Fitness + Well-being

Woman with third-degree burns warns against essential oils: 'It's been hell'

 (iStock)

Essential oils are one of the many buzzed-about products in the alternative medicine community today. Depending on the type, the oils are thought to reduce stress, improve mood, and increase concentration, among other touted benefits.

But one woman saw a dramatically different effect after oiling up during a hot yoga class — third-degree chemical burns — and now, she’s trying to prevent the same thing from happening to other people.

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In a viral Facebook post, Elise Nguyen shared several photos of scorched and blistered skin on her wrists and neck, which she claims she suffered after applying the oil to her body then stepping into a tanning bed in late March. In her April 16 post, she recounts how she went to the tanning bed one hour after practicing yoga to prepare for an upcoming wedding in Jamaica.

The next day, Nguyen writes, she realized something was terribly wrong.

“I noticed irritation where I applied the oil. Initially I thought it was a reaction to a new laundry detergent,” she writes. “Well over the next couple of days, I developed nasty blisters due to a chemical burn.”

Nguyen points out that, after the fact, she spotted a tiny label on the oil bottles, which were made by the company Doterra, cautioning against going into UV rays or sunlight for up to 12 hours after application.

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“Currently, I'm on day 22 of this burn,” she writes in the post. “I still have open areas and they still hurt if I hit them wrong.”

Nguyen specifies she doesn’t blame the company for her injuries, but she urges other yogis not to make the same mistake. Seeing as essential oils are commonly used in yoga classes on participants’ necks and wrists, her warning isn’t unwarranted.

“Every yogi that I've talked to has no clue that this could have happened,” she writes. “So as summer is getting closer, and the weather is getting nicer, I just want everyone to be aware of this. 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.”

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Since being shared on Facebook, Nguyen’s images had received nearly 136,000 shares and 40,000 reactions as of Thursday afternoon.