Essential Oil Safety

Main safety considerations

  1. Always store oils out of the reach of children.
  2. Keep flamable oils away from flames.
  3. Always consult with your healthcare proffesional before starting any therapies with essential oils.
  4. Dilute oils as recommended.
  5. Never take oils internally.
  6. Always test oils on a skin patch first.

Mixing and using safely

  1. Always wash your hands before and after using essential oils.
  2. Make sure you are in a well ventilated area.
  3. Mix away from the client.
  4. Use recommended dilution at all times.
  5. Use small quantities for babies, small children and the elderly.
  6. Handle oils carefully to prevent contact with skin and cross-contamination.
  7. Keep out of contact with the eyes.
  8. Avoid prolonged or excessive exposure.
  9. Take frequent breaks.
  10. If prescribing oils for a client's home use, ensure that they understand the instructions for use.
  11. Keep accurate records of treatment and blends.
  12. Lavender and Tea tree are the only oils that can be applied directly on to the skin undiluted. Always skin test first.

Prohibited oils

The following oils have been reported to be potentially harmful. Many are toxic, narcotic, capable or causing miscariage, and likely to produce epileptic type effects, and others, such as cinnamon bark and clove bud are powerful irritants if misused by untrained therapists. These oils are considered very dangerous to be used in aromatherapy. Some present more than one hazard. The following oils if you decide to use them. They must be used with caution under the direction of an aromatherapist, there are a lot of valuable oils but need to be carefully used with an understanding of the undesirable effects they may cause.

Almond bitterMustard
ArnicaPennyroyal. European
Boldo leafPennyroyal, North American
CalmusPine, dwarf
Camphor, brownRue
Camphor, yellowSage
Cinnamon barkSavin
Clove budSavory. Summer
Clove leafSavory, winter
Clove stemSouthernwood
ElecampaneThuja (cedarleaf)
Fennel, bitterThuja plicata
Jaborandi leafWormwood
Mugwort (armoise)

Oils that should not be used by people with epilepsy

Fennel (Sweet)Foeniculum vulgare
HyssopHyssopus officinalis
RosemaryFosmarinus officinalis

The Following oils shoud not be used during pregnancy

Clary Sage

The Following oils shoud not be used during the first trimester of pregnancy, and used with caution during the remainder of the pregnancy. Use in small amounts and well diluted (1-2 % for massage: 3-4 drops added to a carrier oil for baths. If you have a history of miscariage DONT USE AT ALL.



Pure essential oils are very strong and should only be used in the recommended dilution and application. Some oils are toxic, some are skin irritants. Many oils have contraindications to their use and may exacerbate existing health problems. There are local and general contraindications to practice. These must be identified during a preliminary consultation before any oils are used on a client.

Local contraindications

Local contraindications are localized areas on the body that should be avoided and include:

  1. Recent operations, fractures or sprains
  2. Severe bruising
  3. Swelling
  4. Varicose veins
  5. Cuts, new scar tissue
  6. Local skin infections/conditions (eczema etc.).

General contraindications to practice

  1. Fever
  2. Influenza
  3. Migraine
  4. Infectious skin disorders

Permission from the clients' GP should be sought before treating people with the following conditions:

  1. A history of thrombosis or embolism
  2. High or low blood pressure
  3. Epilepsy
  4. Diabetes
  5. Major system dysfunction (renal, hepatic, digestive, etc.)
  6. Nervous system dysfunction
  7. Fatal illnesses (cancer, etc.)
  8. Recent severe hemorrhage
  9. If client on medication or homeopathic preparations

Special care is needed for:

  1. Allergies and skin disorders
  2. Pregnancy
  3. Babies, children and the elderly
  4. Sensitive skin
  5. People with disabilities