The Truth About Essential Oils
The confusion over essential oils was beyond frustrating to me. Mixed messages claiming them to be pain relieving, anti inflammatory, tissue repairing, anti microbial, etc. and others saying they can cause neuro toxicity, allergic reactions, and sensitization. Can you relate?
So I took a course from a cosmetic chemist to find out once and for all the answers to my questions!
I learned that Essential Oils are not equal in terms of their chemical composition and atom structure. Oils differ bases on the plant they are sourced from! Some oils can be volatile with a small molecular weight and they will oxidize quickly. These oils can be irritating and sensitizing to the skin.
Essential oils are classified according to the functional family they sit in and the terpenes they are made up of. Once you understand how certain terpenes effect the skin, you can decipher which oils are safe.
What Essential Oils are safe for the skin?
Oils high in Monoterpenes, Phenols, Aldehydes, Ketones, Ethers, and Oxides are generally not recommended for use on skin. They are volatile and have a small molecular size. They also oxidize quickly when exposed to light or air. They can be irritating, sensitizing, and contain allergens. High quantities can cause neurotoxicity, especially in children.
Oils that are high in these terpenes are:
Pine, Rosemary, Blue Tansy, Tea Tree, Eucalyptus, Common Sage, Peppermint, Sweet Basil and the list goes on.
Terpene families that have a higher molecular weight and are less volatile include Sesquiterpenes, Monoterpenols, Sesquiterpenols, Aldehydes, and Esters. They are generally non irritating and non sensitizing.
EO’s high in these terpenes include:
Lavender, Geranium, Rose Otto, Patchouli, Carrot Seed Oil, Sandalwood.
However, some of these oils contain Linalool and Geraniol terpenes which can be potential allergens.
Even oils that are non sensitizing must be used within very specific limits in formulations. Usually less than 1%.
Why do I avoid Essential Oils in my products?
My goal is to create skincare with wholesome, soothing, and calming ingredients backed by science. Formulations gentle enough to use on your child’s tender skin. This led my to take a fragrance free approach.
Every single ingredient is carefully selected for its skin soothing and strengthening properties. I will always adapt my products when I learn that there is a better option to improve the health of your skin!