An Uncomplicated Life Blog: Essential Oil Safety

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Essential Oil Safety

Essential Oils aren't safe simply because they're all natural - they're medicine and should be treated as such!


I was chatting with a friend about blogging and essential oils. We were talking about another blogger who has crushed it with her blog and selling oils - she's created an e course and many e books and a whole email list and freebies to get people to sign up, blah blah blah. It's a brilliant business model and I'm sure she makes six figures. I also happened to notice there was a Facebook group on essential oil safety she was admin'ing. I'm always interested in learning more about oils, so I signed right up to be included in that group. And y'all. I have to say. These people were completely, utterly insane. They took essential oil safety to the next level. Like, to the moon next level. Laugh out loud, take a screen shot and send it to your friends to laugh out loud next level.

Essential oils are derived from plants and are all natural, but that doesn't mean all of them are safe to use!

I don't mean to laugh at essential oil safety. It's important to know what you're diffusing, ingesting and/or putting on your body! There could be drug interactions. Not all oils are safe for kids. Just because it's "natural" (ps - that word doesn't mean anything anymore) doesn't mean there are no consequences for using it!

For example, we know that citrus oils shouldn't be used topically if you're going in the sun. My friend Lindsay shared her experience with just cutting a lime and the sun. {Spoiler alert - her husband got seriously sunburned!} And that was just the juice, not the concentrated oil. If you grew up in the 90's, do you remember putting lemon in your hair to bleach it? Me too. Use care when using citrus oils!

That's just one example. There are many others using all the various essential oils.

Let's go back to this Facebook group though. So I joined and started to see their threads pop up in my feed. One of the first threads I see is about thieves essential oil, one of my all time favorites. I diffuse it regularly in the playroom and I myself ingest it. It's worked wonders for myself and my children to help keep us healthy! Imagine my shock when I saw a woman complain that her babysitter diffuses it around her kids, and that she asked her sitter to stop because it's so "dangerous" to diffuse around children. What the heck, I thought?!

I read the thread in it's entirety. Y'all, you'd have thought this stuff was poison! People had unkind things to say about that poor babysitter and one of the group admins laid out how every single component of the oil was dangerous for a child under 10. I sat back and thought, "Ok, either I'm completely clueless and I've been endangering my kids unintentionally, or there's something up with this group..." I reached out to my oil gurus and then started my own research immediately.

But you know when you just get a gut feeling that you're dealing with crazies? 

Yes! There are some components in thieves essential oil that *could* be dangerous to a child if not used properly. For topical application, it always needs to be diluted and it's recommended to only be applied on the feet (because there's thicker skin on the feet). Also, most sources don't recommend topical application until 2 years of age. I didn't apply it to Henry's feet until about 22 months, so phew! Still good there. Now, diffusing: *some* children might experience slowed respiratory function from the eucalyptus and rosemary oils in the blend. However, if it's diffuesed properly (just a few drops for all the water in the diffuser) and not aimed directly at the child, it shouldn't be a problem. More importantly, if you've already diffused it around your children and there were no issues, then there are no issues. You're in the clear!

It's kinda like how some kids are allergic to amoxicillin and others aren't. Once you've given the antibiotic and have not had a reaction, you know you're good to go with that drug. Essential oils are very much the same way: If you've done your research and know what side effects to look for and don't experience any, you're clear and free to use that oil without worry.

So, that stupid "essential oils and safety" Facebook group: You know how that idiot Food Babe (I'd link her site but I blocked her because she's THAT stupid) says that every chemical is bad for you (nevermiding that we as people are made up of atoms and chemical compounds...)? And David Avocado Wolfe probably thinks cancer can be cured with coconut oil and time spent in nature? Well this group deems all oil to be unsafe if at any time in the history of ever there was a negative reaction in one person.

Which is insanity. We're all different people. We're all going to react to different essential oils differently. They said fennel oil was absolutely not safe to increase milk supply in breastfeeding moms when fennel is used in mother's milk tea and it's in organic, homeopathic gripe water for infants (helps calm their tummies).  But it's "not safe" for breastfeeding? C'mon. What science is being used there?!

Here's the bottom line: There isn't a blanket statement that says one oil is or is not safe for your use, or for your kids use or for whatever you may need it for. Just like a doctor would never say, "Yes, hormonal birth control pills are safe for all to use whenever!" because that doesn't take into account what other medications you may be on, your lifestyle (smokers and the pill, not a good combo, btw) or your birth control needs. You have to be your own advocate and take your own situation into account when deciding what oils to use.

I'm really glad I stumbled across this group though. It reminded me that I need to do my own research from a number of sources before I go applying essential oils anywhere. One source isn't good enough either - get as much comprehensive information as you can. And if a certain source is always for or against something (and rather passionate about it), probably best to avoid that as a legitimate source of information. Passionate claims are a key indicator of biased info, whether it's for or against something! Basically, practice common sense when thinking about essential oil safety.


  1. I mean it's totally the old expression everything in moderation right? If you overdo anything you most likely will have a bad reaction to it. Mommy groups sound vicious. I would never want to be that babysitter on that receiving end!

  2. People are ridiculous and will do whatever it takes to scare people away from essential oils. It's probably the big pharmaceutical companies that put those comments out there. They'd hate for people to start using natural alternatives instead of going to medicine first. I take all of that with a grain of salt. And P.S. I know many moms that use lavender essential oil with little babies (especially for diaper rash) and it's 100% safe.

  3. I'm still chuckling about all of those stories you told me. I love when you said the thing about knowing you're dealing with crazies... YES!

  4. *googles Food Babe* hahahaha. I think not overdoing one thing is best, much like what Amanda shared above. Honestly, I've been taking your advice and some other bloggers with these essential oils and found that they are a lot more calming and subtle for my skin and allergies. You won't believe the amount of rosacea, itchy eyes, runny nose I get from just everyday life in the city. EOs have done the trick-even got a diffuser thanks to yours and tiffany's input!

  5. Oh my gosh I can't believe you didn't tell me about this group! Sounds like a bunch of lunatics. I never understand people like that and never will. We love our EOs and use them daily. And I apply Thieves topically to A, even on her spine (gasp!).

  6. hahahaha i love when people say shit about chemicals when hey.. look what we are.. or when they say they don't want to eat things that they can't pronounce. i can't pronounce a lot of shit, doesn't mean it's bad.
    i honestly had no idea that essential oils could be dangerous (clearly clueless about everything essential oil related) so thank you for sharing. sucks about the group spreading incorrect information though.

  7. It is absolutely MIND BOGGLING how people can just blow things out of proportion. Now, if they applied the same logic to their daily lives with the same statistics they probably wouldn't leave the house. Nor would they EVER drive a car! Alarmist culture has made us all into fearful people. I am always happy to hear from you and Tiffany--you are my go to oilers! Are you referencing Mama Natural? Or have you heard about her's? Yes, I am sure well into the six figures!

  8. Works with heavy oils like citrus and others...which makes it great for bug repellant!