A woman who was burned by an essential oil diffuser has published alarming photographs of her injuries, saying she wants her story to serve as a warning to others.
Emily Smith suffered chemical burns to her face and eyes after being accidentally sprayed by the device at her home on Nov. 4.
Despite feeling self-conscious about revealing the disfiguring injuries, the 24-year-old London resident took to social media in order to warn others about the potential danger of essential oils.
“If reading this post prevents one person from experiencing the pain that I have, then my accident won’t have been in vain,” she wrote on Facebook.
“As I write this post through blurred eyes, I realise how I thought I was safe at home. Little did I know that the dangers were right in front of me, masquerading as apparatus to make you feel more ‘relaxed’.”
She described a Saturday evening in front of a “cozy fire” watching a movie, with a “popular” electric diffuser scenting her home. She had a mix of patchouli and other essential oils.
“I walked over to the diffuser and held the button down for a number of seconds (as this is the way to shut it off).
“In the process of turning the appliance off, some of the vapor from the diffuser must have sprayed onto my face.”
Smith says although she knew it was hazardous to get essential oils directly on her skin, she was unaware that the vaporized, diluted oil from the diffuser could also be dangerous.
Smith describes how, a few hours after getting sprayed with the oil, she added another log to the fire. That’s when she felt a sharp stinging sensation on her face, even though she said her face never came into direct contact with the flames.
She soaked her face in cold water, she said and then called for help. The advice from the emergency operator was to run her face under cold water and use aloe vera and Vasiline. Smith did as she was told, then went to bed.
But the symptoms got worse overnight, and when she examined her injuries the next morning, she had an unpleasant surprise.
“I looked into the mirror and didn’t recognize myself,” she wrote.
“My face had swollen, my eyes were blurred and continually watering and my skin looked pus-y.”
Smith rushed to the hospital and was diagnosed with chemical burns, substantially more serious than the first-degree burns she thought she had after consulting with the emergency operator the night before.
“I have suffered permanent eye damage and am potentially facially scarred for life,” she wrote.
“I discovered the real danger of these essential oils, and realised that when the diffuser had sprayed onto me, essential oils had soaked onto my face and eyes and remained there. When exposed to the fire, these had a chemical reaction and ‘ignited’.”
“Oil does not just ‘wash’ off. When I soaked my face in a bowl of water, I was not really relieving my burn. I was marinating my face in the cause of my troubles.”
Smith calls the incident “life-changing.” She says she could have sidestepped her devastating injuries if she had known to seek medical attention immediately.
“I’m extremely fortunate to have my sight at all, and lucky that the burn wasn’t worse.”