There is the potential for severe danger using essential oils improperly. Granted, essential oils are natural derivatives from plants. This does not mean they cannot cause harm. Unfortunately, many essential oil salespeople do not have solid knowledge regarding the safe use of essential oils. They are therefore unable to alert purchasers of potential safety risks with specific essential oils.


I would like to share a story of just such an occurrence. This experience presented a definite severe danger to this individual. A few months ago, I was contacted by a young lady who sounded very desperate for some help. She told me she had visited a natural health store to purchase some essential oils for a headache. This was her first time using essential oils.

She was sold two vials of essential oils, one peppermint, the other eucalyptus. She was instructed to mix the oils with water and apply topically. She also put it in her bath. She had immediate burning upon submerging in the water. The next day the burning was so intense she had to leave work early. She then found me online and hoped I could help her.

I asked her how much she had put in the bath and she replied the whole small vial. I have no idea how much that would have been. However, I feel certain it was not just a couple drops. I explained that peppermint is an essential oil that should be used in a bath with GREAT care, if at all. I personally would not use it. The chemical constituents of this oil can be intense especially when used in a warm bath. Warm water promotes absorption of the oils. Anytime essential oils of any kind are used in a bath, certain precautions should be taken. The oils should first be mixed with a dispersant such as a vegetable oil, or mixed with Epsom salt or magnesium flakes. Only a FEW drops are required, usually five – six drops of essential oils in a tub of water. Oil and water do not mix. Essential oils dropped directly into the water will not disperse into the water. This means the undiluted oils can come directly in contact with the skin. According to Salvatore Battaglia in his book, The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy Second Edition, “Be cautious when using citrus oils such as peppermint, lemon or sweet orange and spice oils such as clove or cinnamon because they can easily irritate the skin when used in a bath. A prickly sensation may be felt and a rash may occur. If this happens the bath should be vacated immediately, the oil washed off and a vegetable oil such as jojoba should be applied to soothe the irritated skin.”

Imagine what the young lady experienced with a small VIAL, not just a FEW drops, of peppermint essential oil. She informed me her private areas were also burned. Since it was the second day after exposure to the oils, I told her I wasn’t sure if applying a vegetable oil to dilute any possible residual oils would help. She indicated she had olive oil on hand. I recommended aloe vera gel as well. She said she had an aloe plant and would try using it. I also urged her to reach out to a doctor if the situation warranted it.

I called her back the next day to check on her. She had not gone to work the next day. She had tried to get into a dermatologist’s office but could not get an appointment fast enough.  She was going to try to schedule an appointment with her primary care physician. I recommended she call the store where she purchased the oils.  By letting the store know what happened to her, it might prevent someone else from the same misinformation and bad experience.


The National Association of Holistic Aromatherapy, The Alliance of International Aromatherapists, and The Aromatherapy Registration Council all concur that using undiluted essential oils, especially oils that are considered mucous membrane irritants, should be used with great caution and in a properly diluted concentration. Robert Tisserand, a VERY respected expert on Essential Oil Safety, states that essential oils used in a bath should be mixed with a dispersant before using in a bath.


Please use essential oils safely to prevent severe danger and injury. If you are new to essential oils, check with a certified aromatherapist or a registered aromatherapist for assistance. You can find these experienced individuals by clicking on the links above. You can search by state and city.  I am available to answer your questions on safety and can also be found in the links above. Using essential oils is a wonderful way to balance your well-being naturally and safely.


Please visit the Resource pages of BLUE JEAN MAMA to see more safety information for your enhanced experience using essential oils. As a seasoned essential oil user or as a newbie, you will find valuable information on this site. Take a moment to make your essential oil experience better than you could imagine.


To keep informed about essential oils and how to use them safely subscribe to Blue Jean Mama, LLC.


Battaglia, Salvatore – The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy   pg. 372 (One of my FAVORITE books)

Tisserand, Robert – Essential Oil Safety – Second Edition pg. 655

National Association of Holistic Aromatherapy

Alliance of International Aromatherapists

Aromatherapy Registration Council


Picture attribution: Copyright: alenkasm / 123RF Stock Photo

Thanks for stopping by,

Debrah Nadler – CA, RA

Tags: , ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *