aring for your essential oils will ensure you get the longest life and the best result from usage.
I have listed below some important tips to help you with looking after, storing and using your oils safely and effectively.
Firstly here are a few important tips you should follow:
- Keep oils tightly closed and out of reach of children;
- Always read and follow all label warnings and cautions;
- Always use a vegetable or carrier oil when applying essential oils directly to the skin;
- If essential oils are splashed onto skin and irritation results, apply carrier oil to the area to dilute;
- Keep essential oils away from the eyes and mucous membranes. If an essential oil gets into the eyes, immediately flush with a large quantity of milk, and seek medical advice;
- Never ingest essential oils. If essential oil is ingested rinse mouth out with milk, and then drink a large glass of milk. Seek medical advice immediately.
Storage and Essential Oil Life
Because essential oils do not contain fatty acids they are not susceptible to rancidity like vegetable oils. So if stored and cared for correctly essential oils can last a long time.
The only exception to this rule are citrus essential oils. These are less stable and should be kept for no longer than a year after opening.
When not using your essential oils you should keep them in dark glass bottles that are tightly sealed. Care should be taken to keeping them away from heat and direct sunlight, as this will degenerate the oils.
Testing Oils Before Using on Your Skin
If you are using the oils yourself, i.e. not under the guidance of a professional aromatherapist, it is a good idea to skin test oils before using them. To do this, dilute a small amount and apply to the skin on your inner arm. If redness, burning, itching or any irritation occurs then stop using the oil immediately.
For someone who tends to be highly allergic I suggest you follow a different procedure, as follows:
Rub a drop of your chosen carrier oil onto the upper chest. Leave it for 12 hours and check for irritation or redness.
If the skin has remained clear, then mix 1 drop of your chosen essential oil with 15 drops of the same carrier oil you applied 12 hours earlier, then again rub into the upper chest.
If no skin reaction occurs after 12 hours, the you are probably safe to use both the carrier and essential oils.
Remember though, always mix the essential oil with a carrier oil before applying to your skin.
As a general guideline, the dilution rate for essential oils is 2% to 3%. For example, if you use 2-3 drops of essential oil you should dilute it by adding about a teaspoon of carrier oil. This should be cut in half for children and the elderly.