top of page

How to Safely Use Essential Oils

Updated: 6 days ago

There has been a lot of misinformation surrounding essential oils all over the internet, resulting in preventable injuries. Much of this misinformation stems from MLM companies claiming that since essential oils are natural, they’re safe. The reality is experts, like certified aromatherapists, disagree.

rosemary essential oil

Yes, essential oils are natural, but they are also highly concentrated and can have substantial impacts. Naturopathic Pediatrics states that one drop of essential oil is equivalent to 15-40 cups of medicinal tea or up to 10 teaspoons of a tincture (1).

Remember that essential oils are isolated concentrations, so while they may have one of the constituents found in teas and tinctures, the substantial amounts aren't more effective as it's missing many other components that make herbs so beneficial. Nonetheless, teas, tinctures, and essential oils all have a place in our lives, so it is important to learn to use them safely!

With that said, although essential oils are a safer option than most medications and pharmaceuticals, they are still potent, so they should be used cautiously. It’s critical to understand which oils are safe for pregnancy, breastfeeding, children, and pets.

What is Aromatherapy

How to Safely Use Essential Oils

How to Dilute Essential Oils

How to Use Essential Oils in a Diffuser

How to Use Essential Oils Topically

How to Use Essential Oils in the Bath


What is Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy is a holistic healing treatment that has been around for thousands of years and has been used in many ancient cultures like China, India, Egypt, and more. Aromatherapy uses natural plant extracts, also known as essential oils, to promote health and well-being while improving the health of the body, mind, and spirit (2).

There are hundreds of different types of essential oils, both pure and blended, and they can be used alone or in combination with other essential oils to provide even more health benefits.

Essential oils have been studied for quite some time. There is plenty of science to back up the known benefits of aromatherapy, including, but not limited to:

  • Pain management

  • Improving sleep quality

  • Reducing stress, agitation, and anxiety

  • Soothing sore joints

  • Treating headaches and migraines

  • Alleviating side effects of chemotherapy

  • Easing the discomforts of labor

  • Fighting bacteria, viruses, or fungus

  • Improving digestion

  • Boosting immunity

To treat an ailment with essential oils successfully, you must use them properly, so let’s discuss some dos and don’ts when it comes to essential oils.

DO dilute all essential oils as directed on the bottle.

DO NOT ingest essential oils.

DO use essential oils topically and always dilute them.

DO NOT apply directly on the skin.

DO use caution around pets and children

DO NOT disregard safety information

How to Safely Use Essential Oils

First and foremost, trusted aromatherapist Wendy Robbins recommends never using essential oils internally or undiluted (3). When using essential oils with children or those with sensitive skin, I personally recommend either diffusing or diluting essential oils in a mild carrier oil.

Second, consider finding a reputable brand of essential oils, such as Plant Therapy, Simply Earth, or Earthley Wellness. I highly recommend double and triple-checking all essential oil directions (even if you’ve used them before) before using them while pregnant, breastfeeding, or on your children or pets. I never recommend MLM brands as they often jack up the price to pay the entire pyramid. In my personal experience, they continually provide unsafe safety recommendations based on false claims.

10% off Earthley wellness promo code

Understanding Pregnancy-Safe Essential Oils

Some have claimed essential oils are unsafe during pregnancy, but the reality is it depends on which essential oil you're looking at. Of course, essential oils, by nature, will cross the placental barrier and may affect the fetus (4); that's why practicing essential oil safety is so important. Many brands have pregnancy-safe essential oil lines, and as I said earlier, always double and triple-check all essential oil directions (even if you’ve used them before). Here are my top 5 pregnancy-safe essential oil must-haves:

  • Cardamom is great for struggles with carsickness, seasickness, and even pregnancy-associated nausea like morning sickness. Cardamom can also be used to help uplift and energize your mood, especially when dealing with stress, fatigue, or feelings of depression.

  • Frankincense Carterii has the ability to rejuvenate the look of mature skin and can be used in serums or creams for the face. It is also used as immune system support. Frankincense can be a dear friend during times of grief and sorrow.

  • Ginger is an excellent multi-tasker when it comes to overall well-being. It's great for digestive support, naturally tackling stomach concerns such as bloating, cramps, nausea, and gas. It can also settle upset due to traveling, motion sickness, and overeating.

  • Lemon has a fresh, zesty citrus scent that is refreshing, energizing, and uplifting; this scent is invigorating to the senses and wonderful to smell. This essential oil supports a healthy immune system, uplift and revitalize, and add a wonderful lemon scent to spray cleaners.

  • Peppermint has a cooling effect on the skin that is revitalizing and wonderful to the touch due to its menthol content. This scent is invigorating to the senses and helps promote energy and alertness.

Understanding Breastfeeding-Safe Essential Oils

Some have also claimed essential oils are unsafe while breastfeeding, but again the reality is it depends on which essential oil you're looking at. Of course, it's important to remember that they do have the potential to cross over into your milk supply, which is normally less than 1% of the amount of oil the mother absorbs (5), which is why it's important to practice essential oil safety. Many brands have breastfeeding-safe essential oil lines, and as I said earlier, always double and triple-check all essential oil directions (even if you’ve used them before). Additionally, I recommend sticking to essential oils that are kid and breastfeeding-safe. Here are my top 5 breastfeeding-safe essential oil must-haves:

  • Dill Weed is an essential oil that is a go-to when digestive upset arises. It not only eases digestive issues but also eases menstrual discomfort and is helpful during times of worry and tension.

  • Himalayan Cedarwood can help promote mental focus and calming of the mind while you take in the dry, woody, balsamic scent with slightly spicy undertones. It also helps balance oily skin and is a must-have for supporting and maintaining a healthy respiratory system.

  • Sea Fennel is known to improve skin tone and radiance while also helping to reduce the appearance of dimples and ripples in the skin. It is also a good choice for digestive issues while also being beneficial during times of seasonal illnesses and respiratory concerns.

  • Sweet Orange is most commonly known for its wonderful uplifting, and calming scent. It just feels like a “happy” oil! When diffused, it can help with nervous tension and sadness and can also improve the aroma of a stale room. It can also help support the normal function of