March 18, 2018

Are essential oils safe?

I make no apologies for heading this up with that question despite the response that it usually generates!

There are loads of almost evangelical essential oil users out there who refuse to accept that essential oils have any down side at all – that they are natural and therefore they must be good. That all fragrances or synthetic or lab-created fragrances are always bad.

That is simply not true.

Often it’s those who have been exposed to the huge MLM schemes from the US that are the most vocal and who refuse to accept any other perspective.  Generally, they sell overpriced essential oils and promote often unsafe practices – this is in no way the same as a qualified aromatherapistas they have at least done some kind of training and understand that at the end of the day they are ‘prescribing’ treatments for their clients.

In contrast I am aware of ‘natural’ candle companies whose websites are full of inaccuracies and opinions dressed up as facts about essential oils and skin care companies who have no understanding whatsoever of the chemical compounds they are encouraging people to use.

Essential oils are – even though they are natural – still chemical compounds. They contain the same set of allergens found in lab-created fragrances such as limonene, linalool, coumarin etc and they still have side effects. There are safe limits and contra-indications for all of them and restrictions on who can use what and when – it is not safe to assume that anyone and everyone can be exposed to essential oils without any impact.

Indeed, many essential oils are toxic to animals and anyone burning oils, candles, diffusers or car diffusers needs to understand what they may be exposing their children and pets to, particularly in the closed environment of a small room or the car.

All of which brings me to the article on the BBC website today which suggests that the use of essential oils may make males develop breasts – please click here to read the full article.

Whilst not commenting on the scientific research or resulting report, it’s an interesting article and one that gives a lie to those promoting the ‘natural is ALWAYS best’ line. There has been a great deal of research on fragrances (synthetic and natural) in recent years and much of the research has extrapolated a small sample or small result into a wider ‘cancer causing’ analysis which is, as yet, unproven.

We are not saying that all essential oils are bad and that all synthetic is good – merely to point out that this is not a black and white issue. And many businesses have a viewpoint on what they use and that their opinion, is just that, an opinion.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *