Pinterest Fail!

Pinterest has been such a valuable tool in so many aspects of my life. When I was a classroom teacher, it gave me new, innovative ways to organize my classroom or teach a lesson. It has helped me with dinner when I am sick of the same old recipes. It has helped me organize my house in ways I have never thought of. It has kept me abreast of the newest fashion trends (Not that I actually wear the fashionable outfits I pin, but at least I’m in the know!) But one thing I have never found Pinterest valuable for was essential oil recipes or advice. Because the majority of pins are flat out INACCURATE or UNSAFE.

Don’t get me wrong. There are some legitimate aromatherapists who have boards on Pinterest. For example, my teacher, the famous Andrea Butje, from Aromahead Institute pins recipes on Pinterest. She is on of the top aromatherapists in the world and has received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Alliance of International Aromatherapists. She is the real deal and a generous soul who shares her knowledge with the world. But the average pinner can find it hard to differentiate between a qualified person and someone who is just creating pins to boost their sales quota.

Let’s talk about one example.  One of my friends posted a pin encouraging you to use a handful of Epsom salt with 10 drops of Lavender in a bathtub to detox on a weekly basis. I love bath salts. Nothing makes a bath more relaxing or enjoyable than the aromatic experience of bath salts. I’m happy so many people want to recommend this method to help others. But there is no direction or safety precautions mentioned. Let’s take this pin apart on why this is a bad idea.

1.     Holy Too Many Drops of Lavender, Batman! Why in the world would you need 10 drops in one bath? I know! I know! <raising hand> The more essential oil you use, the faster the bottle will empty out, and the more bottles you will buy! Ding Ding! Less is more, people. 10 drops of Lavender is completely unnecessary.

2.     You do not want to just drop essential oils in the bathtub, much less 10 of them. Remember how they told you in third grade that oil and water don’t mix? Well, it’s true. When you drop essential oils straight into water, they will not disperse and will float on top of the water. Therefore you are bathing in 10 drops of neat, undiluted essential oils. And since oils tend to be drawn to lipids, it will automatically be drawn to your skin. Meaning, you just put 10 drops of neat oil on your skin. Plus, the heat of the bath opens your pores, which can intensify the effects of the essential oil.

3.     Once a week use of this recipe can lead to sensitization. Overuse of oils can trigger your immune system to create an allergic reaction to that oil. Read more about sensitization here. This is a real thing that can last forever. I used to use a bath product that contained Lemongrass every day. Now, touching anything that contains Lemongrass causes me to break out in hives all over my torso. It itches like crazy and last for days. It’s miserable and not worth it.

4.     How to create the bath salts is not specified. A handful of Epsom salts is not exactly precise. My handful of salts would be different than my best friend’s or husband’s. Aromatherapy does not have to be precise all the time, but in this case, it should be to avoid possible irritation and sensitization. Most people who read this pin would just throw in some Epsom salt, drop 10 drops of Lavender into the bathtub and hop in. That is not how it should be done. There is a correct way to create bath salts. The essential oils should always be mixed with castile soap or unscented shampoo first and then applied to the SALTS.

Use Pinterest to help decorate your nursery. Use it to learn how to get permanent marker off of your couch. Use it to help plan your daughter’s first birthday party. But don’t use it to get aromatherapy advice. Save that for the experts.