Essential Oil Safety

Adding essential oils into your daily routine is an empowering way to support your health and your family’s health. All you need to enjoy the benefits these oils have to offer is a basic understanding of how to use them safely.

Aromatic Use

Studies have linked the inhalation of essential oils to the calming of nervous or anxious feelings in a variety of situations. Diffusion is the most effective way to use essential oils aromatically, but you can also inhale straight from the bottle or by putting a drop in your hands and breathing in.

When using essential oils aromatically it is important to consider doses and appropriate use. For the most benefits diffuse oils multiple times a day in small doses. Typically I will use 1-4 drops of oils per diffusion.

Topical Use

Applying essential oils topically is a safe and effective way to benefit from their properties when applied properly. To prolong the benefits and avoid possible sensitivities ti is best to use a carrier oil when applying essential oils. Diluting with a carrier oil such as FCO slows down the evaporation process, increase the surface area of absorption, and helps prevent skin sensitivities.

Deciding when and how to dilute you oils is always a personal decision that should be based on the oil’s chemistry and your experience level. If you have sensitive skin, are applying to children, or using an oil for the first time it is a good idea to heavily dilute with a carrier oil.

Essential Oil Rollerball Dilution Guide. How to dilute oils for safe topical application to the skin.

Some oils are considered “hot” and should always be diluted. These oils include: cinnamon, geranium, oregano, and lemongrass. Recommended dilution is 3 drops of  carrier oil for ever single drop of essential oil.


Some essential oils contain constituents that can cause photosensitization of the skin.  The chemical structure of these molecules allows them to form cross-links with skin cell DNA, in turn making the skin especially susceptible to UV radiation. If exposed to sunlight after topical application of a photosensitive oil, the skin may become temporarily darkly pigmented, red, or irritated. Photosensitivity applies to topical use of essential oils only and does not pose the same risks when used internally. When using a photosensitive essential oil topically, it is recommended to avoid sunlight for up to 12 hours after use. These oils include: Bergamot, Grapefruit, Lemon, Lime, Orange. Cumin, Tangerine, and Kumquat.

Internal Use

Though internal use of essential oils is greatly debated, research continues to confirm the safety of internal use. When an essential oil is ingested it directly enters your blood stream through the GI tract, and is then spread throughout the rest of the body.

When deciding to use essential oils internally you should consider the chemistry of the oil, appropriate doses, and your own experience. Some oils should not be taken internally. Period. The FDA has a list called Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS). Doterra Oils that are considered GRAS will have nutritional facts on the bottle.


To much of a good thing can be a bad thing. Seemingly harmless substances like water, vitamins, minerals, and, yes, essential oils can all be toxic when consumed in inappropriate amounts. Toxicity refers to the point at which a substance becomes harmful to the body. While essential oils have the potential for toxicity, you would have to consume far above the recommended amount for a dose to be toxic.

Recommend Amounts for Internal Use of Essential Oils
doTERRA’s Recommended Amounts for Internal Use

Essential Oils Safety Tips:

  • Avoid applying oils in the nose, ears, and eyes
  • Store oils out of reach of children to avoid accidental ingestion. (You can get child safety caps, here)
  • Keep away from excessive light or heat to avoid altering the chemical properties of the oil
  • Avoid sunlight for up to 12 hours after applying photosensitive oils topically
  • Always dilute when applying to children or using “hot” oils