Think of something natural,
like a blade of grass. Grass is natural, right? You could eat it, right? That grass might have been rolled in by a dog, sprayed with pesticides, or could just give you an upset stomach. Is eating that blade of grass really that safe? A poor example, I know, but it illustrates the fact that just because something is found in nature or isn't made in a lab means it's safe.
Same goes for skincare. The biggest problem I have seen in skincare how-to's is using essential oils. Essential oils are usually steam distilled or cold pressed from plant matter. Safe, right? In the proper uses, yes. When people on the internet are giving advice on something they were sold 20 minutes ago? Not really.
I've seen countless articles on putting essential oils in water or in capsules for weight loss. Here's another example. Have you ever used one of those orange adhesive removers that smell like citrus? Chances are it's made with d-Limonene, a component found in orange and citrus essential oils. It really gets that sticky residue off of plates, but do you really want the same thing, undiluted, in your gut? Probably not.
Here are some tips for when you're starting to use essential oils
These are the never do's when it comes to safe essential oil usage:
- Never ingest essential oils - ingestion of essential oils is never recommended and can be very harmful as well as irritating. Steer clear of any brands that say that ingestion of essential oils is okay, INCLUDING direct sales companies. (their essential oils are always overpriced)
- Never buy essential oils from direct sales companies, including but not limited to those headquartered in Utah. Their oils are usually if not always overpriced because they pay commissions to consultants who, most of the time, are repeating the same unsafe information that the companies publish.
- Never apply essential oils "neat" or undiluted to the skin. Applying essential oils directly to the skin without a "carrier oil" such as coconut, safflower, sunflower, or jojoba can lead to irritation or bad (chemical) burns if certain ones are exposed to sunlight.
- Never apply or use essential oils on/around animals, especially cats and birds. Using essential oils on yourself if properly diluted or diffusing in an area that is well ventilated is usually okay around dogs, but most essential oils are toxic to cats and can harm birds and animals that live in water. (droplets from diffusing the oils can land in the water and be bad for fish, turtles, frogs, etc.)
These are the always do's when it comes to safe essential oil usage:
- DO make sure you won't react to the oil. Dilute the essential oil to less than 5% and test in a place that can be washed off easily in case it irritates, such as the inside of the wrist. Testing on the inside of the wrist can predict how the oil will react with other sensitive and thin areas of skin such as the face.
DO make sure that using the oil won't cause any harmful side effects. If you're allergic to lavender, don't use lavender! Also, there are some essential oils such as peppermint and eucalyptus that can cause respiratory distress in young children and peppermint can be harmful to women who are breastfeeding.
A great website to look up information about maximum dilution percentages and side effects is AromaWeb found at aromaweb.com.*
- DO make sure you're keeping it to yourself! You never know if someone around you might react to an oil so keep the diffusers at home and use a personal device such as an essential oil necklace or bracelet when in public. Same goes for workspaces and classrooms. (Teachers, you never know if a student may react to an oil, so it is best to keep the diffusers at home or ONLY run it when students have left for the day to give it time to dissipate)
- DO make sure you dilute your essential oils! Always dilute to about 2% unless you're using it for a muscle rub or something similar, where 5% is the max dilution. If a specific oil has a lower dilution percentage, use that one over the 2% or 5% rule. Citrus essential oils ESPECIALLY bergamot can be extremely phototoxic when exposed to sunlight. Make sure you either a) use them at night, b) dilute well below the max dilution, or c) buy steam distilled lemon/lime/grapefruit or bergapten-free or FCF bergamot oil. Orange is not phototoxic. Print out the dilution chart at the end of this post to help you dilute properly!
- DO vet your companies! It's always a good idea to see what a company says about their oils before deciding to purchase from them. If they recommend any unsafe activities like ingestion or neat application, close the tab! Your health is not worth risking on some smooth-talking company's products.
Vérité Skincare is here to keep you safe while you enjoy the wonders of essential oils.
Use this chart to help you dilute essential oils properly! The left sidebar is the amount of carrier oil (coconut, safflower, sunflower, jojoba) and the top is the percent dilution.
Bookmark this page to keep the chart handy!
Vérité Skincare does not use unsafe claims nor increases prices on essential oils to pay commissions to consultants. If an essential oil presents any danger of phototoxicity, the label clearly indicates the max safe dilution, something that no other essential oil brand does.
*AromaWeb and aromaweb.com are not affiliated with Vérité Skincare, the mention of their website was solely based on positive experiences with the information they provide.
This is not medical advice. If you have a medical issue or if any of your skin conditions worsen, discontinue use and seek professional medical attention as soon as possible.