There is an immense amount of studies exploring the concerns that essential oils are highly concentrated and can irritate the skin when used in undiluted form. Therefore, they are normally diluted with a carrier oil for topical application, such as jojoba oil, olive oil, or coconut oil. Phototoxic reactions may occur with citrus peel oils such as lemon or lime. Also, many essential oils have chemical components that are sensitisers (meaning that they will, after a number of uses, cause reactions on the skin, and more so in the rest of the body). Chemical composition of essential oils could be affected by herbicides if the original plants are cultivated versus wild-harvested. Some oils can be toxic to some domestic animals, with cats being particularly prone.
Using essential oils on your skin and in hair and beauty products is a natural and effective way to keep up your personal care regimes without having to use products that are made with chemicals and hydrogenated oils. Essential oils may calm irritated skin, reduce signs of aging, like age spots, improve acne, protect your skin from sun damage and thicken your hair.
DO: Read as much as you can about aromatherapy. It is very easy to get started with aromatherapy, but there are safety issues that you need to be aware of. AromaWeb offers safety tips and information to help you on your way, but you are wise to read even further on the important subject of essential oil safety. Visit the Book Shelf for categorized essential oil book reviews.
Boil 2-3 cups of water, pour it into a bowl and add 2-5 drops of oil to the water. Place your nose about 12” away from the bowl, cover your head and bowl with a towel, and slowly inhale the steam. Using either energizing or relaxing essential oils can make this method useful any time of the day or night. If you notice any discomfort or irritation, stop immediately.
Essential oils may help to reduce toxicity by promoting the detoxification of your home and body. These days, we are all inhaling and ingesting a number of chemicals and environmental toxins that can be dangerous for our health. Some work as mild diuretics, thereby increasing urine production and improving detoxification. And some oils aid digestion and promote the detoxification of toxins that buildup in the body. (18)
Beginning to use essential oils is the start of an incredible aromatic journey. I created AromaWeb over 20 years ago because essential oils played a highly beneficial role in my life and I was (and still am!) eager to share insight into the safe and effective use of essential oils. Below are several important aromatherapy tips for beginners and those that are new to using essential oils.
Essential oils have also shown to improve learning, memory and ability to focus. Both stimulating and sedative oils can be useful, as oils like peppermint can improve sustained attention over a longer period of time, while oils like lavender can be useful for people going through tough exercises or situations. Furthermore, they can be useful in relieving agitation in individuals with dementia. This is due to their calming and sedative effects. (10)
The thing to check is that the essential oil is good quality and pure, and not a synthetic fragrance: this is where most people get confused. Essential oils are extracted from a single botanical source by distillation or expression; they are pure plant extract. This is what gives them their powerful therapeutic benefits – it is no good using synthetic fragrance oils.
In the era of modern medicine, the naming of this treatment first appeared in print in 1937 in a French book on the subject: Aromathérapie: Les Huiles Essentielles, Hormones Végétales by René-Maurice Gattefossé [fr], a chemist. An English version was published in 1993. In 1910, Gattefossé burned a hand very badly and later claimed he treated it effectively with lavender oil.