Important Oils Might Be Wreaking Havoc on Your Pores and skin


“I took it off immediately and my skin was redder and more irritated than ever,” said Ms. Puig. After checking the ingredients list, she was convinced that the peppermint and citrus oils were the culprits.

In January, Summer Fridays apologized to customers after receiving a series of negative reviews citing rashes and hives as side effects. While the brand attributed reactions to a batch of products being compromised by a third party manufacturer, it noted that it would work to remove essential oils from their products “to reduce future irritation potential.”

Why Essential Oils Are So Risky

To understand why essential oils can pose a risk to your skin, it is helpful to understand what they are and what they are not. Essential oils, obtained either by distillation or cold pressing from flowers, bark, stems, leaves, roots and selected fruits, are highly concentrated chemical components that contain the essence or smell of a plant.

“They require a large amount of plant material to process, so they usually have much higher levels of active ingredient than we are used to,” said David Petrillo, a Los Angeles cosmetics chemist. They are much more concentrated than popular oils like coconut and argan, for example, which are considered milder “carrier oils” and are often used to dilute stronger essential oils.

Inhaling certain essential oils has been shown to affect the central nervous system and stimulate the brain to release neurotransmitters such as serotonin, which help regulate mood. However, they have also been shown to interfere with the normal functioning of hormones. When it comes to the skin, some experts say that in low concentrations they offer antibacterial benefits, but many believe that they not only add a nice scent to a product, they do more harm than good.

“Applying them to your skin almost ensures that some of it gets into your bloodstream,” said Dr. Petrillo and listed a list of common side effects, including redness, burns, headache, swelling, and blisters. And although many brands claim that essential oils’ antibacterial properties help fight acne, they can actually make breakouts worse.