Vitality

Dangers Of Essential Oils: Woman’s Viral Photos Reveal Painful Burns

A woman has warned others against the danger of using essential oils before tanning, after she claims to have suffered severe burns on her neck and wrists.

In a viral Facebook post, Elise Nguyen shared photos documenting what she says are second- and third-degree burns from applying essential oils to her body before a hot yoga class, followed by lying in a tanning bed. She applied wild orange doTERRA essential oil, according to BuzzFeed news. 

Read: Is It Dangerous To Swallow Essential Oils? Here's What You Need To Know

Elise Nguyen Essential Oils burns “These pictures are the worst blisters and then today,” Nguyen wrote in a Facebook post. Credit: Facebook, Elise Nguyen

What Nguyen originally thought was an allergic reaction to a new laundry detergent, turned out to be something else.

“Over the next couple of days, I developed nasty blisters due to a chemical burn. Turns out, there is a teeny tiny caution on the oil that states: ‘stay out of sunlight or UV rays for up to 12 hours after application' or something like that,” she wrote.

Later in her post, she mentions she doesn’t blame the company, doTerra.

“It was my own damn fault. But every yogi that I've talked to has no clue that this could have happened. So as summer is getting closer, and the weather is getting nicer, I just want everyone to be aware of this,” Nguyen wrote. “Please, please read the bottles of anything you put on your skin. I wouldn't want this to happen to anyone else. It's been hell.”

Nguyen’s primary care doctor confirmed the lesions on her skin were most likely a chemical burn, she told BuzzFeed Health. When certain oils are exposed to ultraviolet (UV) light, sun sensitivity may occur. The main culprits are oils from the citrus family, but other plants can cause the same reaction, known as phytophotodermatitis.

“It doesn’t have to be in essential oil formulation,” dermatologist Dr. Diana Madfes told Buzzfeed Health. “It can just be the regular citrus - lemons, limes, and oranges.”

Furthermore, Madfes notes the sweat from yoga class also probably added to the severity of Nguyen's burns. Essential oils create a seal on the skin, not allowing sweat to evaporate as easily. Therefore, it’s somewhat trapped, which can irritate the skin, said Madfes.

Essential oils have been used therapeutically for thousands of years, but have recently surged in popularity. They’re usually inhaled, as part of a practice known as aromatherapy, or essential oils therapy, but they can also be massaged directly on the skin, or absorbed by soaking in an oil-infused bath. Most people use the oils to promote relaxation and relieve stress. Some will even use the oils to fight cold symptoms or improve digestion; however, there is currently not enough scientific evidence to back those claims.

The essential oils are extracted from many parts of the plant, including its flowers, leaves, stalks, bark, rind, or roots. Some of the most popular oils are chamomile, eucalyptus, lavender, jasmine, peppermint, orange, and lemon.

See also: Lavender And 5 Other Best Essential Oils For Anxiety Relief: The Healing Power Of Smell

4 Kinds Of Essential Oils Aromatherapy With Surprising Benefits For Your Skin, Anxiety, Pain, And More

 

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