With all the recent talk of DIY skincare and the use of "therapeutic grade" essential oils, it is important to note that while many recipes are phenomenal recipes and smell amazing there are also some risks. The recipes are everywhere! I do not want to discourage you from trying to make these type of recipes, but I do want you to use some guidelines for essential oils when making any DIY recipe.
It is important to remember that essential oils can be powerful tools in aiding our bodies in their daily processes of resting, healing, and other autonomic activities. With this in mind, any pure essential oils can do this with only a few drops when diluted. Additionally, because of how the skin and the absorption rate of natural oils work, you can enjoy the benefits of better absorption! Always remember to weigh/measure your ingredients so you know exactly how carrier oil you have.
While you can get a better absorption rate using essential oils in your skincare, putting more essential oils in your skincare recipe than recommended can actually cause substantial concerns; especially if you are using your skincare product daily. Depending on the oil, daily use over an extended period of time can cause sensitization-an allergic reaction that if continued can develop from a small rash to even an anaphylactic reaction requiring emergency care.
Consider that a while back, Tisserand mentioned on his Facebook business page in a graphic that, “The majority of people do not react allergically to undiluted oils applied to the skin, but a significant minority do. How big that minority is we don’t know exactly, but my guess is in the area of 5% of those that apply undiluted oils. It very much depends on the oil you are using…This is not about essential oils not being effective, this is about protection from a nasty reaction that you will very much regret if it ever happens to you…”
For anyone not familiar with phototoxicity, this a topical reaction that when you are outside in the sun or in overcast weather that looks like severe chemical burns on the skin after applying specific essential oils. The essential oils that cause this reaction have components called furanocoumarins. These constituents are present in most citrus oils that are cold pressed. If the citrus oils are steam distilled this component is often not present.
However, always check with your supplier to see if they can give you details on whether your essential oil contains it. Here is a short list of common essential oils that tend to create phototoxicity. Please keep in mind, there are other essential oils that may cause this reaction, so always double check before making your skincare recipe!
If you are interested in learning more about phototoxicity, read on here.
Irritating Essential Oils
There are many essential oils that are highly anti-infectious, great circulatory stimulants, and can potentially act as analgesics. However, because of their warm and spicy nature, they tend to cause a lot of skin reactions. These essential oils should be avoided in high amounts or used in very low dilutions. Below are a few common ones I see often posted in recipes.
Essential Oil Information & Resources
There is so much more information in regards to using essential oils. If you want to learn more about using essential oils safely, I encourage you to do your own research. Your skincare is only as good as your knowledge. Below are some places that have information and schools recognized for their excellence as well as a book you can look into to aid you for essential oil safety as you go. As a trained and Registered Aromatherapist (RA), I am very vocal about using any pure essential oil safely because of the risks involved with many essential oils.