Essential Oil Safety

Essential oils are a staple in wellness these days – using them for their purported health benefits. But what is safe to use, and how do you know? Experts weigh in on the potential risks of this trend.,

Is diffusing essential oils safe for your lungs?” a question that is often asked. Many people use essential oils and diffusers to help with their health. The answer to the question is yes, but there are some precautions that you should take when using these products.


When used as prescribed, essential oils have been found in studies to have very few unwanted side effects or hazards. However, considering how popular essential oils have grown in recent years and how many various oils are accessible, it’s not unexpected that there are some mounting safety concerns.

Is it true that essential oils are harmful to your health? I think that after reading the material below, you’ll agree that essential oils are not inherently hazardous. Overall, there’s a lot of evidence that essential oils are both safe and effective in natural therapy.

However, since each essential oil has a distinct administration technique, it’s critical to conduct your homework and get high-quality oils to utilize these items properly. Essential oils may be applied to the skin (dermal/topical application), inhaled, diffused, or consumed orally, although not all of these methods are safe for all essential oils. Specific oils should not be used topically, internally, or by those with particular sensitivities, and certain care should be used.

Is it Safe to Use Essential Oils?

One thing to keep in mind with essential oils is that they are very concentrated, which means you only need a tiny quantity to have benefits. Therefore, essential oils must be used with caution, and labels must be carefully studied to follow all restrictions.

Some of the most often asked questions about essential oil safety are as follows:

Should essential oils be used directly to the skin or applied externally?

They may be used both topically and internally, depending on the oil. It’s ideal to dilute 2 to 3 drops of pure oil with vegetable oil that acts as a “carrier oil” when applying oil to your skin. Then, apply a tiny quantity of the essential oil to your skin along with equal parts coconut or jojoba oil to the problem region you’re treating. The neck, temples, wrists, across your tummy, chest, and the soles of your feet are some of the greatest places on the body to apply essential oils. Eyes and ear canals should never be exposed to essential oils.

Is it safe to inhale essential oils?

Yes, most essential oils may be inhaled or diffused safely. You may either diffuse 5 drops in an oil burner or inhale the oil straight from the container for a few seconds. Is inhaling essential oils harmful if you’re already sick? If you’re congested, have a cold, or have seasonal allergies, inhaling some essential oil vapors might help you heal faster.

For example, rosemary, peppermint, and eucalyptus oil may all help you breathe easier and manage respiratory issues. You may also put 10 drops of oil in boiling water, cover your head with a towel, and inhale the scent for 5 minutes.

Is it safe to use essential oils internally and eat them?

This is dependent on the oil in question. The US Food and Drug Administration has authorized several essential oils as food components and has classed them as GRAS (generally regarded as safe). Can essential oils be consumed? Certain essential oils, such as lemon or ginger oil, may be used in minimal doses in water or tea, but you should take care when using essential oils orally (more tips on this below).

Is it safe to use essential oils during pregnancy?

The effects of essential oils are especially sensitive in infants, toddlers, young children, and pregnant women. Because essential oils may have stimulating effects on the uterus, offer hazards to the baby, impact blood pressure, or simply because not enough study has been done to establish that some oils are absolutely safe, pregnant women must avoid using them entirely. In addition, some oils will need to be avoided by youngsters, nursing mothers, and the elderly due to heightened sensitivity. So if you’re pregnant, nursing, or giving oils to your children, read the labels carefully before using any oil.

What essential oils are beneficial to your health and safe to use while pregnant? Lavender, bergamot, frankincense, geranium (safe after the first trimester), ginger, grapefruit, juniper, lemon, sandalwood, orange, and ylang-ylang are all safe to use. In addition, aromatic diffusion of essential oils is a safe approach to utilize essential oils during pregnancy since it has fewer side effects than applying the oil to your skin or taking it orally.

