A woman was left burned and disfigured, all because of a popular product that millions of Americans have in their home. Now, she’s warning others, and she’s using her painful photos to do it.
Emily Smith was relaxing at home with her fiance after he had suffered a tragic accident. Ten weeks before, he broke nearly all the bones in his body, so Emily had been caring for him as he recovered. After one simple mistake, however, she would be the one in need of medical care. Although she thought her home was safe, she later revealed, “Little did I know that the dangers were right in front of me, masquerading as [an] apparatus to make you feel more ‘relaxed.'”
It was a Saturday evening when Emily’s life changed forever. With a cozy fire lit in her living room, she and her fiance snuggled up to watch a movie. Emily’s popular electric oil diffuser, which they had purchased to scent their home, was filling the air with a mix of “patchouli oil and others” as the diffuser turned the essential oils into a fine vapor.
Although the 24-year-old Londoner says she had seen numerous articles on social media promoting all the reasons a home should have an essential oil diffuser, she had “not seen a single one about potential hazards.” Unaware of the risks associated with diffusing certain oils, Emily walked over to the diffuser and held the button down for a number of seconds — the only way to shut it off.
In the process, some of the vapor from the diffuser sprayed her face. Although she admits she was somewhat aware of the danger of getting essential oils directly on her skin, she didn’t realize that the vaporized, diluted oil from her diffuser could also be dangerous. So, she didn’t think anything of it at first. That would soon change.
“A few hours later, the fire was waning, so I got up to put a log on it,” Emily recalled. “Immediately, I felt a stinging sensation on my face, but due to the fact that my body never came into direct contact with the flames, combined with my ignorance about the nature and danger of the oils my skin had come into contact with,” Emily says she didn’t put two and two together.
As the burning sensation increased, Emily became extremely confused and unsure about what was wrong. She ran her face under the tap for ten minutes, then soaked it in cold water for twenty minutes more as she called emergency medical services for medical guidance. Following medical advice from the operator, Emily applied aloe vera and headed to bed. When she woke in the middle of the night due to the pain, she took painkillers and went back to sleep.
Unfortunately, her face was only getting worse and worse, and when she took one look in the mirror the following morning, she didn’t even recognize herself. With her face swollen, her skin covered in pus, her eyes continually watering, and her vision blurred, she quickly rushed to the emergency room. What she learned there had her sharing her images on social media, even though she was admittedly self-conscious about doing so.
As she received treatment over the course of 12 hours in the hospital, she did some reflection and research. She soon realized the link between the diffuser spraying her face and her condition. Emily Smith had suffered chemical burns to her face and eyes after she was accidentally sprayed in the face with vapor from an essential oil diffuser, according to the NY Post.
The essential oils had soaked into her face and eyes, where they remained until she was exposed to the fire. The heat from the fire then caused a reaction with the oils, according to Emily. Had she realized this danger earlier, Emily says she would have sought treatment immediately and might have been given priority at the hospital.
Instead, her face continued to burn because she was uninformed of the dangers. What’s worse, when she ran her face under cold water, she was making the problem worse since essential oils don’t wash off with water. The oils are only driven deeper into the skin with water.
“I’m extremely fortunate to have my sight at all and lucky that the burn wasn’t worse, but I have suffered permanent eye damage and am potentially facially scarred for life,” Emily revealed. “A life-changing incident, that was preventable.”
Now, she is determined to use her own photos and story to ensure that this doesn’t happen to anyone else. Of course, Emily doesn’t think people should stop buying and using diffusers and essential oils, she just wants others to know there are risks involved. Indeed, not every essential oil should come into contact with the skin or even be diffused. Essential oils can also be combustible, poisonous, corrosive, and flammable. So, users must be informed and cautious and use a reputable company when purchasing oils and diffusers for fragrancing their home.