Are Essential Oils Safe?

An essential oil is not an oil but rather it is a volatile (it will evaporate easily at normal temperatures) and concentrated hydrophobic liquid. This liquid contains the plant’s chemical compound.

Are essential oils safe to use? In this article we explore the a number of risks factors that come with the essential oils (inherent risks) and those that are due to the person using it (introduced risks).

are essential oils safe

Inherent Risks

Essential oils while natural, are still chemicals that will interact with the environment and hence your body. These chemicals will possess characteristics that may be beneficial or harmful.

For example, oregano essential oil is very intense and applying it on the skin without proper dilution may cause chemical burns. On the other hand, many people find that by diffusing oregano, it helps promote focus. A number of the commonly used essential oils such as lavender, citrus oils, tea tree have a flammable flash point of around 50 to 60 degrees Celsius. The application of citrus essential oils will increase photo sensitivity leading to possible chemical burns with sun exposure.

Introduced Risks


Keeping in mind of the wide spectrum of chemical properties that essential oils possess, it is vital to be knowledgeable. By not acquiring the proper knowledge, you may use essential oils for the wrong purposes, with the wrong amount or duration.


Not all essential oils sold are made the same. Striving for an acceptable safety margin counts on the fact that the essential oil being used is pure and unadulterated. Merchants that are not responsible in their production or sourcing processes may result in the final product having issues such as impurities. These impurities may interact with the environment in a harmful manner. It is vital that you buy from reputable merchants with transparent, neutral and verifiable information on their essential oils.


Everyone is unique. With it comes unique tolerance levels and reactions to chemicals. It is imperative that you experience essential oils on your own terms. Evaluate choices responsibly and always be on a look out for irregularities such as allergic reactions. An essential oil that works great for your friend is not a guarantee that it will work great for you too.

Personal Situation

Essential oils being chemicals, will interact with it’s environment. This includes your body, the food you eat, the medication you are on, etc. Individuals who are in unique situations such as being on medication, having a medical condition, is pregnant, nursing etc have to be very cautious when using any chemicals. Always consult a health professional prior to use and immediately when in doubt.

Common Sense

As of all potent items such as medicines, laundry products, etc, keep essential oils beyond the reach of children and pets. All usage should always be supervised by a responsible adult. Always apply the better be safe than sorry rule and monitor closely. Stop at any signs of irregularities or doubts no matter how trivial.

The Bottom Line

This is by no means an exhaustive list and further reading is a must. Having said so, the message here is clear. We can strive to achieve an acceptable safety margin when using essential oils if we steer clear of all risky behaviors and situations. Otherwise you may find yourself in a situation whereby the essential oils are dangerous. Wholesome living with essential oils is always a journey of learning and responsibility. It is not something to be taken casually.

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Source: Wikipedia, WebMD, Healthline.
*Information is not intended to replace professional medical assistance or to diagnose, treat, cure, prevent any disease. Essential oils are concentrated and caution must be taken. Conduct an allergy check prior to use. If you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication or have a medical condition, consult a health professional prior to use. Use pure unadulterated essential oils only. Results may vary between individuals. Opinions and comments of individuals featured are of their own and not representative of the site. Always consult a physician when in doubt. You are solely responsible for your actions.

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