How To Use Essentials Oils Safely

Posted by Daniela Pelonara on


Essential oils can be used in three different ways:

SKIN APPLICATION (Essential oils diluted with Carrier oils or creams or gel, Carrier oils applied undiluted)

Our skin is generally permeable, and in areas, with sweat glands and hair follicles, the absorption rate is higher (like feet, palms, and scalp). Essential and plant oils can be applied with massage, stimulating the circulation; with a hot or cold compress, or diluted in water (bath – warm water will also facilitate indirect inhalation of the oils dispersed in water). With high quality essential and carrier oils, it generally takes 20 to 30 minutes (up to 60 minutes) for the active organic chemicals to permeate the skin and reach the bloodstream. The absorption rate of essential oils is approximately 50%. For delicate areas where the skin is thin like the face and neck, products will be blended with a lower concentration of essential oils.

INHALATION AND DIFFUSION (only for Essential oils)

Inhaling essential oils is as powerful as applying them topically – however, the absorption time is only a few seconds. The active chemicals of the essential oils will start working immediately. We inhale through the nose, which is directly linked to the limbic system of the brain (emotional brain). Gassy airborne molecules interact with the olfactory system receptors and, almost immediately, the brain. Molecules inhaled through the nose are also carried to the lungs and interact with the respiratory system as well. The absorption rate of essential oils is approximately 40-50%. The limbic system regulates the heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, memory, stress, and balances hormones. When a smell triggers a memory, the heart rate changes, the breathing adjusts, the levels of stress change causing an ‘emotion’. Inhalation is an extraordinary way to balance our emotional and most importantly psychological well-being.

Caution must be observed if suffering from asthma and children.

ORAL INTAKE (applicable only under professional supervision for both Essential and Carrier oils)

Essential and plant oils can be ingested but this is NOT recommended for essential oils. Some essential oils can be toxic to the liver or kidneys and their chemical composition can be harmfully altered during gastric processing. The absorption rate of essential oils is close to 100%.

If you planning to take essential oils orally you should seek the advice of a qualified medical practitioner.



  1. Always dilute essential oils when applied topically with a carrier oil, full-fat milk, honey, or salt (please refer to the dilution guideline [link]. In some cases, lavender and tea tree can be applied undiluted but always under the supervision of a professional aromatherapist.
  2. Essential oils should not be taken internally. They should only be taken internally after receiving a detailed consultation and prescription from a professional aromatherapist.
  3. Caution for some users. Care should be taken when prescribing essential oils to children from birth to six years, pregnant women, and those over 60 years old who suffer from medical conditions such as epilepsy or high or low blood pressure. Check the safety profile of each essential oil before use.
  4. If taking medication, always consult your doctor or a professional aromatherapist before taking any essential oil.
  5. Risk of sensitization during the first topical application. When applying blends topically for the first time, very rarely some people may experience sensitization, which is a reaction of the immune system to that specific oil. If such a reaction occurs please stop using the product immediately. It is highly recommended to do a PATCH TEST (link to patch test info below).
  6. Safe dilutionLess is more. High-quality essential oils are very pure and their therapeutic benefits can be achieved by using a small quantity. Please refer to the dilution chart for details and do not exceed the dosage indicated.
  7. Keep oils away from children and animals. If ingested undiluted in high doses, essential oils can be harmful, especially for young children. In case of accidental ingestion, do not induce vomit or give any water or milk and see a doctor as soon as possible.
  8. Avoid contact with eyes and mucosae. In case of an accident use only warm water to rinse and if necessary see a doctor.
  9. Rotate essential oils every 3 months and try to use a variety of oils to avoid any risk of sensitization or irritation.
  10. Essential oils are flammable. Keep them out of the way of fire hazards.


Some essential oils applied in very low dilutions are perfectly safe and wonderfully effective during pregnancy and while breastfeeding. Some plant oils are great emollients that delicately protect the skin.


Frankincense*, Geranium, Grapefruit, Lavender French (mild Lavender from New Zealand is preferred as low in allergens)*, Lemon, Mandarin, Neroli, Orange, Roman Chamomile, Eucalyptus smithii or globulos*, Petitgrain, Rose otto*, Sandalwood, Ylang Ylang, Bergamot, Myrtle, Spearmint, Ginger. Other essential oils can be used only under the supervision of a qualified Aromatherapist.

* avoid during the first trimester of pregnancy


For babies (older than 3 months) and toddlers, a low dilution (0.5% to 1%) can be applied using only:

Roman chamomile, Lavender NZ type, Rose, Mandarin, Orange, Tangerine, Myrtle, Eucalyptus smithii, Frankincense

Other oils can be used from 18 months onwards in very small dilutions like Sweet Marjoram. Please refer to each product's precautions section for further details.


Sweet almond is great for preventing stretch marks, and Tamanu is a true nature’s gift to protect your breasts while breastfeeding and to help to heal surgery scars. Calendula infused oil is delicately soothing for the little ones and very calming.


Many people suffering from cancer turn to Aromatherapy looking for a support both physically and emotionally. Aromatherapy can be beneficial when managing symptoms, controlling side effects of treatment and sustaining emotional balance in cancer patients. However, there is not enough research and clinical trials to support any claim that some essential oils can cure cancer.

