Let’s talk about using essential oils safely.
When using essential oils there are a few things to keep in mind to make sure you have an amazing experience. Afterall, there are so many ways essential oils can positively impact our health and wellbeing!
But before we launch into how to use essential oils safely, it’s important that we understand what an essential oil is. Grasping the basic concepts of what they are will make it so much easier to use them with care and respect.
Essential oils are the liquid aromatic extracts taken from plants. Through the process of steam distillation the invisible aroma (the vapors) that emulate from the different parts of the plants, like flowers, roots, seeds, leaves and roots, are transformed into a highly concentrated and very potent liquid extract called an essential oil. Just to yield a few ounces of essential oils requires upward of 70 lbs of plant material! So that tells us that in just one drop of essential oil we are experiencing a very concentrated amount of the plant.
Throughout the ages these aromatic extracts have been used for beautification, ritual, ceremony and medical purposes, and today we use essential oils to support our health and wellbeing.
Essential Oils are made up of hundreds of different aromatic molecules, and each of these unique molecules have been researched and studied for their therapeutic properties. And it is from this research that we have learned how they affect our bodies and minds, and which specific molecules may cause concerning reactions on our skin.
So if you are just starting out using essential oils here are a few tips to make sure you use them safely and reap the best benefits they have to offer.
When in doubt just sniff!
If you are not sure how to use an essential oil, or feel uneasy about applying it to your skin or adding it to a diffuser, the best and safest way to experience the essential oil is by smelling it! Remember, essential oils are first and foremost aromatic extracts -- they are meant to be smelled and enjoyed for their aromatic qualities. Our sense of smell has a direct impact on our wellbeing by triggering emotional responses that impact our physical bodies. Just by sniffing Lavender essential oils we can immediately feel more relaxed and calm.
Less is More
Essential oils are highly concentrated and potent aromatic extracts so that means we only need a very small amount to experience their benefits. Always err on the side of LESS. That means if you want to add some essential oils to your facial cleanser, try this ratio: 3 drops of essential oil to 1 TBSP of unscented cleanser. Not only are we being cautious for how our skin may react, but we are also being mindful for how many plants it has taken to create those 3 drops of essential oil. Approaching the use of essential oils with respect and mindfulness is key.
It’s always a good idea never to apply essential oils directly to your skin without first blending it into something. On its own an essential oil could cause the skin to feel itchy or get red. To avoid that from happening, one of the best things you can do is mix your essential oil into a carrier oil. A carrier oil is an oil that is cold expeller pressed from a seed or a nut, like argan, jojoba, almond, castor, or sesame. It’s called a carrier oil because it literally carries the essential oil into our skin. Since essential oils dissolve really easily into carrier oils, using carrier oils is one of the best ways to deliver the positive experiences of essential oils to our bodies safely and without risking redness or itchiness. You can also mix essential oils into unscented skincare products like lotions, creams and cleansers!
Essential Oils are safe, as long as we use them with care and respect. Remember, smelling essential oils is one of the most effective and safest ways to enjoy them!