Essential Oil Safety

Essential Oil Safety a Brief Introduction

Just because something is "natural" or "organic" does not mean you can use it without safety precautions. Essential oils are pure, strong and very potent substances. Basic Essential oil safety must be taken into consideration if you are going to incorporate the use of essential oils in your life.


Main safety considerations

  • Oils should be stored correctly, out of the reach of children.
  • Some oils are flammable, keep away from flames and burners.
  • Oils should not be used until a consultation has taken place to identify all the general and local contraindication to practice 
  • Oils should not be used unless the practitioner is familiar with the therapeutic properties and all the contraindications. 
  • Oils should always be used at the recommended dilution. 
  • Oils should never be taken internally. 
  • If a consultation suggests skin sensitivity, test oils on a skin patch first.

Mixing and Using Essential Oils Safely

  • Wash hands before and after use. 
  • Use oils in a well-ventilated area. 
  • Mix blends away from the client. 
  • Use within recommended dilution. 
  • Use smaller quantities for babies, small children and the frail elderly. 
  • Handle oils carefully to prevent contact with skin and cross-contamination. 
  • Keep out of contact with the eyes. Avoid prolonged or excessive exposure. 
  • If prescribing oils for a client's home use, ensure that they understand the instructions for use. 
  • Keep accurate records of treatment and blends.
  • Lavender and Tea tree are the only oils that can be applied directly on to the skin undiluted.  
  • Always skin test first. 

Prohibited Oils 

The following oils have been reported to be potentially harmful. Many are toxic, and others, such as cinnamon bark and
clove bud are powerful irritants if misused by untrained therapists


Almond bitter Mustard
Aniseed Pennyroyal. European
Boldo leaf Pennyroyal, North American
Calmus Pine, dwarf
Camphor, brown Rue
Camphor, yellow Sage
Cassia Sassafra
Cinnamon bark Savin
Clove bud Savory. Summer
Clove leaf Savory, winter
Clove stem Southernwood
Costus Tansy
Elecampane Thuja (cedarleaf)
Fennel, bitter Thuja plicata
Horseradish Wintergreen
Hyssop Wormseed
Jaborandi leaf Wormwood
Mugwort (armoise)  

Essential Oil Safety


Pure essential oils are very strong and should only be used in the recommended dilution and application. Some oils are toxic, some are skin irritants. Many oils have contraindications to their use and may exacerbate existing health problems. There are local and general contraindications to practice. These must be identified during a preliminary consultation before any oils are used on a client.

Local contraindications

Local contraindications are localized areas on the body that should be avoided and include:

  • Recent operations, fractures or sprains
  • Severe bruising
  • Swelling
  • Varicose veins
  • Cuts, new scar tissue
  • Local skin infections/conditions (eczema etc.)

General contraindications to practice

  • Fever
  • influenza
  • Migraine
  • Infectious skin disorders
  • Permission from the clients' GP should be sought before treating people with the
  • following conditions:
  • A history of thrombosis or embolism
  • High or low blood pressure
  • Epilepsy
  • Diabetes
  • Major system dysfunction (renal, hepatic, digestive etc.)
  • Nervous system dysfunction
  • Fatal illnesses (cancer etc.)
  • Recent severe hemorrhage
  • If client on medication or homeopathic preparations
  • Special care is needed for:
  • Allergies and skin disorders
  • Pregnancy
  • Babies, children and the elderly
  • Sensitive skin
  • People with disabilities

When in doubt, get GP permission or ask the client to sign a disclaimer.
This is a great resource for use of essential oils during pregnancy.

Essential Oils and Pregnancy

This is just a brief introduction to Essential Oil safety I highly recommend  you purchase a comprehensive book on Essential Oil Safety.

Leave a Reply