3 simple rules for safe use of essential oils

Essential oils (EO) bring us a lot of goodness but as they are highly concentrated plant extracts, they can be very potent and should be used with caution. Essential oils have many active ingredients. The number of chemical compounds in an essential oil varies significantly. Rosa damascene (rose essential oil) for example has over 500 different organic compounds. Here are 3 simple rules to be on the safe side when using essential oils in aromatherapy:

  1. Dilution

Essential oils must never be applied neat to the skin and must always be diluted in a carrier oil or alcohol. Carrier oils are nuts or vegetable oils, such as sweet almond oil, apricot kernel oil and jojoba oil. If you are using a pure essential oil blend, you should first mix the essential oils into the carrier oil in a low dilution of typically 1% as a little typically goes a long way and the more you use the greater risk of occurrence of sensitivity or irritation.  If you accidentally spill in pure essential oils on skin, quickly pour in carrier oil to dilute and then rinse off with soapy water.

Essential oils dissolve in alcohol or other oils, and not in water as they are oil-based. If you are using the oils in a diffuser or burner, they can be used directly undiluted as there is no contact with the skin.  Essential oils should never be ingested as they can be highly toxic when ingested. I’ve heard about cocktails with essential oils which sounds highly questionable! If for any reason you accidentally ingest essential oils, drink milk to dilute the oil and get medical advice quickly.

At Clarity Blend, we offer a range of already diluted body oils that can be applied directly to the skin. We also offer pure essential oil blends which are perfect for home diffusing or can be diluted using the 1% ration dilution. We recommend using a specific blend maximum 3-4 times a week as the accumulated use of the same essential oils can lead to mild sensitivity.

  1. Pregnancy, children and medical conditions

Although some essential oils are considered safe in pregnancy, as a general rule, we recommend avoiding using essential oils when pregnant or breastfeeding. This is because some EOs can be too stimulating during pregnancy or can have a level of toxicity when the body can be hypersensitive during pregnancy.  Similarly, we recommend not using EOs and EOs containing products on babies and children under the age of 7 years old. This is because infants and children’s skin is sensitive and more permeable and they can struggle to deal with any adverse effects.

If you have any medical conditions, please check with your doctor before using EOs. EOs are generally safe to use but there are cases where caution is highly advisable, such as hypertension, asthma, epilepsy. In any case we always recommend doing a patch test if your skin is sensitive or if you have never used a particular essential oil before. To do a patch test, apply a small amount anywhere on your arm and wait for 24 hours. If any irritation occurs, discontinue use immediately.

  1. Storage

Essential oils should be stored in a dark, cool, and safe place and keeping away from children’s reach. Essential oils are also flammable and should be kept away from source of ignition. Essential oils should be stored in dark glass bottles and keeping away from direct sunlight as light can react with the natural chemicals in the oils. At Clarity Blend, all our products are in amber bottles for best protection with glass and bamboo recyclable pipettes.

The shelf life of essential oils varies from 9 months to 3 years depending on the type of oil with citrusy oils having the shortest shelf life.

A word on quality. Not all essential oils are created equal and there is a lot of low-quality essential oils on the market. As a general rule, we recommend always buying from a trusted, specialised suppliers and never from mass-market online retailers. We recommend checking whether the essential oil is produced by conventional farming or through organically grown plants or whether the plant has been wild harvested.  

At Clarity Blend, we only use high quality ingredients from highly reputable sources. We avoid using essential oils from endangered plants. For example, we do not use sandalwood which is classified as vulnerable by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature's (IUCN) Red List due to over harvesting.

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