Woman making natural mosquito repellent candles

This week is National Injury Awareness Week, so we thought we’d recap some of the most common accidents that can occur with essential oils.

Join the discussion about ingesting essential oils.

    1. How can it be unsafe when we see them listed in food ingredients all of the time?
    2. Why do we dilute essential oils and how to react when someone accidentally spills some undiluted onto their skin?
    3. How much essential oil should you use on kids?
    4. What essential oils can you use safely in pregnancy and when?
    5. What does it mean if an oil is phototoxic and why do you need to avoid the sun?
    6. Do essential oils have an SPF…or not?
    7. How to store essential oils correctly and keep track of old oils.
    8. How to diffuse safely, especially around pets. Protect yourself and your family.

Stay essential oil safe with VINEVIDA.

Essential Oil Safe Practice

Vinevida essential oils

National Injury Awareness Week is the perfect opportunity to raise awareness of safety considerations of using essential oils for yourself and your family and around the home generally.

Join us to cover the following topics:

    1. Understanding dilution
    2. What to do if you get undiluted essential oil on your skin
    3. Ingestion - should I or shouldn’t I?
    4. Am I storing my essential oils right?
    5. Using essential oils safely with your kids
    6. Pregnancy and using essential oil safely
    7. Sunshine and SPF explained
    8. Is your old essential oil safe?
    9. Diffusing guidelines
    10. Is essential oil safe for your pets?

    Essential Oil Safe Dilution

    Essential oil water on yellow background

    Essential oils are concentrated and powerful and need to be ‘tamed’ a little before applying them to our skin. Many natural products can be used to dilute essential oils to safely use them on the skin.

      • Carrier oil - for baths, rollerballs, and massage oils
      • Cream or Lotion Base - for moisturizers, body lotions, and body butter
      • Water or alcohol with an added dispersant - for body sprays and mists and room and cleaning sprays
      • Waxes - for lip balms, skin salves, and body balms
      • Honey and milk - for spills and to disperse into the bath.

    How To Clean Up Spills of Essential Oil Safely

    If we spill something on us, our first instinct is to just wash it off with water and for essential oils, this is not going to solve our problem. It will simply spread the essential oil further across our skin. Remember, oil and water don’t mix.

    So What Do You Do To Remove Essential Oil Safely?

    We tell you to dilute essential oils with carrier oils all the time, and this is what we recommend that you do. Simply apply some carrier oil to dilute the essential oil, wash it off really well with warm, soapy water, and then rinse in clean warm water. 

    Calculating Essential Oil Safe Dilution Rates

    Simply pop to the VINEVIDA website to find the product listing for your essential oil. 

    Scroll down until you see this bar, click on Documents, and then the Safety Synopsis.

    Product document screenshot

    Scroll down through the Safety Synopsis file to a section entitled Practical Usage Notes.

    Each oil has its own safety document to highlight issues such as dangers in pregnancy, or around children and pets as well as the maximum dilution for each oil.

    Example Of Lavender Essential Oil Safety Synopsis Recommendations

    For normal aromatherapy with Lavender essential oil, we would recommend:

      • 3% dilution for adults, 
      • 2% for people in a weakened state
      • 1% for children over the age of 6
      • 0.5% for ages 6 months to five years old. 
      • We do not recommend using essential oils on children under the age of 6 months old unless it is an emergency.

    However, many essential oils have unpredictable guidelines, so please take advantage of the safety information if you are unsure. It only takes a moment. 

    Tash’s Top Tip

    vinevida productIf you are just learning to get to grips with essential oil safety, it can help to add a label to your bottle so you can see it at a glance. Or even write it on the box!

    You can buy tiny labels, or cut your own and add the percentage for you and your kids, then stick it on top of the bottle. You only have to check the website once then!

    Don’t put the label on the bottom of the bottle as it can get oily, wet, or smudged, and don’t cover any safety information on the label, just in case!

    If you keep your essential oils in a box, why not print off a spreadsheet or table of safety information and temporarily affix it to the top of your box? You can always update it and replace it as you add new essential oils to your collection.

    Either suggestion allows your information at a glance and saves you from having to check the website every time. 

    Have You Got Liz’s Free Book to Keep Essential Oil Safe?

    Do you know that Liz has a book that is free to download on all ebook platforms that gives safe guidelines on 100 different oils and how to use them for 60 different conditions?

    The book is also available in paperback, with large spacing on each page for you to add more information about each oil as you learn it. 

    Is Ingestion of Essential Oil Safe?