Safe application of plant oils is particularly important for cancer patients, as some drugs (chemotherapy) and treatments (radiation) can interact negatively with some of their components. Please read carefully our precautions section under each product page and note some important recommendations:

  • If suffering from skin cancer and melanoma do not apply essential oil and massage near the affected areas at all.
  • In general, when suffering from any cancer, it is best to receive very light pressure massage and avoid the lymph glands (to avoid spreading malignant cells).
  • If undergoing chemotherapy, if is very important to do so under the supervision of a professional Aromatherapist, and only after agreeing with the oncologist on the choice of plant oils.
  • Professional Aromatherapy massage is perfectly safe if the following recommendations are followed. Use only carrier oils or use professionally selected essential oils in very low dilutions (0.5%)
  • Massage is advisable up to 2 days before and 7 days following the next treatment (chemotherapy and radiations).
  • Inhaling essential oils is acceptable, but it is advisable to choose less aggressive oils, (for instance to counteract nausea, use Spearmint rather than Peppermint) and use in very low quantities. Professional advice is highly recommended.
  • Some ‘stimulant’ or ‘estrogen-like’ oils should be carefully avoided like Fennel, Clary Sage, Clove, Cinnamon and all citrus oils (Bergamot, Orange, Lemon, Lime, Mandarin, Grapefruit) are not indicated especially when under radiation therapy.


We recommend doing a patch test before using essential oils for the first time on the skin if:

  • you have or suspect to have sensitive skin
  • you have been recently ill
  • you are recovering from surgery

Our immune system in rare cases may react quite aggressively up to 48 hours after the application to highly active substances; patch testing essential oils is a way to use them effectively and safely.

Carrier oils have fewer contraindications than essential oilshowever, as some carrier oils are made from the nuts of the plantS (like Sweet Almond), please read carefully the labels of each product if you have a known nut allergy.


Patch testing is very simple. Mix 5 ml of carrier oil (avoid nutty oils if you have a known allergy) and 2-3 drops of the essential oil. Apply a small amount to the inside of your wrists or forearm and wait for at least 20 minutes (for an accurate result, it is best to wait for 2 hours).

If you develop redness, itchiness, irritation, and/or swelling you need to separate the carrier oil and test it unblended with the essential oil.


  • wash the skin immediately with tepid water; a very mild soap can be used
  • do not cover the area with clothes as the essential oil needs to evaporate naturally once it has started to penetrate the skin
  • in case of rash seek medical advice
  • for relief, you can apply a small amount of jojoba oil or plain aqueous cream.


Essential oils are living plant material and they do have a lifespan. Over time they oxidize and gradually they lose their therapeutic qualities. The shelf life depends first and foremost on the chemical stability of the oils, and therefore a higher quality product combined with correct storage will prolong the normal process of deterioration. Generally speaking, essential oils, if properly handled and stored, have a lifespan of at least two years from the date of distillation.

Cold-pressed oils have unsaturated fatty acids and they oxidize too. This process usually takes approximately a year. Generally speaking, carrier, oils will go rancid in one to two years. Massage blends should ideally be used within three months.

To extend the life of essential oils and cold-pressed oils, proper storage and handling are very important. Here are a few useful tips:

  • Store essential oils in dark glass bottles (avoid plastic and metal as this will trigger a chemical reaction).
  • To minimize the risk of oxidation, it is best to use small containers and re-bottle in smaller containers if possible.
  • Close the lid tightly after each use.
  • Keep the oils away from direct sunlight.
  • Ideal storage temperature will be between 5 and 24 degrees (during the hot months it best to keep the oils in the fridge).
  • Purchase small amounts frequently.


Botanical products such as essential oils and carrier oils have been used for centuries to support and enhance health and well-being.

The details provided here are for information purposes only.

The use of botanical products is not recommended as the exclusive cure of any medical condition or disease and should not substitute any medication without consulting your doctor.


Always read and follow the safety information and safe dosage chart provided for each product. Do not take any oils internally without consulting a qualified aromatherapy practitioner. Do not apply undiluted essential oils, absolutes, extracts, tinctures, or other concentrated essences onto the skin. A skin patch test should be conducted prior to using an oil or a cream for the first time. There is a slight chance that some oils applied to the skin may trigger a reaction; always discontinue use immediately if any sign of irritation occurs. Do not exceed the recommended doses. If you are pregnant, epileptic, have liver damage, cancer, diabetes, high or low blood pressure, have had recent surgery or have any other medical condition, or you are taking homeopathic remedies or long-term medications, use oils only under the proper guidance of a qualified aromatherapy practitioner. Use extreme caution when using oils with children, babies, pregnant women, and elderly people and give them only the gentlest oils at extremely low doses always under the supervision of a qualified Aromatherapist. Keep Essential Oils out of reach of children. The daily use of the same essential oil, synergy, or blend should not exceed the duration of 3 months; it is recommended to alternate it with other oils with similar therapeutic properties for the same length of time.

If ingested do not induce vomiting; you may drink milk but please contact your healthcare specialist. Avoid contact with eyes; in case of an accident please flush with abundant water.

Native Essentials is committed to selling only the safest, purest, highest quality botanical products. We guarantee the quality of our products provided they are used within the expiry date indicated on the packaging and the product has been properly stored in a dark, cool place.

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