Essential oil diffusers are the cool, millennial version of a lava lamp. Turn on one of these sleek-looking machines and transform them into a room that's serious #self-caregoals
ICYDK, diffusers work by dispersing essential oils into the surrounding air (usually via steam, air, or heat) which creates a chill ambiance, makes the whole room smell ahh-mazing, and may have some serious health perks. See: What Are Essential Oils And Are They Legit?)
Here's what you need to know before you turn that diffuser on. 1
A quick scroll through Amazon's essential oils and diffusers can make you feel like you need a degree in aromatherapy to participate. That's why we asked clinical biobehavioral-health researcher, certified aromatherapist, and natural beauty expert Leigh Winters to narrow down which child to diffuse to invest in.
Ultrasonic diffusers use electronic frequencies to create vibrations in water, which creates a fine mist of water and essential oils that are released into the air. Because they use water, they are particularly popular in the winter for humidifying the air too-there are even diffuse-humidifier combos which you can get for as little as $ 25. "The downside is that most are made of plastic, which is not as eco-friendly as some experts believe that might be negatively interacting with and affecting the quality of your essential oils," says Winter.
A nebulizing diffuser works by first breaking the essential oils into tiny molecules before dispersing them into the room using only air, explains Winter. "Usually, this come with a timer."
Heat (sometimes called "candle") diffusers are sexy-looking devices that use heat (usually from a candle flame). to diffuse the oil. They are thought to be less effective because of the heat, and the aging properties of the oil. (Related: How to Trying Essential Oils Helped Me Finally Chill the Eff Out)
Winter's recommendation: Investing in a quality glass nebulizer or BPA-free plastic ultrasonic diffuser.
How to Use Your Diffuser Correctly
Breathing in non-air things is generally considered bad (think: air pollution, e-cigs, etc.) -But it's generally okay to breathe in essential oil particles from a diffuser, as they are high-quality oils and follow the below guidelines, read bottle labels, and follow your diffuse instructions, says Goldstein.
1. Invest in quality essential oils. This guide can help you find the essential oils, but there are a few other things to keep in mind. 100% pure (a.k.a. unadulterated by potentially toxic additives), and from a company that you trust. Make sure the plant's botanical name is on the bottle (ex: lavender is lavandula angustifolia) and its country of origin should also be listed as Ariana Lutzi, ND, a nutrition consultant for BUBS Naturals previously recommended.
second Check for allergies. Surea Goldstein, N.D. "Put one drop of the oil and half a teaspoon of coconut oil on the cotton part of a band-aid, and then apply to your inner arm, just below the wrist." If there's no reaction after about 15 minutes, Winters says you should be good to go.
3. Heads up if you have asthma. Be extra cautious while using essential oils if you have asthma. "Asthma patients can have negative reactions to compounds in the air," says Stephanie Long, M.D. In fact, some studies have found that irritating to airways, causing respiratory symptoms in people with the condition.
4. Check with your doc if you're pregnant. Lastly, if you're pregnant. " most essential oils are okay to use for all most
5. Extra oil does not equal extra benefits. Every diffuse you choose, says Winter-use that amount or less. If you use too much, you may experience headaches or nausea. That drop count even if you're planning to combine oils. "Combining or blending oils can enhance the therapeutic benefits you achieve," says Winter. There is no such thing as a "good" or "hidden" remedy for the same and other known therapeutic benefits (for example, both are known to relieve pain and reduce stress).
Clean your diffuser. Omid Mehdizadeh, M.D., otolaryngologist and laryngologist at Providence St. John's Health Center, Santa Monica, CA. Ideally, you should wipe down your diffuser after each use to prevent cross-contamination and mold build-up. The instructions will therefore tell you how to do it. (The standard recommendation is once a month). And if your diffuse uses water, do not let the water sit in the diffuser for days at a time without use. (Related: The Essential Oil Hack to Wake Up in the Morning)
7. Do not leave it on all day. Aura of relaxation might sound like a good idea, it's not. According to Goldstein, the healthiest practice is to keep it on about 30 minutes, which is enough to disperse the oil throughout a room, and then turn it off at least to avoid negative side effects like headaches. However, depending on your machine, Winters says it may be fine for a few hours. "Some diffusers come with a set timer that disperse the aromatic molecules into the air just every few minutes for about a few hours and then shuts off so you do not have to worry too much." Your game plan: Experiment with keeping it on for 30 minutes at a time and make sure you do not experience any side effects.
8. Be mindful of pets. Pet owners-especially cat owners-should pay close attention to how their pet is responding to the new fragrance. The ASPCA cites essential oils is one of the most common toxic causes of tremors in cats. Mehdizadeh. If you notice your pet is beginning to fall ill, open the windows, ventilate the area, and take them to the vet if symptoms get worse. And make sure to check the ingredient list; sometimes the pet's adverse reaction is not to the oil itself, but to the added ingredients.