Dominique Ropion

More and more people want to add a signature scent into their personal space to turn their home or bedroom into a relaxing haven. Or perhaps you've worn a scent-diffusing pendant as a piece of accessories to help bring a sense of good vibe throughout the day. With such uses, essential oils can be relaxing, invigorating and simply pleasant.

However, it’s not all about positive facets.

“Essential oils are “natural” but somehow they’re also “synthetic”. For example, you can never find a pool of lavender essential oil in a field of lavender,” says chiropractor and aromatherapist Eric Zielinski. “We are not supposed to interact with them directly as they’re super-concentrated and even used as medicine.”

Before turning on your diffuser, you must know how to handle these ingredients carefully to avoid dangerous mistakes.


Thinking essential oils are harmless

eople did get hurt using essential oils. A woman is reported to have been badly burned by her diffuser when she got too close to the fireplace. However, essential oils will not be that scary if you choose to use them in the right way. We are not afraid of kitchen knives, but still have to be careful when using them to avoid unnecessary injuries. "You could have the most useful tool but hurt yourself if you’re ignorant of the reality of what to do." Zielinski warns.

Not only can essential oils cause burns, they can also be responsible for allergic reactions or asthma, says holistic nurse Jeanne Kenney, RN, with Montefiore Health System’s University Hospital for Albert Einstein College of Medicine. They sometimes worsen your underlying health problem or interfere with certain medications like decreasing their effectiveness or causing side effects. If you have any health problems, tell your doctor before you start using essential oils, says Kenney. Don't hesitate to mention about it, just say, “By the way, I love this scent.”

She also emphasizes the consequence if you're pregnant. Experts can’t be sure about the amount of essential oils that can reach a developing fetus if the mother uses natural remedies. “If a woman is pregnant or thinks she might be pregnant, she should not use any essential oils without consulting her doctor.”


Using undiluted essential oils

People might have no awareness about the negative sides of essential oils until they put them on their skin, inhale it or do aromatherapy. So you can start using them - with some caution - once you understand there are potential risks of essential oils.

Normally, they can only use diluted essential oils. “All you need to do is lessen the potency of the oil” - Kenney says. A large number of consumers are confused about whether it’s the right way to use these scented substances but in clinical use, doctors are required to dilute them. Furthermore, essential oils are often deconcentrated with other oils, such as coconut, jojoba, almond, or even vegetable oils, which are called carrier oils.

If you want to mix it up yourself, Zielinski explains that the standard dilution is 2%, or about 12 drops of essential oil per ounce (28g) of carrier oil.

He also recommends a dose of 1% or less for direct usage on the skin.

Don't confuse dilution with diffusion, added Zielinski. When a diffuser disperses essential oils into the air as vaporized particles, oil and water don't really mix. That means the tiny essential oil particles in the air when the diffuser is running are undiluted and can still cause burns or effects on the user's skin (although, he says, injury from diffuser is rare if you use it properly).


Not cleaning up after essential oils spilled

Accidents always happen. But you can place your diffuser somewhere out of harm’s way and make sure everything is safe. A nightstand placed too close when the limbs swing; Staircase landing can easily trip you. And trust us, you don’t want undiluted oil to splash onto your skin.

Of course, you don’t want accidents but they can come for you. Therefore, prepare a plan for the case of concentrated essential oils splashing on the skin. You may not believe this, but the first thing not to use is water. “Water will make things worse”, said Zielinski. Instead, use extra carrier oil, whether it's coconut oil, jojoba oil, or even a little olive oil found in the kitchen. “It essentially dilutes the oil”, he explains, which means less burning and irritation. After applying carrier oil, you can wash it off with soap and water.


Turning on your diffuser all day

Robert Tisserand, the “icon” of essential oil research and safety, believes that we should not overuse essential oils. Instead of leaving the diffuser on for hours, he instructs users to turn off the diffuser after 30 to 60 minutes and let it rest for at least the same amount of time, before using it again. However, Zielinski finds that conservative and that. "he had diffusers running in his house"

Kenney takes a neutral stance, pointing out that diffusers often have different settings that can handle the air slowly or quickly depending on how you use them. “A diffuser can run at different intensities”, she says. Some people find that the air can get heavier for a short period of time.

In Kenny's opinion, we could experiment for an hour or so, then turn off the diffuser. “Maybe wait to turn it back on in an hour”, she said. “It depends on the space and essential oils also have different scent effects. ” You'll probably want to avoid the scent which is becoming overwhelming. Really potent scents can be overpowering and [make you feel like] you need to get out cuz you’re unable to breathe”, she adds.


Choosing sub-par products

Wondering what to look for in an essential oil? Why don’t you start by finding the right shelf in a health food store or grocery store like Whole Foods, Kenney says. You should look for organic essential oils first; "you know they don't mix other types of oil in here, because that could make these oils unsuitable for treatment or have an off scent". Next, open a few tester bottles to see which scents you really like. “Some people love florals, some like spices”, she says. Scent is mostly a matter of personal preference, as long as you choose a reputable organic brand (Kenney recommends Wyndmere).

You should look for the one that can create a fine mist to use with a diffuser. “Trust me, you don’t want to wet the area”, she says. You also want a machine that's made of high-quality materials that won't wear out, because essential oils can degrade some plastics, Zielinski adds. Some of the brands trusted by experts include Aroma2go (Gabriel diffuser), doTERRA (Petal diffuser) and Young Living (Rainstone diffuser).

If you plan to dilute the essential oil yourself, choose a carrier oil. Usually, there are tons of options displayed right next to the shelves of essential oils. Kenney says: “I encourage everyone to try a carrier oil on their skin first as they can vary in how they feel”. Choose one that matches your hobby and feeling.


Forgetting that essential oils can be fun

Safety first, yes! But that doesn't mean you can't enjoy the experience of applying and using essential oils. As long as you know this won't cause irritation, allergies or any other potential risks on your health. Kenny encourages experimentation until you find a scent that creates the atmosphere you desire. “It's almost like creating your own perfume”, she notes, “and then people start to associate that scent with you. It's really fun and can be incredibly satisfying.”

Bottles of essential oils only cost around $12 or $13 (equivalent to 276,800 - 299,777 VND), ,so experimenting with a few scents doesn't have to be too expensive. Kenney recommends making your own scent in a nebulizer: Pour 2 oz (56ml) of filtered water into a spray bottle and add 10 drops of your favorite essential oil. It is quite convenient to carry around throughout the day.