Even “natural” oils can be dangerous if not used correctly
With all the chemicals and pollution and toxins in our environment, sometimes you just want to use something natural and pure — something that has less than twenty ingredients and won’t give your future children three heads (and yet, tragically, just one eye.) This feeling has led to the rise in popularity of essential oils, but the more popular they become they more people are reminded that just because something is “natural” doesn’t mean it can’t harm you.
The latest victim of the essential oils learning curve is Elise Nguyen, who posted some photos on Facebook that are sure to have folks grabbing their magnifying glasses to look at the fine print on their bottles of essential oils.
Last month, Elise applied some Doterra oil to her neck and wrists before yoga class. After class, she went to a tanning salon to prep for a wedding she was going to in Jamaica. The next day, she had some mild skin irritation that she chalked up to a reaction to her laundry detergent. Then, things got bad: “…over the next couple of days, I developed nasty blisters due to a chemical burn. Turns out, there is a teeny tiny caution on the oil that states ‘stay out of sunlight or UV rays for up to 12 hours after application’ or something like that. I developed second and third-degree burns from the oils.”
Though the photos Nguyen posted were all within the first two weeks of her burn, she wrote, “Currently, I’m on day 22 of this burn. I still have open areas and they still hurt if I hit them wrong.” She is quick to point out, however, that the blame rests entirely with her and not Doterra: “I’m not blaming the company, it was my own damn fault. I just want everyone to be aware of this…I wouldn’t want this to happen to anyone else.”
The pictures of Nguyen’s burns are awful, and while not everyone uses tanning beds, a whole lot of us do use sunlight, which makes Nguyen’s experience important for any essential oil user and, at the minimum, reminds us to always read the labels of products we use on our skin. Using an essential oil is not the equivalent of rubbing a dandelion on your skin — there are health risks involved. Not only can they cause the kind of reaction Nguyen had, but they can be toxic. We had a story not long ago about how essential oils can pose a danger to children if they are incorrectly administered or stored unsafely. They may be popular and sold everywhere, but essential oils are not regulated by the FDA, and therefore not only have their risks and benefits not been fully researched, but they are also not required to have safety measures like childproof caps.
As with anything, the key is being informed and making to sure to use products as directed. Hopefully, thanks to Nguyen putting her experience out there, more essential oil users will take a close look at the warnings printed on the labels.