Essential Oils to Avoid

Last Updated on November 11, 2022 by Brenda

Essential Oils to Avoid

People who use essential oils and aromatherapists as well need to be aware of any injury or undesirable effects they may cause. Most essential oils handled properly have very small risks using them. Sometimes they can irritate skin but are very unlikely to cause long-lasting discomfort when used correctly.

1. Fake Essential Oils

Essential Oils Trends

So many of us love our essential oils that have become trendy and popular in the last few years even though they’ve been used by the ancient societies for thousands of years.

With a resurgence of essential oils, the marketplace is flooded with them to a tune of $6 billion dollars annually and everyone wants a part of it.

Be aware of the ones that are actually 100% pure and the ones that are imitation.

2. Know Where to Buy Essential Oils

If you cannot find a website for the essential oil brand you are considering to buy, don’t buy it. A reputable company will have its own website and be honorable with integrity doing trustworthy business.® is a place to buy essential oils where you can trust the major brands that do have their own websites.

Some of the highly regarded companies in alphabetic order for no unfairness are:

I cannot tell you the essential oil company brands to avoid, but I can tell you what products to avoid.

There are many companies selling cheap, fake, synthetic, or adulterated essential oils that have no therapeutic value of any kind that I want to tell you what to watch out for.

Many of these counterfeit products present their false creations by mixing some pure essential oils with cheap seed oils and nut oils misrepresenting them to be the true 100% pure essential oils that we want. They also use chemicals that smell like the plant. These products usually sell for less money, yet in fact, can cost even more than the real essential oils. Buyers beware!

Here are some ways to tell if essential oils are fake:

3. Pouring

  • Pure essential oils have a cap with a Euro orifice plug for pouring a single drop at a time.
  • The NOW® brand has a dropper to dispense one drop at a time.
Pure Essential Oils

4. Appearance

  • When you put a drop of essential oil on a piece of white paper, it will not leave any oil residue because pure essential oils are not an oil at all. Somewhere along the line, the name was coined ‘oil’ since they do not mix well with water and float on top of it.
  • If you see an oily ring, it’s not a pure essential oil that’s not really an oil, but a name.
  • Be sure the label states purity so that you know you are buying 100% pure essential oils and not the fake stuff that won’t show this on labels. For instance, a label should have the word ‘essential’ in it and if it doesn’t then you are probably looking at a mixture of things. It could be just a perfumed oil not having any of the essence of real plants from nature.

5. Price

  • A costly product is not indicative of 100% pure essential oils. Fake products are usually cheap. It takes a large amount of plants to produce even one small bottle of the good stuff. You can always check on the Internet where some pure essential oils such as Lavender, Rosemary, and Sweet Orange have a similar price range no matter where you buy it because they are common and most used by buyers.
  • On the other hand, 100% pure essential oils such as Rose, Jasmine, Lemon Balm, and Helichrysum are more expensive due to the number of petals or plant material needed to make one of those small bottles.

6. Packaging

  • Pure authentic essential oils made by the most reputable companies put their oils in glass amber, dark blue, green, and sometimes purple bottles. I have never seen purple and green bottles from the most reputable branded companies, however. Oils in plastic bottles will not be the real thing even if they are amber.
Essential Oil Bottle
  • Storing 100% essential oils in glass protects the oils from ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun. Additionally, these bottles must be kept in a cool dark place to not have their chemical structure destroyed by heat.

7. Touch Responsiveness

  • You can check this yourself with one of your cooking oils such a vegetable, grape seed, or olive oil on your index finger. Rub it around with your thumb and you will feel how oily or greasy it is. This won’t happen when you put a drop of essential oil on the other finger and rub.
  • Then too, 100% pure essential oils will have some slide especially the heavier and darker colored Sandalwood, German Chamomile, and Vetiver.
Vetiver oil by Young Living
  • The fake oils will always be greasy and slippery.

8. Factors for Safe Use of Essential Oils

The quality of the essential oils you use are a foremost concern. Adulterated essential oils with chemicals or other impure ingredients can cause an adverse reaction. Therefore, as I’ve discussed in all of my articles, only use 100% pure essential oils from the best essential oil companies shown at my website.

9. Chemical Components in Essential Oils

Skin reactions can occur using essential oils abundant in aldehydes, such as citronellal, and phenols in the chemical composition, for example cinnamic aldehyde and eugenol. These oils should be diluted before applying to your skin with carrier oils or blending with other essential oils. This will reduce their effect to cause skin irritations.

10. Methods for Using Essential Oils

Essential oils can be misted in a nebulizer or ultrasonic diffusers. Essential oils can be applied to your skin with carrier oils or blended with other essential oils. Some can be taken internally, but with caution and knowledge to do this.

ZAQ Dew Essential Oil Diffuser

Prolonged exposure to essential oils due with high levels of oil vapor can cause headaches, vertigo, tiredness, fatigue, and nausea.

11. Dilution for Skin Application

For aromatherapy essential oil-based blends, use between 1 and 5% dilution rates. This means if you use 10 drops of essential oil for a body massage, add 0.05 drops of another oil. Hard to figure out? Just add 1 to 2 drops of another oil to your main oil or mix with 1/2 cup of carrier oil and you should be fine.

12. Skin Integrity

Skin Integrity

If your skin is inflamed, damaged in any way, or has a disease, the skin will absorb essential oils more readily, be more sensitive, and might give you reactions.

It can be dangerous to put undiluted essential oils on skin irritated in these ways and the skin issues can become worse. Therefore, do not put essential oils on damaged skin diluted or not.

You should see your dermatologist to determine what skin condition you have.

13. Age of Essential Oil Users

Essential Oils for elder and Children

Being more sensitive to essential oils are infants, toddlers, young children, and elders. The oils are very potent and might be safe to use for this age group at a range from 0.5 to 2.5%.

Specific essential oils should not be used at or, or highly diluted unless under the professional guidance of an aromatherapist.

Birch and Wintergreen are both high in methyl salicylate. Peppermint is high in menthol, and Eucalyptus is high in 1,8 cineole. Lavender stoechas is high in camphor and shouldn’t be used for children. You can research all of these chemicals on the Internet and Wikipedia.

Seniors also called elders usually have more skin sensitivities since the skin thins as we age. Dilution is recommended for their skin too.

Essential oils that can irritate elder’s skin:

  • Bay Pimento
  • Cinnamon Bark or Leaf
  • Clove Bud
  • Citronella
  • Cumin
  • Lemongrass
  • Lemon Verbena
  • Oregano
  • Tagetes
  • Thyme

Essential oils made from bark is more irritating than oils made from leaves, such as Cinnamon bark.

14. Essential Oils During Pregnancy

Essential Oils During Pregnancy

Using essential oils during pregnancy is not fully understood and is a highly debated subject. My philosophy on anything: when in doubt, don’t.

If you’re pregnant or planning to be, it’s best not to use essential oils because the components within the oils by nature can cross over into the placenta and could harm your fetus or baby. This will be contingent upon the plasma concentration of the blood plasma and toxicity it can have. What mothers consume, drink, and breathe cross over into the fetal blood. When in doubt, don’t.

There are many outlooks on essential oils when pregnant. Some experts say that during the vital first 3-months, it is not likely that a bath with a few drops of essential oils will cause any problems for the unborn baby and there are no aborted fetuses or abnormal babies when a small usage of essential oils are used by massage or diffuser.

Clarry Sage, Rose, or Rosemary have been thought to cause a miscarriage; however, there are no records to prove this.

What does play a part is high toxic amounts of essential oils such as Pennyroyal and Parsley Seed that can abort the fetus due to their concentrations of their natural innate chemical components. A professional therapist can help moms to relax and ease pregnancy discomfort with careful use of 100% essential oils.

Essential oils to avoid when pregnant, labor, and when breastfeeding:

  • Aniseed Pimpinella
  • Basil
  • Birch
  • Camphor (cinnamomum camphora)
  • Hyssop
  • Lavandula stoechas
  • Mugwort
  • Oak Moss
  • Parsley Seed or Leaf
  • Pennyroyal
  • Rue
  • Sage
  • Tansy
  • Tarragon
  • Thuja
  • Wintergreen
  • Wormwood

These correctly diluted essential oils seem to be safe for use during pregnancy:

Benzoin, Bergamot, Black Pepper, German and Roman Chamomile, Clary Sage, Cypress, Eucalyptus, Frankincense, Geranium, Ginger, Grapefruit, Juniper, Lavender, Lemon, Mandarin, Sweet Marjoram, Neroli, Petitgrain, Rose, Sandalwood, Sweet Orange, Tea Tree, and Ylang-Ylang.

Final Thoughts

Check out how long the company brand name has existed and its professional reputation within the aromatherapy community that have been trusted and loved for years.

With the above information you can feel more secure in what you buy for 100% pure essential oils for yourself and your family.

Leave your question or comments below that I will answer. Come back often to read more about 100% essential oils, diffusers, and more items with free giveaways offered. Happy shopping!


Welcome to my blog! I am Brenda Star and I am a true believer that Nature is fascinating and enchanting. The history of herbs and their uses are captivating. I have always wondered how did the ancient people know—how did they come to understand what a plant would do. They did not experiment in a lab because those technologies did not exist. That wisdom will always be a mystery to me. More about me...