on oils and how to use them please contact me or leave a comment below I would love to hear from you.