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Essential Oil Diffuser Burns Woman's Face

International Business Times logo International Business Times 11/15/2017 Suman Varandani

a close up of a man and a woman taking a selfie © Provided by IBT US

A British woman shared horrific photos of her burnt face after it was exposed to vapor from an essential oil diffuser. Emily Smith, 24, suffered chemical burns to her face and eyes on Nov. 4 and posted the ordeal on her Facebook account.

The young woman, whose face has been permanently damaged, told social media users she was sitting at home with a "popular" electric diffuser and suffered chemical burns from the device which was spreading aromas of patchouli oil among others around her house. 

"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)," Smith said. "In the process of turning the appliance off, some of the vapor from the diffuser must have sprayed onto my face.

"But I didn’t think anything of this. [While] I was somewhat aware of the danger of getting essential oils directly on my skin, I was unaware that the vaporized 'diluted' oil from my diffuser could also be dangerous."

Smith said that she did not immediately realize her skin was damaged but only after she woke up in searing pain in the middle of the night.

The pain continued to grow and she called the U.K.’s National Health Service’s non-emergency helpline 111 for medical advice. She soaked her face in cold water before heading to bed and took painkillers during the night but the next morning woke up to a burning sensation on her face. She quickly rushed to a hospital to get treated.

"I looked into the mirror and didn’t recognize myself," she wrote in a post. "My face had swollen, my eyes were blurred and continually watering and my skin looked pus-y [purulent]. I’m extremely fortunate to have my sight at all, and lucky that the burn wasn’t worse."

Smith warned others about the potential dangers of essential oils, and said anyone who suffers should seek urgent medical attention.

"Oil does not just wash off. When I soaked my face in a bowl of water, I was not relieving the burn. I was marinating my face in the cause of my troubles... I have suffered permanent eye damage and am potentially scarred for life. It was a life-changing incident that was preventable."

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