Essential oil can cause an allergic reaction which is known as sensitization. Sensitization is an allergic immune response and can also be referred to as Allergic Contact Dermatitis (ACD). If you become sensitized your skin normally reacts in the form of a rash, blotchy redness, often accompanied by slight blistering.
Once you have become sensitized to your essential oils, it makes the oils less effective.
Some signs of sensitization are:
raised, bumpy rash
shortness of breath
tightness in chest
Using Essential Oils Neat
Always err or caution when using essential oils, although we are advocates of nature, we understand not all of our bodies react the same, therefore, use essential oils sparingly when diluting and even more so when using them neatly.
Risky Essential Oils:
If you have sensitive skin, prone to allergies, eczema, or dermatitis you might be at increased risk of sensitization, therefore, diluting at a lower amount would be recommended.
There may be other oils that are prone to sensitization but below we have listed a few. Do your own research to ensure that the oils you are choosing are right for you and everyone in your household!
Aniseed pimpinella anisum
Cassia cinnamomum cassia
Lemon Verbena Lippia citriodora or Aloysia triphylla
Peru Balsam myroxylon pereirae
Spearmint mentha spicata.
Reduce Your Risk
Here are a few ways to safety tips to use your oils and not risk sensitization.
• Start with the lowest dilution percentage of essential oil to carrier and increase in small amounts.
• Avoid daily application of the same essential oil for prolonged periods of time.
• Avoid known sensitizers.
• Avoid using oxidized oils, especially from the Pinaceae family (such as pines and cypress species) and the Rutaceae family (such as citrus oils).
Treat your essential oils with great care ad Keep them out of the reach of children.
When choosing essential oils for children you can use the self-selection method.
Children & Essential Oils
Self-selection gives your child a chance to know and for you to see if the essential oil will be too strong for them. Firstly, properly dilute and have them smell the diluted oil. If they dislike the aroma, the oil might be too strong and you can then dilute some more and test.
Do not use Essential oils rich in menthol (such as peppermint) on the throat or neck area of children under thirty months of age.
Please note: Menthol is found in high concentrations of many over-the-counter pharmaceutical vapor rubs in common use for congestion.
Photosynthesize Essential Oils
Some essential oils are known to be photosensitizing and should not be used on the skin if you will expose yourself to sunlight or ultraviolet light for 4-6 hours or longer.
Avoid direct sunlight on any essential oil but using photosynthesizing oils can increase your chance of sunburn and cause uneven skin pigmentation—also known as berloque dermatitis.
Generally, I recommend exercising caution when using pure essential oils during the first trimester.
Though if you are suffering from severe morning sickness early in pregnancy, the smell of peppermint or spearmint oil can be safe to use and may relieve nausea.
If the skin should become itchy or inflamed during pregnancy, please exercise caution as essential oils in massage or in the bath might make the condition worse.
Mothers of newborn babies should not use, or at least limit the use of, pure essential oils. One of the key reasons for this is that it can interfere with a mother’s natural smell and thus interfere with the all-important bonding that occurs between a mother and her child.
People with epilepsy and people with high blood pressure should consult their health care professionals before using essential oils. Avoid essential oils such as hyssop, fennel, and wild tansy oils, and research each oil before use to check for its contraindication.
Check Expiration dates
Skin tests should always be done for very young children and the elderly. You should skin test a small area first if you suffer from hay fever or allergies before using essential oils.
Apply pure essential oil in a thin (1 percent dilution of carrier oil on a cotton swab and lightly touch the skin) area on the skin, either under the arm, inside the elbow, behind the knee, or on the wrist.
Cover the area with a bandage and leave it unwashed for 24 hours.
If you see any reaction such as itching or redness, you may want to discontinue using this essential oil. Sometimes a reaction to an essential oil can be an indication of a need for an internal cleansing before usage.
Essential oils can react with toxins built up in the body from chemicals in food, water, and the environment. However, sensitivity can also be a sign that you are sensitive to one or more of the chemical properties in the essential oil, and you should not use that essential oil.