Aromatherapy Oil - What's So Bad About Synthetic Aromatherapy Oils?
Aromatherapy oil is a term that can be applied to both natural and synthetic oils. This can be very confusing if you already have concerns about synthetic oils. As reed diffusers and aromatherapy candles become increasingly popular, many buyers have probably had the experience of being disappointed in either the scent or effectiveness of the aromatherapy oil used in a product they have purchased. Neither of these issues can be entirely attributed to whether the oil is synthetic or natural.
The therapeutic effectiveness and scent of a natural aromatherapy oil can be affected by many thing, a few of which are: weather, soil, timing of cultivation, extraction method, and quality control. Though not many would argue for the therapeutic benefits of synthetic oils, they are less expensive that the natural oils, and often have a more potent scent. Unfortunately, because of the lower cost, and a common perception that more is better, many of the most readily available aromatherapy oil consumer products will contain either a low-grade natural oil or a synthetic oil.
So, if the disappointing scent and decreased effectiveness can be present in both natural and synthetic aromatherapy oils, does it really matter which you use? The answer to that can be found by looking at the physical creation of the synthetic oils. Synthetic oils differ from natural oils on a molecular level. After the initial excitement over synthetic chemicals calmed down and science advanced, we have discovered that what they first thought to be identical reproductions of natural substances are, in fact, much inferior and not structurally or functionally the same. Not only do they lack the therapeutic action of the natural substance, they could have potentially harmful side effect like headaches, skin irritations, and allergic reactions. Though not enough research has yet been done, there are concerns about the effects of the petroleum and turpentine products used in their creation since the small size of the molecules make them so readily absorbable through the skin. With an inferior but natural aromatherapy oil you might not experience the wonderful therapeutic benefits of a high quality oil. With a synthetic aromatherapy oil you run the risk of harmful side effects.
So, how can you spot a synthetic oil or a product that uses synthetic oils? One of the biggest giveaway is if it is called a perfume or fragrance oil. Unless stated otherwise, most perfume oils are mostly synthetic. The perfume industry is interested in aroma and synthetic oils offer economy and often a more potent aroma. High quality perfume oils made with real aromatherapy oils are available and are well worth the effort to find. Aside from avoiding the harmful side effects of the synthetic oils, your could also be enjoying the benefits of true aromatherapy. Other signs of synthetic oils are essential oils only available as synthetics (magnolia, peach, apple, carnation, coconut, etc), and very expensive oils at very low prices. If I found any of theses in a line of aromatherapy oils I would be very suspicious of the whole line.
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