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Five Facts to Know About Essential Oils

Jul 01, 2015 10:03AM ● By Dia

Essential oils are everywhere these days. People smear a dab on their temples to cure a pounding head. They massage some oil on their babies’ feet to help a stuffy nose. Some people have even done away with a traditional medicine cabinet in favor of essential oils. It seems that when there’s an ailment, there’s an essential oil to make it better.

Even if there’s not something bothering you, essential oils can do wonders for boosting your mood or helping you relax. We feel better simply by breathing in the scent of an essential oil. It’s called aromatherapy, and we benefit on a physical and emotional level.

Essential oils aren’t some kind of magical cure-all (though they kind of sound that way), but they’ve been used throughout the ages in a variety of wellness applications. The Egyptians were some of the fir t people to use aromatic essential oils for medical practice, and the Greeks and Romans used essential oils for therapeutic massage, health and personal hygiene.

Whether yours is an “oily” family – the word used to describe those who regularly use essential oils – or you’ve never used a drop, here are some facts you should know about essential oils.

1. Essential oils aren’t really oils. Surprised? Essential oils don’t contain the fatty acids that constitute an actual oil. Instead, they are potent aromatic oils produced by plants.

2. They’re miniscule in molecular size. This means that they’re easily absorbed by the skin, helping them heal, soften and nourish. They don’t accumulate in the body over time, either. They offer up their healing properties and pass on through.

3. Not all essential oils are created equally. There are lots of brands on the market: doTERRA, Young Living, 365 (which you can pick up at Whole Foods Market), Now Foods (available at Central Market), and others. Do some testing before you decide on one. It’s easy to gauge the purity of an essential oil. Just put a single drop on a piece of paper. If it evaporates quickly and leaves no noticeable ring, it’s pure. If there’s a ring, the oil is likely diluted by the manufacturer. A good rule of thumb: If it’s cheaper compared to what other brands are offering, there’s a reason. Choose wisely.

4. Essential oils will last you a long time. Because they’re so concentrated, a single drop goes a long way. One bottle could easily last forfi e years – or longer.

5. They need to be treated with care. Essential oils are potent powerhouses. As such, they should never be used undiluted on the skin. Pair them with carrier oils – vegetable, coconut or grapeseed oil, for example – before applying to skin.

Are you an “oily” person? Tell us about your favorite essential oil! Go to and search for “essential oils” to leave your comment on this story.