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Essential Oil Mistakes

There's NOT An Oil for That: Top Essential Oil Mistakes to Avoid

Everybody makes mistakes. It happens to the best of us, and whether it comes by lack of education or simple accidents, we’re here to clear up some of the top essential oil mistakes and how to avoid them. This article is not meant to scare you, but simply to inspire and encourage the safe use of essential oils.  

1. Applying essential oils neat: Using undiluted essential oils, 100% pure or not, shouldn't be done unless you’ve been advised to do so by a certified aromatherapist. The prolonged use of undiluted essential oils can lead to sensitization and your body can develop an intolerance to that oil over time. Diluting essential oils is a much safer and more effective option than using undiluted oils, and will save you money in the long run.  

2. Ingesting essential oils: Using essential oils as a flavoring agent may seem like a wonderful option, but it can lead to internal damage to your organs and mucous membrane. Pure essential oils are very potent, and if they can damage your skin when being used undiluted, imagine what they can do to your insides which are much more sensitive. Many people believe that because a variety of common essential oils are on the FDA’s generally regarded as safe (GRAS) list, this means they’re safe to use as flavorings. What they miss is that food and beverage companies commonly measure essential oils in parts per million- a measurement that is much too small for consumers to measure at home without proper lab equipment. We never recommend ingestion without first consulting with an aromatherapist and your doctor.

3. Adding essential oils to water: Water and oils do not mix, therefore adding essential oils to water to drink will lead to you drinking undiluted oils. Adding essential oils to water to make a body spray also does not disperse the oils throughout the water, which can lead to spraying undiluted oils on yourself. Furthermore, adding oils to any water-based substance will encourage the growth of bacteria, mold, yeast and other microbes, meaning that any mixture of oil and water should be used within a week or two to prevent the risk of using a contaminated product. To prevent this, add a preservative to prevent the growth of microbes and a solubilizer to disperse the oils throughout the water.

4. Repeatedly using the same oil(s): Using copious amounts of EO may put you at risk of being over-exposed to that oil, and it will thus lose its effectiveness. How will you know that you’ve been over-exposed? You likely will experience a weaker effect from that particular oil, or no effect at all. If this happens, it’s best to stop usage of that particular oil for a period of time.

5. Continuing to use an EO after having a reaction: Has this ever happened to you? You apply an essential oil to your skin, and your skin becomes red, irritated, inflamed or all of the above. You’re told that this means your body needs that oil, or that the oil is initiating the detoxification process. What’s actually happening is that you’re experiencing an adverse reaction to the oil. Unfortunately, at this point, many are told to continue using the oil though it’s causing the user pain and discomfort. If you experience sensitization or an allergic reaction related to an oil or product, discontinue use of the product and see a doctor. Lastly, we always recommend doing a skin patch test prior to topical use of essential oils.

6. Disregarding safety advisories of essential oils: Certain essential oils have safety precautions. For example, citrus oils are often phototoxic, spicy oils have maximum dermal rates, and oils high in 1,8 cineole should not be used around young children. At Edens Garden, we list a plethora of safety information specific to essential oils on their product pages, under “Safety & Shelf Life” with your safety in mind. There are further safety precautions that are generalized for pregnant and nursing women, children, those with medical conditions, the elderly, etc. We always suggest researching an oil and following safety guidelines prior to using that oil.

Have you or someone you know been injured by using essential oils incorrectly? Consider filing an essential oil injury report to better help aromatherapists, healthcare professionals, as well as consumers, understand the safe use of essential oils. Developed by a certified aromatherapist


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14 Responses

Renee Dossett

January 07, 2019

Thanks so much for these blogs. I am learning so much and thank you ones like this to inform all of us ways to use oils. Some of it seemed like common sense but before reading all of these I have heard people say to ingest/use neat/etc. which scared me a little.

Edens Garden

August 28, 2018

Hi Judy & Michelle! Water or ultrasonic diffusers work in a way where you can still effectively smell the oils though they don’t mix completely. Fortunately, this is ok for diffusion. We also recommend cleaning your diffuser every two weeks to prevent mold and bacteria growth.

Edens Garden

August 28, 2018

Hi Donya, Lori and Michelle! If you look at the link we provided at the bottom of this article, it directs you to an extensive essential oil injury report that people who’ve been injured by EOs have participated in. Though you may not have been injured from using essential oils neat or through ingestion, you will find that many people unfortunately have in this report. We at Edens Garden believe that it is never ok to frequently or casually take oils internally or through neat application without extensive research or working with an aromatherapist and doctor. It doesn’t matter the brand, quality or purity, essential oils are extremely caustic and potent and have the ability to cause damage to your health if used incorrectly.


August 28, 2018

I’m confused because most 100% pure therapeutic grade essential oils say they can be ingested. I’m wondering why this is in conflict to that.


August 28, 2018

I use the same oils neat ever day. I also ingest oils every day. I would certainly never tell someone else to do what I do, but I have total faith in my company. There is always an oil for that. IMHO.


August 28, 2018

When it says not to use essential oils in water I understand all the examples given as correct. What about in a diffuser, which works precisely due to putting oils in the (filtered) water?



August 28, 2018

Since EO do not mix with water, what about diffusers, the kind where water is added along with drops of EO. Often times after the water is gone I notice the oil is still there clinging to the sides or bottom of the diffuser.


August 28, 2018

If you use Young Living oils the vitality line (for ingesting) is perfectly safe. No other oil company has inevitable oils. YOUNG Living is head above the rest.

Edens Garden

August 24, 2018

Hi Shari! The article we link to under ingestion includes more sources of where you can find more information on the dangers of casual ingestion. The essential oil injury report we link to at the bottom of this article, contains reports of people who’ve been injured by ingesting EOs of various brands.

Edens Garden

August 24, 2018

Hi Phyllis! Rotating oils is a great way to ensure you don’t develop “oil memory.” Try switching between oils every week or every few weeks.


August 24, 2018

Please cite documented research for information provided regarding ingestion, using oils to flavor food and oil tolerances mentioned in this article. I’m very curious to learn as I have read conflicting articles as well as videos by certified aromatherpists.

Thank you!

Phyllis Collingwood

August 24, 2018

How often is too often to use any particular oil? Is it better to rotate to another oil or to take a complete break? And, how do oils applied externally interact with herbal teas. (I like chamomile, rose hips, peppermint, or hibiscus occasionally.)

Phyllis Collingwood

August 24, 2018

I use alcohol in my sprays to help oils n water mix and then shake before spraying. Anything better. I am not into lab created chemicals.


August 24, 2018

I love your post and this is so informative. this is why i ask again. create an app or book.
many want a quick refrence easy access way. so we turn to books from amazon. (that are written by other companies) a visual refrence would be great to introduce others ass well. people like something to touch or an app. when i give them the site they say will check it later. then my coworker jumps in with her visuals from another company and bam there buying and eating oils.