Essential Oils, which are concentrated plant extracts, can be of great help when it comes to healing, relaxing or even energizing ourselves, they have been used for ages, Egyptian papyruses were already describing some of them, 2800 years ago…! But essential oils are also really powerful and should be handled with care, and we can start to see more and more controversy around these types of ingredients, especially in the skincare industry. So if you are about to buy non toxic skin care products, should you be afraid of essential oils? In this article we’ll try to respond to it.
Many studies are being done around plants in general, to this day the WHO listed about 22,000 medicinal plants and about 3,000 of them were already subject of scientific studies. Also the WHO states that by 2050 antibiotics could lose their efficiency (by often being made of a single molecule), and cause up to 10 million deaths each year due to antimicrobial resistance. Essential Oils, on the other hand, are composed of various active molecules, making them more complex and complete, and could potentially be a good alternative. That’s why so much research is done around the world to learn more about plants and their benefits.
BUT, the dosage is key
It is the case for everything, really, but extra care has to be applied when using Essential Oils. One drop might seem so little, but we’re talking about highly concentrated plant extract, overdosing could cause severe issues such as burn feeling or if ingested, irritated mouth or nauseous feeling. As an example, some of them should not be applied or ingested pure, they must be diluted in another product (olive oil, honey…), to avoid causing any damage to the body. One of the origins of the controversy around essential oils is actually due to self-medication and inappropriate use of EO’s.
A small list of essential oils which are known to be good for your skin
LAVANDULA ANGUSTIFOLIA OIL: Soften your skin, it also has healing effects and calms down cramps.
ROSA DAMASCENA FLOWER: Hydrates and helps with skin elasticity.
PELARGONIUM GRAVEOLENS OIL: Has an astringent effect.
Some essential oils can have a photosensitising effect, especially the ones from citrus fruits. So even if you don’t go out, you should wear a good SPF while using these (and SPF is also recommended when you don’t use essential oils either, so please protect your skin).
To conclude, yes essential oils have real functions and also yes, if used without respecting the recommended dose, or application method, they will be harmful. It is mostly the case with homemade skin care, where you could easily add too much essential oil in your mixture. Brands (at least in Europe), have to go through irritation tests and patch tests with their products before they can sell them to the public, so usually, the concentration of EO’s in non toxic skin care products is really low, in order to provide benefits but without any overdose risk. Finally, if you have any allergy, it is best to get more information from your doctor. We hope this helps you clear your vision of essential oils!