Candles have been a staple in human history, providing warmth, light, and ambiance for centuries. With the ever-evolving candle market, fragrances and scents have become critical selling points, enticing customers with their ability to transform living spaces and uplift moods. One trending aspect in the world of candles is the usage of essential oils. Commonly used in diffusers for holistic living and aromatherapy, essential oils are now becoming synonymous with candlemaking. However, incorporating essential oils into candles can offer more harm than good. In this blog, we explore why essential oils are best left out of candles.
The Chemistry of Essential Oils
Essential oils are highly concentrated volatile organic compounds extracted from plant materials, such as leaves, flowers, and wood. They provide potent aromatic fragrances and therapeutic properties, making them popular for multiple applications like skincare, massage, and aromatherapy. While their benefits are numerous, essential oils are delicate by nature. The heat required for burning candles can degrade the therapeutic properties of the oils and alter their chemical compositions, making them potential allergens and irritants. Furthermore, some essential oils are flammable, posing significant safety risks when used in candles.
Toxic Fumes and Allergic Reactions
When heated, essential oils may release toxic fumes due to the breakdown of their chemical components. This is particularly concerning for people with allergies, asthma, or respiratory issues, who might experience adverse reactions when exposed to such fumes. Unlike diffusers that release essential oils in a controlled environment, candles can generate an unpredictable distribution of volatile organic compounds, negatively impacting indoor air quality. Flash Point Risks The flash point of an essential oil is the temperature at which it can ignite. Certain essential oils have low flash points, making them hazardous when exposed to an open flame. While many essential oils have a higher flash point than the typical temperature of a burning candle, discrepancies within this range can be perilous.
Inadequate Scent Throw
Candles using essential oils can have an underwhelming scent throw compared to those with synthetic fragrance oils. The heat from a candle's flame can destroy essential oil properties, diminishing their intensity and efficacy. Synthetic fragrance oils are created to withstand heat and maintain their scent profile during burning, giving them a clear advantage when it comes to candle performance.
Producing essential oils requires a substantial amount of plant material, which raises concerns about environmental sustainability. Harvesting plants for essential oils can impact ecosystems and contribute to the depletion of natural resources. Utilizing essential oils in candles—where their benefits and potency are lost—trivializes the value of these precious resources.
While essential oils are lauded for their therapeutic properties and role in holistic living, they don't belong in candles. The potential hazards and limitations associated with using essential oils in candles outweigh their perceived benefits. It's crucial to prioritize safety, sustainability, and product efficiency when selecting candle ingredients. If you're seeking the benefits of essential oils, stick to diffusers or topical applications, and opt for candles made with high-quality, safe, and sustainable fragrance oils.