    Fragrant tangerine oil

    Ingesting essential oil safely is a contentious issue among aromatherapists, some say yes, and others say absolutely not.  French aromatherapy advocates ingesting some essential oils under professional care, the same applies in Australian aromatic medicine, however, this takes radical training on exactly how the body metabolizes certain constituents when they reach the liver. These are not practices for the beginner.

    Conversely, many essential oils are chemically modified to be included in commercial food and drink. Why not take a look at one of Liz’s old posts: Can I drink essential oils? Which discusses the difference of orange essential oil as a favor enhancer versus drinking orange essential oil in water.

    Obviously, though, many of our oils are foods! Basil, rosemary, chamomile…we use them every day in our cooking, right? So there is a line where oils can be helpful. It comes down to common sense, knowledge, and responsible essential oil practices.

    If you feel excited you’d like to explore ways to do this, I have two posts that will help you to delve into this flavorsome side of using essential oils. Aromatic Fusion: Elevate Your Recipes With Essential Oils & Unlock Flavorful Wonders: A Beginner's Guide To Cooking With Essential Oils

    Essential Oil Safe Practice Around Storage

    Essential Oil Collections

    Hands up! I am as guilty as the next person for having bottles of essential oils strewn across the house and not storing my essential oils safely. 

    As I type, there are nine, yes, nine bottles of essential oils sitting on my desk.  Some are to inhale when I flag a little and need a lift and four bottles are for my poor cat! (We’ll come to pet care a little later). However, they are ALL out of the reach of my 20-month-old grandson. A bottle of Lavender may seem innocuous to you, but to a curious toddler, it’s a different beast entirely!

    Use the same essential oil safety considerations as you would for storing medicines and keep them out of the reach of kids and curious pets. 

    Cool, Dark Place

    Store essential oils in a dark place, away from light, especially strong sunshine. Some degrade quickly when exposed to light so do not leave them on the windowsill.

    Keep them in a cool place that does not have too many temperature fluctuations.  Wooden essential oil boxes are a good idea because they keep light out and maintain an ambient temperature.

    Label, Label, Label

    Get into the practice of labeling essential oil blends. It is so easy to forget and I’ll admit I am terrible at making blends and then not labeling them! There’s one on my nightstand right now. I can tell you every ingredient today, but I’m not sure that will be the case if you were to ask me in three months. So admittedly, this is very much a case of do as I say, and not do as I do! Sorry. 

    That said, I now have images of my grandson grabbing this bottle and having to take him to the hospital. Then having a glazed look when the doctor asks me what is in it. 


    Where did I put those labels? I’m doing it right now.

    Staying Essential Oil Safe With Kids

    Mom & little daughter using essential oil

    Talking of being essential oil safe around kids, let's look at some of the key issues. 

    Remember you need to check the safety information for your children based on their age and you need to check the safety of every essential oil, as some are guaranteed to catch you out.

    Under 6 Months Old? Only In Emergencies

    The oils that protect their babies' skins are not properly formed enough to protect them well enough against essential oils until they are around six months old. But perhaps more important than that is that infants navigate their world by smell, so essential oils will upset the connection they have with their mom. You might want to read more about that in  Is Lavender Essential Oil Safe for Babies? It is not advised to use essential oils on babies less than 6 months of age unless it is an emergency. 

    Be Essential Oil Safe with Eucalyptus and Peppermint During Cold and Flu Season

    When we have colds we automatically reach for essential oils like Eucalyptus and Peppermint but we need to be really careful doing this with children.


    The safety synopsis says - Eucalyptus essential oil is high in 1,8 cineole, a compound known to slow respiration. It is also recommended that it be applied on their back only, and never close to their faces.  

    As such we do not advise using this oil in dilutions of more than:

      • 1% for children over the age of 6. 
      • 0.25% dilution on children under the age of six. 
      • We do not advise using Eucalyptus essential oil on children under 6 months old.


    The safety synopsis says that the high levels of menthol in Peppermint can make it problematic for children. Menthol can slow respiration so please do not use it close to a child's face. Only apply it to their back

      • 0.25% for children over the age of 6. 
      • We do not recommend using essential oils on children under the age of 6 months old unless it is an emergency.

    So What Do 1%, 0.5% and 0.25% Actually Look Like?

    Work out what that percentage is in millitres.

      • If you take 100 ml /3.38 fl oz of the base, that could be carrier oil, lotion, cream, etc
      • A 1% safety dilution recommendation is equal to 1 ml essential oil in 100ml of base
      • 1 ml of essential oil roughly equates to 20 drops depending on the viscosity of your essential oil

    Quick Reckoner:

      • 100 ml - 1% = 1 ml = approx 20 drops
      • 100 ml - 0.5% = 0.5 ml = approx 10 drops
      • 100ml - 0.25% = 0.25ml = approx 5 drops

    If I were making a 100ml bottle of Lavender Sleep Lotion for a 6-year-old, I can add up to 1 ml or 20 drops of Lavender essential oil. If I was making the same-sized bottle for a 3-year-old, I could use up to 10 drops of Lavender. 

