Safety

Aromatherapy, or the practice of using plant materials—such as essential oils—to improve overall wellbeing, has long been studied for its ability to enhance feelings of relaxation, encouragement, excitement, focus, and well-being. Using essential oils aromatically, through diffusion, is a safe and effective way for people of all ages to enjoy the benefits of essential oils when appropriate levels are used in well-ventilated areas. Despite it being safe, school and class usage depends on various factors, including school policy and the preferences of students and parents.

For over a decade doTERRA has understood that essential oils, when properly sourced from optimal regions and thoroughly tested for the highest-levels of purity and quality, are the Earth’s gift to humanity. With this gift, comes great responsibility to respect the power of each element.  

The health and well-being of individuals and families using essential oils is most beneficial when proper usage guidelines are followed. doTERRA’s team of trained scientists and medical professionals utilise available toxicology data, relevant scientific compendia, and the highest industry standards to best determine the uses of these products. Safety guidelines include safe usage and handling directions. These specify the recommended dosage, dilution and how the product is best used.  We always recommend our products are used under adult supervision.

​Although extremely rare, reactions to essential oils occasionally arise. If a reaction occurs, it is important that the individual discontinue use of essential oils and consult with a physician. Gratefully, doTERRA’s rate of adverse reactions is approximately .01 percent.  doTERRA labels its products to help customers avoid any potential issues, no matter how rare, and provides education and training on our website, in printed materials, and through in-person events.  

How Do I Use Essential Oils Safely?

Traditionally, certain essential oil application methods have been preferred or used exclusively. However, as the research surrounding essential oils continues to develop, a greater understanding of application methods is now understood. Essential oils are usually delivered by one of three methods: aromatically, applied topically to the skin, or added to flavour food. They can be used a single oil at a time or in complex blends.

Aromatic

The sense of smell is a tool that can elicit powerful responses. Smell can affect emotions, behaviour, and memory. For this reason, essential oils can be quite powerful. Some essential oils induce uplifting or invigorating effects, while others are more calming. Diffusion is one of the simplest methods for using essential oils aromatically. Diffusers that use cold air or water are ideal. However, using essential oils aromatically does not require any special diffusing devices. You can achieve the same benefits by simply placing a few drops of essential oils in the palm of your hand, bring to your nose and inhale.

Additional aromatic uses For Essential Oils Include:

  • Apply oil to a cotton ball and place in the air vents of your vehicle
  • Mix oils in a spray bottle with water and mist over furniture, carpet, or linens
  • Add oil to a batch of laundry or to dryer sheets
  • Use in household surface cleaners


Topical

Topical application is a very effective method for applying essential oils. Because essential oils have low molecular weights and are lipid soluble, they can stay on your skin.
To decrease the likelihood of developing a skin sensitivity, especially for sensitive skin, it is advisable to use a carrier oil (such as Fractionated Coconut Oil) to dilute oils and when trying an oil for the first time. The recommend dilution ratio is typically one drop of essential oil to three drops of carrier oil.

It’s always advisable to use several small doses throughout the day rather than a single large dose. Start with the lowest possible dose (1–2 drops). A topical dose can be repeated a couple of times a day. Because every individual is unique, the dose can vary between individuals based on size, age, and overall health status.

Beneficial Areas You Can Apply Essential Oils

  • Neck
  • Forehead and temples
  • Chest and abdomen
  • Arms, legs, bottom of feet


Other Effective Methods of Topical Application 

  • Add a few drops of oil to a warm bath
  • Make a hot or cold compress by soaking a towel or cloth in water, adding essential oils, and then applying to the desired area
  • Add oil to a lotion or moisturiser and then apply to skin​


Sensitive Areas to be Avoided:

  • Some facial areas, such as the skin around the eyes
  • Eyes and inner ears
  • Broken, damaged, or otherwise injured skin


Food Flavour* Certain flavours have a rich culinary history and some essential oils can be used as food flavours. When you sprinkle cinnamon on your oats, sip a mug of peppermint tea, or add fresh basil leaves to your spaghetti, you are actually consuming some volatile aromatic essential oil compounds.

Essential oils contribute many flavouring and aromatic properties to foods.

