The majority of big name skincare products use SYNTHETIC versions of Essential Oils in their products. It is important to realize that synthetic fragrance oils may contain any number of toxins: Benzaldehyde, benzyl acetate, propylene glycol, parabens, and sulfates just to mention a few.
Over 60% of what you put on your skin, the largest organ on your body, gets absorbed into your blood stream, and unlike your kidneys and liver that act as your body’s filter, the skin has no filter whatsoever. On average, 80% of fragrance formulations are comprised of these possibly harmful artificial chemicals and in some cases, 100% of a formula can be synthetic. The skin absorbs these man-made chemicals in a few ways: by direct application, by contact with fragranced items, and by exposure to air containing fragrances that can accumulate in your body and even internally. They can trigger allergic reactions, migraines, asthma attacks, nausea, eczema, and a whole host of other sensitivities.
One phrase to look out for is: “nature identical.” This should be a red flag, and usually refers to a chemically synthesized version of the oil. Nature identical, diluted, or extended oils should not be used for clinical aromatherapy. Nature identical oils—or the use of single synthetic constituents—do not account for the synergistic actions of whole plant oil .
And did you know that genetically modified (GMO) sourcing doesn’t apply solely to food? GMO-sourced fragrance and flavor materials created using synthetic biology—something we are seeing more of in the world of fragrance and flavor are also unsuitable for clinical aromatherapy.
Here are some of the worst compounds found in synthetic fragrances:
Phthalates- This popular fragrance preservative found in many commercial fragrances is usually highly concentrated and is a known carcinogen and hormone disruptor. Adverse health effects may include damage to liver/kidneys, infertility issues in men and women.
Parabens- A commonly used type of synthetic preservatives in many fragrances, they also can interfere with the production and release of hormones and cause many of the problems listed above.
As if these weren’t bad enough, some chemicals, like methylene chloride were banned in the 1980’s, however this ruling cannot be enforced due to “trade secret” laws. Among the worst offenders, methylene chloride is a known carcinogen that is absorbed through the skin and stored in body fat. Synthetic fragrances have had several other negative issues come to light over the past few years including a high rate of allergic reactions, as well as the controversy surrounding the undisclosed aroma chemicals and preservatives in every fragrance oil.
Because of labeling and “trade secret” laws, it is not possible to determine the exact ingredient list of synthetic fragrances, and many of the worst chemical offenders are simply not listed. Despite this, synthetic fragrances are extensively used in common household products and in toiletries recommended for babies, children and during pregnancy. Even in 100% Pure Essential Oils aromatherapists and healthcare providers will advise pregnant women to avoid certain ones, and use them sparingly and cautiously. This warning extends to their usage with young children as well, yet with synthetic oils, many are misinformed or simply uninformed!
Unlike the anti-microbial properties that some Essential Oils have, synthetic oils not only do not contain this, but bacteria have proven over and over again that they can mutate to form all kinds of resistant strains of “superbugs” to outwit the synthetic antibiotic products scientists create in labs. Natural, un-patentable, Essential Oils have never created a superbug, and even scientists are now turning to Essential Oils to fight these dangerous bacteria because they realize that the best way to fight this natural problem is with nature.
Aside from these possible and very real health concerns, the biggest drawback of a synthetic fragrance oil vs a natural Essential Oil is that the manufactured scent does not contain the therapeutic properties of their counterpart plant based Essential Oils, thus the true benefit and purpose of aromatherapy is lost. The synthetic version of any Essential Oil only attempts to mimic the aroma and not the medicinal properties transferred from the plant material itself. So you’re getting a nice scent and nothing else. For some this may be enough to enhance your mood, but for me the synthetic fragrance just isn’t as appealing as it once was before I knew about Essential Oils.
Go straight to the source. Pure, therapeutic grade ESSENTIALS OILS for skincare.
The whole principle behind the efficacy of essential oils on skin is the fact that essential unsaturated fatty acids (EUFA) a.k.a Vitamin F, are important to the human body. They are vital for repairing cell membranes. However, they cannot be synthesized by the body. They need to be ingested or topically applied. Essential oils are teeming with these unsaturated fatty acids. What makes different essential oils relevant for different skin ailments is their concentration of which fatty acids they have.
For example, the primary components of ylang-ylang oil, linalool and Germacrene D, are toxic to Propionibacterium bacteria. This bacteria is found in acne. So, applying ylang ylang to your skin is an excellent anti-acne medication. Geranium oil on the other hand is teeming with geraniol. Geranoil assists in building collagen fibres (the protein that is the main building block of bone, cartilage, tendon, and other connective tissues) in the skin. This means that it creates a regenerative action in these parts of the body, especially the skin, making it excellent for cellulite reduction and saggy skin.
