How To Handle a Negative Reaction To Essential Oils

Posted on June 19, 2012 | In Educational

Written By, Becki Andrus

There are many ways that essential oils can be used to support physical and emotional health, and if they are used correctly they can be a safe and powerful remedy to use at home. But, the problem is that essential oils are not always used correctly… which may result in a negative reaction such as skin irritation, burning, or a rash. Often, these negative reactions occur because the person using the essential oil didn’t understand how to correctly apply the oil.

When you are using essential oils, it is very important to keep in mind that they are extremely concentrated… and a little bit goes a loooooooong way. It is true that sometimes you can have too much of a good thing, and essential oils definitely fall into this category!

As an example to show how concentrated these extracts are, consider the fact that 1 drop of peppermint essential oil is equal to 28 cups of peppermint tea! Usually 1 drop of essential oil is sufficient for an application, and it should be diluted with a carrier oil according to the directions for each individual oil.

If you are experiencing a negative reaction by using essential oils, it could be caused by several factors… including:

  • Low quality essential oils could be hazardous, because of the potential for concentrated pesticides and other unwanted substances within the oil. For more information about essential oil quality, click to read my blog post about Essential Oil Quality and why it matters.
  • Using too much essential oil which can cause minor problems such as a skin rash or irritation, or even more severe problems such as damage to major organs by putting stress on the kidneys and/or liver.
  • In some cases, a person may actually have an allergy to a specific essential oil.

If you are using essential oils and you notice that a negative reaction is occurring, you should immediately stop using the oil until you have a better understanding about what is going on.

Don’t Rinse With Water

In the case of skin irritation, burning, or a rash from the essential oil, most people’s initial reaction is to wash that area of skin. But, soap and water is not an effective way to fix the problem… because essential oils are not water soluble! Water could actually make the problem worse by spreading the essential oil to larger areas of skin and exacerbate the problem.

So, instead of reaching for a bottle of water, it is better to grab a bottle of carrier oil (such as coconut oil, olive oil, etc) and generously apply the carrier oil to the area that is irritated. The carrier oil will help to dilute the essential oil and soothe the skin.

Side note: When using essential oils, it is important to avoid the eyes, and care should be taken to avoid getting the oils directly into the eye. If contact occurs with the eyes, then a quality vegetable oil can be carefully used to dilute and rinse. The easiest way to do this is by pouring the vegetable oil into the palm of one hand, and with the other hand you can dip your finger into the oil and gently apply it to the area that is irritated.

Also, essential oils should never be put into the ear canal. For ear applications, the essential oils can be applied on the area all around the ear (such as the jaw line, behind the ear, etc). Or, add a drop of essential oil to a cotton ball, and tape the cotton ball over the ear.

If you are new to using essential oils, the best approach is to use a good reference book to understand the proper dilution and application for each oil. Remember that these natural substances are very powerful, and they should be used with care.

With love,

Becki :)


P.S. Did you know that you can get a FREE “Modern Essentials” reference book by placing your essential oils order thru my website? Click here for more information about how to get a copy of my favorite essential oils reference book.

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