Why I Took a Break From Essential Oils

It has taken me a long time to write this post because I am still trying to wrap my head around what happened and most importantly why and how it happened.

Back in September, I was having health problems related to histamine intolerance.  I occasionally get migraines, but around this time they were coming every few days.  This left me in something like brain fog almost all the time.  My skin started itching too, on my neck and face.  I was using Lavender and Frankincense Essential Oils mixed with coconut oil to try to help the itching, yet my skin began to break out in hives and what looked like my son’s eczema.  I became afraid to eat anything because the histamine intolerance is triggered by a long and random list of foods, read more here.  Finally, my husband suggested I stop using all treatments, including the oils and let my skin calm down.  I listened to him, and slowly my skin irritations cleared.  At this point I was not connecting the irritation to the oils, still blaming the histamine intolerance and assuming it was just suddenly increasing in severity, possibly due to recent weight loss and detoxification.

A few weeks later I put Frankincense on my face again, on my 3rd eye point.  I used to like to do this for connection and clarity.   This time it did not go so well.  My skin was red and itching within an hour of application.  I washed it off with carrier oil and the irritation cleared after a few days.  I didn’t understand why all of a sudden my skin was not tolerating the oils, but decided to wait a few weeks and let my body calm down.

Sometime in late fall, I tried a firming eye gel recipe with aloe, witch hazel and Frankincense Oil.  I put it on my poofy eyes right before I was leaving to drop my son off at school.  Immediately, my sensitive under-eye skin became red and was burning.  Thankfully this time I immediately washed it off with olive oil and the irritation cleared within a few hours.  That was a close one!

So I have discovered that I can no longer use essential oils, even the purest, on my face or neck.  I do not understand why.  In the past I applied them neat to my skin frequently and experienced no issues.  Were the oils pulling the excess histamine through my skin in order to detoxify my body?  I have no way to verify that, and honestly find it far-fetched.  Is my body just super sensitive and can’t handle the oils?  Possibly.  This is the reasoning which led me to take three months without applying the oils to my body.

Recently, I really began to miss what the oils add to my being.  I miss the connection to my spirit, the feeling of calmness and clarity, and how centered and grounded the oils make me.  Diffusing the oils works amazing, but sometimes I want the extra kick that applying the oils topically provides.

I mentioned before that I am pregnant, 14 weeks.  This pregnancy has been really different that my prior two, in good ways.  My body is craving yoga movements, vegetarian foods and my essential oils.  (Last time I wanted pizza or Mexican food only, no wonder I felt awful most of the time!)  A few weeks ago, I started using my oils again!  I have noticed that I cannot use the oils on my neck or face, but everywhere else seems okay.  I know the skin on those areas are more sensitive, but I still am not sure why I once could use the oils in those areas and now cannot.  If anyone has a theory on that, please share!  🙂

How I have been using my oils lately.

Diffusing:

  • Peppermint and Lemon together is an amazing combo to energize a room.  I diffuse this in the mornings and afternoons when I need some energy.  It leaves me feeling sharp and clear.  Love, love, love this combo.

Topically:

  • Frankincense – After I shower, I apply this oil along with some thick carrier lotion to my feet.  I love this oil, it is one of my favorites.  I am so glad that my body does not react when applied to less sensitive areas!

So that’s my story!  Have you ever had issues with using essential oils?  Or better, how have you been using your oils lately?  Please share in the comments below!

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21 thoughts on “Why I Took a Break From Essential Oils

  1. I am very new to the world of oils, but I wonder if your sensitivity is due to your pregnancy. I have never had sensitive skin and could always use most anything on my face without incident. When I was pregnant with my second daughter my face became incredibly sensitive and would turn red and burn with anything new. I used only a very natural olive oil based cleanser. Once I had my daughter my skin went back to normal. I hope this is the case for you so that you can get back to your oily goodness.

    Janiece

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    • Unfortunately essential oils are not FDA rtgalueed and Young Living consistently claims therapeutic grade . This is a Young Living marketing term and has no bearing on EO quality.

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  2. Young Living has the best oils on the market, so I do agree that their oils, selppuments and personal use products will definitely help someone recover from cancer, as long as these products are used on a daily basis, replacing all the toxic-filled products sold in our local stores.

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  3. I LOVE essential oils for healthcare! For my kids I only apply lavender, lemon, and (most recently) geranium topically for babies starting around 3m. I’m sure there are a few others, but those are what I have that I’m comfortable with based on my research. I will also diffuse lavender, lemon, and immune strength. Once they get to be about 1 years old I start using more on them. I do avoid eucalyptus globulous altogether for the 3 and under crowd, but I will diffuse eucalyptus citriodora once they get to that age. Hope this help!

