If you’re a fan of making scented candles, you may have considered using essential oils to scent your candles.
But can using essential oils in candles be toxic?
In this post, we’ll explore the potential risks and benefits of using essential oils in candles, and help you decide whether or not they are safe to use.
What are Essential Oils?
Before we dive into the topic of toxicity, it’s important to understand what essential oils are. Essential oils are natural oils that are extracted from plants using steam distillation or cold pressing.
They are the pure, concentrated essence of the plant and contain the natural aroma of the plant.
Essential oils are often used in aromatherapy and are believed to have therapeutic benefits. Different essential oils have different properties and can have positive effects on mood, stress, and other aspects of health.
For example, mint essential oil is often used to promote energy and alertness, lavender is used to promote relaxation and reduce anxiety, and tea tree oil is known for its antibacterial properties.
There are hundreds, maybe thousands of different essential oils and it’s a lot of fun to experiment with them in your candle-making!
Can Essential Oils Be Toxic?
One of the main concerns with using essential oils in candles is the risk of toxicity.
Some essential oils are considered toxic, which means they can be harmful if ingested or applied to the skin in large amounts.
However, it’s important to note that the risk of toxicity varies depending on the specific essential oil, the method of use, how much you’re using, and how you’re coming into contact with the oil.
For example, some essential oils, such as tea tree oil, are considered toxic if ingested in large amounts.
However, when used in small amounts, such as when added to a candle, the risk of toxicity is much lower to nil.
My best advice is to read the label on any essential oils you’re using and strictly follow the recommended dilution rate and how to use the oils.
It’s also important to keep in mind that essential oils can be volatile and can cause skin irritation or other reactions in some people that can come as a complete surprise.
For this reason, you should also experiment with a small amount first before using any essential oil in a large batch of candles.
Is it Safe to Put Essential Oils in Candles?
So, is it safe to put essential oils in candles?
As with any product, it’s important to use essential oils responsibly and follow the instructions for use.
In general, it’s safe to use small amounts of essential oils in candles, as long as you use them as directed.
However, it’s important to be aware that some people may be sensitive to certain essential oils.
If you’re using essential oils in your candles, it’s a good idea to test the candle on a small patch of skin if a topical application is allowed before using it to make sure you’re not allergic to any of the ingredients.
Another issue is that essential oils tend to have lower flash points when compared to fragrance oils.
This can cause the oil to evaporate when added to the wax at certain temperature points.
For this reason, you may have to experiment a little to find out the flash point of the oils you’re working with, and don’t be too surprised if your first candles don’t have strong scents!
Can Breathing in Essential Oils be Harmful?
Another concern with using essential oils in candles is the risk of inhaling the oils.
Some people are sensitive to the aroma of certain essential oils, and inhaling the oils can cause irritation or allergic reactions.
However, it’s important to note that the risk of inhaling essential oils from a candle is generally low.
The heat from the candle vaporizes the essential oils, which are then dispersed into the air.
The amount of essential oils that are inhaled is typically much smaller than the amount that would be inhaled when using a diffuser, or applied topically or even ingested depending on the oil.
Do Essential Oils Lose Their Effectiveness if Heated?
One final concern with using essential oils in candles is the risk of losing the therapeutic benefits of the oils.
Some people worry that heating essential oils in a candle may cause them to lose their effectiveness.
It can certainly happen as heat is known to damage the properties of essential oils, but this can largely be avoided.
The answer is to melt the wax at as low of a point as possible and to minimize the time spent with the essential oils in the melted wax.
I did research the temperature point where essential oils start to break down and lose their quality, but there were too many different answers!
The best advice I can offer is to keep the temperature as low as possible and don’t leave the essential oils in the melted wax for too long.
In conclusion, using essential oils in candles can be safe as long as they are used responsibly and in small amounts.
It’s important to be aware of the potential risks and follow the instructions for use.
If you’re using essential oils in your candles, it’s also a good idea to test the candle on a small patch of skin before using it to make sure you’re not allergic to any of the ingredients.
Additionally, it’s important to be aware of the potential risks of inhaling essential oils, particularly for small children and pets, and to use caution if you are sensitive to certain aromas.
Image credits – Photo by Svitlana on Unsplash
I’m a MA, (CMT) Certified Massage Therapist, Licensed Massage Therapist (LMT), and Reiki Master — I’m a licensed massage therapist with over 10 years of experience in the industry.