Saturday, August 2, 2014

My Horror Story With Essential Oils...

Ok, my story isn't really all that bad, but it's a great warning for any of you interested in working with essential oils.

In true Healthy Hoff fashion, I went on one of my tangents and dived in head first into experimenting with some essential oils recently.

I had read that combining Lavender Oil with Frankincense Oil could create an effective concoction to remove sun spots.

Lesson 1: Know what you're working with.

I knew how potent 100% oils could be, but I went ahead anyway with no additional research to determine what I was working with.

Well, I burned myself.  I spilled both oils all over my hands, which resulted in a mild chemical burn.  Initially, nothing happened and I didn't think anything of it.  In fact, I didn't even wash it off; I just rubbed it into my skin.  BIG MISTAKE.  I should have washed it off immediately.

About one in the morning, I woke up scratching my hands like a mad man and could not stop!  When I finally did get up, my hands were bright red and HOT! At that time, I did not make the connection to the "oil spill."  I grabbed a tube of Benadryl and off to work I went.  Throughout the day I applied the Benadryl, but my hands still burned.

I went through the usual list of suspects: stress, allergic reaction, flesh eating bacteria (you can never be too thorough).  But, in the back of my mind I wondered if the essential oil had anything to do with it.  See the problem was that I had red blotches going down my forearms and the oil never got there; hence my perplexity.

The next day, hands still inflamed, I noticed a definite rash on my feet.  OIY!  Either this thing is spreading or I've got multiple problems.   

Lesson 2: Seek medical help.

This time I ignored my typical response to simply wait it out and called the doctor ASAP!  Funny thing, you say chemical burn and suddenly the doc isn't booked after all. 

So I was right, I just didn't understand how I was right and my doc put the pieces together for me. I definitely had a chemical burn on my hands from the initial contact.  And since our body absorbs 60% of what we put on our skin and I didn't wash off the essential oil, both oils went right in my bloodstream and began an assault on my body; in the form of rashes.  In fact on day three, I woke up to find my legs covered from waist to toe in really, really bad large red blotches.  I'm so glad I got the scoop from my doc before that little discovery because I would have gone into full on panic mode.

What to do?

Lesson 3: Wait & hydrate!  

That's right, I just needed to wait until the essential oils worked their way out of my system and the best way to speed that along is by drinking lots and lots of water.  The doc did give me a topical cream for the rashes and burn and a pill to combat the itching.  But, I opted against the steroid cream and questionable side effects of the pill and relied on Coconut Oil & Calamine Lotion and lot and lots of water instead.  Within about seven days,  I was ready for my bathing suit again.

Lesson 4: What did I learn?

So the moral to this story...respect the oils.  They seem all harmless, but some can be pretty potent.  If you're going to work with oils, do your homework and learn to properly use them.

Also, this experience really emphasized just how much are bodies absorb what we put on our skin and where it goes when it does - everywhere!  So think of that next time you apply make-up, perfume, moisturizer, deodorant, use cleaning products...check the ingredients, is there anything in there you wouldn't want in your body?

As for me, I'm going to put my oils on the shelf for now, until I have the time to properly educate myself and continue to workout products with harmful or questionable ingredients out of my repertoire.

By the way, it only took 2 teaspoons worth of oil to cause a weeks worth of misery.

Good times,

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