Mixed Up Concerns About Cedarwood

Every so often, things blow up on online in guinea pig Forums / on Facebook etc and Cedarwood is a regular topic that people get heated about when it comes to guinea pigs. The problem is when the “dangers” become mixed up due to lack of knowledge and understanding. Here is some information about the important differences between Cedarwood Bedding and Cedarwood Essential Oil

Cedarwood Bedding

Much has been written about the dangers of using Cedarwood bedding for small furries including this article and a page on the Guinea Lynx website. Given that guineas’ noses and bodies are so close to the ground, they are in constant contact with their bedding 24 hours a day. We don’t use or recommend wood-based bedding products for guineas. There are safer and more appropriate types of bedding now widely available.

Essential Oil Safety

I would like to state that I take what I do very seriously and that safety is top of the list of priorities. This is one of the reasons that I first started making Gorgeous Guineas products – after seeing recipes for “DIY oil mixes” on the internet that were very unsafe. No qualified Aromatherapist would dream of using a 10% dilution of Essential Oils for a full body treatment on a human, let alone something as small as a guinea pig. There were NO warnings that a patch test should be done first (as it is a leave-on product), and NO warnings about using it on pregnant sows or babies that could prove fatal.

I set about creating a range of products using good quality ingredients that contained safe and appropriate levels of Essential Oils for guinea pigs. The products were designed specifically for the types of skin problems that guinea pigs have, as well as for a bit of pampurring.

Having qualifications in both Human and Animal Aromatics and after working with Essential Oils for over 20 years, there is a lot of scientific research, many resources and a huge amount of personal experience for me to draw on. Yes, there are potentially a lot of dangers when using Essential Oils if you don’t know what you are doing. A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing.

Also bear in mind that Essential Oils produced from raw materials (Cedarwood for example) often have totally different chemical compositions to the original material once they have been through the distillation process. Comparing Cedarwood Essential Oil with Cedarwood Bedding is not comparing like-with-like.

When you understand the chemical constituents, know what the contra-indications to use are, and mix Essential Oils in appropriate dilutions as we do in the Gorgeous Guineas products, they are safe to use. Each order is sent out with an information sheet containing safety information, contra-indications and instructions on how to use the products.

 Cedarwood Essential Oil

There are several different types of Cedarwood, the two most common ones being:

  • Virginian Cedarwood from the Cypress family, mainly grown in North America (Juniperus Virginiana)
  • Cedarwood Atlas from the Pine family, mainly grown in Atlas Mountains of Morocco (Cedrus Atlantica)

When it comes to Essential Oils, these two have very different chemical constituents. Cedarwood Atlas is the preferred choice of Aromatherapists for use in skin care formulations, and the one that we use in our shampoo in very small quantities.

Please bear in mind that there is a huge difference between using a shampoo every couple of months to keeping your guineas on Cedarwood shavings 24 x 7 x 365.

If you use 20ml of Lice ‘n’ Easy, Cedarwood & Lemongrass or Just For Boars Shampoo, you would be applying LESS than one drop of Cedarwood Atlas Essential Oil (that has been properly diluted) to your guinea pig. As shampoo is a wash-off product, it is only in contact with the hair / skin for a few minutes before being removed. Cedarwood Atlas Essential Oil is non-toxic and non-irritant when used in appropriate dilutions.

In Robert Tisserand’s Essential Oil Safety tome (780 pages and the go-to “bible” for Aromatherapists), the Safety Summary for both Cedarwood Atlas and Virginian Cedarwood Essential Oils is as follows:
Hazards: none known / Contraindications: none known.

There are a lot of scare stories on the Internet about ingredients used in skincare products, but many of them are not well researched and have little scientific evidence to support them. You can pick holes in anything if you try hard enough.

The Right To Reply

Where products, services or people are being discussed or criticised on the Internet (particularly in Forums / on Facebook etc), this can have a detrimental effect on the reputation of business / people that are being discussed.

PLEASE think about this when you are commenting on any product, service or person. I am always happy to address any questions or concerns that you have about Gorgeous Guineas products, so please feel free to contact me for answers “from the horse’s mouth!”

Someone was recently prosecuted over what they wrote in a Tweet and ended up with a very large bill for damages and legal costs, so always be careful what you put in writing:)


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