    Essential Oil Safe Practice For Pregnancy

    Pregnant woman using essential oil

    How to stay essential oil safe during pregnancy is a complex and contentious issue because in truth we do not know exactly how essential oils affect unborn fetuses. Since experimentation on unborn human children has profound ethical ramifications it is unlikely we will ever get that. Therefore conservative guidelines have been made for aromatherapists to treat their clients. It is suggested that lay people also follow these as essential oil-safe practices for pregnancy.  pregnancy. 

    We say not to use ANY essential oil, in ANY quantity in the first 16 weeks of your pregnancy. 

    So, the first stage of understanding is not to use essential oils in the first four months of your pregnancy. But even then, some oils should be avoided right through the pregnancy. These are  Angelica, Black Pepper, Clove But, Clove leaf, Cypress, Eucalyptus, Fennel, Ginger, Juniper, Marjoram, Nutmeg, Oregano, Peppermint, Basil, Cassia, Cinnamon Bark, Cinnamon Leaf  Lemongrass, Rosemary, Thyme, Wintergreen, White Fir. You can find details of these, including a video about how to use them in The Most Effective Essential Oils for Pregnancy.

    There are some oils that you want to save right until the end of your pregnancy because they affect the uterus (make it contract) or because they affect the hormonal balance of the pregnancy. (Pregnancy needs a high progesterone, and low estrogen balance to sustain it… so these are the ones you want to save to help you during labor. Rose, Jasmine, Clary Sage, Ylang Ylang, and Myrrh should be avoided in the first 37 weeks of pregnancy.

    If in doubt,  consult a suitably qualified aromatherapist for guidance. 

    Being Essential Oil Safe In The Sunshine

    Bergamots fresh leaves water drops

    Sunshine? I have to be careful in the sun. Well yes, with cold-pressed citrus oils, you really do need to be careful and be essential oil safe.

    Understanding Phototoxicity

    Cold-pressed citrus oils like Mandarin, Tangerine, Bitter Orange, Bergamot, Pink & White Grapefruit, Lemon, Lime, and Yuzu are notoriously phototoxic. 

    Phototoxicity sometimes happens when particular constituents of essential oils react to UV light exposure.

    Generally, Furanocoumarins are to blame for these actions. Furanocoumarins are natural chemicals found in a variety of essential oils but are especially prevalent in cold-pressed citrus oils.

    If you have a phototoxic reaction it can result in the skin going red, inflammation, and very itchy skin rashes.  If you have a serious reaction, your skin can blister and even burn your skin.

    If you intend to use a cold-pressed citrus essential oil on your skin, we strongly advise you not to expose your skin to direct sunlight for at least 12 hours afterward.  This also includes sunbeds.

    It’s not just cold-pressed citrus oils, you also need to be aware of:

    Angelica Root, Opopanax (Myrrh), and Rue & Tagetes essential oils, to mention a few. 

    Read more about phototoxicity in Sunshine And Phototoxic Essential Oils.

    Do Essential Oils Have SPF?

    Young goodlooking brunette caucasian woman

    There is a lot of contradictory, and frankly confusing, information being bandied about on the internet around essential oils having an SPF factor.

    Let's just clear this up. Mostly, they just DON’T!

    Liz covers one of the sources of the misinformation, Carrot Seed Oil, and unearths all the scientific evidence for you in Unlock The Power Of Carrot Seed Oil SPF For Beautiful, Protected Skin.

    Stay essential oil safe and don’t use essential oils for SPF, use sunscreen instead! 

    Hot & Spicy Essential Oil Safety

    Ooh la la, it’s about to get hot in here! Our essential oil safety has shifted into the realms of the hot and spicy! And some not so…

    There are essential oils that aromatherapists refer to as ‘Hot Oils’. These have a ‘hot’ effect on the skin and the systems of the body. But also because they can quite literally burn your skin and cause irritation and skin reactions.

    This is where I always want to impress on you the need to only follow recipes with essential oils from experienced professionals. I brace myself from September through the holiday season as Cinnamon and Clove become the scents of the season. 

    Why You Should Use Professionally Written Recipes

    I recently saw recipes for a 20 ml lip balm with 20 drops of Cinnamon essential oil. I nearly fell off my chair! TWENTY DROPS!!!!!!

