Recently I received frantic emails from a mom at 3 a.m. and I didn’t see her emails for hours. She had followed the advice of a MLM sales rep to put undiluted essential oils on her toddler. Her child was screaming in pain for hours. I wasn’t awake at 3 a.m. so she searched the internet for answers. She found advice from sales reps saying that any rash was simply a sign of detoxifying. In the morning she took her child to the doctor and he had a chemical burn. She felt terrible. I am writing this blog post in hopes of making it possible for a frantic mom to find answers on the internet at any hour.
When an injury occurs from the use of essential oils:
- If an essential oil causes dermal irritation, apply a carrier oil (such as vegetable, coconut, olive oil, etc.) to the area affected to dilute it. Repeat as needed. If you do not feel relief seek medical attention.
- If a child appears to consumed an essential oil, contact the nearest poison control unit, and seek immediate medical attention. Keep the bottle for identification for emergency workers. If an adult is experiencing any systems (pain, dizziness, burning, vomiting, irregular heartbeat, elevated blood pressure, severe headache or migraine, reddening/swelling/pain/blistering of the mouth, throat or esophagus, respiratory distress, or other alarming adverse reaction) seek medical attention.
- If an essential oil gets into your eye, according to Robert Tisserand, the standard treatment is copious irrigation with saline solution for 1-2 hours. Contact lenses should not be removed initially (Peate 2007). With essential oils, fatty oil has been suggested as an appropriate first aid treatment though the advantage of saline is that the eyes can be continually flushed, and this is less easy with fatty oil. I would add that you should seek medical attention if you do not have significant relief as an ocular chemical burn is serious.
After the crisis is over report the injury:
- Report any essential oil injury to the Atlantic Institute of Aromatherapy.
- Report the injury to the FDA you can use several resources: Your Guide To Reporting Problems To The FDA or Report Unlawful Sales of Medical Products On The Internet or Consumer Complaint Coordinators – Report A Problem or Medwatch Online Voluntary Reporting Form.
- Report the claim to FTC also has a process to FILE A COMPLAINT WITH THE FTC
- Report the injury doTERRA has a process to report compliance issues to the company via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am not aware of a reporting system for Young Living (please let me know in the comments if you know of a system) at this time.
The new article Essential Oil Safety: New Report Shows Marketing Companies, Sales Reps Leading Cause of EO Injuries by investigative journalist Lee Tea should be an eye opener. The point I was trying to make in my article Warnings dōTERRA & Young Living Won’t Tell You is that you should follow basic safety precautions when using essential oils, no matter what someone selling essential oils in a MLM tells you to do. Lee Tea’s article could have been titled dōTERRA and Young Living Sales Reps Leading Cause of EO Injuries, because as it shows in her report 85% of reported cases are from the use of Young Living or doTerra essential oils.
I’d like to add the point that the majority of injuries are not reported AT ALL so this is only a tiny tip of the iceberg. I have received countless of emails from people telling me about their injuries from essential oils. NONE of them had reported their injuries. Many of them had called their upline and were told that they were simply detoxifying. You are not detoxifying! That burning sensation, rash, or blisters are either a chemical burn, allergic reaction or your skin screaming stop to you. More about that myth can be read here.
If you are a dōTERRA or Young Living representative please take a deep breath, read all the links, read the comments already asked and answered in the blog Warnings dōTERRA & Young Living Won’t Tell You and take a moment to consider why you are so against using safety measures when using essential oils before you attack me in comments here.
If anyone has further questions for me please read Aromatherapy FAQ.
In the original blog post Warnings dōTERRA & Young Living Won’t Tell You I shared My Top 12 Aromatherapy Safety Rules from my books The Art, Science & Business of Aromatherapy and the abridged edition The Art & Science of Aromatherapy.
The bare basics of aromatherapy safety are the first three safety rules. I am re-sharing them here:
Never consume essential oils. Even if you read a book by an aromatherapist from a country that uses essential oils internally, they should never be consumed. The practice of consuming essential oils is dangerous and was designed to be done under the care of an aromatherapist trained in that form of therapy.
Always dilute your essential oils before applying them to the skin. There are a very small handful of exceptions to this rule including lavender and tea tree which can be occasionally applied neat, or directly, to the skin. In different aromatherapy books there may be recommendations of essential oils over 3% in massage oils but it simply isn’t necessary. Less is more in the world of essential oils. There is no need to overdose and it is always better to be safe than sorry.
Essential oils are incredibly potent and need to be dispersed into a carrier before applying them to the skin. You wouldn’t wrap your body in 30 lbs. of plant material so don’t apply that much or more directly onto your skin.
Typically, essential oils are diluted into products at 1 to 3% – sometimes less and sometimes more, but that is the general rule of thumb. Some essential oils have an intense aroma and price tag combination that allows for their use as low as 0.1% Take jasmine, blue chamomile and neroli for example.
Keep all essential oils out of the reach of children; they are notorious for putting everything in their mouths. Compared to adults, essential oils should be used in half the dosage rate for children for topical application. They are not miniature adults, and their bodies were not designed to process the same ratio of essential oils on their skin. I have safely used aromatherapy on all three of my children since 1998.
© 2011, Kayla Fioravanti, The Art, Science & Business of Aromatherapy