Essential oils are popularly known for its use in aromatherapy, but that doesn’t mean you should be using essential oils on babies.
It’s an alternative medicine where plant extracts are used to support well-being and health generally.
The use of essential oil may seem all rosy and enticing at first.
Nonetheless, some health claims associated with essential oils are controversial.
There are so many ways people use essential oils.
During aromatherapy, people may use it directly on the skin, while others may use it in a diffuser.
Whichever way you decide to use essential oils, it’s worth knowing that the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians says it’s not recommended for babies younger than three months old.
Here are ten good reasons why you should abstain from using essential oils for babies.
1. Some Essential Oils are Too Potent & Unsafe to Use on Babies
As you may already know, there are so many different types of essential oils.
It’s worth noting that we all should not overlook the potency of essential oils and the research made on essential oils before using any essential oil.
The bottom line is that some essential oils are not safe to use around babies because of the concentrated nature and strength of the chemical compound in the essential oil.
At the New York Institution of Aromatherapy, Libby Vlasic, an essential oil educator and a certified herbalist, and the owner of Wythe and Berry claim we should only use essential oils with respect and understanding.
She further adds that essential oils are made up of different molecules from different chemical families.
Some of these chemicals are safer than others and are similar to synthetic chemicals.
Essential oils are incredibly more powerful than medicines as they’re about 50% to 100% stronger than the actual plant matter.
Safety is essential.
Dilute essential oils before using them on the skin, in a diffuser, or any other application.
If the essential oils are not correctly used or diluted, the potency of the oil can cause adverse reactions such as
- Breathing issues,
- Blood coagulating problems and so on.
The problem of phototoxicity can also occur in less potent oils, even in citrus oils.
So, the potency of essential oils should never be overlooked.
2. They Can Cause Respiratory Problems
Some essential oils can be used to strengthen the respiratory system allowing it to absorb more oxygen.
Another common problem of essential oils is that it can also cause respiratory problems in babies.
Essential oils like peppermint, eucalyptus, lavender, and so on are known to be the significant triggers of respiration problems.
Essential oils are potent odor oils that are emitted by the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the essential oil.
The quality of indoor air can be significantly affected by the volatile organic compounds in the essential oil, just like air fresheners, incense, and scented candles.
Having a baby in poor indoor air quality can make the baby sick with allergies, asthma, and other illnesses.
It’s worth noting that the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) classifies essential oils based on their intended use.
For instance, the FDA classifies lavender lotion as an excellent relaxing scent cosmetics.
The truth is that the FDA does not have any regulation classifying cosmetics as either organic or natural.
Furthermore, Neha Solani, MD, a pulmonologist with the Cleveland Clinic Asthma Center in Ohio, says essential oils specifically diffused lavender and eucalyptus releases benzene, toluene, and terpene into the atmosphere.
If we consume benzene, toluene, or terpene, it can cause respiratory side effects.
Terpene especially can cause chest tightness, wheezing, and shortness of breath, among others.
3. It’s Never Safe for Babies to Ingest Essential Oils
A rampant misconception or misinformation that is going around about the topic of essential oil by MLM companies is their inaccurate advice about the safety of ingesting undiluted or unsafe essential oils.
Also, babies are fond of putting everything they can lay their hands on in their mouth.
So, if essential oils are not safe for ingestion, then using them on babies is wrong on all counts.
You must take note that you should never ingest essential oil or put essential oil in your food unless you’re under the care of an aromatherapist.
Essential oils are generally not safe to consume as it takes a very little quality of essential oil to cause a significant poisoning when ingested.
According to the Western Australian Poisons Information Centre (WAPIC), over the past years, there has been an increase in the amount of poisoning as a result of ingesting essential oil in children.
When undiluted essential oils are ingested via sensitive skin or through the nostrils, it can cause burns or irritation.
Symptoms of orally ingesting essential oils is fast and are more rapidly absorbed and can develop as fast as within 30 minutes after ingestion.
Some other individuals who orally ingested essential oils experienced symptoms after 4 hours of exposure.
The severity of the symptoms depends on the type of oil consumed and the amount ingested.
Some common symptoms include nausea/vomiting, skin irritation, drowsiness, seizures, eye redness, among others.
4. They Can Cause Rashes
One of the well-known allergy babies have when they’re reacting negatively to essential oil is rashes and itching skin.
Just because essential oils are from plant extracts does not mean it doesn’t have its fair share of side effects, especially allergic reactions from using them.
An allergic reaction commonly reported to be associated with essential oils and rashes is contact dermatitis, which is characterized by itching and bumpy rash on the skin at the site of contact.
We’re not ignoring the fact that some essential oil can help fight against zits, but if you don’t use essential oils properly, it can also cause skin problems.
For example, rashes caused by contact dermatitis may appear to be similar to the poison oak and may blister or peel when the rash is resolving.
Other common skin reactions that can be caused by essential oils include allergic contact dermatitis (delayed hypersensitivity), and contact urticaria (immediate hypersensitivity).
