• Allison McMillian

Woman chemically burned from diffuser

Diffusers are made to vaporize your favorite oil into your home to give you a relaxed feeling, but one woman recently suffered major discomfort after the oil vapor burned her face.

Emily Smith, a 24-year-old from London, took to Facebook after it happened. She was going to turn off her diffusing device, but when she did, some of the patchouli oil vapor got onto her face and eye. It temporarily burned her and left blisters but permanently damaged her left eye. She says she is "extremely fortunate to have [her] sight at all."

Oils shouldn't normally make your skin react in this way, but the oil she used has been known to burn people who expose skin covered with the oil to sunlight.

Joshua Zeichner, MD and Dermatologist, offers up a reason for why her skin reacted the way it did: "Patchouli oil is notorious for causing what is known as a phototoxic reaction. If you are exposed to sunlight and that oil is on the skin, a severe burn-like reaction may occur. People commonly develop redness, burning, stinging, peeling, and even blistering."

Luckily, he adds, these burns usually heal fully without permanent scarring.

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