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5 Things You Are Doing Wrong with Essential Oils

Essential oils seem to be anywhere and everywhere right now. I even noticed that Kohls started carrying a line of them! While its great that people are starting to seek out more natural and less toxic solutions to common ailments, the proper use of essential oils requires some education. In fact, there are at least 5 things you are probably doing wrong when it comes to essential oils because, while the oils are just about everywhere you look, proper instructions for using them aren’t. 5 things you are doing wrong with essential oils Essential oils are highly concentrated versions of the oil contained in that particular plant, and it can take thousands of pounds of the plant to make just a few ounces of essential oil!  Essential oils have been highly revered for their aromatic and medicinal qualities since ancient times and today, they are becoming crazy popular for everything from fragrancing to alleviating common medical conditions like arthritis, flu, digestive issues, and even bad breath. With essential oil’s popularity soaring, so is the misuse of them.

5 things you are doing wrong with essential oils

When I started working with Poofy Organics, which is owned and operated by a certified aromatherapist, I learned so many new things about essential oils. I thought I was educated by what I read online, but it turns out, I was using essential oils all wrong, and chances are you are too!

Here are 5 things you are probably doing wrong with essential oils:

1.You are using too much! When it comes to essential oils less is definitely more. When I first started using Poofy Organic’s endocrine support blend to help with my hypothyroidism, I had no idea how much to use and put on tons of it.  The next day, I broke out in painful cystic acne all over my face and I started asking questions and researching the proper way to use essential oils topically. Turns out, 1-2 drops are all you need in most cases.

Essential oils are extremely concentrated and super potent. In fact, ONE drop of an essential oil is the equivalent of 25-75 cups of herbal tea of the same plant, so it is really easy to use way more than you should. Using too much of a particular oil won’t make it more effective and can actually cause the reverse to happen. Over application or over diffusing essential oils can also lead to headaches, burns, olfactory desensitization, and other side effects. As with many natural treatments, results are not always immediately seen, but that doesn’t mean you need to apply more.

2.You are using the wrong oils on your kids! Not all essential oils are kid-safe, and many can have potentially harmful side effects, even just from being diffused around children. Have you ever noticed that most vapor rubs come in a baby/kid version and an adult version? This is because they usually contain essential oils that aren’t safe for children.

Peppermint and eucalyptus essential oils are not safe for use with children and can slow their breathing rate and may lead to respiratory distress. There are plenty of essential oils that are kid safe or blends that you can buy that are formulated specifically for kids, you just have to do your research before buying. Check out this handy chart to get you started:

essential oils safe for kids


3. You are ingesting them! Despite all those amazing drink recipes you have seen going around on Pinterest or what your friend turned Young Living rep. says, ingesting essential oils is NOT safe! Yes, essential oils are natural, but that doesn’t make them safe for consumption. Ingesting essential oils can lead to some serious health consequences including burning your esophagus, mouth ulcers, damage to your stomach, liver and kidneys, headaches, seizures, respiratory distress, coma and even death. Now I know you probably think that someone dying from ingesting essential oils sounds crazy, but it can and has happened! I didn’t believe it either, so I did some research. Turns out that documented cases of poisoning from essential oil ingestion have been documented throughout the last century and are still happening today. According to the 2010 American Association of Poison Control Centers annual report, which documents all incidents reported to a Poison Control Center, over 10,000 cases of essential oil poisoning were called in, over 130 resulted in moderate or major health concerns, and 1 death was reported from eucalyptus oil poisoning. I am not suggesting that dying from essential oil poisoning is common but there are very real and potentially serious side effects that are common. Unless you are under the care of a certified aromatherapist, you shouldn’t be ingesting essential oils.

5 things you are doing wrong with essential oils

4. You are diffusing them in a humidifier: You should never diffuse essential oils in a humidifier that is not designed to diffuse essential oils. The components of regular humidifiers are not made to withstand essential oil exposure and the oils can cause them to break down or erode. This can result in your humidifier malfunctioning which can lead to water leakage and/or fire. Humidifiers also will not provide you with the maximum therapeutic benefits from your essential oils. Diffusers nebulize your oil into miniscule particles that can be more readily inhaled and absorbed and regular humidifiers don’t. There are some great humidifiers that are specifically designed to function as both a full room humidifier and essential oil diffuser. In fact, I recently found this  awesome humidifier/diffuser combo  on Amazon and I love it!

5 things you are doing wrong with essential oils

5.You aren’t diluting your oils before applying them: Most essential oils should not be applied neat (undiluted). They need to be mixed with a carrier oil, such as fractioned coconut oil, almond oil, jojoba oil, or argan oil before applying. Dilution rates vary based on age and intended use but below are general guidelines:

Babies: Dilution for topical use is .5% (avoid in newborns)

Children, the elderly, pregnant women, or anyone with comprised immunity: 1%

Adults: 2%

Specific Medicinal Uses: 3-5%

Check out this chart below to help you dilute properly:

how to dilute essential oils

If you don’t want to bother dealing with diluting on your own, you can always buy pre-made blends that are already diluted for topical use. If you are unsure if your oils are already diluted or don’t know the dilution rate, check the bottle for details. You can always further dilute your oil blend if you need it less concentrated.

When used properly, essential oils can offer amazing health and wellness benefits but the key is using them properly. You should try to use organic essential oils whenever possible. Despite the great debate over whose oils are best, the most legit guarantee that your oils are pure and uncontaminated is to stick to organic. If you are looking for help with a specific medical condition, it is always a great idea to consult a certified aromatherapist before using essential oils.

I hope these tips help you enjoy the wonderful aromatic and therapeutic benefits of essential oils without any unintended consequences.  Be sure to help your friends avoid essential oil mistakes by sharing this post and follow me on Instagram for more tips on using essential oils.


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I am a busy mom of four and aspiring functional medicine and wellness coach who has struggled with severe anxiety, health anxiety, OCD, PPD, and debilitating, chronic back pain until I found a clean eating, paleo lifestyle. I am here to share my experience in gluten free living, paleo eating, the Whole30, healthier cooking, special needs parenting, raising a large family and clean living to help all of you live better every day.