Essential oils have become common in homes, on jewelry, and for skin application. With the different scents, all-natural ingredients, and plentiful benefits, there is a good reason they are popular. While they are all-natural and beneficial, there is still such thing as too much essential oil.
Since they are so commonly used and sold in many stores, you may not think they can be unsafe. Using too much of them poses many health risks, however, despite the easy access. They are highly concentrated and should be treated as you would treat medication.
The consequences of using too much essential oil can be life-threatening in extreme cases. Even in minor cases of overexposure to essential oil, you can still be left uncomfortable and in pain.
When used correctly and safely, however, they are highly beneficial. They can be used for depression, anxiety, eczema, insomnia, hair growth, and many other conditions. It is important to know the risks involved, however, to know what to be careful of.
What Happens If You Use Too Much Essential Oil
Scientists have done intensive research on essential oils to determine how they affect the body. It has been determined that, in many cases, when using too much essential oil, the body is negatively impacted. Many of the plants the oil is extracted from are highly toxic, and their oil is highly concentrated.
It is important to understand what can happen if you use too much essential oil. This way, you can plan and use precaution in the future. These things all vary in severity but should all be taken seriously.
It may sound crazy that you can overdose on something all-natural, but it is possible. Since the oils are so highly concentrated, being exposed to too much can be extremely harmful.
An essential oil overdose can occur by inhaling or consuming too much or applying too much to your skin. Some of the things that can happen when you overdose on essential oil include the following potential outcomes:
- skin rash or burn
- nausea or vomiting
- gastrointestinal issues
- feeling weak
- liver malfunction
- hallucinations or other altered mental state
2 – Allergic Reaction
While this isn’t exactly an issue of too much essential oil, it can fall into the same category. Some people may not react when exposed to a small amount, but when too much has been used, it can trigger an allergic reaction.
Try to only introduce one new oil at a time to your household. Then, when a new one is used, watch everyone to see if a reaction occurs. Make sure to watch your pets, too, as they can have allergies, as well.
3 – Photosensitivity
Citrus oils often cause sun sensitivity, so it’s important to avoid exposure before going outside. It can cause severe sunburn with blisters very quickly. You’ll experience pain, swelling, and potentially irreparable skin damage.
If you know you will be outside, try not to handle them at all. These oils include:
4 – These Products Might Interfere with Prescribed Medications
Some essential oils can interfere with essential prescribed medications when used too much or at all. Your best option is to discuss the oils you are using with your doctor. This way, you can determine if the oils may interfere with any of your medications.
If you want to begin using new essential oil, hold off until you can talk to your doctor. You don’t want to cause any major health issues when combining things that shouldn’t be mixed.
5 – Skin Irritations
Too much essential oil can cause serious skin irritations. Before applying any oil to your skin, you have to be sure to dilute it with a carrier oil. Common carrier oils include jojoba, coconut, and almond oil.
Generally, you should use one teaspoon of carrier oil for every 3 drops of essential oil. Once it is diluted, test it on a small patch of skin two to three hours before applying it to a larger area. If irritation, itching, or redness develops, don’t apply the mixture to any other part of your body.
Skin irritations from essential oil can vary in severity, too. Some of them may be mild, while others can cause a serious rash or loss of pigmentation.
6 – Asthma Attacks May Trigger from Too Much Essential Oil
When someone has asthma, too much essential oil can trigger an attack. An asthma attack can also occur if the diffuser is left on for too long, so remember to shut it off after half an hour.
7 – Headaches and Migraines
Being exposed to and inhaling too much essential oil can cause a headache or migraine. This often happens if too much was put in the diffuser. Interestingly, some essential oils can ease headaches, instead, however.
8 – Pregnancy Complications and Decreased Milk Supply
Pregnant and nursing moms pay attention to what they eat and drink, but they should pay attention to the oils they use, as well. Not all oils are safe to use during pregnancy and when you are nursing.
When you are pregnant, the oils can cross the placenta and affect your baby. Essential oils get into your bloodstream and contaminate your milk, causing your baby to consume the oil. The oils that should be avoided include:
- Wormwood essential oil
Nursing moms should also avoid peppermint essential oil. It can drastically decrease your milk supply, and it can be hard to get back.
How Much is Too Much Essential Oil?
Knowing how much essential oil is too much can get confusing because it’s different for each oil. It also depends on if you are diffusing it, applying it topically, or ingesting it. It’s best to keep that information handy, just as you would a dosage chart for a prescription.
Normally, it is safe to assume that a couple of drops of essential oil is enough for a diffuser. This will allow the fragrance into your home and the medicinal benefits to kick in.
Some oils aren’t safe for ingesting at all, so even a little bit can cause a problem. These oils include sage and eucalyptus, which can both cause seizures when consumed.
When an allergy is present, even a little can be too much. As stated before, only introduce one new oil at a time to your household and watch for any allergy symptoms.
If you are applying the oil to your skin, make sure to dilute it first. Then, test the mixture on a small skin area to make sure that you don’t react to it.
Special Note on Essential Oils and Children
If you have a child in the home, you should be especially careful. Since their skin is still so thin, essential oils will be absorbed into the bloodstream more quickly. It’s important to keep them away from children at all times.
Store the oils in a place where children can’t reach them. If possible, store them with the medication so that you have all of the potentially harmful things in one place.
When you diffuse essential oils with a child in the room, consider doing a smaller amount than you normally would. Before diffusing anything, however, make sure to check if the oil you are using is safe for children.
How You Can Prevent Using Too Much Essential Oil
Now that you know the risks of overusing these products, it is important to know how to prevent it. Prevention is key when it comes to safety, and you won’t have any negative outcome this way. Some recommendations include these measures:
- keep the dosage information for each oil readily available
- don’t use the full dosage multiple times a day
- use only high-quality essential oils without added chemicals
- know the intended use of each oil and use them for only that
- discuss which oils you use with your doctor to prevent medication interference
- diluting the oils
- prevent spills by placing diffusers in a safe spot and closing up oil containers
- use carrier oil on your skin if accidental exposure happens. Water can make it worse
- don’t run your diffuser all day long
- store essential oils in a safe place, away from children
- never apply oils on a child’s skin or a pet
While they are amazing when used correctly, you have to be careful not to use too much essential oil. Using too much can cause serious health problems, cause allergic reactions, and have other negative impacts.
This information is not intended to scare you away from the natural products. It is simply a guide to using them safely and know what can happen if you use too much essential oil.
By following the intended use and dosage guidelines, you’ll be on the right track to using them safely. Remember to keep them in a safe place and avoid leaks or spills from occurring.