I was promoted to write this post because Emily Smith’s story caught my attention. Emily is a Brit whose face got very badly burned after using a diffuser near an open fire. The New York Post reported that she suffered terrible facial burns, which the images testify to. Now, let me be clear, it wasn’t the diffuser that caused the burns. And it wasn’t the oils in of themselves, that caused the burns. It was the oils used in close proximity to fire. Essential oils can be highly flammable, and should never ever be used near an open flame. This is why I want to warn you about the potential dangers of essential oils.
I have an equally horrific story, and let both our stories sound a loud warning bell. My story goes as follows: I was shooting a movie in Canada (it was pretty much my last job as an actress!). I had an aromatherapy ceramic burner in my hotel room. It was one of the old-school burners (see image), where you add a little water, essential oil, and then light the tea light candle. When it was time to go to sleep, I attempted to blow out the candle. Since it wouldn’t blow out, I held the burned a few inches from my face and blew hard. Either some of the oil must have hit the flame, or the flame must have licked up toward the oil, but either way it exploded into a fireball in my face. I experienced the most horrifying pain I’ve ever felt all over my face. I ran to the mirror screaming, and literally saw my face burning. It was getting more and more red. The worst thing about burning is that you cannot stop it. Like Emily, I attempted to splash my face with water, but it made it worse. I was rushed to hospital, and was told I was suffering from 2nd and 3rd degree burns. They said I would likely have to have plastic surgery.
I made a remarkable recovery (meditation, natural remedies etc) and the image you see below is a good week or so after the burn.
But the moral of the tale is this: You have to treat essential oils very very carefully. Do NOT use one of the burners/diffusers that necessitate a tea candle to be lit. Do not use any kind of diffuser near a candle or flame of any kind.
In of themselves, cold-air diffusers and nebulizers are very safe. My favorite one is by Organic Aromas*, and I have used it safely on a daily basis for years. No flame is required, you don’t even need to add water. You simply add a few drops of your favorite essential oil blend into the the glass nebulizer, switch it on, and allow the timer to gently and safely release the oils.
You also should exercise caution with applying pure essential oils directly onto your skin. They should always be diluted in a carrier oil, and you should perform a patch test too. I would also stay away from an open flame if you have just applied oils, been near a diffuser, or have been handling essential oils. My big tip: Use flameless candles!
We cannot be too careful, especially during the Holiday season when candles, gorgeous scents, and flickering fires are the order of the day. Please be careful!
*btw Organic Aromas is offering my audience 20% off their diffusers and essential oils for a short time only. Use can use the coupon code THANKSSOPHIE at checkout.