    The first issue is that the author made no distinction between Cinnamon Leaf and Cinnamon Bark, she simply said Cinnamon.

    From the photo, I could see she had Cinnamon Bark essential oil. Let’s just look at the adult safety dilution recommendations for both of these oils.

      • Cinnamon Leaf 0.60%
      • Cinnamon Bark 0.07%

    They are both very low safety dilution rates, but 0.07% is miniscule. 

    How Many Drops Should She Have Added? 

    Let’s make this easy for you to follow, and first work out how much that is in 100ml of base.

      • Cinnamon Leaf is 0.60% = 0.6 ml = @ 12 drops in 100ml, so in 20ml that would be 2.4 drops
      • Cinnamon Bark is 0.07% = 0.07ml = @ 1.4 drops in 100ml, so in 20ml that would be 0.28 drops

    The original recipe example had TWENTY drops in 20 ml of Lip Balm. Any person using that would be at serious risk of experiencing skin irritation on their lips, probably inflammation, and possibly even chemical burns. 

    Between you and I, I sent her the link to the relevant Safety Synopsis in the hope that doesn't happen again.

    What Do I Need To Be Cautious Of Then?

    Fresh mint leaf

    Stay essential oil safe when working with renowned spices, even in food, as being hot, warming, and/or spicy. These include Cinnamon Leaf, Cinnamon Bark, Clove Bud, Clove Leaf, Cassia, Oregano, Star Anise, and Nutmeg.

    However, it’s not only hot and spicy oils that have low safety dilution recommendations. A few surprises might be:

    Jasmin, Ylang Ylang, Melissa, Lemongrass, Hyssop, Spearmint and Lime. 

    All of these essential oils have safety dilution rates of less than 2%; most are even under 1% so always double-check the safety information if in doubt. 

    Is Your Old Essential Oil Safe?

    Vinevida Citrus Essential Oils

    Part of staying essential oils safe is assessing the age and quality of the essential oils that you have had for a while.

    Citrus oils contain monoterpenes that oxidize quickly. Oxidization degrades essential oil quality but also its safety. This change in the oil can cause unexpected skin reactions.

    Note any changes in your essential oils to gauge if it has aged:

      1. Has the scent altered at all?
      2. Are there any changes to the transparency of the oil, has it become cloudy?
      3. Did the color of the oil change?
      4. Since you opened the bottle, has the consistency changed? Has it gone thicker or thinner?

    Just because your essential oils have aged, does not mean you have to toss them necessarily. You just don’t want to use them on your skin anymore.

    Use old citrus oils for cleaning products and giving the loo a burst of freshness! Make fragrant shower steamers that aren’t going to come into contact with your skin. You can even mix it into Beeswax for beautifully scented furniture polish. There are so many ways to use up old oils before you even have to consider tossing them! 

    Find ways to use your old oils in:

      1. How To Use Aromatherapy Around The Home
      2. DIY Natural Cleaning Products: Get A Sparkling Clean Home, Naturally!

    Am I Diffusing My Essential Oil Safely?

    We have so many social media comments about how to use essential oils safely in diffusers.

    Most essential oils can be used in diffusers from a safety point of view. However, you always need to check your manufacturer's instructions to make sure your diffuser is specially designed to be able to deal with essential oils. This is key for nebulizing or cold air diffusers. 

    The main point to staying essential oil safe is around diffusing for short lengths of time, rather than diffusing all day. You can soon go ‘nose blind’ to your oils because your brain stops processing the signals that go to your brain to recognize the scent. The oil did not stop smelling gorgeous, your brain just turned the scent switch off. 

    This is why we recommend you use your diffuser in short bursts to get the most from your essential oils. You can find all you need to know in How To Use Essential Oils In A Diffuser.

    How To Be Essential Oil Safe Around Your Pets

    Cat Sniffing Smelling Wooden Bamboo

    It’s also important that you keep all bottles of essential oils away from your pets and store them correctly. 

    Clean up any drips or spills that they could walk through and potentially get on their paws and consequently ingest as they try to clean them off their paws. 

    Another essential oil safety question that comes up time and again is about diffusing essential oils around your pets. 

    Diffuser Essential Oil Safety For Dogs

    To keep essential oils safe for the dogs in your home, just be mindful of diffusing essential oils in small spaces of your home. Make sure your dog can leave the room if they want to and that freshwater is available to them too. Just keep an eye on their behavior, are they acting differently than normal? Use your common sense here. 

    Generally, dogs will keep themselves essential oil safe, and just get up and leave if the aroma is a bit too intense for them. 

