Home Cosmetic Science Talk General Science To be or not to be? Essential Oils in skincare

  • MarkBroussard

    August 31, 2018 at 6:44 pm

    It all depends on the market you are trying to address and the essential oils you select.  I generally recommend to clients to make a “fragrance-free” version of the product to cater to consumers who have skin sensitivities/allergies.

    However, the first thing a consumer will usually do when they open a container of a new skin care product is smell it.  Fragrance is simply an important component of the consumer experience, for most.  

    You can try hydrosols or essential oils, but I’ve found that hydrosols, with the exception of Rose, are too weak to impart an acceptable fragrance and they smell “hay-like”.  Carrubba has a line of natural, water-soluble fragrances that I find to be a good option in lieu of essential oils.  But, if you choose your essential oils properly (there are non-sensitizing EO’s on the market), you can generally create a nice fragrance profile w/o irritation or allergic reactions.

  • ngarayeva001

    August 31, 2018 at 8:22 pm

    Guys, I just want to emphasize, the research paper shared by Perry above says that all EOs are either citotoxic or phototoxic or both. And some of them reduce sensitivity to antibiotics. Which means they are not ok for leave on products. They might have some benefits but it doesn’t compensate for the side effects.

  • Sibech

    August 31, 2018 at 8:56 pm

    @ngarayeva001 It’s great to take the safety of your products seriously, and while there is a hazard in cytotoxicity, there is not necessarily a risk.

    as @perry said when he linked the article:
    Of note…”Depending on type and concentration, they exhibit cytotoxic effects on living cells…”  

    Think of it this way (overly simplified) Hazard x Exposure = Risk.

    If you take 1 drop of essential oil directly onto the skin, you are likely to experience irritant contact dermatitis (in part due to cytotoxicity) but if that same drop is diluted in a cup of oil, that drop is perfectly safe to use because the exposure is much less.

  • bill_toge

    August 31, 2018 at 10:24 pm

    @ngarayeva001 by that logic, nobody should ever drive a motor vehicle or cross the road, because there is a possibility they’ll be involved in a road traffic accident

  • ngarayeva001

    September 1, 2018 at 2:28 am

    @Bill_Toge I am not saying that EOs should not be used at all. I am adding them to shower gels and (Less concentration) to body product. But I don’t think that it is worth taking the risk and add them to face products. The safe concentration would be so low that they won’t have any benefits anyway. Again it’s just my opinion.

  • belassi

    September 1, 2018 at 2:56 am

    Problem I have is safety. Is lavender e.o. even safe? I won’t use it any more because even though I love the complexity of the aroma, it wrecks shampoo and emulsions. Tea Tree is a useful e.o. for its antibacterial properties, and unlike lavender it does not destabilise shampoo.

  • philgeis

    June 19, 2023 at 6:03 am

    It’s a tome but reco https://www.routledge.com/Essential-Oils-Contact-Allergy-and-Chemical-Composition/Groot-Schmidt/p/book/9781482246407

    No fairy dust comes without risk.

    There is potential toxicity in dermal application. “Potential” esp. as composition varies profoundly between batches - as would any benefit or function their application would be intended to establish. Most reputable scientific journals reject articles touting EO benefits unless accompanied with complete chemical composition and justification that the report is offering novelty - not just the same EO ingredient efficacy from another plant source.

    Folks using EO’s should similarly ask for chemical analysis - if for no other reason to exclude materials contaminated with pesticides. Lastly - some years ago UN complained that subsistence farmers in 3rd world have been lured into EO-relevant agriculture with prospect of higher value only to find a fickle market. Absent the replaced food production risks family starvation. You might know your ultimate source.

    • This reply was modified 5 months, 2 weeks ago by  PhilGeis.
  • philgeis

    June 19, 2023 at 9:41 am

    To your original question re phototoxicity - please check Google Scholar and see:



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