The initial symptom of a baby reacting to essential oils that cause irritation or allergy is pretty much the same, but irritation may get resolved within a few hours.
Still, allergic reactions could persist for a few days or weeks in babies.
5. A Lot of Essential Oils are Overused
If only people understood how to use essential oils, it would make a lot of difference when it comes to using it on babies.
Due to the frequency of how people misuse and overuse essential oils, using it on babies can be very dangerous.
A lot of people casually use essential oils, and it shouldn’t be so, because grossly they overuse them without even knowing.
The overuse of essential oil is hazardous, as it can lead to so many anomalies.
Just like the way we see any other remedy or medication, nursing parents should use essential oils intentionally and with caution.
Preferably, if parents must use essential oils on their baby, they should do so under the guidance of an aromatherapist.
6. People Generally Use Essential Oil Incorrectly
For example, there are essential oils that are tagged kid-safe, but despite that, you should never apply these essential oils directly on your child’s skin undiluted.
It’s also crucial that you note that you shouldn’t leave the diffuser running for more than 15 to 30 minutes at a time.
Nonetheless, it’s a common practice for people to leave the diffuser running for hours at a time.
If, for any reason, you’re in doubt of any particular information you heard about essential oils, then do your research even though there are very few studies on essential oils.
Most of the information you find online is mostly exaggerated or directly marketing strategies to sell more.
Another all too common mistake people make is trying to force their babies and themselves to like a particular essential oil, perhaps because of its benefit.
For example, if you don’t like lavender, then don’t use lavender because you want to enjoy its benefit to you as an insomniac.
So as not to force yourself to like what you don’t like, you can experiment with oils you haven’t tried before, but with the same benefits.
Zesty lemongrass is a potent alternative to lavender.
7. Essential Oils Can Cause Seizures
A lot of healthcare professionals have warned against administering essential oils orally or topically as it can cause seizures in babies.
Some conventional essential oils generally associated with seizures include eucalyptus, fennel, hyssop, pennyroyal sage, among others.
The active substance that is in cineole, thujone, and camphor are known to be associated with seizures.
In addition to the essential oils listed above, reports in different literature say that clove oil is known to cause acute liver damage, coagulopathy, and coma when exposed to a two-year-old baby.
Many over the counter products that contain essential oils have been reported to cause seizures in children, especially those who have unintentionally consumed products like Vicks vapor rub.
In a case reported in New Zealand, that resulted in an adverse reaction described by lethargy, ataxia, and vomiting followed by a grand mal seizure in a four-year-old girl when they used an over the counter head lice treatment that contained eucalyptus oil.
8. If the Quality & Purity of the Oil Isn’t Right, It Can Cause Harm to your Baby
It’s worth knowing that the essential oil industry isn’t well regulated and so there are little or no rules that dictate what these essential oil companies should disclose on their product labels.
As a result of this loophole in the industry, it leaves a door wide open for a different number of additives and chemicals to make their way into the essential oils.
Please just because you see an inexpensive essential oil on Walmart, Amazon, Target, and any other bug retail store, doesn’t mean you should buy them.
When you want to buy quality essential oil, and you want to be sure of the quality and purity of what you’re buying, then buy it from the manufacturer.
9. Headache is One of the Few Known Side Effects of Essential Oil
There are so many pro-essential articles about essential oils, but if you must know, migraine is one of the few side effects all too commonly associated with essential oil.
Essential oils may smell sweet and lovely, but exposure to it for too long can be harmful to babies, pets, and pregnant women.
According to a study, 40-50% of people who experience headaches also noticed a change in their sense of smell during an attack caused by essential oils.
Aversion to scent, especially those of essential oils you don’t like are also closely related to symptoms of nausea.
Given that there is a close relationship between migraines and the sense of smell, it’s only beneficial that you seek out an alternative remedy other than essential oil.
10. They Can Make the Skin Photosensitive
There are different essential oils suitable for sun protection, but some essential oils are commonly associated with photosensitivity.
The term skin photosensitivity means a process where a given chemical present in the skin absorbs ultraviolet like which then initiates a reaction on the skin.
Some products are photosensitive, and they’re labeled with caution to avoid ultraviolet light from any source like sun tanning beds, or sunshine.
Essential oils are no exception when it comes to photosensitivity reactions, and they may cause redness, blisters, permanent skin discoloration, burns, and itching on the skin.
Certain essential oils like citrus oil contains constituents like coumarins, linalool/linalool, furocoumarins are potential photosensitizers.
There are some essential oils reactions to photosensitivity that may not occur until several hours.
Still, repeated exposure may lead to long-term issues such as squamous cell skin cancers, and basal cell skin cancer, and even more malignant chances such as melanoma.
In conclusion, essential oils may come with a lot of benefits, but it’s crucial to know the side effects of any essential oil you want to use before actually applying it.
It’s best to familiarize and educate ourselves before we consume or use anything.
If you have anything you’d like to add as to why using essential oils on babies is a bad idea, let us know in the comments below.