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Danger of Using Essential Oils on Babies

Essential Oil

Essential oils are extracts that are extracted from herbs and flowers. It can be potent and therefore it is not advisable to use it on babies below 1 year old.
Essential oils are 300-500x more potent than the real plant. It takes thousands of roses to get a drop of rose essential oil so imagine how potent that is!

Babies skin are not fully developed and so isn't the organs. If these essential oils are applied on them there is chances of it being absorbed into the blood stream.

Unlike adults; baby's organs are not fully functional. Usually it takes 1-2 years for all the organs to fully develop like a healthy adult. This means that baby's organs like kidney, liver etcs will take sometime to develop.

These organs are essential for metabolising and excretion of essential oil/ medication (hence the reason most medicine are not allowed to be given to 2 years old and below (contraindicated).

Due to that; when applying these EO on baby's skin; these EO might be absorbed into the baby's blood stream (since their skin is thinner and not fully developed too).

Once inside the baby's blood stream, its will be circulating to all the different organs in the body.
Since EO's are oil based; it will be deposited into the fats and muscles of the body. To excrete it out; the liver will have to turn these essential oils into something that is more water soluble so that it can be excreted via kidney in the form of urine*.

Now the problem is; in healthy adults; its fine because the organs are developed. But in Babies; this is not the case.

The livers and kidneys are still not functional enough to do this 'hard work'. Because of that; these essential oil's will not be excreted out and stays longer than its supposed to in the body. This can cause a problem in the future. Therefore; to be on the safe side. DO NOT USE EO on baby products!

Fragrance Oil

Fragrance Oil on the other hand; is made only for scent purpose; therefore their molecules are much larger than EO; which means it will not be absorbed into the blood stream (if you use the cosmetic grade ones and not all the other grades)

However, fragrance oils are not naturally derived and are mostly synthetically derived. If you must use something that will give nice smelling scent in baby's products; i would suggest you use fragrance oil thats specifically for skincare and not essential oils as its 'less potent'. Fragrance oil is also predicted and made to only give scent and not to do all the other things essential oils suppose to do.

Once your children are bigger and have organs that are fully developed like adults; feel free to use Essential Oils. Of course you can also go scent free if you wanted for all your baby product but if you are using oil in your products; it can be a little 'smelly' and boring. So the other option would be to use these synthetically made fragrance oils.

In Malaysia, most fragrance oils sold in malls and other places are more for “aromatherapy’ and ‘Candle Making’. If you want to use Fragrance OIl in your product; get those that are specifically for skin. Ask your suppliers if the fragrances that they are selling is it for skin; and better if its tested on sensitive skin. We in Soap Lab Malaysia carry these ranges for sensitive skin. Hope this articles helps in clearing any doubt you may have.


As a pharmacist and someone who have worked in hospital for close to 7 years; i know that many of you want to believe that because Essential oils are 'natural'; its safe. But bare in mind whatever you read in the net is all by people who probably don't know what they are talking about and the net is flooded with network marketing affiliates trying to promote their essential oils.

Most of these essential oils have not gone through vigrous studies on its efficacy and toxicity. Its all just something people 'hear and say'. Its up to you on who you want to believe. But all im requesting is please; keep an open mind and study this especially if you are selling baby products. Dont harm them and if you have any doubt at all on any ingredients in your baby product; DONT PUT THEM IN!

*p/s: The absorption and metabolising of essential oil (Pharmacokinetics of Essential Oils) in babies is much more complicated that what was described above. I wrote it as layman as possible and i really hope you understand it.

Thank you for reading;


1. Dennis P.West, Sophie Worobec MD; Pharmacology and Toxicology of Infant Skin; The Journal of Investigative Dermatology; 76:147-150; 1981

2. Morselli PL: Clinical pharmacokinetics in neonates. Clin Pharma- cokinet 1:81-98, 1976

 3. Rasmussen JE: Percutaneous absorption in children, Yearbook of Dermatology. Edited by RL Dobson. Yearbook Medical Publish- ers, Chicago, 1979, p 24

 4. Nachman RL, Esterly NB: Increased skin permeability in pre-term infants. J Pediatr 79:628-632, 197]


  1. Thank you Nisha for the explanation. If EO is kind of harmful to baby & we use FO in our product, can we still describe it as natural organic product ? Or how we should describe the product ? :)

    1. hi u can still call it 'natural'. only u cant call it 100% natural. mayb 99% instead:-)

  2. Thank you for sharing this information! A lot of essential oil MLM reps have been encouraging people to use EOs on their babies and children, even against physician advice. It's frightening, especially considering how much damage they can cause when not used properly. "All-natural" doesn't mean "use under all circumstances," as you said.


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