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Essential Oils In Skincare: Understanding The Benefits Beyond The Hype.

Essential Oils In Skincare: Understanding The Benefits Beyond The Hype.

In recent years, the skincare world has been divided over the use of essential oils in products.

A significant voice in this debate is Drunk Elephant, a company known for advocating 'clean' skincare and steering clear of essential oils, labelling them as potentially 'harmful'.

However, the truth about essential oils is more nuanced than a simple good or bad dichotomy. When used thoughtfully, essential oils can offer unique benefits to your skincare routine.


Misunderstandings Surrounding Essential Oils

Essential oils are often misunderstood, mainly due to concerns about irritation or allergic reactions. These concerns are not unfounded, as essential oils, like any ingredient, can cause adverse reactions in some individuals, especially when used undiluted or in high concentrations. However, this doesn't mean they are inherently bad for everyone.


The Benefits of Thoughtful Use

When used correctly, essential oils can provide several skincare benefits.

They are rich in compounds that can offer anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antioxidant properties.

For example, tea tree oil is renowned for its ability to combat acne due to its antimicrobial properties. Similarly, lavender oil is praised for its calming and anti-inflammatory effects, which can help soothe irritated skin.


Safety in product formulations

Every product in the UK has to go through a rigorous assessment process by a chartered cosmetic chemist. There are very strict guidelines as to which essential oils can be used and what their maximum usage limits are for skincare.⁠

You can rest assured that any skincare product you buy in the UK from a reputable supplier (i.e. one who has had their formulations assessed, not just knocking something up on their kitchen counter) will be safe for you to use.⁠



Patch Test Always

Now safety isn't the whole issue, because some people are more than sensitive than others when it comes to essential oils.  So just because a product has been passed as safe, if you know you are sensitive or have skin that tends to react to thinks, then always, always do a patch test before, or choose an unfragranced option.⁠

Apply a small amount of the product to a discreet area of your skin and wait 24-48 hours to observe any adverse reactions.

This simple step can help prevent potential irritation or allergic responses.


Quality Matters

The quality of essential oils is paramount. Pure, high-quality essential oils are more likely to deliver the benefits without the unwanted side effects. Cheap or adulterated oils not only lack efficacy but can also pose risks, making it essential to choose oils from reputable sources.



The debate over essential oils in skincare is complex, but dismissing them entirely overlooks their potential benefits.

With thoughtful use, attention to quality, and consideration of individual skin needs, essential oils can be a beneficial addition to many skincare routines.

Like any ingredient, they are not a one-size-fits-all solution, but for those who can use them without irritation, they offer another avenue for nurturing and improving skin health.

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