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Irritating Essential Oils

A Little Goes a Long Way with these Essential Oils


Irritating Essential Oils

Virginian Cedarwood - can cause irritation

Philip Nealey / Getty Images
Essential oils are amazing compounds - nature's true chemical wonders. The "essential" oils of aromatic plants have been used for centuries for both their smell and their medicinal applications. Now, aromatherapy is growing both in its practice and in its respect. But just because something is natural doesn't mean it's good for you. And just because something is good...doesn't mean that more is better. There are some essential oils that can irritate the skin if used in too high a concentration. They certainly shouldn't be used "neat" on the skin. But with proper caution and understanding, they can be used safely and to great effect. Note: since we don't (usually) rub our candles on our skin, this doesn't really apply to candles. But it does apply to candle makers. Getting these essential oils on your skin while you're making your candles can cause irritation!

These are some oils that may irritate the skin if used improperly or in too high a concentration:

  • allspice
  • aniseed
  • basil (sweet)
  • benzoin (unless specified as skin-safe)
  • black pepper
  • cajeput
  • cassia
  • cedarwood
  • cinnamon (leaf)
  • clove (bud)
  • cornmint
  • eucalyptus
  • garlic
  • ginger
  • lemon
  • lemongrass
  • peppermint
  • pine needle
  • thyme (white)
  • turmeric
Note: This list is not comprehensive of every single essential oil that may cause skin irritation. It is for general information and reference only.

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