The following essential oils should not be used during pregnancy:

  • Basil
  • Birch
  • peppercorns
  • Cedarwood
  • Cardamom
  • Cassia
  • Cinnamon
  • Citronella
  • sage clary
  • Clove
  • Cumin
  • Cypress
  • Eucalyptus
  • Fennel
  • Geranium
  • Hyssop
  • Jasmine
  • Lemongrass
  • Manuka
  • Marjoram
  • Melissa
  • Myrrh
  • Oregano
  • Tea Tree
  • Chamomile Romana
  • Rose
  • Rosemary
  • Spineard
  • Thyme
  • Wintergreen


You’re curious about the safest method to use an essential oil diffuser, given how popular they’ve become. What you should know about essential oil diffuser safety is as follows:

  • Essential oil diffusers evaporate oils and release little quantities into the air. Therefore, the same safety issues that apply to inhaling essential oils also apply to diffuser usage.
  • Overall, inhalation is regarded as a reasonably safe technique of consuming oils with little danger. Vaporization is unlikely to cause the concentration of any essential oil to climb to harmful levels.
  • Whether you’re not sure if oils are safe around infants, babies, young children, pregnant or nursing women, or pets, don’t use them.
  • If you have allergies, asthma, or another respiratory ailment, diffusing essential oils with strong scents may cause a respiratory response. If this is the case, stop inhaling or diffusing essential oils. Peppermint, lavender, tea tree, eucalyptus, and chamomile are some less irritating oils when breathed.
  • For the best results, use a diffuser for 30–45 minutes at a time. Don’t forget to unplug your diffuser at night. Fill the diffuser with the necessary quantity of water and carefully read the instructions. You may wish to obtain a diffuser with an automatic stopper after 20–30 minutes of usage, so it will switch off on its own if you forget.
  • Because essential oils are very flammable, keep them away from flames (candles, gas, etc.).
  • Ascertain that your home/room has enough airflow. If the scent gets too strong, open the windows.
  • Do not use carrier oils in your diffuser since they may cause it to break. Instead, clean your diffuser with soap and warm water regularly to keep it working properly and prevent mold or germs from growing.
  • Essential oils should not be used in humidifiers since they are not designed to be used with essential oils as diffusers are.
  • When diffusing essential oils that may irritate mucous membranes, use care. Clove, cinnamon bark, lemongrass, and thyme oils are among them.
  • When it comes to diffusing oils in your house, start carefully to gauge your response. If you have any worries about certain oils causing your symptoms to worsen, get advice from your healthcare professional.

Recommendations for Each Essential Oil’s Safety

Here are some tips on how to use essential oils safely:

The following oils are typically safe to use both externally and internally:

  • Bergamot — It’s possible that bergamot can irritate your skin. After applying externally, stay out of direct sunlight for 12 hours. Blood sugar regulation may be affected.
  • Cassia — Should only be taken in tiny amounts by nursing mothers since it may lower milk production.
  • Cilantro
  • Cinnamon Bark is a spice that comes from the cinnamon tree. – May cause skin sensitivity/irritation; thus, persons with sensitive skin should always try it first.
  • Clove has a numbing and/or irritating impact on the skin. Some people’s sinuses and eyes may be irritated, so proceed with care. When used internally, take a probiotic capsule twice a day to reestablish good bacteria.
  • Coriander – It’s possible that coriander can irritate your skin.
  • Cumin should not be taken during pregnancy since it stimulates uterine blood flow. After applying externally, stay out of direct sunlight for up to 12 hours.
  • Fennel — Avoid during pregnancy and if you have epilepsy or are prone to convulsions.
  • Frankincense – Due to its blood-thinning properties, those with blood clotting issues should not use this oil without first visiting their healthcare physician. It may be diffused, inhaled directly, or put on the skin topically. It’s also a good suppository (under the supervision of a health practitioner).
  • Needle of Fir
  • Geranium – It’s possible that geranium can irritate your skin. It should not be used during the first trimester of pregnancy, and it should only be used in topical dilutions after that. Use with care during pregnancy since it may affect hormone releases, particularly estrogen.
  • Ginger – It’s possible that ginger can irritate your skin.
  • Grapefruit – It’s been demonstrated that grapefruit may interact with some drugs, so check with your doctor first. Because it might enhance sensitivity to sunlight, avoid direct sunlight for up to 12 hours after external application.
  • Helichrysum
  • Anyone with a clotting disease or poor liver function should avoid using holy basil.
  • Avoid using hyssop if you’re pregnant. Do not take more than 30 drops of hyssop per day.
  • Avoid using jasmine if you’re pregnant.
  • Juniper Berry—Skin sensitivity is possible.
  • Lavender
  • Lemon — Stay out of direct sunshine for up to 12 hours after applying topical.
  • Lemongrass — It’s possible that lemongrass can irritate your skin. Women who are pregnant, children, or nursing moms should not use it.
  • Lime — It’s possible that lime can irritate your skin. After topical treatment, stay out of direct sunlight for up to 12 hours.
  • Avoid using manuka during pregnancy.
  • Marjoram – Because it functions as an emmenagogue, it should not be taken during pregnancy.
  • — Melissa Skin sensitivity is possible. Use with caution if you are pregnant.
  • Myrrh is a fetotoxic substance that should be avoided during pregnancy (poisonous to a fetus). Lowering blood sugar levels and interfering with blood sugar conditions are possible side effects. If it causes stomach trouble or diarrhea, stop using it.
  • Orange — Skin irritation is possible. To prevent burns or redness, stay out of direct sunlight for up to 12 hours after applying externally.
  • Use oregano sparingly during pregnancy. Infants and tiny children should not use this product. Irritation of the skin is possible. Not to be used for longer than ten days.
  • Patchouli —Patchouli may reduce blood clotting and cause a pharmacological interaction.
  • Peppermint — For digestive help, use 1–2 drops immediately in the mouth. Some drugs may interact negatively with peppermint oil, so talk to your doctor about any possible drug interactions.
  • The use of Roman Chamomile is not advised during pregnancy. It should only be used for two weeks internally.
  • If you’re pregnant, have high blood pressure, or have been diagnosed with epilepsy, avoid using rosemary.
  • Sandalwood — It may irritate your skin.
  • Spikenard – Avoid using it during pregnancy since it stimulates the uterus.
  • Avoid using thyme if you’re pregnant or have high blood pressure or epilepsy.
  • Turmeric stains clothing, fabric, and skin, therefore take care while applying or near materials.
  • Vetiver – Skin sensitivity is possible.
  • Ylang Ylang

