Frustrated with CPAP?

Start Sleeping Comfortably

Essential Oil Safety

Just as there is a great deal of folklore about the beneficial effects of aromatherapy (such as curing diseases and medical conditions), there is much unsupported information about essential oil safety. According to the National Cancer Institute website:

“Safety testing on essential oils has shown minimal adverse effects. Several oils have been approved for use as food additives and are classified as GRAS (generally recognized as safe) by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration; however, ingestion of large amounts of essential oils is not recommended. In addition, a few cases of contact dermatitis have been reported, mostly in aromatherapists who have had prolonged skin contact with oils in the context of aromatherapy massage. Some essential oils (e.g., camphor oil) can cause local irritation; therefore, care should be taken when applying them. Phototoxicity has occurred when essential oils (particularly citrus oils) are applied directly to the skin before sun exposure. One case report also showed airborne contact dermatitis in the context of inhaled aromatherapy without massage. Most often, aromatherapy uses undefined mixtures of essential oils without specifying the plant sources. Allergic reactions are sometimes reported, especially following topical administration.”

Generally Recognized as Safe


With the exception of euaclyptus essential used in the Calm product, all of Pur-Sleep essential oils have been designated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as being “Generally Recognized as Safe” for human “consumption.” This is not to say that Pur-Sleep recommends ingesting any essential oils. Rather, the designation as being safe for consumption is broad enough to include risks of essential oils that are absorbed by the body through inhalation. According to a leading authority on essential oil safety: “In general, toxicity is dose-dependent. The greater the amount of essential oil applied, the greater the risk of harm being caused; the less used, the smaller the risk. . . . The degree of toxicity depends, to some extent, on the route of application, and oral administration of essential oils carries the highest practical risk, especially if the oils are taken undiluted.” Tisserand and Balacs, Essential Oil Safety, Churchill Livingstone (1995), p. 11 (emphasis added). The fact that euaclyptus essential oil is not on the GRAS list does not mean that it is not safe for inhalation. Please refer to Tisserand regarding the safe use of eucalyptus essential oil.

Safety Guidelines


Essential oils are concentrated and may be harmful if not used properly. That said, using essential oils shouldn’t cause undue anxiety or worry. Following common sense guidelines is all that is necessary to begin to enjoy the many benefits of aromatherapy in connection with your CPAP. These guidelines are not intended to serve as a comprehensive essential oil safety reference. If in doubt, consult your doctor or a trained aromatherapy practitioner.

1. Wash Your Hands! It’s amazing how easy it is to get a very small amount of essential oil on your skin or in your eyes or other sensitive area if you fail to wash your hands after handling an essential oil bottle. If you get essential oils in your eye, irrigate immediately with saline solution and seek medical attention. Wash essential oils from your skin with soapy water.

2. Sensitization or Allergic Reactions. While many people who are sensitive to perfumes and aromas (mostly made from artificial fragrances) report that they tolerate natural aromatics well, essential oils may cause sensitization or allergic reactions in some people. When using an essential oil for the first time, watch carefully for signs of an allergic reaction (congestion, headache, watery eyes, etc.). If anything like this occurs, discontinue use of the essential oil immediately and seek medical attention as necessary. Allergic reactions may also apply to your partner.

3. Use Only Pur-Sleep Essential Oils. Not all essential oils are safe for aromatherapy. Pur-Sleep essential oils have been carefully selected from among those considered to be safe for human consumption by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

4. Less Is More. With essential oils, more is not necessary better. Use the smallest amount of essential oil necessary to accomplish your goals. With your CPAP, a light background scent is all that is necessary. A few drops go a long way.

5. Never Let Children Use Essential Oils. Most essential oils smell fantastic and many essential oils, such as orange, may smell like they are safe to drink. Keep essential oils away from children. Pets may also be attracted to essential oils!

6. Do Not Ingest Essential Oils. Pur-Sleep essential oils should not be ingested for any reason.

7. Do Not Use Essential Oils Undiluted on the Skin. While certain essential oils, like lavender, may be safe to use undiluted on the skin, there is still a risk of sensitivity or reaction. Pur-Sleep essential oils are intended for aromatic use only and not for dermal application.

8. Essential oils are flammable. Please keep them out of the way of fire hazards.

9. Store In Cool, Dark Place. Essential oils will degrade over time, particularly in the presence of light and heat.