Woman's warning after suffering horrific chemical burns from fragrant oil diffuser

Publish Date
Friday, 17 November 2017, 11:30AM
Photo / Facebook

Photo / Facebook

A woman has shared horrifying pictures of her burned face to raise awareness of the dangers of oil diffusers, after she was accidentally sprayed in the face at her home on Guy Fawkes night.

Emily Smith, 24, from London was left with chemical burns when vapour from a "popular electric diffuser" accidentally sprayed in her face as she was turning it off, and woke up the next morning with blurred vision and a huge burn on her face, according to the Daily Mail.

She has shared details of the incident on Facebook to raise awareness, saying: "My face and eyes were chemically burned."

"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."

The incident occurred when Emily and her boyfriend were having a cosy night in and lit a fire.

At one point, Emily went over to the diffuser, which was by the fire and held the button down to turn it off.

"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," she recalled.

"Whilst I was somewhat aware of the danger of getting essential oils directly on my skin, I was unaware that the vaporised "diluted" oil from my diffuser could also be dangerous."

A few hours later she got up to put another log on the fire and felt a stinging sensation on her face and as it got more intense she began to wonder if she'd been burned.

Emily soaked her face in cold water and rang 111 - the number in the UK for non-emergency medical assistance. The operator told her it was a first degree burn that didn't need medical attention. So Emily went to bed but woke at 3am feeling like her face and eyes were burning.

"My eyes were bloodshot and misted due to tears, and my face looked a little inflamed, but nothing too awful," she said. "I applied more aloe vera, took painkillers and went back to bed, remembering a similar sensation with cooking burns in the past."

The next morning Emily called 111 again, as she didn't recognise her face in the mirror and was advised to go to A&E.

Her face had swollen, her eyes were blurred and watering and pus was pouring from her skin.

After a few hours she was referred to East Grinstead Hospital's burns department.

"I waited there for another few hours, before being seen by a nurse, who peeled off my blisters and my skin. I then waited another hour to be seen by the burns staff," she said.

"After my burns were assessed and treated, a chemical burn was diagnosed, and I was sent back to Brighton to be seen at the Eye A&E as the burn doctors were worried that my eyes were chemically damaged."

While waiting in hospital, Emily did some research and discovered that when the diffuser had sprayed her face essential oils had soaked into the skin and eyes and remained there. 
She explained: "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."

She now wants to warn others of the potential danger of the devices.

"Our popular electric diffuser says 'safe for use around children and pets'. From my experience, I would say this is not necessarily true,' she said.

"Are people aware that if the vapor sprays onto their skin, it stays there? If they later light a candle or cigarette, approach a fire, do some cooking, do they know that they could be putting themselves in harm's way?

"The way to turn our diffuser off - holding the button on the side - put me in direct risk of coming into direct contact with the vapor."

This article was first published on Daily Mail and is republished here with permission.