Friday, July 16, 2010

A note on essential oils

As I've mentioned, I'm not an expert on essential oils - I've done some reading, but I'm not what you'd call knowledgeable on the topic - so I recommend whenever you're using essential oils, please read up on said oil before using it. A lot of people start off by using essential oils as we would fragrance oils at something like 1% or more in our creations, not realizing or thinking they could be quite potent at that percentage.

Mich always reminds us to check the safety of the essential oil before using it on pregnant or nursing women or on children, and I think this is very good advice.

Also, check for photo-sensitivity of the essential oil. A lot of the citrus based oils can make you more photo-sensitive, which can lead to sun burns! Although I love key lime essential oil, I won't use it in something like a body lotion, just in case the user might end up in the summer sun! So before you use orange, tangerine, bergamot, lime or key lime, grapefruit, or other citrus essential oils, check up on the safety regulations of said oil!

And consider where the user of your product might end up using your product and stay within the recommended amounts! A few examples for you...

I once had the brilliant idea for a Vicks like bath bomb - think about that for a moment...menthol, eucalyptus, and camphor in your bath water near tender mucous membranes. (Not one of my more brilliant ideas - I blame the NyQuiladas!)

This same blend was responsible for a tingling bum in a foot lotion - a lot of people curl their feet up when they're sitting down at the computer, and going over the 3% menthol amount can produce tingles in other locations!

Cinnamon, ginger, and clove in a sore muscle blend feel warm and tingly on your shoulders, but the massager really needs to wash her hands after application lest she touches her face or eyes at some point. Same goes for peppermint hand lotion at more than 2%.

Essential oils should be treated with respect and caution when we are formulating lest we induce tingly bums or burning eyes. Read up on your chosen essential oils and use them at recommended levels in your products at all times!


kontakt said...

Been there done that, on the citrus oils. Made a perfume stick, and actually I KNEW about the photosensibility stuff. I just didn't think about it. Of course I was just planning to use it myself, but... it worked fine in winter, but not a sunny summer day. The red spots behind my ears are fading, but it has taken a couple of weeks.

I know people who make lip balm with orange EO and say it works fine. I wouldn't dare to.

Lissa said...

E.O.'s - perfect timing. I just bought some German Chamomile essential oil for a facial lotion... and it's Blue. Really blue... I'm not sure if this will affect the final color of my lotion.


Anne-Marie said...

Great EO information. I Agree on doing a little extra research before taking the plunge!

Lissa- I love German Chamomile too and I usually don't use enough to make my lotion really blue. But it does have a slight greyish cast.

Mich said...

Thanks for your cautionary has to respect the EOs!

So, when are you posting your Nyquilada recipe?


Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Thank you, Mich, for the reminders! I should have dedicated this post to you!

Nyquiladas can be made in different ways, but I quite the like the cherry house brand stuff from London Drugs - although I think any cherry type will do - poured into a chilled glass with ice. Add a little umbrella and a slice of lime and you have yourself an icy treat to help that summer cold. Sip while applying Vicks to your chest.

Alternate versions include using a blender to crush the ice or buying a slushy type drink and adding the Nyquil (although this reminds me a little too much of my university days - Southern Comfort and black cherry slushies on a warm summer day...eek, my stomach just remembered what that tasted like...)

Stacy from Ringwood, NJ said...

I tried real hard to find my answer on your blog before I posted, because I know how busy you are! But no luck, so my question is, do I need to use a preservative in an anhydrous product if I use an essential oil/s as an ingredient? I understand that preservatives are not needed if there is no water or water-based ingredients; however, I thought I read once otherwise, that a preservative is needed if EO is in the mix. Thank you so much!

Stacy NJ said...

I just read more of your posts and I found my answer! No, I don't have to use a preservative when adding EO to anhydrous product. If I'm wrong please let me know, otherwise thank you for an amazing, in-depth virtual wealth of knowledge!

Cynthia Scott said...

I'm pleased as punch that you wrote this blog. Essential oils can so very easily burn you and some are downright dangerous to use altogether like pennyroyal. I bought this oil very early on in my essential oil journey without first reading about it. When I received it I smelled it straight from the bottle and put some in a diffuser and THEN sat down to read up about it!! Before I even got to the part where it said watch out it's poisonous, only to be used by a professional aromatherapist I had to open all the windows and doors due to a massively bad headache and neasea!! Huge newbie mistake!! Poisoned myself pretty good!! So yes indeedy!!! Do read up thoroughly on any oil you wish to use. And make sure your source is reliable. I've read in many blogs where people actually consume peppermint. One drop is the strength of over 40 cups of peppermint tea!! Talk about messing with the bacterial environment in your gut!!!! Not a great idea at all!!! And of course burned myself with peppermint early on as well. Yes I've had good fun with essential oils. But I took a class and read some books on it and am much more comfortable using them now. The potential that they could actually become illegal to buy/use unless you have a license is a great worry to the community of people who regularly use them because sooo many people make these kinds of mistakes thinking EOs are akin to perfume!! They are much more akin to prescription medication. Putting any on your skin or inhaling them puts them directly into your bloodstream immediately. So do take care. (On a brighter note, should you make a mistake like I did, they also leave your bloodstream pretty quickly as well. Although if you burn yourself or get any in your eyes you could do permanent damage. I guess that's not a brighter note lol. If you should burn yourself or get in your eye wash out with milk that has some fat in it as oils aren't soluble in water as Susan keeps pointing out!!)

Ok, have had my say lol!!!


Cynthia Scott said...

Oh though citrus you need to watch out for 24 hrs!! Ok done I promise!!