Essential Fatty Acids
The human body can manufacture most fatty acids that we need for optimal health. Those fatty acids that we cannot manufacture and need to acquire from our diet are called Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs). Essential Fatty Acids are necessary for human functions and healthy, youthful skin.
Those that are lacking in the proper intake of Essential Fatty Acids may demonstrate seriously dry skin or they may be prone to more serious skin conditions including psoriasis and eczema. Using carrier oils that are rich in essential fatty acids and including a diet rich in Essential Fatty Acids can significantly help nourish and improve the look and feel of the skin.
List of saturated fatty acids – Wikipedia
The two essential fatty acids are highlighted below:
Alpha-Linolenic Acid (C18:3) is an polyunsaturated omega-3 essential fatty acid. It is present in some carrier oils and is particularly abundant in Rose Hip Seed Oil, Hemp Seed Oil, Cranberry Seed Oil and a number of others.
Linoleic Acid (C18:2) is a polyunsaturated omega-6 essential fatty acid. It is present in some carrier oils and is particularly abundant in Avocado Oil, Evening Primrose Oil, Hazelnut Oil, Hemp Seed Oil, Rose Hip Seed Oil and a number of others.
What are Omega Fatty Acids?
You will likely come across fatty acids described as Omega 3, Omega 6, Omega-7 or Omega-9 fatty acids. The omega system of fatty acid classification pertains to the carbon atom structure of unsaturated fatty acids. Aside from alpha-Linolenic Acid (an Omega-3 essential fatty acid) and Linoleic Acid (an Omega-6 essential fatty acid), no other fatty acids are considered essential to human.
What Makes Essential Oils Perfect for Skincare?
Essential oils have extremely small molecules. There are approximately 40 million trillion molecules in one drop of essential oil. that’s about 40,000 molecules for each cell in the average human body.
They are so small, that they are able to penetrate the epidermis and into the dermal layers of the skin. For this reason, they behave more like a serum than a cream. They not only trap moisture on the outer layers of the skin but because they able to successfully penetrate into the dermal layers, they are able to improve the the deeper layers of your skin for long lasting effects.
Furthermore, the chemical structure of plant sterols and human sterols is strikingly similar. Sterols are primary component of the outermost layer of human skin and functions like an optimal barrier.
Therefore sterols present in essential oils work in great harmony with human skin. They perform a multitude of functions like keeping structural integrity of cell membrane, reducing inflammation, improving skin metabolism process and moisture retention. .
Essential Oils and Carrier Oils
Yes! As a matter of fact there are a lot of differences. The short answer, without getting so technical, is the oils are from different parts of the plant.
Essential oils are found throughout the plant and typically distilled using the roots, stems, leaves, flowers, branches, etc. Whereas, fatty oils come from the seeds of plants and are also called vegetable, base, or carrier oils.
The following table is from The Chemistry of Essential Oils Made Simple, by David Stewart gives a very easy and direct explanation:
Pure, therapeutic grade essential oils are made up of numerous different organic particles. What gives each oil its uniqueness and therapeutic value is not one of the constituents working in isolation, but the whole delicate balance of all the constituents working together.
It is this formula inherited from Mother Nature that gives essential oils their therapeutic value and also the reason why synthetic counterparts do not have the same healing power. Hence choose your oils wisely, after all you are about to use them on your body and you want to gain the maximum effect.
Contact me for more information on pure, therapeutic grade essential oils.
P.E.A.C.E. (Proper Education Always Corrects Error)
The Oily Guru
Since being diagnosed with interstitial cystitis, I’ve learned that everything that touches you, or you inhale filters through your bladder causing great pain for us with IC. Cleaners need to be all natural, as does air fresheners, and perfumes are a disaster waiting to happen. I started using essential oils for these reasons and I’ve not regretted it in the least, they are perfect for all these needs, as well as cosmetic uses. I don’t think one person could cover all the great uses for essential oils in a lifetime. I still have a lot to learn, but what I know so far has been very helpful in avoiding bladder flare-ups. Thanks for your blog, I learn great things from it.
Awesome Tina! Unfortunately we do not know all of the benefits of Essential Oils because the FDA will not allow medical claims on them. I do not care. I intend to educate everyone I can. They are wonderful, therapeutic, healing and there is plenty of research available to back up my claims.
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