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Essential oil Safety

While essential oils are easy to use they are also easy to use incorrectly.

Please read this safety information before you start mixing and blending to ensure you can avoid causing skin irritations or making some problems worse.

Christine Courtney*
Obus School of Healing Therapies

If a person has been seriously ill or unwell for a long time, consult a Professional Aromatherapist on the best ways to use essential oils and get advice on your choice of oils. They will be able to guide your use or if appropriate advise against using Aromatherapy in this case. But remember essential oils can be used in a variety of cases, its just about knowing what oils to use and how to use them.

For a list of qualified Aromatherapists in your area visit our find a therapist page

Pregnancy and breastfeeding
Aromatherapy can be used to support a healthy pregnancy and is wonderful for mother and baby. There are however some essential oils which should not be used during pregnancy or breastfeeding. It is important to keep the percentage dilution to a maximum of 1% or 1.5% at these times.

Of the essential oils sold by Obus Limited the following should not be used in pregnancy and any Obus blends containing these oils should also not be used.
  • Wintergreen
  • Sage
  • Hyssop
  • Myrrh
  • Carrot Seed
  • Sweet Fennel

If you have had a history of miscarriage or if you are having problems on your current pregnancy consult a Professional Aromatherapist before using essential oils.

For people suspected of being vulnerable to epileptic seizures Aromatherapy can be helpful in dealing with the stress, but of the essential oils sold by Obus Limited the following essential oils should not be used and any Obus blends containing these oils should also not be used.
  • Rosemary ct camphor
  • Sweet Fennel
  • Hyssop
  • Camphor
  • Lavendin
  • Sage
  • Peppermint
High Blood Pressure
People with high blood pressure can benefit greatly from an aromatherapy massage but should not use highly stimulating essential oils such as
  • Rosemary
  • Hyssop
Neat Oils
Never use essential oils neat on the skin. They should always be diluted in a vegetable oil before application. See our “how to use essential oils” page.

Children over 2 years of age
Aromatherapy is excellent for young children. It can be used to help them sleep, ward off colds and flu and generally benefit their well-being. For children the range of essential oils used on their body or in their bath is restricted. For safety I would limit it to the following essential oils.
  • Lavender
  • Roman Chamomile
  • Mandarin
  • Tea Tree
  • Niaouli
  • Lavandin
The quantities used on children are small as they have less blood volume then adults and their skin is more sensitive. The percentage dilution should be kept to 1% - that is 10 drops of essential oils in 50ml of vegetable oils.

A bath to help with colds and flu for children over 2 years of age.
  • 3 drops Lavandin
  • 2 drops Niaouli or Tea Tree
Mixed with 10 ml of vegetable oil such as grape seed oil or olive oil.
  • Rub into their back and chest then keep the rest for the next bath. But do use it up within 1-2 weeks of blending it.
  • Watch them carefully as the bath is now slippy.
  • Let them play in the water for 10 minutes
  • This will help the body fight off the effects of a cold and flu
Note if symptoms persist visit your doctor or health care practitioner.
For infants and babies
It is safest to use hydrosols in bath water for children under 2 years of age, as there is less chance of using too much or causing skin reactions.
DO NOT use essential oils on children under 3 months as their skin is not fully formed and it requires professional attention.

A professional Aromatherapist may be able to help you if your child or baby has skin problems. For a list of Obus trained professional aromatherapists visit our find a therapist page.

Elderly people

For elderly or frail people the range of essential oils is limited. This is because their skin can become crepe and frail and also their blood volume can be reduced.

Keep the percentage dilution to 1% - that is 10 drops of essential oils in 50mls of vegetable oil.

A comforting hand massage of an elderly person is:
I suggest using cream instead of vegetable oil as it is important that their hands are not left slippy so later a cup of tea will not slip from their grip. A nice blend to use is

10ml of unscented lotion to which is added 10 drops of lavender
Anti-coagulant drugs (blood thinners)
If you are taking anti-coagulant drugs please contact a OBUS Limited and we can advise you which essential oils to avoid and which can be beneficial to your condition.

Citrus oils
As a general rule some citrus essential oils can be photosensitising and should not be used before exposure to sunlight or sunbeds.

The length of time between use and exposure to sunlight can range from 2 hours to 24 hours. So unless you know what oils to use avoid using citrus essential oils prior to exposure to sunlight or sun beds.

Eyes and mucus membranes
Do not use essential oils in or around the eyes or in the mucus membranes of the body such as the genitals and nose.

Allergies and Asthma
People who have allergies to perfumes or who have asthma should introduce aromatherapy into their lives slowly and with the assistance of a professional Aromatherapist as the component in perfume, which causes the allergic reaction, may also be in an essential oil.

Before using essential oils on animals consult with a professionally trained Aromatherapist. Remember once you apply an essential oil to the animals coat the animal can not get away from the smell. So you need to know how to introduce the essential oils to them correctly.

  • Essential oils should never used neat on the skin
  • Essential oils should never be taken internally
  • Essential oils should be stored out of reach of children and pets
  • Essential oils are highly inflammable and should be kept away from naked flame and should be stored correctly.

*T/A Obus Limited