The composition of essential oils is highly complex. Each constituent possesses a unique set of chemical properties. Essential oils are highly concentrated, so a little goes a long way. It is recommended that 1-2 drops is ideal to flavour food.

Effective Ways to Flavour Food 

  • Use oils in recipes for cooking or baking to replace fresh or dried herbs and spices
  • Remember that essential oils are much more potent than dried or fresh herbs and spices, so start with a very small amount
  • For more potent oils, it may be better to administer them by toothpicks (dip the end of a clean toothpick into the oil and then add to the food) rather than drops
  • Add essential oils to water, smoothies, milk, tea, or other drinks
  • Add a small amount of food flavour to yoghurt​​


*Oils for food flavouring meet the needs of the Australia and New Zealand food standards code for food additives. That is, for those bottles that state “For Flavouring Use”,  you may use 1-2 drops to flavour food. This is extremely common practice and many supermarket products contain essential oils – such as Arnott’s Mint Slice. Don’t go overboard here, treat it as you would vanilla essence! I’m sure drinking a whole bottle of that isn’t good for you either! 

For therapeutic internal use, always consult a trained professional. 

First Do No Harm

Using essential oils safely on children and infants

In most cases, we should always dilute oils on the skin, and this is especially true for children and infants to avoid unnecessary reactions or sensitisation.  Additionally, essential oils should never be given internally to children or infants. 

It is advisable to avoid using peppermint, rosemary, eucalyptus and wintergreen on young children or infants.  Since the effect of essential oils is more concentrated on children, always remember to dilute essential oils as before use. An air diffuser works wonderfully!

Photo sensitivity of certain essential oils
Most citrus oils contain certain constituents that may make skin more sensitive to UV light. Keep citrus oils away from excessive light, and wait until citrus essential oil is fully absorbed into the skin before heading outside. Oils generally considered photosensitive are: orange, lime, lemon, grapefruit, and bergamot.

Essential oils during pregnancy or nursing
Care should be used when taking or using essential oils while pregnant or nursing. The great news is, many oils are considered safe during pregnancy, (especially after the first trimester) – always use diluted in carrier oil, or aromatically (in an air diffuser).

It is obviously difficult to conduct trials on pregnant women, and doTERRA will not test on animals. So we take a precautionary, do no harm approach.   Oils best to avoid when pregnant: 

Aniseed, angelica, basil, black pepper, camphor, cinnamon, clary sage, clove, eucalyptus, fennel, fir, ginger, jasmine, juniper, marjoram, myrrh, nutmeg, oregano, peppermint, rosemary, sage, thyme, and wintergreen. Please check with your doctor before starting any new essential oil therapies or treatments. 

Essential oils in Plastics
Essential oils should never be stored in plastic containers. Many essential oils can leach toxins from plastics (even when diluted), and can degrade plastics over time. Keep your essential oil and essential oil blends in glass bottles, away from excessive sunlight. 

Essential Oils for Pets
If you choose to work with essential oils for your pets, seek out a professionally trained aromatherapist with additional training in animal aromatherapy. ​Our animal friends are trusting us to use essential oils safely and carefully, so please research your essential oils thoroughly before applying to your pets!

Excessive application of an essential oil directly to an animal’s skin can cause harmful reactions. Sensitization, allergies, skin sensitivity, respiratory difficulties, dermal burns, toxic overload and many other side effects can occur.

Having said that, gentle oils like lavender and frankincense have been fabulous in supporting my dog when she gets anxious. When you are diffusing with pets in the house, just make sure the room is ventilated, and that there’s some way for your furry friend to leave the room.  

These essential oils are are not recommended for personal use:
Ajowan, arnica, bitter almond, boldo, buchu, calamus, cascarilla, chervil, camphor, horseradish, mustard, narcissus, nutmeg, parsley, pennyroyal, rue, santolina, spanish broom, tonka, wormseed, wormwood. None of these oils are available through doTERRA.

Sensitive Skin:
Cinnamon, Clove, Oregano, Wintergreen, Pimento, Thymel 

Asthma
Although perfumes have been known to exacerbate asthma, this has never been recorded for an essential oil. However, anecdotal accounts suggest that some individuals with asthma may find that certain essential oils trigger an attack.