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  4. I think it’s possible to be sensitive to esstential oils, I have had mild breakouts on my face months ago and I wanted to combat the zits with esstential oils. I have tried numerous oils that were recommended for acne. I started washing my face with a good carrier oil and esstential oils. But no matter what EO I used my breakouts have gotten worse and more frequent. I gave it time, several weeks to months, tried different types of EOS but I seem to breakout more now than I did when I was just using basic face wash from a department store. I also used to use Too faced make up but wanted to go more natrual, so I ditched the “bad” make up and started using brands that are Paraben free, Bismuth oxychloride free, etc. But doesn’t seem to make a bit of difference. Still breakout. I’m 38 yrs old and sick of breaking out. Ever since I started using EOS on my face I get so many little bumps on my forehead, annoying. I think EOS are great in general but I’m starting to think I might not be able to use them on my face. As far as EOs not being FDA approved I couldn’t care less, the FDA is a joke and I don’t trust anything they say or approve.

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  5. I am not pregnant but have and had the same symptoms as you. I have had to be treated for hives recently due to stress but pretty sure it was the EOs that kicked
    things in motion. I am currently experiencing it yet AGAIN!! Thank you so much for sharing. I cannot apply to face, neck or sometimes the chest area. Ingesting
    seems okay as well as diffusing and the bottoms of both feet. Blessings
    Sherry

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  6. I’ve always loved essential oils but have always questioned whether they give me a headache or just give me and overwhelmed feeling when I was around someone else who used them a lot. Then I had a friend who kept talking about how much she loved them and I was going through some health issues, so I gave some a try. For some reason, I find I can handle some essential oils, but others still give me a headache and make my skin itchy if I use them topically. I am also currently questioning whether I have histamine tolerance issues, however. I’m am recovering, or possibly still trying to recover, from SIBO. I want to love essential oils but I don’t always love the way they make me feel.

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  7. I am so in love with my essential oils and have tons of different ones. It is painful for me to say this but I will be honest. My right side of my neck is red, irritated, bumps, itchy and feels hot and painful.
    it’s the side of my neck that is next to my diffuser. The other side of my neck is fine, no symptoms. I don’t apply the oils topically or ingest them, I only use them in my diffuser. I use single oils, blends, and blends that I create from the single oils. I won’t be able to narrow this down as I use so many different ones for different reasons. What makes sense is that one or some of them are causing the problem. There is nothing else that I am doing to just the one side of my neck. I am heartbroken over this, as I have invested hundred and hundreds of dollars in the oils, and the books and the everything related to the oils and I am in the oil business.
    It is a real problem for me.

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  8. I have been using YLO for over a year now and all the sudden I can’t use them anymore. I broke out on my face, arm and hand. These are where I was putting them with a lotion I made. I had to take Benadryl to stop the itch. I tried putting Valor on my neck and frankincense on my temples and wrist. Where ever I put it it makes small bumps and rash that takes a couple of weeks to go away. I used lavender on my finger where I got a bee sting, and now I have a rash on my finger. It makes me sad I can’t use them, I have a lot!!. I’m hoping in time I can try them again.

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  9. Yes! Also pregnant and used the young living lavender lotion on my face and it turned bright red! I must be extra sensitive as well. The ART cleanser, toner and lotion is fine. I’m just out of the lotion right now. Bummer!

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  10. I read your blog b/c I’m having terrible itching with frankincense oil! I used it periodically off and on for a month or two, mostly on my stomach and was fine. But after changing from a less expensive brand to doTERRA (the first one said ‘therapeutic’ but also said not to take internally, so I think the doTERRA is a better, more refined oil) and receiving a roller bottle to apply it, mixed w/coconut oil, I used it more often. But I was able to use it only for a week or two before developing tremendous itching! I let it go for a day or two before applying again on my stomach and back, but b/c I’m using it for pancreatic cancer, don’t want to go too long without using it.

    Either my skin can’t handle the higher quality, or maybe I’ve used it more often than I used to, or applied it more liberally with the roller bottle, but for sure, it seems to be helping, as the cancer hasn’t grown for 2 or 3 months. After reading here, I’m thinking I need to NOT apply it topically anywhere, EXCEPT on my feet, which seems to cause no problems.

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  11. Hi! I just ran across your blog post! My face is swollen up like a marshmallow right now and I am loaded with hives. I have been using Frankincense oil in my facial routine for months now. Through my research in the last week. I have learned a lot more about Frankincense. It is one of the most likely oils to cause hypersensitivity to the skin. Go figure!! It is also my favorite, but I think I am banned for life as far as skin care goes. Frankincense has an even more likely ability of causing hypersensitivity if oxidized, which can happen when it is older or continuously exposed to air. Also, it should be kept in a dark cool place, such as a fridge. I suppose my steamy, bright bathroom wasn’t the best place for it. huh? Also, it should never be applied “neat” regardless or claims.

