Tips when using essential oils

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Most cosmetic recipes use essential and/or fragrance oils for their scent. While fragrance oils (or Potpourri Oils) are safe for most of us to use, there are a number of guidelines to follow for their safe use.

Sage Essential Oil

These ingredients are a class of volatile oils obtained from plants that possess the odour and characteristic property of the respective plant species. They are used mainly in the manufacture of perfumes, flavours, and pharmaceuticals.

Whether or not you are making DIY cosmetic recipes, or you are researching an essential oil because of an ailment or reaction, this page provides a baseline for you to start from.

Communicate, ask questions, get onto forums and speak to your doctor before you decide to do anything with one of these oils, that concerns your body.

It is important to understand that even though these oils are natural substances, they can be very toxic to the body in various degrees. Generally, never apply an undiluted essential oil directly to your skin.

Carrier oils like jojoba oil, apricot kernel oil or almond oil should be used for dilution first. 

There are a few exceptions like lavender and tea tree oil. These may be applied directly to the skin, with some caution.

Some really important points

Never consume or take these oils internally unless prescribed by your physician. If ingested, many of these oils are very poisonous.

Never get these oils in or near your eyes.

Never use these oils (even diluted) on children or pets. They possess extreme hepatotoxicity and dermal toxicity for animals, especially for cats.

Use these oils sparingly - a little goes a long way. 

Keep oil containers tightly closed. They are highly volatile and will evaporate quickly if the cap is left off the bottle. Store out of the reach of children and pets, away from sunlight and in a place where they will not be exposed to steam.

Types of oils and their uses

The small image table below will set you off in the right direction. Until you are familiar and have your favourites, trial and error will be the name of the game.

Remember, these oils are very strong ... less is more.

Uses of Essential Oils

Important cautions

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you probably should not use essential oil products at all. Consult your doctor before attempting to use any of them.

Avoid any product containing Anise, Basil, Bitter Almond, Clary Sage, Clove, Cypress, Cinnamon, Fennel, Geranium, Hyssop, Jasmine, Juniper, Marjoram, Myrrh, Peppermint, Rose, Rosemary, Sage, Thyme, Wintergreen and all "woods".

People with epilepsy should avoid Camphor, Fennel, Hyssop, Sage and Rosemary.

People with high blood pressure should avoid the more stimulating oils such as Basil, Hyssop, Rosemary, Sage and Thyme.

People with low blood pressure should avoid the more sedating aromas such as Clary Sage, Ylang Ylang, Marjoram, Chamomile, and Lavender.

People with asthma should avoid using botanicals.

People with allergies need to use common sense. If you know you are allergic to a plant then do not use any product that contains that plant essence. These oils are very potent and you may have a severe reaction. Always do a patch test before using any new variety. 

Stop using any ingredient immediately if redness, burning, itching or irritation occurs. 

Irritating and photosensitive oils

Use caution when using the following group of oils. They can be irritating to the skin, especially with sensitive or allergic skin.

Allspice, Bitter Almond, Basil, Black Pepper, Cinnamon Leaf, Cinnamon Bark, Citronella, Clove, Fennel, Fir Needle, Ginger, Grapefruit, Lemon, Lemongrass, Lime Mandarin, Melissa, Orange, Peppermint, Pettigrain, Pine, Tea Tree, Thyme and Wintergreen.

Avoid direct sunlight, sunbeds or solarium’s after using all citrus oils like Bergamot, Lemon, Grapefruit, Orange, Mandarin, Pettigrain and Lime. These can cause photo-sensitivity.

If you are being treated for any type of health problem, or if you are using homoeopathic treatments, always consult a qualified person before using them.

Where to use your oils

Essential oils provide thousands of options for you to experiment with. From massages to diffusers to cosmetics, these oils provide a fun way to add fragrance to your life using natural ingredients.

Where to Use Essential Oils

If you would like to view some cosmetic recipes, click here to browse a few that we have posted on this site.

Benefits of essential oils

Body Guide to Essential Oil Benefits

Many people are suspicious or dismissive towards the use of essential oil products in the health sector (sick sector is actually a better description because you don't go to see your doctor when you are healthy - you go when you are sick).

The truth is that these oils are still commonly used as a fringe medicine and as a natural remedy. This does make it difficult to obtain accurate statistics when trying to compare with synthesised medicine - not that big pharma would want these statistics to be available anyway - naturally available products for the public is bad for business.

The researched information that is available shows that certain oils may have the ability to prevent the transmission of some drug-resistant strains of pathogens, such as Staphylococcus, Streptococcus and Candida.

There is a lot more out there and our busy lives shield us from this useful and beneficial information. Time to explore.


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