When used topically, the following oils must be diluted:

  • Basil is not recommended for pregnant women or those who have epilepsy.
  • If you’re pregnant or nursing, don’t use birch. To reduce sensitivity, use the smallest quantity possible. If you’re on blood thinners, planning to have surgery, have bleeding issues, have a salicylate deficiency, or have been diagnosed with a seizure condition or ADD/ADHD, don’t use this supplement. On delicate skin, newborns, children, and the elderly do not use it.
  • When taken in excessive concentrations, black pepper may be annoying.
  • Cardamom may be consumed, gargled, breathed, or applied to the skin, so dilution is advised. Those with sensitive skin may have allergic reactions. Apply on or near the face of newborns or young children with caution.
  • Cinnamon Bark
  • Avoid using cedarwood if you’re pregnant
  • Citronella
  • Clove
  • Eucalyptus
  • Fennel
  • Needle of Fir
  • Marjoram
  • Myrrh
  • Oregano
  • Turmeric
  • Wintergreen — If taken in large doses, it might be harmful. On delicate skin, newborns, children, and the elderly do not use it.

Internal use of the following oils is not recommended:

  • Basil
  • Birch
  • peppercorns
  • Cardamom
  • Cedarwood
  • Citronella
  • Clary Sage is not recommended for usage during pregnancy, particularly in the first trimester or on the belly.
  • Cyprus — Avoid using it if you’re pregnant.
  • Eucalyptus – Can be gargled, diffused, inhaled directly, or placed topically on the skin as a vapor rub, and natural home-care products may be made using 10 to 15 drops. Children and those with sensitive skin should take precautions. Before applying the oil to the skin, it should be diluted. Applying it near a child’s face is not a good idea.
  • Tea Tree (Malaleuca) – Always spit out the oil after using it in your mouth to avoid possible adverse effects, including stomach difficulties, rashes, or dizziness.
  • Rose — Do not use it if you are pregnant.
  • Wintergreen