    Diffuser Essential Oil Safety For Cats 

    Cats, however, are a different story!

    I have cats and I know how contrary they can be. We do need to be a bit keen about essential oil safety when it comes to our cats, especially in our diffusers. 

    Vets generally recommend not using oils around pets. Much of this is down to extremely limited research available to them to make an informed decision.

    When it comes to cats though, they know that cats lack the liver enzyme required to metabolize certain constituents in essential oils.  

    It is considered that actually, most essential oils are safe around cats. However, there is an exception when it comes to essential oils high in phenols. It is these phenols that seem to cause this inability in their livers to assimilate the constituents. Yet other constituents like 1,8-cineole, camphor, ketones, limonene, methyl salicylate, and pinene can also cause issues in high concentrations. 

    Essential oils to use with caution around your cats, especially in your essential oil diffusers include:

    Learn more about essential oil safety around your pets with Liz in Are Essential Oils Safe For Pets?

    Weighing The Risks Sensibly

    As an aside, I just wanted to offer some balance. One of my cats is currently quite poorly with what the vets seem to think is an inflammatory upper respiratory tract infection, of some kind or another (they don’t know)! The medication is not overly helpful and the next step is expensive and extremely invasive investigations. She is the tiniest (and feistiest) fluff ball of white fur you have ever seen and the thought of tubes and cameras down her tiny nose is just a bit too keen for comfort…for either of us!

    That’s why this week I decided to try and alleviate some of the inflammatory factors that could be contributing to her ails. Which means diffusing essential oils in our living room where she often sleeps. But not just essential oils….. Essential oils off ‘The List’!

    I’ve had to weigh up her advancement of years, and current condition and assess the risks. Despite talking to the vet who hasn’t the first clue. I have had to take responsibility for MY decision.

    She seems much improved during and after the diffuser has been going. So I am continuing, for now. 

    I’m Still Going To…

    If my adventurous cat comes back with a scratch from another territorial cat, I’m putting a dot of Tea Tree in Coconut and Tamanu oil on it for sure, to mitigate the risks of her developing an infection or an abscess.

    When my skitty skatty kitty gets overwhelmed, I’m going to calm her with a Lavender and Vetiver spray, especially in the car, which she hates.

    I take these, small, and considered, risks because they work for my cats.

    Educate yourself about risks, and weigh them up for yourself, responsibly and sensibly.

    Always get your vet's advice. But don’t be surprised if it is a blanket ‘No’, because they don’t have any specific knowledge themselves or research to draw upon. Even my own vet confessed to it just being ‘advice’. (Based on the lack of any real research and evidence).

    Final Words

    I hope that you have picked up a few pointers on how to be essential oil safe.

    I hope you have laughed at me as much as I have laughed at myself and forgiven me for telling you to ‘Do as I say and not do as I do’. I am sorry, and I will try harder. 


    Hopefully, you will understand why we dilute concentrated and powerful essential oils and how you can dilute them if you spill any on your skin.  


    I’m confident that I have cleared up the questions around  ‘Should I or shouldn’t I ingest essential oils? We do it all the time. But if you are going to do it, do it under professional care from a therapeutic point of view and use professional recipes if you are going to try cooking with them. You can have some really exciting culinary adventures with essential oils.


    Now you can store your essential oils correctly and in a safe manner. They are best in wooden boxes in a cool ambient place. 

    Safety Dilutions for Kids

    You should now have a bit more confidence around working out the right safety dilutions for your kids' age. Certainly, you know how to use Eucalyptus and Peppermint correctly when your kid has a cold now.


    If you are pregnant, you should be clear about what you can and cannot use and when.

    Phototoxicity and SPF 

    You can now identify phototoxic essential oils and avoid the sun and sunbeds for 12 hours after application.  You also know that essential oils have little to no SPF qualities. 

    Old Essential Oil?

    I’m certain that you can assess the age and quality of your essential oils confidently and know when to stop using them topically. We’ve identified a range of ways to use up old oils to minimize unnecessary waste and be more sustainable. 

    Diffusing In Short Bursts

    We have identified that we go nose blind if we use our diffusers for too long and that it is better to use them in short bursts instead to get the best effects. 

    Essential oil safety for pets

    You can identify how to diffuse essential oils around your dogs and assess the risks of using certain essential oils around your cats. We’ve given you a list of essential oils to exercise caution with and hopefully, given you some comfort that risks can be taken in the right circumstances. (In conjunction with your vets' knowledge/advice/guidance).

    Wow! What a lot we have learned in a short space of time. Thanks for joining us for National Injury Awareness Week.

    Stay essential oil safe everyone!

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