Essential Oils vs Fragrance Oils

We normally like to make our blog posts fun, but today we're talking about a more serious issue. The difference between essential oils and fragrance oils is not always made clear, especially when labelling laws mean manufacturers don't need to disclose all the chemicals contained. So while they may seem similar on the surface, in reality these are two completely separate products that can have very different effects on the body.

Steam distillation unitTo really understand these differences we have to start with how the two products are made. Essential oils are derived from nature - they're extracted from the fruit, leaf, flower, seed, bark or root of a plant or tree, and distilled to create a pure oil. A lot of raw materials are required to create the oil, which is very potent. Synthetic fragrance oils are a man-made product, primarily created with petrochemicals - petroleum chemicals extracted from crude oil - designed to imitate the scents of essential oils at a much lower cost. While they might be cheaper, they are by no means better - they lack many of the benefits of essential oils and instead contain harmful toxins, including parabens and sulphates.

synthetic chemicalsThese chemicals can easily be absorbed into the bloodstream through your skin, as a result of either direct application, contact with fragranced items, or simply through exposure to fragranced air. They are potentially harmful to the skin and respiratory systems. In addition to this, "trade secret" labelling laws mean manufacturers aren't required to list the ingredients of these synthetic fragrances, so you never really know what chemicals are contained - some of the most commonly used ones are known carcinogens and hormone disruptors.*

One of the main benefits of essential oils is their use in aromatherapy (you can read more about this on our blog) - they can often provide physical and mental health benefits, with some even possessing antibacterial, antiseptic or anti-fungal properties. All of these qualities are derived from their origin plant, but synthetic fragrance oils - since they're only designed to mimic scent - don't share any of these properties and are therefore useless for aromatherapy.

While they may be cheaper, we think it's much better to avoid all those potentially harmful chemicals. Instead, enjoy the benefits and pure, natural scents of essential oils. View our range of essential oils here.

*For further details on some of the information here, you can follow this link which cites the findings of an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) study on the most common chemicals found in fragrance products:

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