20 Absolutely Essential Facts About Essential Oils

Everything You Need to KNow About Essential Oils

Essential Oils are Naturally Antibacterial

This property makes Essential Oils very useful in homemade household cleaners.  Some great oils to add to cleaners are Tea Tree, Eucalyptus, Grapefruit, & any other citrus Essential Oil.

Essential Oil Molecules are Tiny

Because Essential Oil molecules are tiny, it is easy for them to be absorbed into our skin.  This property makes Essential Oils particularly effective in skin care & skin care products.  One of the most effective ways to use Essential Oils is to dilute them into a Carrier Oil & apply them to your skin.  

Essential Oils aren't Oily

Essential Oils don't have the properties typical of oils.  They don't contain the fatty acids that make up an oil.  Rather, Essential Oils are the essence of plant matter which has been distilled from various parts of different plant matter to extract their healing properties.

Essential Oils are Not the Same Thing as "Nature Identical" Oils

Synthetic oils go by a number of different names which sometimes hides the fact that they are not pure & natural Essential Oils.  A number of retailers will call their oils "Nature Identical Oils", or "Fragrance Oils".  While these oils might smell lovely, they do not have the healing properties of pure Essential Oils, nor do they possess the health or Environmental benefits of pure Essential Oils.

Essential Oils Cannot be Patented 

Essential Oils are made by the steam distillation of raw plant materials.  As with anything born from nature, Essential Oils cannot be patented.  What this means is that you will never see Essential Oils listed in the ingredients of pharmaceuticals.  This is something important to note when it comes to considering Natural Wellness products versus traditional medicine.  Consider the fact that many healthcare professionals are paid to promote a specific drug.  Additionally, drug companies typically will not use their time, or resources to study the effects of Essential Oils.

Some Essential Oils are Very Difficult to Produce 

When creating some Essential Oils, a great deal of raw material goes into the creation of the oil.  Any extreme example of an oil that is difficult to manufacture is Rose Otto.  Nearly 4,000 pounds of Bulgarian Roses go into the creation of 1 pound of Essential Oil.  The amount of raw materials used will dictate the price of the Essential Oil being produced.  This is why some Essential Oils are significantly more expensive than others.

Most Essential Oils Should be Diluted for Topical Application

Essential Oils are so potent, applying undiluted oils to your skin can cause moderate to severe skin irritation, especially if you have sensitive skin.  when applying Essential Oils to your skin, it is wise to dilute Essential Oils into a Carrier Oil, Body Butter, Alcohol, or other base.  

A Few Essential Oils are Okay to Apply Undiluted

There are a few Essential Oils that can be applied, undiluted, to most skin types.  Most Aromatherapists agree that using Lavender, German Chamomile, Tea Tree, Sandalwood, & Rose Geranium Essential Oil undiluted on your skin is safe. 

Before Applying Essential Oils to Your Skin, You Should do a Skin Test

To find out if your skin has a sensitivity to a certain Essential Oil, combine one drop of Essential Oil with 1/2 teaspoon of carrier oil.  Apply a small amount of the mixture to the inner part of your upper arm & wait an hour or two.  If any redness or irritation occurs, it is best to avoid applying that Essential Oil to your skin.

There are Essential Oils That Should be Avoided When Pregnant or Nursing 

It is recommended to avoid Essential Oils altogether in the first trimester of your pregnancy.  For the second & third trimester, & while nursing, it is best to avoid these Essential Oils: Aniseed, Cedarwood, Cinnamon, Clary Sage, Clove, Ginger, Jasmine, Lemon, Nutmeg, Rosemary, & Sage.  Make sure you do your research before using any Essential Oil while pregnant or nursing.

Undiluted Essential Oils are NOT Safe for Babies or Children

Compared to our adult skin, babies & young children have much thinner, more permeable skin.  Applying undiluted Essential Oils to their sensitive skin can result in severe skin irritation.  When diluting Essential Oils for children & babies, it is best to use half the amount of Essential Oil you'd use if you were making a recipe for yourself.

Avoid Taking Essential Oils Internally

While most aromatherapist agree that taking small amounts of Essential Oils internally is okay & sometimes beneficial, there are a number of oils that are toxic & should not be ingested.  These oils include: Bitter Almond, Boldo, Calamus, Camphor, Cassia, Mugwort, Mustard, Pennyroyal, Sassafras, Savin, Tansy, Wintergreen, Wormwood, & a few others.  If you are considering taking Essential Oils internally consider consulting a certified aromatherapist first.

