Essential oils are a great way to take care of yourself naturally but they do need to be used correctly to prevent from causing any damage. I'm not trying to scare you away from using them just want you to understand that if not used correctly they can cause you great harm. When they are used correctly they help many different conditions naturally. Here is a list of general safety guidelines:

-Never apply them directly to the skin without diluting it in a base oil first. The only ones that are safe to apply neat to the skin are lavender and tea tree.

-Make sure that you research any oil before you use it. Some may not be safe to use because of health conditions that you may have. For example if you have high blood pressure you need to avoid using rosemary essential oil.

-Do not use internationally. Some are toxic if taken internally.

-Patch test any oil before you use it. This can be done simply by placing a drop of oil in a few drops of base oil and applying to the wrist and leaving there for a few hours. If irritation occurs rinse the area well with milk or water. With any mild irritation you may be able to still use the oil as long as it is well diluted and if the irritation is more than mild you may want to avoid using the essential oil all together.

-Some oils need to be used in moderation to prevent toxic levels from building up in the body. Some oils take longer to go through the body and some of these essential oils can become toxic if too much builds but in the body. In researching oil you will know if the essential oil needs to be used in moderation.

-Some oils by cause phototoxicity, which may cause your skin to become more sensitive to sunlight or tanning beds. Many citrus oils can cause this to happen, so use caution applying these oils right before exposure to sunlight or tanning beds.

-Use extreme caution when using essential oils on babies and children. On babies under a year only a few oils are safe to use, lavender and roman chamomile are two of them. For infants up to the age of five make sure the oils are well diluted, use only about a quarter of what you would for yourself. The easiest way to do this is to use four times the normal amount of base oil. For children 6 to 12 dilute the oil in twice the normal amount of base oil.

-During pregnancy dilute the oil in twice the normal amount of base oil. There are also some oils that should be avoided completely during pregnancy and others should be avoided at certain times. In researching the oils you will know if they are safe to use during pregnancy.

-Not all oils can be used with homeopathic treatments because they reduce the effectiveness of the homeopathic remedy.

-Always store essential oils in a cool, dark, dry area in well sealed bottles, since they are very volatile and will lose their effectiveness if not stored properly.

These are just the basic safety guidelines for using essential oils, some essential oils themselves may have safety guidelines that should be followed. You will know what these guidelines are once you have researched the essential oil.