As a provider of numerous essential oils, we here at Flowers to Fragrance know that there lots of people out there who use essential oils for health and wellness in place of traditional medicines and products. For the sake of our customers and other users of essential oils, we have gathered some interesting information regarding the safe usage of essential oils for these purposes.
First, it is important to note that while often marketed similarly; fragrance oils and essential oils are very different. Generally speaking, if labeled with the words “fragrance,” “perfume” or similar, it is safe to assume that the product is synthetic.
On the subject of assuring the quality of essential oils, discerning consumers should know that even when marketed as essential oils, some producers dilute their products with standard oils in order to save money. You can test the purity of essential oils by putting a drop on a piece of construction paper; if it evaporates quickly and leaves no noticeable ring, it is pure. This works because while similar in consistency to oil, essential oils are technically not the same as coconut oil, sesame oil, and the like.
Unlike these standard oils, which are merely pressed out of their source, essential oils require an enormous amount of source plants. For lavender oil, one requires around 100 pounds of lavender to produce only a single pound of lavender essential oil. It is therefore highly, highly concentrated. Fortunately, there is little risk of this concentrate to go to waste, as essential oils are able to stay fresh for as long as 5 to 10 years!
Because essential oils are so concentrated, they are quite potent as well. As such it is important to practice caution. In most cases, it is inadvisable to use undiluted essential oils directly on the skin; it is instead better to mix the essential oil with a “carrier,” such as waxes, butters, alcohols or the aforementioned standard oils. There are of course some exceptions: undiluted lavender, chamomile, tea tree, sandalwood and rose geranium essential oils are safe to use sparingly on the skin.
On the subject of safety and potency, it is important to note that undiluted essential oil of any variety should never be used on a child or infant. Children have thinner and more sensitive skin, and as such are at greater risk than adults of any adverse effects relating to the potency of essential oils. Even in the case of diluted mixtures using essential oil, it is recommended to use only half the suggested quantity of oil. Here is a list of essential oils that are safe for babies and children.
As a final thought, remember to always keep essential oils out of the reach of children, and never allow essential oil to come in contact with the eyes or be used internally.
We hope that this information can be useful to you, the reader, or anyone else in your life with an interest in essential oils!