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Myth No.1 - Essential oils can be safely applied uniformly across all ages.

Essential oils in glass bottles with botanical backdrop

It's only fitting to start our series off with the topic of essential oil safey - an often misguided or even muted topic for moms, mom-to-be's, and babies.

I often read and hear about moms who like to use products infused with essential oils on their babies' skin. Though they have the best of intentions, they are likely doing more harm than good for their babies' health.

Essential oils are as they are called, the essence of botanicals. They are a highly concentrated form of the plant both in their effectiveness and fragrance. Used rightly, they provide valuable therapeutic benefits; used wrongly or recklessly, however, they can be toxic. Needless to say, this is a vast field of study, so let me focus back on the myth we're busting today - on age appropriateness of essential oils application.

It should come as no surprise that a baby's skin is much thinner and more delicate than an adult's skin. Actually, a baby's skin does not mature until it is 3 months old (Hoeger & Enzmann 2002), and it is therefore more sensitive and permeable, thus being more susceptible to skin damage from topical applications. According to the Tisserand Institute, a school renowned in the study of essential oils, a pre-term infant's skin should never be exposed to essential oils and for babies up to 3 months, the recommended essential oil concentration in topical products is no more than 0.1% (that's less than one drop in every 30mL). Even adults are recommended to use products with no more than 2.5% concentration. Of course, as with all things, there are exceptions based on a person's health condition and the said essential oil's quality and constituent properties, but these are recommendations suitable for the general public.

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