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LightAngel's Musings

  • Writer's pictureElisha LightAngel

The Dangers of Essential Oils


I love essential oils. I love to smell them, use them in lotions, apply them topically, and make all sorts of fun things to use on my body. They help uplift my spirits and calm me down as well as ease pain from time to time. Despite how much I love ll these oils I use them sparingly. I don't think people talk about the dangers of using essential oils enough, so I wanted to address that today.


It is really important to know the safety precautions of using oils. I know a lot of people will hear all sorts of info or be encouraged to use oils as fast as possible. I have actually seen this to be a trend with the MLM (multi-level marketing) companies selling oils. Their goal is to have you use oils quickly so you keep purchasing more. This is how they make money, so you can see some of the motivating factors are not always in your best interest. On the opposite end, essential oils can expire so you want to use them before they expire.



1) Overuse of oils leads to toxicity. One way to utilize oils is topically, or by placing them on your skin. If you do this, it is recommended you use a carrier oil. This does one of two things. First, it will dilute the oil so it isn't so strong when it hits your skin. The second is that it helps the oils to slowly soak into your skin over time instead of a lot at once and then evaporate.

I have known a few people at this point who have developed a sensitivity to using essential oils in this way. This can be extended to oils inside products such as lotions, bath bombs, perfumes, and other beauty products. When you use oils every day it is a lot, perhaps too much for your body to process. When you give your body more than what it is capable of processing it will become toxic. Now your body is looking for a way to process the chemicals in oils and is having a hard time. This means that eventually, you may develop a rash or skin sensitivity when you apply it, even though this was not a previous experience. It's possible you could experience other symptoms that are akin to allergic reactions. When this happens it is time to cease the use of the oils. You may need to stop using them for months in order for your body to be able clear the toxins and restore itself back to its original balance.



2. Beware of oils that are toxic to your pets


If you are a petty owner then you probably love your little fur beasts and accept them as part of the family. This means you want to be cautious when using oils around them. I don’t recommend placing any oils topically onto your pet unless you are fully educated and know all the precautions.


Use extreme caution when diffusing oils around your pets. When you diffuse oils into the air tiny particles of the oil are floating around and breathed in by you and your pet. The microparticles can also settle onto your pet's fur where they are sure to lick later. It may have great benefits for you but it can be tragic to your pet's health. Make sure you are diffusing in a large room so the oil can disperse further. Also, be sure to leave doors open so your sensitive pets have the option to leave the room if the smell is too overpowering for them.


According to the ASPCA Poison Control Center, these are the top 10 most toxic essential oils for cats and dogs:

CATS

DOGS

Cinnamon Essential Oil

Cinnamon Essential Oil

Clove Essential Oil

Citrus oil or those containing d-limonene

Citrus oil or those containing d-limonene

​Eucalyptus Essential Oil

Eucalyptus Essential Oil

Peppermint Essential Oil

Peppermint Essential Oil

​Pennyroyal Essential Oil

Pennyroyal Essential Oil

Pine Essential Oil

Pine Essential Oil

​Sweet Birch Essential Oil

Tea Tree Essential Oil

Tea Tree Essential Oil

Wintergreen Essential Oil

Wintergreen Essential Oil

Ylang Ylang Essential Oil

​Ylang Ylang Essential Oil


Signs your cat may be having a toxic reaction to the oils you are using:

drooling, vomiting, tremors, difficulty breathing, panting, low body temperature, and sudden collapse.


Signs your dog may be having a toxic reaction to the oils you are using:

Red, watery eyes, Excessively watery nose, Sneezing, Coughing, Difficulty breathing, Drooling, Redness around the lips, eyes, or nose, Excessive rubbing of the face or ears



3) Photo-toxic Oils:

All citrus oils are phototoxic. This means that when used topically they will give you a higher risk of sunburn for the next 18 hours. Sure they can have some wonderful benefits but if you choose to use them on your skin make sure you will not be exposing that area to the sun throughout the next day. They are fantastic for diffusers and aroma inhalers. There is only one safe topical citrus oil and that is Sweet Orange.



Phototoxic oils include:

Lime, Lemon, Bitter Orange, Bergamot, Mandarin, Green Mandarin, Tangerine, Grapefruit, Key Lime, Tagetes, Blood Orange





4) Allergies:


If you have an allergy to a plant or an herb then you will have the same allergy with an essential oil. If you are allergic then stay away. Be mindful of the people around you when you are using essential oils. Just because you don’t have an allergy or sensitivity doesn’t mean that another person doesn’t.



5) Using Oils during Pregnancy:


When pregnant the body is undergoing several changes and essential oils have the ability to affect the body in adverse ways. There are definitely safe oils for pregnant women and ones to not use while pregnant.


With the safe oils, it is fine to diffuse them or use an aroma inhaler when needed, adjusting to sensitivity. If used topically then dilute the essential oil at 1%. This means 5-6 drops for 1oz of oil or lotion.


The list of safe essential oils is longer. If you are not sure you can always look it up on the internet or in the Tisserand/Young book “Essential Oil Safety”. The main goal is to stay away from any oils listed on the “not safe for pregnancy” list.


SAFE ESSENTIAL OILS:


Combat morning sickness and nausea

Cardamom, Ginger, Peppermint


Promote calm, relaxation, and a good night's sleep

Frankincense, German or Roman Chamomile, Lavender, Neroli, Petitgrain, Rose or Rosewood


Uplift your mood

Geranium, Lemon, Patchouli, Sandalwood, Wild Orange



OILS TO AVOID WHEN PREGNANT:

  • Aniseed

  • Basil

  • Birch

  • Camphor

  • Cinnamon Bark

  • Clary Sage

  • Hyssop

  • Jasmine

  • Mugwort

  • Oak Moss

  • Parley Seed or Leaf

  • Pennyroyal

  • Peppermint

  • Rosemary

  • Rue

  • Sage

  • Tansy

  • Tarragon

  • Thuja

  • Thyme

  • Wintergreen

  • Wormwood


Essential oils are awesome and lots of them smell great. Not only is it fun to use them but the proper application of aromatherapy has great benefits for the mind and body.

The biggest takeaway is to observe proper precautions and use them in moderation.



Check out my favorite two places to get high-quality oils that are friendly to your pocketbook. (These are affiliate links)



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