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Soap Making Forum > The Soap Making & Craft Forum > Aromatherapy, Herbs and Essential Oils > Essential Oil Safety
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Old 07-21-2011, 06:04 PM   #1
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Default Essential Oil Safety

Lately there has been some discussion on safe levels of essential oils.

Depending on the intended application of the end product is going to determine how much essential oil is used. When we get into talking percentages, we're talking about the combined amount of the essential oil, not a percentage of each essential oil. For instance. It is commonly accepted practice that small children only receive 1.5% essential oil in a product, so your combined total cannot be above that level if you are making something for a child. And because children are so much more sensitive there is a list of essential oils that are the only ones that should be used for children (ref: Valerie Ann Worwood - Essential Oils for Healthy Children).

There are a lot of people (unqualified) that like to create pages about things they may not be qualified to write about and want their opinion to be heard. Not everything we read on the internet is the truth and there is a lot out there written by quacks with their own agenda. In fact who knows maybe I'm a quack (I expect people who don't like me or agree with my line of study call me that). Your best resources are from trusted authors, and even better than that by taking a course in aromatherapy, even if it is just an introductory course so that when you use essential oils in product you understand safe handling and how to find the information you need to understand what you are using and why.

Now let's touch on Photosentizers. All citrus oils are photosensitizing. What this means in layman's terms is that you are more likely to get a some burn when using a product with citrus in it if that are of the skin is exposed to direct, or even indirect, sunlight. Remember we can burn on a cloudy day (been there done that and it took me by surprise). So if you are using citrus in a product and you are using more than 2% concentration you should have a warning on the packaging. Is that the law - no. Is it responsible - yes.

May Cause Irritation This one means that it can cause contact dermatitis which can run from a little bit of burning, or irritation all the way up to full blown sensitivy which can be an allergic reaction. Mind you anything that says "may cause irritation" is unlikely to give you blisters as would something that is a sensitizer.

Sensitizer To become allergic to something we must be exposed to it more than once. Each time we are exposed to it we react stronger. An oil that is a sensitizer usually means that if you already prone to reacting to this ingredient or something within its botanical family you will be either have a reaction or make you more sensitive to the other allergy. For instance. I have an orange and lemon allergy - when I've had a reaction either mild or strong then I become more sensitive to my other allergies for about 3 months, for other people it can be 6 months to a year. The allergic reaction has my histamine levels up and reactive which is what an allergy is - your body rejecting a substance.

This is so much a shortened version, but I hope you find it helpful and at least a little informative.

My certification is Clinical Aromatherapist so I am by no means a master and my certification is only a year old so I too still have a lot to learn. The good news is that my training revealed how much more I need to learn If you get Saponifier then you will have read my articles on essential oil monographs which is a great way to learn about an oil. Take one oil that you want to use on a regular basis and learn everything you can about that oil, then move onto the next.


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Old 07-21-2011, 06:35 PM   #2
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Thank you for starting this thread. I have my Aromatherapy Certification from a Aromatherapy School in San Francisco. This was not one of those weekend or intensive classes that you can finish off in a week or so. It took me approx.. 4 months to finish the course with homework every day. Lots of reading, lots of studying and lots of hands on learning. I have worked in the Aromatherapy field for the last 20 years. I have taught private classes when I lived in Santa Barbara and I still do on occasion here in Palm Springs. I was fortunate to meet Shirley Price and have an excellent discussion on this subject. I took a very informative class from Robert Tisserand, who has a ton of knowledge.

I take ongoing classes whenever I can. As a Licensed Esthetician and a Massage Therapist I understand how important it is to keep up with any new information on essential oils and their safety. I am still learning and will continue to do so.


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Old 07-21-2011, 06:44 PM   #3
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Irena I think it is so important to help people understand how to safely use these amazing oils. I'm thrilled to know your training now too! I'm hope you won't mind being my go-to person....

My training took me a year to complete between the reading and the homework involved. So well worth it, although like I said, more than anything it taught me just how much I don't know..... but want to....
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Old 07-21-2011, 07:11 PM   #4
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Oh Irena, thanks for chiming in. Your years of training and experience are and invaluable resource to me!
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Old 07-21-2011, 07:48 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carebear
Oh Irena, thanks for chiming in. Your years of training and experience are and invaluable resource to me!
Thank you and you're very welcome.
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Old 09-14-2011, 09:15 PM   #6
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Do you happen to know which substance contained in citrus oils causes photosensitization ?

For example, citrus oils share "ingredients" with non-citrus oils lemongrass, melissa, litsea, etc.

Is orange peel or neroli also in this category ?
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Old 09-14-2011, 09:45 PM   #7
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Quote:
There are a lot of people (unqualified) that like to create pages about things they may not be qualified to write abou.t
AMEN!!!
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Old 09-16-2011, 10:35 AM   #8
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Some interesting reading here:

http://www.pharmpress.com/product/97808 ... ience#tab3

The link is to a book, which I haven't read, but a sample chapter is available for free download as pdf.
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Old 09-16-2011, 02:12 PM   #9
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I don't have any formal training in aromatherapy.

However, I recommend the IFRA standards as a good place to start to evaluate safe usage levels for a variety of fragrances, both synthetics and EOs.

Their website is a bit cumbersome and I have sometimes had some problems downloading things but here's the link:

http://www.ifraorg.org/en-us/home/public_home

HTH!
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Old 09-20-2011, 06:53 PM   #10
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I have probably a really silly question, sorry. If you are using citrus essential oils in soap i.e you're going to wash them off does it have the same photosensitizing effect as say in a lotion? I wanted to make a soap with some lemon essential oil in it and want to make sure, don't want to hurt my friends or family


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