Different Between Scented And Essential Oils

By Patricia | March 17, 2009
Different Between Scented And Essential Oils

What is the difference between scented oils and essential oils?

If you’ve gone shopping for aromatherapy products, you’ve probably seen a vast and confusing array of scented and essential oils for sale. If you intend to use aromatherapy, you should keep in mind that there is a vast difference between scented oils and essential oils.

To start with, you should understand that aromatherapy is a form of alternative medicine which depends on the practice of using volatile plant oils, which have been distilled from plants. These oils are known as essential oils, and have many psychological and physical benefits. Scented oils, on the other hand, may not come from plants at all, and are often made in a factory. Their sole purpose is to smell nice, and they may have little restorative and therapeutic benefits, if any.

In a store, the only way to tell the two apart are to read the labels carefully. Scented oils will usually be marked with the term ‘Fragrance’. Products made with essential oils (like candles or massage oils) should list the ingredients and how they were made. Beware that those products made chemically will probably not carry a note saying, “made with pure essential oils.” Of course, many genuine practitioners do not list their ingredients either.

Keep in mind, though, that the United States does not regulate products made with the term Aromatherapy. So any product, regardless of how it was made, can carry the label. In the US, even a label saying, “made with essential oils” isn’t enough, as it only means that it contains the same substances that essential oils are made of. These may have been manufactured in a lab! Although this may throw you off a bit, don’t let it scare you away. If you do a little research, or go to a trusted aromatherapist, he or she will be able to guide you to the right place to buy your products.

All aromatherapy products will contain essential oils, but they are often mixed with other ingredients to achieve better results. For instance, oils from different plants like Lime, Bergamot or Chamomile can be blended to obtain different results. These oils may be anointed on candles, which when burned, will release the oils into the air. They may be mixed with other carrier oils, which have no effect on the body, and the resulting mix is used as massage oil. This is done because pure essential oils are very strong, and if you apply them directly to your skin they may irritate, burn or otherwise harm you.

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