    I’ve decided I will heed the advice of my research. I can’t wait for my face to go back to normal! ;/

    Thanks for your post! I feel better reading it. It also confirms my research….

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  12. I had the same issue. I love my oils and used different kinds for over a year with no issues. I then got Pitariasis Rosea (horrible skin rash , google it ). Ever since then my skin breaks out in tiny red bumps that itch if I use oils. I have done what do, I put my oil on the bottom of my feet with no issue. I to love Frankensense oil and when diluted with a carrier can still use under my eyes but not everyday.

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  13. Pure Essential links should ALWAYS be diluted with a carrier. Otherwise over time your skin will have a reaction to them.
    Peppermint and florals are not safe during pregnancy.. Florals balance hormones, but when you are pregnant you don’t want your hormones being balanced. Peppermint is not recommended at any point during pregnancy however Spearmint is a good option and combined with lemon is great for morning sickness. Always safe to check which oils are safe for each trimester.

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  14. Thanks for posting your experience! I just came online to see if there’s a correlation between the oils and the irritation on my neck. I find it hard to believe that this would be a coincidence as I restocked my oils a couple of months ago and have been using them quite frequently. I too, love frankincense! I added a few drops to my daily facial moisturizer and a couple times a day I would apply it (neat) on my temples and forehead and on the bottoms of my feet before bed. Also, I was using the frankincense several times a day on my right elbow for inflammation. So… I’ve been getting a lot of frankincense in my body!! All of a sudden one day the back of my neck was itchy and blotchy all the way up to my ears which were bright red itchy and hot. Thank goodness I have long hair to cover most of this! Of course I immediately took a break from using the frankincense directly on my face and even now won’t use my moisturizer. The redness and irritation is gone for the most part but not completely. Anytime I touch my neck or if my skin gets warm it starts to itch and get blotchy again even though I haven’t used the oils on my skin this past week. I’m worried I overdosed on frankincense but have been hopeful that once my skin is fully resolved I could go back to using it. However, after reading your experience I wonder if after our bodies react to having too much they no longer tolerate it the same as once before…? I’m definitely going to be looking into this more. Also, having read your experience I wonder if this is specifically the frankincense!? 😦 I still believe in the quality, purity and effectiveness of Young Living oils. I think this just goes to show just how strong they can be and is a good reminder to use them carefully.

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  15. I began using EO for menopause issues last November. Clary sage and lavender mixed with coconut oil applied all over. I’ve diffused them as well. About 3 weeks in to my regimen I noticed my hot flashes were not as intense and the frequency of them deminished greatly!!! However, the soles of my feet hurt immensely! Sometimes I could barely walk. So I stopped putting any EO on my feet. By December I began to have hives and welts all over. I thought it was a new vitamin I was taking so I stopped all supplements. No change in itching. By Christmas I was miserable and popping benadryl daily. My sister told me to stop using the EO and I did for 4 weeks. Lo and behold no more itching. Unfortunately the hot flashes began to return so I’m using the EO once a week topically, increasing H2O and taking an oral herbal menopause supplement. I thought I was going to lose my mind with the itching. And the soles of my feet are no longer sore. I still believe in the benefits of EO though.

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  16. I researched a lot before using essential oils and I recall an aromatherapy doctor explaining in great detail the risk of using these high grade essential oils neat. She had early on learned the hard way by applying Lavender oil (generally thought safe) neat and unfortunately had a terrible reaction to it. Now, she can simply smell Lavender from a distance and her symptoms appear. I simply decided to take zero risk and always use a carrier oil, regardless. She developed a sensitivity and I believe that is what has happened to you. I did find it interesting that you washed the oil off with oil and it calmed down. Maybe you can still use the oils only diluted this time. I sure hope that is the case because it sounds like you truly love your essential oils. Best wishes to you!

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  17. I have had a terrible itch rash that starts to fade then returns. It started a year ago with a hormone replacement essential oil. Then around thanksgiving I broke out in a rash on my wrist. Currently, I have it on left wrist, right hand and right elbow and neck. I have stopped using them topically but now seems like I’m breaking out from everything! I purchased scent free and dye free laundry soap and washes and lotions. Hoping that helps. I also ordered a juice in the raw cleansing system to detox body. I’m extremely frustrated I loved my oils and what they did for me and not sure why all of a sudden I’m breaking out. I use Young Living which are supposed to be one of the best. My kids however, are still using them and are fine. Thoughts?

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