Essential oils are a great way to add flavor and aroma to your cooking. They can take the place of artificial flavors in many recipes, and are also a great way to keep your kitchen feeling fresh and clean.
But it is important to be safe when using them. Some oils can irritate your skin, especially if they’re used directly on it.
Essential oils are small molecules composed of plant chemicals that have therapeutic effects when absorbed by the body. They differ from fatty oils (like those found in vegetables and nuts) that come from large molecules.
They can penetrate the skin to reach the bloodstream and different parts of the body for internal therapeutic benefits. They can also be inhaled or diluted and applied topically to the skin for aromatic and medicinal effects.
The benefits of essential oils vary depending on the oil and the health concern you’re trying to treat. For example, lavender helps relieve burns, cuts, rashes and stings; peppermint reduces anxiety; and tea tree oil has antibacterial and antifungal properties.
Many essential oils can be used safely and effectively as part of a healthy lifestyle. However, be sure to read the label and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for safe dosage. These include using a dilution of no more than 3-5%, which is five drops per half-teaspoon of a carrier oil.
Essential oils should be diluted in an oily carrier, like a carrier oil or cream, before topical use. This will help minimize the risk of skin irritation and optimize the fragrance of the essential oil.
A safe dilution of a particular essential oil depends on the choice of essential oil, the purpose of the mixture, and the age, health and skin condition of the individual. In general, a lower dilution should be chosen for larger area applications and a higher one for smaller areas.
If a reaction does occur, discontinue use immediately and contact poison control if the condition becomes severe or prolonged. If a digestive system reaction occurs, drink plenty of fluids to reduce symptoms, as well as milk or other fat-containing drinks to help minimize the upset.
Essential oils are very safe to use for health and beauty when used properly. However, some oils can be harmful to the body if used in the wrong dosage or concentration.
For this reason, it’s important to follow all the safety guidelines that come with the product you purchase and to take precautions when using the oil around children or pets. Additionally, people who are pregnant or who have a history of cancer should not use essential oils without consulting with their health care provider.
It’s also a good idea to dilute the oil with a carrier oil before applying it to the skin. This helps mitigate irritation, sensitization and phototoxic effects. The dilution rate depends on the oil you’re using and its intended use, but generally it’s 3-5% or lower.
Essential oils are highly concentrated, reactive and volatile materials that require additional care during storage. Storing them in the right conditions can drastically increase their shelf life and keep you enjoying their benefits for a longer period of time.
Ideally, Essential Oils should be stored in dark glass bottles. The dark color of amber or cobalt blue bottles helps to block out deteriorating sunlight and protect the oils from oxidation.
When you store your oils in bottles, be sure to cap them. Uncapped bottles are susceptible to moisture and can leave the insides of the bottle looking cloudy.
You can also consider storing your Essential Oils in a wooden box. This makes it easy to see and find the oils you need when you are ready to use them.