In order to help users to use essential oils correctly and to preserve the integrity and maximum effectiveness of essential oils, this helpful safety guide is created. This guide includes basics of essential oil use, how to deal with skin allergies and other important information.
Q: I'm new to essential oils. How do I use them?
A: Each bottle of PHATOIL essential oil is labeled with directions for how to use it. Please consult the product label for appropriate usage directions.
Q: I see the term “carrier oil” used in several places. What is a carrier oil, what does it do, and why should I use it?
A: A carrier oil is a vegetable oil—such as coconut oil, olive oil, or grapeseed oil—that can be used to dilute essential oils.
Carrier oils ensure that essential oils applied topically are comfortable to the skin. Dilution with a carrier oil does not dilute the effect of the essential oil. In fact, it prevents waste due to excessive application.
Vegetable shortening, butter, margarine, or petroleum derivatives (such as mineral oil, baby oil, and petroleum jelly) should never be used as carrier oils.
Q: What is a “hot oil”?
A: “Hot oils” are oils that can cause a hot or warming sensation when applied to the skin. Examples of hot oils include Cinnamon, Clove, Lemongrass, Thyme. For some people, Peppermint’s cooling sensation can be too intense.
PHATOIL recommends using a patch test procedure prior to first use. To perform a patch test, apply 1–2 drops of essential oil to a patch of skin such as the forearm. Observe that area of skin over the course of 1–2 hours for any noticeable reaction; however, reactions occur usually within 5–10 minutes. If you experience a hot or burning sensation or develop a rash, add carrier oil to the affected area as often as needed.
Q: What if I experience skin discomfort or irritation?
A: If discomfort or irritation occurs, stop using the essential oil and apply carrier oil to the affected area. If a rash occurs, this may be a sign of detoxification. Drink adequate water to encourage the release and removal of toxins in your body. Toxins present in petrochemical-based soaps and skin care products, detergents, and perfumes may trigger some of the detoxification reactions. Consider discontinuing these agents if a reaction occurs. Before using the essential oil again, perform a patch test and dilute with a carrier oil as needed.
Be aware that some documents suggest diluting the oil with water, but water actually drives oil into the skin and eyes. Never use water in an attempt to flush the oil off of the skin, as this may increase discomfort. If essential oil gets in your eye, flush with carrier oil as quickly as possible to alleviate any discomfort. If eye discomfort does not subside within 5 minutes, seek medical attention.
Q: Can essential oils be applied to sensitive areas?
A: Avoid contacting sensitive areas such as eyes, ears, genitals, and mucous membranes with essential oils. If you choose to use the oil in any sensitive area, dilute 1 drop of the essential oil with 5–10 drops of carrier oil.
Q: How often can essential oils be applied? How much do I use?
A: Follow the proper usage instructions printed on each essential oil label. Essential oils are very powerful, so start low and go slow. Excessive use of essential oils may increase the risk for adverse reactions. In most cases, 1–2 drops are adequate, and using more may waste product. Depending on the essential oil, you can gradually build up to 3–4 uses per day, if desired.
Q: Can essential oils be used during pregnancy or while nursing?
A: As with any medical condition, we strongly recommended that prior to using essential oils, you seek the advice and recommendation of a competent, trained health care advisor who is experienced in essential oil usage. Some people choose to avoid overuse and excessive use of Clary Sage (Salvia sclarea), Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare), and Wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens), as well as the blends and supplements that contain these oils.
Q: Can essential oils be used on children?
A: Some essential oils are appropriate for use on children but should be diluted with a carrier oil prior to use.You can dilute 1–2 drops of essential oil such as citrus essential oil and lavender essential oil with a carrier oil and apply to the bottoms of the feet.The skin of children is more sensitive than adult, so please dilute the essential oils in a lower dilution proportion before applying on the skin.
Q: How does exposure to sun affect essential oil use?
A: Some essential oils, especially citrus oils, contain natural molecules that react with sunlight (UV light) and cause a sensitivity reaction. Please avoid sun/UV light for 12–48 hours after applying these essential oils. Always use caution when starting to use a new oil. To reduce the risk of sensitivity, use patch testing, dilute, and apply the oil to skin that will not be exposed to sun/UV light.
Q: What about the use of essential oils if I have a medical condition? Can essential oils interact with prescription medications?
A: If you have a disease or medical condition or are using a prescription medication, it is recommended that prior to using an essential oil, you consult with a health care advisor who has experience with essential oils. Seek the advice of the prescribing physician and a pharmacist about potential interactions between any medication and essential oils.