How not to be irritated by aromatherapy

Despite there being lots of safety information and advice all over the internet about essential oils, there are still occasional articles that you may come across that encourage people to ingest essential oils and don’t spell out how important it is to dilute EOs before using them. I came across a blog this morning that suggested dabbing Clove Leaf oil behind your ears to ward off wasps. 

I can tell you from experience that if you put undiluted Clove Leaf oil anywhere on your body, you probably wouldn’t even notice if you got stung by a wasp because the pain you would feel from the burning sensation of the oil would probably outweigh the pain of the sting!!

Worst case scenario you would be in real bother with both the pain of the wasp sting and the realisation that where you had applied the Clove Leaf has left you looking like a Freddie Krueger wannabe.

"So how can you avoid an aromatherapy nightmare on your street?"

essential oil saftey

"The quick answer is to always dilute essential oils before topical application, and never ingest them internally."

Some of us have more sensitive skin than others, if you’re one of the lucky people who are not so sensitive it is still really important that you dilute oils before using them to ascertain how you will react to them.

As someone whose skin could be compared to Teflon I can tell you that when I mistakenly spilt some Clove Leaf oil onto my skin that it burnt like hell, and I definitely lost the 'Teflon non stick' ability to relieve myself quickly of the burning sensation.

There are some essential oils such as Lavender that most people can apply to their skin without dilution and be free from irritation, that said, everybody’s skin has different tolerance levels, so the correct advice is to dilute even the mild essential oils in a base massage oil, or moisturiser just in case you’re in the 1% who might have a reaction.

mix essential oils with moisturising cream

With milder oils you can gradually increase the ratio of base oil to essential oil to see how your skin reacts before making an educated choice as to whether you should use them undiluted.

As for ingesting essential oils, this is something that should be avoided at all costs unless a qualified aromatherapist has specifically told you to do so. Essential oils are developed for their aromas, hence why they are used in aromatherapy. They are not medicines that should come into contact with your internal organs.

Potent oils which can often cause irritation if used undiluted can have amazing therapeutic qualities which can bring a myriad of health benefits if used correctly. If for whatever reason you decide topical application isn’t for you, you can still reap aromatherapy benefits by diffusing oils.

Clove leaf oil has had a real bashing in this article, but it really is a fantastic oil when used correctly and you will be hard pressed to find another oil that will get you in the mood for the festive season when diffused with a couple of drops of Sweet Orange EO quite like Clove Leaf will. 

Caution and safety are obviously the number one priority for anyone dabbling with essential oils so by taking the necessary caution before applying essential oils and by not ingesting them internally you can save yourself from being irritated by aromatherapy.

The following is a list or oils that should most definitely be avoided without dilution first, but be aware that this list isn’t exhaustive because as previously mentioned everyone's skin is different and we all have different tolerance levels. 

  • Basil
  • Benzoin
  • Birch
  • Black Pepper
  • Cassia 
  • Clove / Clove Leaf
  • Cinnamon
  • Eucalyptus
  • Ginger
  • Lemon
  • Lemongrass
  • Lemon Verbena
  • Oregano
  • Peppermint
  • Pimento Berry
  • Pine
  • Tagetes
  • Red Thyme
  • Wintergreen