Essential Oils Safety 101

safety

Safety.  That’s a powerful word, isn’t it?  We worry about the safety of the vehicles we drive, the cleaning solutions we use, our children as they walk to school, and most definitely the products we put on/in our bodies.  I don’t know about you, but it is always concerning when I see an advertisement for a new medication when the bulk of it is the crazy long list of side effects.  Ever read the warnings on the side of your deodorant or toothpaste – YIKES!

The desire to utilize a more natural approach when caring for ourselves and our loved ones is what led many of us to try essential oils in the first place.   One of the questions we are asked most often is, “Are essential oils safe?”  The short answer to that is yes, they are very safe.  However, just because they are natural does not mean they aren’t extremely powerful substances!   For example, natually-occuring plants like hemlock and nightshade can be fatal.  Get the picture?  Lucky for us, Young Living doesn’t make a hemlock essential oil, but there are several rules of thumb to abide by when using these awesome oils…

Labels are your friend:  Each bottle of Young Living essential oil is wrapped in a colorful label full of important information.  On the front of each bottle, you’ll find the oil name and grade.  All Young Living oils are 100% pure, therapeutic-grade (AKA the highest quality essential oil on the market).  You will also see the bottle size printed under this information (most come in either a 5ml or 15ml size).  The back of the label will give you directions on how the oil can be used – aromatically, topically, and/or as a dietary supplement.  Not all essential oils are recommended for all three types of use, so reading and adhering to the information printed on the bottle is important!  Within these directions will be suggested dilution ratios.  This simply means that it is recommended to mix the essential oil with a carrier oil (your choice of vegetable oil like olive, coconut, or grape seed) before applying or ingesting it.  You will also see a batch number stamped on the back of every bottle – that’s right, every single bottle!  As part of Young Living’s commitment to quality, they are able to track each bottle back to the batch it was produced from should there ever be a concern.  Pretty cool, right?  Since they produce both single oils (made from one single plant) and blends (made from two or more plants combined together), peeling back the rear portion of the label will reveal the ingredient list and supplement facts if applicable.

Actions and reactions:  If you know you are allergic to lavender, it probably isn’t a wise decision to use lavender oil – make sense?  Now this doesn’t necessarily hold true for everyone and every oil.  Due to the distillation process, proteins (what usually causes an allergic reaction) are generally absent from the essential oil minimizing the chance of allergic reactions.  The essential oil of a plant may come from a different portion than what triggers an allergic reaction for a specific individual.  For example, lemon oil is obtained from the rind and not the flesh of the fruit.  Some people may be allergic to lemon no matter what, but others may have no reaction to the essential oil because it comes from a different part of the plant.  If you know you have an allergy to a certain plant but are wanting to try the essential oil, consult with your doctor before testing a small amount on a non-sensitive part of your body (like the back of your hand).  Several of Young Living’s blends and products contain nut oils.  You can always contact Young Living directly for an up-to-date ingredients list of any product, but if you have a nut allergy, take caution when considering use of the following products:

Products containing coconut oil:

          • Awaken™
          • Breathe Again™ roll-on
          • Deep Relief™ roll-on
          • RutaVaLa™ roll-on
          • Stress Away™ roll-on
          • Tranquil™ roll-on
          • Valor®
          • Valor roll-on
          • YL Oola Grow™

Products containing almond oil:

          • 3 Wise Men™
          • Acceptance™
          • Awaken™
          • Cel-Lite Massage Oil™
          • Cinnamint Lip Balm™
          • Dragon Time™ Massage Oil
          • Genesis™ Hand and Body Lotion
          • Grapefruit Lip Balm
          • Hope™
          • Into the Future™
          • KidScents® Lotion
          • KidScents® Tender Tush
          • Lavender Lip Balm

Calling interference:  Most of the time, essential oils are perfectly safe to use even if you are taking another medication.  However, there are some instances in which essential oils like grapefruit may interfere with prescribed medication.  If you are taking any prescription medication, it is strongly recommended to consult your health care provider prior to the use of any essential oils to check for possible contraindications.

Love our littles:  Many of us have children and are excited at the possibility of using essential oils with our beloved little ones!  Most essential oils are perfectly safe to use with children as long as they are diluted appropriately.  One of our favorite resources on the topic of oils and kids is the book Gentle Babies by Debra Raybern.  You do want to make sure that your essential oils out of children’s reach (they can stain and you don’t want them in eyes, little mouths, etc.).   There are also a few oils with special child safety caps because they can be dangerous if swallowed such as PanAway due to the wintergreen it contains.

Lemon, lime, and orange – oh my:  We absolutely adore Young Living’s citrus oils for the variety of benefits they offer and for their yummy smells!  However, it is important to take some extra precautions when using citrus oils because of their ability to dissolve certain plastics.  This is great if you want to get a sticky label off of a glass jar, but not so great if the lemon oil you put in your water dissolves your cup!  The general rule is that citrus oils should only be used in glass or stainless steel containers – no plastics.    

Soak up some rays:  Or maybe not… Certain essential oils are photosensitive.  This means they absorb sunlight or radiant energy more intensely than your skin naturally would.   You’ll want to check the label of the oil you’re using to see if it contains this warning and avoid the sun for up to 12 hours after application.

Whoa mama:  Many essential oils are completely safe to use while pregnant and can provide much-needed relief for a variety of pregnancy symptoms.  There are some oils that should be avoided during pregnancy, however.  The Gentle Babies book mentioned above is a fabulous resource for information about using essential oils while pregnant, but you can also read more about oils and pregnancy HERE!

Too much of a good thing:  As we said, Young Living’s essential oils are extremely potent and powerful substances.  It is recommended to start slowly when you first begin using oils.  Choose one oil to try and then build from there.  Listen to your body and watch for signs of detoxing (read more about detoxing HERE).  You can usually apply essential oils as needed, but do not overload your system!

Keep it cool:  Young Living’s essential oils do not expire, but you do need to take care when storing them.  You’ll notice that the bottles are a dark, amber color.  No, this isn’t to prevent you from seeing how much of your precious oil is left; it is to keep light from reaching the oils!  Even though the bottles are dark, you’ll still want to store your oils in a cool environment away from direct sunlight to preserve the therapeutic properties.

It is always advised to consult a medical professional before starting any essential oils routine, especially if you have been diagnosed with a medical condition, are taking any prescription medications, or have concerns about your health.  The information provided on our site is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or diagnose any medical condition.  Treat essential oils with the care and respect they deserve and exercise your best judgment when using them for a safe, effective experience!