I’m heartbroken! I desperately hope that someday the message of essential oil safety will spread so far and wide that we stop seeing injuries and adverse reactions like the one below. I also wish the environment was healthier among essential oil users in the aromatherapy world, but unfortunately tensions run high. From experience I know some people will attack Robyn from both sides of the safety debate. Robyn has chosen not to hide her identity. She is brave. Trust me that is a hard decision in the environment of today—I ask that everyone play nice in the comments.
I first discovered Robyn’s story when she shared it in The Unspoken Truth About Essential Oils Facebook Group. I asked to share her story. Robyn wrote me back and said that after reading Stacey’s story in The Unspoken Truth About Essential Oils she wanted to stand with her to spread the message of safety. Robyn’s photos and story are shared here with permission.
Robyn’s Story in Her Own Words
I want to share my story in hopes it will prevent anyone else from the reaction to oils I suffered with. Also to state my opinion that more training and education needs to be taught to distributors who promote them. If someone can direct me on the best place to report it, I will. I used so many different kinds, I cannot narrow it down to a few, so I’m not sure it would be helpful.
I began using oils in November of 2016. I jumped all in and used them a lot on a daily basis. I diffused almost 24/7. I applied topically and always had peppermint, lemon, lime or grapefruit in my water. I was told since they are all natural, they cannot hurt you, they will only help with keeping me healthy “God’s way.”
In June of 2017, I developed a rash on the palms of my hands. A doctor diagnosed poison ivy and treated me for it.
In September it had spread to my arms and I was referred to a dermatologist.
Several visits, creams, steroids and diagnoses including eczema, dermatitis and several other diagnoses did not cure my issues. It eventually spread to my face and neck. For months I suffered with swelling, blisters, itching, open wounds, lethargy and lived on steroids.
At the worst, I was oozing what I was led to believe was histamine from both sides of my nose. There were long periods of time I couldn’t even leave my house. I was told by my fellow oilers that I was “detoxing” and advised to use more! I asked every doctor if it could be the oils and was repeatedly told “absolutely not.”
I went to 5 different doctors over a period of 8 months. On month 9, I saw yet another highly recommended dermatologist. She told me it was my beloved essential oils and instructed me to stop all oils immediately. I received a message from my upline, several levels up. This woman barely knows me or my situation and yet she had this advice to give, “Hey girl I would encourage you big time to research on my [brand XYZ]* page Dr. [brand XYZ expert]. Your “allergic reactions” are a different issue I promise!!!”
I was advised to stop using them by the dermatologist just over 2 months ago. I stopped using the oils and my skin is healing. Apparently I was inundating my system with more than my body could handle.
The education I have gained has only reinforced my confidence that these oils truly have power, we just need to be careful.
I have taken the time to heal, and I am doing well. I’m hoping someone with knowledge will give an opinion as to whether they think I will ever be able to at least diffuse again. I will never have the courage to apply topically, or use internally again. In retrospect, I see now that the more I used, the more money went into someone else’s pocket. The more I returned to the doctors, the more money went into their pockets. Sad, but true.
I was advised to report my adverse reaction after sharing my story on The Unspoken Truth About Essential Oils Facebook page. I was typing the information required for my report for adverse reactions to essential oils. I have a wooden box my oils are stored in. I had not opened the box in several weeks. I opened the box to provide the names of the oils I had been using as requested on the form. My box holds approximately 68 oils, so it was open for several minutes. I did not open any of the oil bottles. My bottles have labels on the top, so I didn’t have to bring each one out. I listed all of the oils I had been using and closed the box. Within 1 hour, my armpit closest to the box started itching and a rash appeared. Later that night an old C Section scar started to itch, an area that had previously been unaffected. I took an Allegra allergy pill and avoided all fragrance and/or chemical based product for the remainder of the day.
I know I said it already, but this story just breaks my heart. It is all too common of a story. In an effort to reach as many people as possible Stacey Haluka and I published, The Unspoken Truth About Essential Oils. The book tells Stacey’s story, which is amazingly similar to Robyn’s story. Stacey was also told that she was just detoxifying and to keep using the oils. The second portion of The Unspoken Truth About Essential Oils is dedicated to explaining what happened, how to avoid it and safe usage tips of essential oils with input from experts like Robert Tisserand, Martin Watt, Dr. Robert Pappas and myself as well as quotes from multiple experts.
What struck me about Robyn’s story is that so many people who haven’t wanted to hear the message of safety have said it was because they have used oils for weeks, months, years without impact. Robyn had absolutely no perceivable negative impact happening for months, but unseen, unfelt and unrecognized her body was building up for an epic adverse reaction. You never know the day or the time when suddenly your body could do the same. Bad advice only fueled the problem.
The problem of over use of essential oils is an epidemic. Those who have been injured are often bullied into silence, told that they are way off base, threatened to lose their friends in the business and/or the businesses they have built, and overall harassed. A chorus of doctors, essential oil experts, and injured people cannot all be wrong. It is time for people to open their minds to the possibility that the incredibly potent and powerful essential oils that we all love can also injure when not used properly.
In the Foreword of The Unspoken Truth About Essential Oils, Dr. Robert Pappas wrote,
Keep an open mind and continue reading if what is shared between these pages contradicts what you have always been taught. If your upline or company that you represent frowns on your reading this book—that’s the most obvious sign that you should keep reading. People with nothing to fear will never try to censor information. One can only make informed decisions when information has been gathered from diverse sources.
The same is true of Robyn’s story. This is her story. She should not be censored. She should not be attacked by either side. We absolutely must start learning from the history of essential oil adverse reactions like the ones Stacey and Robyn experienced, or tomorrow it could become someone else’s tragic story. I love essential oils. They are powerful tools when used correctly.
*all brand names have been removed because this isn’t about brands, the issue is unsafe teaching