You Can Test Your Essential Oils for Purity

The purest Essential Oils are also going to be the most powerful in terms of their therapeutic value & effectiveness.  To test your oils for purity, apply a single drop of oil to a thick piece of construction paper.  A pure Essential Oil should evaporate quickly without leaving a noticeable ring.  Rings are indicative of oils which have been diluted into another substance.  Note: This test will not work for Absolutes, or CO2 Extracts.

Essential Oils Have a Long Shelf Life

If handled properly, Essential Oils will last 5-10 years without going off.  The shelf-life of your oil depends on the type of Essential Oil, & how it has been handled/stored.  When using Essential Oils, try to keep the bottle dropper away from our skin, as the bacteria from our hands can cause the oil to degrade more quickly.

Citrus Oils Have a Shorter Shelf Life

Citrus Essential Oils have a shorter shelf life than most other Essential Oils & will last up to 2 years before going off.  

Essential Oils are Light Sensitive

To get the most out of your Essential Oils, it is important to store them in a cool dark place & protect them from direct sunlight at all times.  For this reason, Essential Oils are typically sold in dark glass bottles, usually a deep amber colour.  Be wary of retailers who sell their oils in clear, or light coloured bottles.

Essential Oils Can Drastically Affect Your Mood

Inhaling, or applying Essential Oils to your skin can have a therapeutic affect on your mood.  Oils such as Peppermint, Grapefruit, & Lemon are known to be mood enhancing.  Lavender, & Ylang Ylang are both very relaxing oils.  Clary Sage has a balancing affect on our hormones & can alleviate symptoms of PMS & Menopause.  Rosemary Essential Oil makes it easier to focus & retain information.  There are a number of Essential Oils out there that are highly effective in other areas of life.  This chart shows a number of different uses for various Essential Oils.

Essential Oils are Deeply Personal

The effectiveness of Essential Oils varies from person to person.  While Neroli Essential Oil is known to aid in stress relief, some individuals can be turned-off by the smell thus nullifying the effectiveness of the oil for that individual.  Fortunately, there are a number of oils that tend to have the same affect on moods so there will be a lot of alternatives available if you find that a particular oil does not appeal to you.

Avoid Contact With Eyes

Alarmingly, there are a number of blogs & Essential Oil retailers who advise applying Essential Oils to eye.  It is, however, by no means, safe to apply Essential Oils in or around your eyes. NEVER, EVER do this.

Some Essential Oils Cause Phytotoxicity

Some Essential Oils, especially citrus oils, should not be applied to the skin, unless they are diluted to roughly 1% of your overall mixture.  Citrus Essential Oils induce phytotoxicity which leads to serious burns, pre-mature ageing, & increases your risk of skin cancer.  Oils that commonly cause phytotoxicity include: Angelica Root, Bergamot, Cassia, Cumin, Ginger, Lemon, Lime, Mandarin, Orange, & Verbena. 

These are just a few important tidbits about Essential Oils.  For more Essential Oils, stay tuned to The Essential Life!  Essential Oils, aromatherapy & natural wellness are our passions, & we want to make sure that you are as informed as possible about your oils so you can get the most out of each drop of oil.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR - BRITTEN THOMPSON

Who is Britten? She's a reticent little beast born in the wilds of Northern Alberta to a foul-mouthed, French-Canadian father & an angry, stiff-upper-lipped mother. Britten is, almost always, wild-haired & poorly dressed. She recently left the beautiful & untamed chill of Canada for the blistering & somewhat oppressive heat of Australia. Her list of pastimes is short & includes reading, writing, petting cats, overeating & alphabetizing things. She's a fan of Windex on Facebook because who doesn't want a streak free shine? She dreams of one day writing a super-awesome novel that affords her & her partner a comfortable lifestyle, a large property, a few horses & the means with which to foster children in need...or just becoming a red panda.

When Britten isn't writing, reading, or organizing things in her home, she can be found cuddling with her boyfriend, arguing about why Rajon Rondo is the best point guard in the history of ever, browsing Gumtree for a future cat or kitten, or contemplating days gone by, the passage of time & how ridiculous it is that humans have yet to evolve enough to grow a third set of teeth.