The Best Uses for Essential Oils

Skin-Safety Tips for Essential Oils

  • Before applying an oil to a wider area of your skin or taking it inside, always do a tiny patch test to ensure you are not allergic to it. If irritation develops, discontinue usage immediately.
  • Avoid using essential oils or allergies that are known to irritate the skin. This is crucial if you have an inflammatory or allergic skin disease like eczema or rosacea.
  • When using essential oils that are more prone to irritate the skin or enhance sensitivity to the sun (photosensitivity), which may cause sunburns, use care. Cinnamon bark, clove, citronella, cumin, lemongrass, lemon, oregano, bergamot, and thyme are a few examples. If you’re using an oil that may make you more photosensitive, don’t use it within 12 hours of going out in the sun.
  • Avoid using undiluted products if you have sensitive skin. Before applying oils to the skin, dilute them with vegetable oil or another carrier.
  • Because essential oils are lipophilic (fat-loving), they might induce greater dryness if used extensively on the skin.
  • With caution, apply to open or injured skin, wounds, burns, or infected scrapes. Skin that is damaged or irritated is more permeable and susceptible to dermal responses.
  • Because aldehydes (like cinnamon) and phenols (like clove and oregano) may induce skin responses, essential oils should always be diluted before applying to the skin. Marjoram, frankincense, German chamomile, myrrh, thyme, and lavender are oils that those with skin sensitivity may more readily accept.
  • Eyes and ear canals should never be exposed to essential oils. If essential oils go into your eyes, put a few drops of a carrier oil in your eye and blink until the oil goes away. Also, to prevent getting essential oils in your eyes, wash your hands after using them.
  • Apply a tiny quantity of vegetable oil or cream to the afflicted region and stop using essential oils for at least a few days if you’re experiencing indications of cutaneous irritation.

Internal Use of Essential Oils: Safety Tips

  • Check the label to make sure the oil is suitable for internal usage. Before using essential oils, read the labels to see if there are any cautions, and only use essential oils that are USDA Certified Organic and labeled as dietary supplements.
  • Internally, use just a few drops of essential oils at a time, up to 2–3 times a day.
  • Use only 100 percent pure essential oils since utilizing adulterated essential oils raises the risk of an unpleasant reaction.
  • Internally, never use oil to which you are allergic.
  • If the oil irritates your tongue or throat, dilute it with a drink or food (honey, applesauce, etc.) before swallowing. Essential oils should also be taken with meals rather than on an empty stomach.
  • Remember that utilizing essential oils while taking prescription or over-the-counter drugs, whether taken by mouth or applied to the skin, might enhance the drug’s harmful effects.
  • If you have any concerns about prescription interactions, always see your doctor. Anyone using cardiac drugs such as blood thinners should avoid Clary sage, cypress, eucalyptus, ginger, rosemary, sage, and thyme oils.
  • Remember that lavender, tea tree, chamomile, sandalwood, and clary sage may affect hormone levels if you have a hormonal problem.
  • Keep a lookout for any bad response indications or symptoms. What are some of the possible essential oil side effects or symptoms of an essential oil overdose? Irritation of the eyes or throat, rash, hives, vomiting, nausea, or dizziness are all possible symptoms.
  • If a youngster looks to have consumed a substantial quantity of essential oil, get immediate aid from a poison control center.

Are There Any Essential Oils That Aren’t Safe?

Yes. The International Fragrance Association has prohibited certain essential oils because they have been shown to be hazardous when swallowed or used topically. Cade oil crude, costus root, elecampane, fig leaf absolute, horseradish, nightshade, pennyroyal, rue, sassafras, savin, southernwood, stinging nettle, styrax gum, tea absolute, wormseed, and wormwood are among the forbidden oils.

Final Thoughts

  • Essential oils are typically harmless, but they might irritate or create difficulties when used incorrectly.
  • It’s crucial to utilize essential oils correctly to practice essential oil safety. Essential oils may be applied to the skin, breathed, diffused, or consumed orally, but the optimal application varies on the oil.
  • Pregnant or breastfeeding women, anyone with sensitive skin, babies, youngsters, and the elderly should avoid using certain essential oils. Some oils might make you more sensitive to sunlight and irritate your mucous membranes, so proceed with care.
  • Essential oils may interfere with prescription or over-the-counter pharmaceuticals. If you have any concerns about prescription interactions, always see your doctor.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are diffusers with essential oils safe?

A: There is no real consensus on whether these machines are safe or not, but there have been several people who have reported some negative reactions to the use of essential oils in diffusers. However, this doesn’t seem like a large enough number for us to say definitively one way or another that they’re unsafe.

Are essential oil diffusers bad for your lungs?

A: That depends on the type of essential oil that you use. Some oils are safe to use, and some may not be safe. For example, if you’re using a diffuser with pure water vapor instead of an air-based diffusion system, it can help loosen phlegm buildup in your lungs without causing any damage.

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The information on this website has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration or any other medical body. We do not aim to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. Information is shared for educational purposes only. You must consult your doctor before acting on any content on this website, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition.


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