In Part 3 of my monthly series with Guest Author Eve from Eve Organics, Eve discusses essential oils, essential oils and pregnancy, along with how to find out if you're allergic to EO's, and other best-practise tips.

Most natural make-up and skincare contain essential oils (or some element of them), so this is a must-read for anyone that may be sensitive to EO's, and a handy reference to keep bookmarked!

You can also find the rest of the series here.

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Essential oils are included in the vast majority of skin care formulations – so it makes sense to learn a little about them, and how they can work for you (or, why they might not work for you). Firstly, what exactly is an essential oil..? Let’s start there.

Essential oil basics

Essential oils get their name from the word ‘quintessential’ – that is, an essential oil carries the ‘essence’ of a plant. Typically, essential oils are highly aromatic and concentrated, and contain the healing properties of the plant they’re extracted from.

Essential oils are found in “secretory structures”, which are located in various plant parts – in leaves, berries, petals, roots and zest; depending on the plant. They’re extracted via steam distillation or mechanical (cold) pressing.

Some essential oils contain over 100 compounds, each with individual properties; so the same essential oil can have a number of therapeutic benefits and applications.

Essential oils & allergies

Essential oils are often promoted as non-allergy producing. Most often, the reason given for this is that they don’t contain proteins. While this is true, essential oils do contain other, smaller compounds that can bind with proteins in the body and cause an immune system response.

While allergic reactions to essential oils are not overly common, they have been documented. Some essential oils that have been reported to cause reactions include tea tree oil, lavender, bergamot, German chamomile, geranium and ylang ylang.

It’s important to remember that each of the aforementioned oils offer a host of therapeutic benefits, and are tolerated well by the vast majority of people who use them. Like a lot of things in nature – most commonly foods such as fruits, vegetables and nuts, some can be healthful for most people but allergy-causing in a small few.

What you can do if you’re allergic

If you’re allergic to one or several essential oils (or, you think you may be), there are a few things you can do. The first would be to conduct a patch test. Apply a small amount of the essential oil (1-2 drops) to the back of your hand and monitor it for any adverse reaction over the course of 1-2 hours (but most allergic reactions occur within about 5-10 minutes of application).

Do keep in mind that there are certain essential oils (called ‘hot oils’) that cause a warming or ‘tingling’ sensation when applied to the skin; not to be confused with an allergic reaction. Hot oils include cinnamon, clove, lemongrass, oregano and thyme.

If you do experience an allergic reaction after a patch test, remove the oil by ‘rinsing ‘ it with a carrier oil. Carrier oils are highly-tolerable oils, such as olive, coconut or grapeseed.

Another option is to become ingredient-savvy and avoid the essential oil in question – that is, if you know which essential oil it is. If you’re unsure, then the safest bet may be to start using essential oil-free skin care – such as the ‘Pure’ range by Mokosh.

Essential Oils & Pregnancy

The use of essential oils during pregnancy is a controversial topic. Although certain essential oils can be highly beneficial during pregnancy (such as chamomile and lavender to relax & assist with sleep, and frankincense to balance skin complaints), some expecting Mums choose to avoid certain oils for their ability to affect hormones. These include clary sage, may chang, birch, black seed and nutmeg – but you can find a more complete list here.

Even if an essential oil is deemed safe to use during pregnancy, some experts advise steering clear of them at least for the first trimester.


Essential Oil Safety Guide
Debunking Dangerous Myths About Essential Oils
Essential oils – what they are
Using Essential Oils Safely for Pregnant and Nursing Mamas

Eve is the owner and founder of Eve Organics, an Australian-based natural beauty boutique specialising in niche, small-batch brands from across the globe. With her natural beauty experience and passion for uncovering the latest in green beauty, Eve Organics has developed a reputation for showcasing hard-to-find brands and unusual products, as well as big names like Tata Harper and Vapour Organic Beauty.

Kelsey xx
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