For the past few months the topic of “Avoiding Essential Oils” has been hugely amplified on popular YouTube channels via influencer opinions and even certain skincare brands are selling “essential oil free” skincare. This misinformation is spreading quick and is damaging the reputation of essential oils and their spectrum of benefits.
Essential oils and botanical extracts in skincare can be very powerful and effective but (like any ingredient) can be damaging and harmful, sensitising the skin if used incorrectly. So can AHAs and other acid treatments but I hear no complaints there!
Let’s get something clear - pure, organic essential oils NEED to be harvested and formulated professionally, in correct dilutions and specific concentrations for optimal results and skin benefits. They also need to be stored correctly (exposing to oxygen and sunlight causes oxidation) and should never be used past their shelf life.
There have been brands that have misused essential oils - and they are partly to blame for the growing misconception that EOs are bad for the skin. As more skincare brands started to create perfume-free products they added a large quantity of essential oils to mask the smell of the product.
Another problem is that certain brands buy their essential oils from uncertified producers where the quality and purity of the essential oil is compromised. If this is the case then you have no clue what you’re putting on your face. Yes, there are brands that have not performed the correct quality control when purchasing raw materials, or chemically changed essential oils can most definitely have very sensitising, damaging and even dangerous effects on your skin and health.
As most skincare ingredients, when used incorrectly they can have damaging side effects. But the reality is, and this is backed by many studies, most people have no problems with organic, pure, unchanged essential oils. There are studies proving that they are beneficial to acne conditions, are anti-inflammatory, regeneration and well being of the skin.
As all skincare ingredients - not everything works for everyone. Skincare is an extremely individual thing that consists of many factors. Sleep, stress, diet, climate, environmental changes, smoking, alcohol… - these should all be taken into consideration before making a statement like “Essential Oils are bad for the skin”.
Even though we live in the internet era where information is vast and we trust just a few - it is sad and frustrating that this trend has caught on because essential oils are and always will be extremely complex and powerful. But like anything - they must be formulated professionally. Next time you hear a brand knocking essential oils, ask yourself why? Who are their competitors? Has this brand had issues with essential oils in their products in the past? Where are they getting this information from?
In summary, essential oils - when professionally formulated and handled can be amazing. Look out for brands that WILL answer your questions and are transparent about their sourcing and manufacturing process. But as always people - skincare is individual. There is no perfect product for everyone and this is the fun and annoying thing about creating a perfect skincare routine - its unique to you.
If you have any questions or if you'd like to find out more - please feel free to send me an email. I'm basing this post on my own research on clinical studies (i have all the papers on PDF, happy to send them over) and my trust in certain brands that I work with and love.